|Dr. Molby displays her award.
Where would you look for the nation’s best horse veterinarian? Texas or Arizona? Maybe Colorado? Montana?
The Ticker found her in Suttons Bay.
Last week, Dr. Tanja Molby received the Legend of the Year Award, which recognizes the top equine professional who provides exceptional care for horses in need. The cash portion of the award – a $5,000 donation in Dr. Molby's name – will go to the Michigan Equine Foundation (MEF) based in Traverse City.
“I am so humbled, really humbled,” says Dr. Molby, who cares for horses in Grand Traverse, Leelanau and parts of Benzie Counties. “Equine welfare has become a huge problem in recent years.”
The award, considered the equivalent to the Nobel Peace Prize in the horse world, is sponsored by Bayer Animal Health. A crowd of 3,500 of her peers watched as Dr. Molby was honored at the Annual Convention of the American Association for Equine Practitioners (AAEP) in San Antonio, Texas. Competition for the award was stiff, with more than 500 nominations received.
Busy with clients, Dr. Molby had no plans to be at the convention until she received a series of persistent phone calls from Bayer urging her to attend.
“What an honor to even be nominated,” she says with a laugh. “I was flabbergasted. I was convinced they had the wrong person. This is just an amazing honor. It is very meaningful that this is in recognition of something that is such a large part of my life.”
Molby was recognized for her efforts in helping create the MEF, which assists horses and their owners with vet care and hay when facing economic hardship. Bayer estimates that every year, some 170,000 horses in the United States are subject to improper care, abuse or neglect.
The MEF is a non-profit group that began last year. Its mission is to promote equine health and wellness through education, awareness and to provide services for horses in need.
Born in Germany, Dr. Molby came to the U.S. in 1987 at the age of 17 as an exchange student. She earned her DVM at Michigan State University. She now serves as an adjunct professor at MSU and Northwestern Michigan College, training equine practitioners. Twelve years ago she moved to Suttons Bay and soon after began serving patients.
Since it’s tough for her patients to visit her Suttons Bay office, she works out of her durable Chevy Suburban, which is equipped with all sorts of medical gear, including a portable x-ray machine, dental equipment, pharmacy and lab. Driving in all kinds of weather to care for the area’s ailing horses, in the past two years she’s logged 130,000 miles crisscrossing the region.