California Riding Magazine • March, 2008

Striking Off On His Own
Veterinarian Mark Silverman’s
Sporthorse Veterinary Services

by Rebecca Sparenberg

Veterinarian Mark Silverman is looking toward the future and setting off on his own – but he isn’t going far. After a 12 year relationship with San Dieguito Equine Group, Mark is starting his own practice, Sporthorse Veterinary Services.

“Paul and Mark still have a strong friendship, they just have different visions for the future of their respective practices,” says Tiffany Silverman, Mark’s wife and owner of a sporthorse training facility in Valley Center. “While continuing to offer a full service equine practice, Mark’s goal is to expand his focus in the areas of podiatry, lameness and dentistry. The podiatry clinic in San Marcos that Mark developed will remain open and will continue to expand. Katie Soobrian, the vet tech whom all his clients know and love, will be managing the new office. In fact, the podiatry center and his office will be sharing property with San Dieguito Equine Group, and access to all of their state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment will require only a short walk across the parking area.”

Prior to earning his veterinary degree from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Silverman received a master’s degree in the field of sports biomechanics working with both the elite equine and human athletes. He focuses largely on performance and lameness work with specialization in advanced podiatry. Last year he spoke at the International Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot in Florida, presenting a paper on the use of MRI in diagnosing lameness in the foot.

“New technology has allowed us to see anatomical details of the hoof that we could never see before,” says Silverman. “We can see injuries to structures that we could never before visualize. But anytime you jump into new technology there is a learning curve. In all horses there may be a level of abnormality, an amount of swelling or damage that is within a normal, working range, and until we look at 1,000 horses with the new technology, we won’t know what this range is. A lot of our research won’t necessarily benefit me, but the next generation of practitioners.”

Silverman is currently preparing a presentation for the 2008 American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Conference, which will be held in San Diego. This year’s AAEP conference will feature an entire day dedicated to farriers and will focus heavily on the hoof. He is very passionate about advancing the field of podiatry, which is one of the reasons Silverman is branching off on his own.
Silverman’s tag line has always been: take a balanced approach to all issues. “You can’t just look at the issue by itself and try to fix it. You have to also take into account the demands on the horse, the needs of the rider, what is required by the circuit and strike a balance.” Because he believes strongly in a balanced approach, Silverman will continue to provide other professional services for his clientele, including dentistry. A former FEI level dressage competitor himself, he knows the demands horsemen put on sporthorses, and has provided elite dentistry services for many of the top dressage and Olympic horses living in Southern California.

“I still consider it important that I provide very personalized care to all my clients and like to see and handle the horses myself. I spend a great deal of time educating my clients. Understanding why something occurs better prepares the client for the future needs of their equine athlete. People still tend to underestimate the overall importance of the horse’s hoof. The saying ‘no hoof, no horse’ has been used for years –the saying has stuck around because it’s based in truth.”

For more information on Dr. Silverman’s new practice, Sporthorse Veterinary Services, call 760-798-4850 or e-mail him at HoofDoc@mac.com.