Outside the box

Outside the box

By going equine-centric, Woodford Equine Hospital in Versailles, Ky., moves into the 21st century—and creates a first-rate facility.
Jul 01, 2008

(Photo by John Steven Dehart, thoughtSPACE)
In 1969, Woodford veterinary Clinic won a Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition award. Back then, the clinic was a mixed practice that served small animal, equine, and food animal clients. The competition judges lauded the hospital, which opened in 1957, for its "modern" look and smooth flow as a mixed practice. Wow—times have changed. In 2004, the equine entity of Woodford Veterinary Clinic dissociated itself from the small animal division and launched a mission to distinguish itself in an equine-dense region. Now, as Woodford Equine Hospital in Versailles, Ky., the practice has found success again—in a much larger capacity.

Superior horse play

Exterior: To maintain the look of a traditional Kentucky horse farm, the owners chose a stone with distinctive patterning in split-faced block that makes reference to local stone walls. The stone walls and countryside views create a natural look. (Photo by John Steven Dehart, thoughtSPACE)
The original facility hadn't been remodeled since the 1970s, shortly after co-owner Dr. William Baker joined the practice. "We desperately needed a new, bright facility with better working conditions for us and our clients," Dr. Baker says. "And we simply didn't have enough room to accommodate our growing practice."

Settled in the horse capital of the world amid numerous multimillion-dollar breeding farms, the practice's four owners knew they had to set themselves apart from the competition. And they decided to center their design around the horse, of course. "Our design is all about how the horse moves through our facility," says co-owner Dr. Christopher Johnson. "Aesthetics are a secondary factor, though still important."

With several high-traffic equine-only practices nearby catering to the same type of clients, these doctors chose to make their patients' comfort and health the top priority of the hospital's new design.

(Photo by John Steven Dehart, thoughtSPACE)

Site Plan (Photo by John Steven Dehart, thoughtSPACE)