ONE of the founding vets of the Rainbow Equine Hospital in Malton has retired.

Ieuan Pritchard leaves the practice, in Rainbow Lane, at the end of the year – 32 years after he set it up with fellow equine vet Bob Ordidge.

From humble beginnings, operating with the help of straw bales to support horses, the hospital has grown into one of the UK’s most advanced and high-tech hospitals, with purpose-built surgical and intensive care facilities.

Rainbow Equine Hospital is one of the largest fully equipped RCVS Tier 3 Equine Referral Hospital in the North of England, offering the most advanced diagnostic and surgical techniques in state-of-the-art facilities.

After being established by Ieuan and Bob, who died in December 2019, and Alistair Nelson, who later became a partner, Rainbow Equine Hospital now has 80 team members, including 22 vets.

Ieuan, 66, is one of the UK’s most respected vets and says his retirement will be an emotional moment. But he admitted he takes immense pride in the growth of the practice and the team in place under veterinary group, VetPartners.

Ieuan, who is married to international dressage rider Mary Pritchard, said: “It is going to be a very sad and emotional time for me, but I am leaving the practice in safe hands. Some of the team members, like practice manager Lorraine Colgan, have been with me for many years and we have always chosen people who work well in a team and are good with people.

“The vets and nurses are well qualified but I wanted to know we were leaving the practice in safe hands. VetPartners have been great with us and have give us huge support, especially with expanding the hospital, facilities and equipment.

“It is like a big family but we provide top quality care with high-tech equipment. We can do every surgery available and we have the people to do it, but we still provide the personal touch.

“I am proud that Rainbow Equine Hospital has developed into the centre of excellence it has become and that it remains a friendly, caring environment.”

Ieuan comes from a large showjumping and farming family in Anglesey, and graduated from Liverpool University in 1979, before working in Cheshire and Wiltshire.

During his time at Rainbow Equine Hospital, he has treated everything from multi-million-pound sport horses to much-loved children’s ponies, often travelling the world to vet horses or give lectures to members of the veterinary profession.

He added: “As a vet, you treat all horses the same – as if they were your own horse or your wife’s horse. Whether I was stitching a cob for a member of the travelling community or getting on a private jet to vet a horse in Germany for a competition rider, I was happy with both types of work.

“I’ve treated horses that ran in the Ayr Gold Cup or Grand National and Group One-winning horses, along with Olympic showjumpers, eventers and dressage horses from all over the UK, so there have been some special times being part of their journey. I wish them all the very best for their future success.”