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Dr. Terry Swanson and Longtime Client Top Barrel Racer Lisa Lockhart On Working Together for the Health & Success of Her Equine Athletes

It’s clear when you visit with Lisa Lockhart or Dr. Terry Swanson, that they have a deep mutual respect for each other. Although it's hard to estimate the degree to which their equine chemistry impacts her horses' performance, it is safe to say that it should not be underestimated. It’s one of those rare relationships where one plus one add up to much more than two. The biggest beneficiaries of this collaboration are Louie and Chism, two of the best barrel racing horses in the world.

Mutual Respect

Through hectic schedules and health setbacks with her horses, Lisa and Dr. Swanson have navigated the seasons with grace, always putting the health of her horses first. Lisa has been in the top 5 barrel racers in the world for the past five years. Like any successful run, it hasn’t been without challenges and injuries. How she and Dr. Swanson have handled these setbacks is clearly part of her formula for success. "He’s always my first phone call. It takes me 7 hours to get to Littleton Equine Medical Center from my home in South Dakota, and I don’t mind making that trip one bit," says Lisa. "When I can’t get to where he is, we work from emails, texts, photos and calls at all hours of the day and night." Swanson is quick to commend his client, "she has a great feel for what is going on with her horses, especially when she is on the road and calls with an issue. She can really communicate her horse’s situation well."

Dr. Terry Swanson is an industry leader in his own right, though he'd likely be reluctant to admit it. His expertise in many areas of equine veterinary medicine is lauded, with special consideration in his approach, diagnosis and treatment of equine lameness. True to form, Swanson is humble when asked about his veterinary approach, "I've learned over the years that horse owners know their horses better than I do. Lisa can read the changes in her horse very well. That makes my job very easy."

Lisa feels that his ability to relate to her as a horse owner sets him apart. Horses have always been a part of Swanson's life since growing up on a ranch in Wyoming. Still today he enjoys team roping, and when he's not at the clinic, he can be found in his barn cleaning stalls and enjoying his own horses with family members. As he puts it, "horses are not only my vocation, they are also my avocation."

Lisa Lockhart and Louie at the 2012 Wrangler
National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Springer

“Platinum Performance CJ is essential for my horses' athletic performance, their joints and digestive health, while Osteon supports their bones and tendons. I’ve added Platinum Gastric Support into my program, as well as Platinum Longevity to help cope with the stress of their intense competitions and being on the road.” - Lisa Lockhart

Lisa Lockhart


  • Her Career Highlights

    • 8 consecutive NFR qualifications
    • 2-Time Canadian Champion
    • 2-Time Champion of the “RFD-TVs $100,000 The American”
    • $1 million+ in career earnings
    • 2014 WNFR Average Champion

  • Her Veterinarian: Terry Swanson, DVM

    • Practicing equine veterinary medicine since 1967
    • Former President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners
    • Nationally regarded for his expertise in diagnosis and management of lameness in the performance horse

  • Her Horses

    • An Oakie with Cash, a.k.a. "Louie"
      • 11-Year-Old Buckskin Gelding
      • Voted the Horse with the Most Heart in 2011
    • Fast An Gold, a.k.a. "Chism"
      • 16-Year-Old Chestnut Gelding
      • Stepped-up to qualify Lockhart to the WNFR while Louie was recuperating in 2014

  • Her Platinum

Longevity

Lisa's horses have continued to enjoy extended athletic careers. Her first NFR horse, Sterling, ran in his last pro rodeo at 23 years old. Her current horses are at the top of the game at 16 and 11, in a strenuous equine sport that demands hauling long distances for months out of the year. Lisa credits Dr. Swanson’s thoroughness as the reason for her horse’s soundness.

"I have such respect for him. I appreciate that he is both conservative and proactive in caring for my horses." In addition, Lockhart talks a lot about Swanson's humble demeanor. "He doesn’t discount my gut feelings, and his respect for me as a horse owner builds more confidence in me as a caregiver to my horses when we are out on the road. He tells me all the time to follow my intuition. And I always do what the good doctor says."

“(Dr. Swanson) doesn’t discount my gut feelings… he tells me all the time to follow my intuition.”
— Lisa Lockhart, WPRA Barrel Racer

Consistency

In addition to being one of the best barrel racers in the world, Lockhart is a wife and mother of three active children. In order to maintain a balanced family life, Lisa limits herself to about 50 rodeos a year. So, she is keenly aware of the importance of each competition and consistently does all the little things she feels are essential to good equine care including being dedicated to a routine. As she says, "horses find comfort in consistency. It takes lots of little things to have success." This outlook no doubt makes her a veterinarian's dream client. As Swanson puts it, "she's a very conscientious horse person. When I make a recommendation, I have no doubt that she follows it and complies exactly. The welfare of her horses is what is most important to her."

The results of their partnership speak for themselves. Lisa has qualified to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo 8 consecutive times and placed in 8 of the 10 rounds in Las Vegas in 2014. She also won the inaugural $100,000 The American in 2014 aboard her buckskin mount, Louie. Lockhart is the first one to tell you results like that are due to a team-based effort. Between her husband Grady, who is the team farrier, and Dr. Swanson, Lisa has an A-list of supporters. Swanson acknowledges his role in the partnership with this, "I know what her goals are, and I'm comfortable with how she approaches them. It truly is a team effort between Lisa, Grady, the horse and myself."

Regarding the 2015 rodeo season and beyond, Lisa says, "I’m blessed with these horses right now. Success really motivates me. As long as I have the horsepower, I will see where it can take me."

It is safe to say there was a veterinarian from Littleton, Colorado, watching his patient, and his client and friend run that cloverleaf pattern for ten consecutive nights in early December as she raced to the 2014 NFR Average Title. Way to go Team Lockhart!

Amy Quintana
  • by Amy Quintana, Platinum Performance®
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