MEET THE TEAM
BVMS, CertEM (StudMed), MANZCVS (Surgery of Horses), CertAVP
I have been fortunate in my career to have had many excellent jobs internationally and to have worked with some world-renowned and inspiring veterinarians. After completing a racing-based internship in England, I went on to do a surgery internship in Australia and a Sydney University Post Graduate Foundation course in Equine Surgery. I then completed 13 back-to-back stud seasons between the Hunter Valley, Newmarket, Kentucky, Victoria and Ireland before settling permanently in the Hunter Valley.
These positions included racetrack and stud work with the Newmarket Equine Hospital; a wonderful two seasons as resident veterinarian for Swettenham Stud in the Hunter Valley; a medicine fellowship at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, and ambulatory stud and sale work in Kentucky; a season with the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital, based in Nagambie, Victoria, and time in Ireland working with both flat and National Hunt horses and I was privileged to spend that season servicing Ballymacol Stud.
In 2008 I achieved the British Royal College of Veterinary Certificate in Equine Stud Medicine and am now working through Liverpool Veterinary School Lameness and Diagnostic Imaging modules for a second certificate. Having being inspired by the extensive use and impressive results in Kentucky, I undertook the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society course. Additional qualifications include the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination and the Kentucky State License examination.
Almost obsessively, I take every opportunity to improve my veterinary knowledge and develop a wide range of skills. With great passion for the veterinary profession, I continue to spend time with leading veterinarians around the world, with particular interests in diagnostic imaging. I also pride myself on studying and researching important topics, and have presented and published work on infectious arthritis (‘joint ill’), angular limb deformities in foals, Rhodococcus infections(‘rattles’), MRI of the navicular region and 3D ultrasound of the ovary.
Other high points in my career have included voluntary work teaching and operating in Morocco and Egypt as a way of passing on knowledge, making a real difference to less privileged people and animals and gaining more experience in equine disease and surgery.
BvetBio/BVSc – Senior Veterinarian
James grew up on a beef cattle property in northern NSW. After qualifying from Charles Sturt University in 2013 he undertook an internship at Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital. He has worked in equine practice since including as resident stud vet at Alabar Bloodstock, racing vet at Lindsay Park Euroa and artificial reproduction clinician in university practice. James is returning to Australia to join HEC after working for Rossdales in the UK focused solely on thoroughbred stud, racing and sales work.
James’ professional interests include stud and racing work, problem mare management, orthopaedic disease and pre-purchase examinations. He enjoys the involvement from conception through to racing and has been lucky enough to work with Classic and Group winning racehorses and broodmares in both hemispheres.
He is passionate about the Australian thoroughbred industry and looks forward to making Scone home with partner, and fellow vet, Jemima. Outside work James hopes to breed cattle, and also enjoys travelling and skiing.
BVSc/BVetBio (Hons 1), DipECEIM
European and Australian Specialist in
Equine Internal Medicine
Sarah is a boarded European specialist in equine internal medicine and is joining Hunter Equine Centre in May 2020 after spending the past 2 years at Rainbow Equine Hospital, a busy 22 vet referral hospital in North Yorkshire, UK. During her time there Sarah completed the second half of her residency in equine internal medicine that was split between Rainbow Equine Hospital and Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga where she had worked for the previous 4 years. During her time in Wagga Wagga, Sarah initially completed an 18-month internship in medicine, surgery and reproduction before focusing on internal medicine.
Sarah's main interests are neonatal medicine, ophthalmology, cardiology and workup of poor performance cases including dynamic endoscopy, ECGs and managing muscle disorders.
Sarah is returning to Australia with her husband and dog to be closer to family, and is looking forward to settling down in Scone and joining the Hunter Equine Centre team and the busy Scone Thoroughbred scene, after an adventure filled couple of years in the UK.
Livia De Biase
Livia De Biase graduated from the University of Perugia, Italy in 2015. After graduation she moved in Ireland to work at Troytown Greyabbey Equine Hospital in Kildare.
She joined Hunter Equine Centre for the 2018 season and then, she moved back to Ireland, in The Curragh, to work in a busy thoroughbred practice for the 2019 breeding season.
Her main interests are neonatology, stud medicine and internal medicine. During her spare time, Livia likes to hike with her dog Mia, riding and traveling.
Nikki joined Hunter Equine Centre in 2018 and was an integral part in managing the build of our new and exciting facility. In 2001 Nikki graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Equine Science and moved to Australia in 2005 after working for Tweenhills Farm Stud and Three Counties Equine Hospital.
Following 15 years working within the Thoroughbred breeding and nursing industries in New Zealand and Australia, Nikki is now an essential part of the team at HEC as our tireless Practice Manager.
Anna graduated with a BSc (Hons) degree in Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management in 2013 from Oxford Brookes University. After graduating, Anna completed a yearling prep and sales season for Watership Down stud before spending 2 years working at Lanwades stud in the UK.
Since moving to Australia in 2016, Anna has worked at various studs in the Hunter Valley including Arrowfield, Vinery and Newgate. After 2 years at Newgate Farm Anna decided to follow a career in vet nursing, she has been working at Hunter Equine Centre since March 2019.
Marie Clair Leschallas
Marie-Clair graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Equine Science and Thoroughbred Management. She spent a season in New Zealand before moving to Australia, where she began working at Coolmore.
During her time there she completed studies in vet nursing and spent a season in Kentucky at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute as a vet tech. In her spare time you’ll find her making hats and fascinators for the races and spending time outdoors with her dog. She also enjoys going to concerts and loves to travel.
Sarah Wills joined HEC in April 2019 in an administration role. Sarah is from New Zealand and has lived in Australia for over 20 years. She has worked in a hands-on role on thoroughbred studs and racing stables in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Ireland, Italy and Sweden. Sarah spent 11 years at Coolmore Australia as Stud Secretary before taking up CEO positions at Ballina Jockey Club and then Scone Race Club.