After 36 years, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital (RREH) has a new chief executive officer, according to RREH’s spring newsletter.

Dr. Deborah Spike-Pierce has taken the helm after founder Dr. Bill Rood retired.

Rood has been at the head of RREH since its founding in Lexington, Ky. Since then, the practice became a renowned full-service equine hospital with two additional locations in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and Wellington, Fla.

Spike-Pierce’s previous leadership positions include past presidencies of the Kentucky Association of Equine Practitioners and the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association. She recently became a member of the board of directors for the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

“I am excited about taking on the challenge of becoming CEO of this amazing hospital,” she says. “I look forward to listening to and getting to know every employee.”

Spike-Pierce is a third-generation veterinarian. She graduated from Michigan State University Veterinary School in 1993.

Following a year of practice in Michigan, she completed a yearlong internship at RREH in Lexington, Ky. She went on to assist Dr. Larry Bramlage before starting her own ambulatory practice 3 years later.

Spike-Pierce’s practice focused on juvenile Thoroughbreds for sale or racing.

“When I came to Rood & Riddle 23 years ago, it was much smaller but has always been an incredible place to work,” she says. “My goal is to continue the culture of excellence while enjoying the camaraderie of colleagues and most importantly serving the clients and the horses that give us the opportunity to do what we love.”

Her passion for horses is clear. Growing up, Spike-Pierce worked with Standardbred racehorses and showed Saddle Seat with her Morgan horse. She and her husband, fellow RREH veterinarian Scott Pierce, own a Thoroughbred breeding farm and race Standardbreds.

Although the position has shifted her primary work from the farm to the office, she plans to continue reading radiographs and spending nights and weekends at her farm.