Nationally ranked eventer plans to serve equestrian community as physical therapist

First-year Doctor of Physical Therapy student Gabbie Van Scoy feels right at home in the Horse Capital of the World. Her experience riding and working with horses has been instrumental in her journey to become a physical therapist. Gabbie and horse

Van Scoy was initially accepted into a math PhD program at the University of Kentucky. “I was planning on pursuing a career in that field when I realized it wasn’t what I was passionate about,” she said. She then applied to UK College of Health Sciences Doctor of Physical Therapy program and began classes in fall 2019.

Van Scoy’s interest in physical therapy was sparked by her experiences in the equine world. She has competed nationally in eventing (an equestrian event where a single horse and rider compete across three disciplines: dressage, cross-country, and show jumping) since her junior year of high school. She is currently the number one nationally ranked training adult rider and number one nationally ranked training adult amateur in the United States.

Like most successful equestrians, Van Scoy has suffered her fair share of injuries. During her senior year of college, she experienced a separated shoulder and a broken collarbone. One month after moving to Lexington she broke her collarbone again. “Going through physical therapy and the recovery process myself proved to me how vital physical therapists are,” she said.

"I’ve seen other riders and friends experience injuries like mine and how important having a good physical therapist was for them to begin competing again,” Van Scoy continued. “Physical therapy has made such a huge impact on my life, and if I can do that for just one other person, I will have fulfilled my calling.”

Van Scoy said the welcoming environment at the College of Health Sciences, and the community she has found here, motivate her each day. “I feel like I’ve found my people. I can’t imagine being anywhere else,” she said.