The Team

A full service equine veterinary practice serving South Puget Sound for over 30 years, Tacoma Equine has been proudly owned and operated by Dr. Linda Hagerman since 2000.

LINDA HAGERMAN, DVM

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Veterinarian & Practice Owner

All little girls love horses, right?  Dr. Linda Hagerman was smitten from a young age with caring for all animals, but had a special affinity for horses.  Being a veterinarian was never in doubt for her.  Born and raised in Michigan, Dr. Hagerman attended Michigan State University and graduated from the veterinary school in 1989.  She then moved to Seattle to be surrounded by great horse country, real mountains and beautiful water.

 

The early part of her career (9 years) was spent on the racetracks in Washington and California.  Dr. Hagerman was lucky enough to work at the historic Longacres racetrack in Renton before it was torn down.  The racetrack was a great place to start her career as the caseload was high and her mentors taught her well.  It’s there that she developed an eye for lameness, surgical skills and the ability to treat trauma with a calm, collected and reassuring manner.

 

The racing industry was not sustaining unfortunately so she left to care for companion and performance horses in the “real world” and it’s here that she's found her home and her calling.  Dr. Hagerman has been an athlete all of her life and as such, she especially enjoys helping horses maximize performance and limit injury.  She also realizes that excellence in athletics starts with basic healthcare.  This is the strength of Tacoma Equine Hospital, combining outstanding preventative horse care with advanced specialty care for those who need it.

Dr. Hagerman became the owner of Tacoma Equine Hospital in 2000, a practice that has been a part of the Pierce County horse community since the 1970s.  She feels compelled and honored to continue to grow our practice from those humble beginnings.  The excitement she has for providing outstanding care and compassionate service to horses and their owners is reflected in all of our employees and the results we continue to exhibit.

Her passion lies in performance lameness diagnosis and treatment.  Dr. Hagerman is proud to offer 30 years of experience in this field, the ability to ride her patients to help her find the source of subtle lameness, leading edge diagnostic equipment, therapies and surgical treatments, and a commitment to athletic injury-specific continuing education.  She is currently pursuing lameness certification with ISELP, an educational association whose goal is to provide contemporary knowledge and techniques in the continually evolving field of equine locomotor analysis.  Dr. Hagerman routinely uses digital ultrasound and radiography and advanced therapies like IRAP, PRP and cold laser, but always from a common sense, practical approach.  She is pleased to be called the “veterinarian’s veterinarian” and to be asked to consult on difficult lameness and upper level prepurchase exams.

 

Please don’t hesitate to call our office and ask to speak with Dr. Hagerman directly with any comments, questions or complaints.

ASHLEY GALEN, DVM, MS

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Associate Veterinarian

IVCA-Certified in Veterinary Chiropractic

 

Dr. Ashley Galen was born and raised in Portland, Oregon where she grew up riding hunter/jumpers. Her passion for veterinary medicine began at a very young age and grew as she became more involved with the equine world.

 

Dr. Galen attended Colorado State University where she received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences. While in Colorado she participated in many on-campus organizations but spent most of her time playing horse polo. Although she enjoyed her time in Colorado she did miss the forever-green Pacific Northwest and returned home to receive her DVM from Oregon State University. Following graduation from veterinary school in 2013, she went on to complete a rotating internship in large animal medicine, surgery and ambulatory care at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital.  In March 2017, Dr. Galen achieved certification from the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association after completing the Postgraduate Essentials in Animal Chiropractic Course at Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic.

 

Dr. Galen is proud to be a part of the Tacoma Equine Hospital team and looks forward to becoming an integral part of your horse’s care. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, reading, and spending time with her toy poodle, Beaker.

LAUREN WATSON, DVM

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Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Watson is from Vancouver, WA, where she learned to ride horses starting at 4 years old.  Having ridden mostly in the dressage discipline, Dr. Watson showed horses most of her childhood. 

 

She has always had a passion for helping animals but working with horses has never failed to give her the greatest satisfaction.  She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science with a chemistry minor from Oregon State University in 2013, followed by her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Washington State University in 2017.  Following graduation, she completed a one year rotating medical, surgical and ambulatory internship at Montana Equine in Three Forks, MT.

 

In her free time she enjoys hiking, traveling, and spending with her lab/heeler mix, Zoey, and her border collie/heeler mix, Ava.

VALERIE PFLUGHOEFT, DVM

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Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Pflughoeft is originally from rural Wisconsin, and grew up riding in 4-H and on trails.  Her family always had a menagerie of animals, and she always wanted to be a veterinarian since she was little.

Dr. Valerie attended the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh where she received a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Spanish language in 2012, and she went on to complete her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Wisconsin Madison in 2017.  After graduating veterinary school, she completed a one year ambulatory internship specializing in equine medicine at Great Lakes Equine Wellness Center in Hortonville, WI.  Dr. Valerie joined Tacoma Equine's team in December 2019.

 

In her free time, Dr. Valerie enjoys spending time with her husband Dan and their herd of critters, cooking, and endurance riding on her horse Twix.  She is also a member of the Equitarian Initiative, and travels to under-served populations where veterinary care is unavailable for working equids. 

ANN LYNCH, DVM

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Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Ann Lynch is originally from central Virginia.  Growing up in horse country, it was just a matter of time before she found her way to the barn and her beloved first horse, Pepsi, an Arabian gelding with whom she competed in dressage.  Dr. Lynch's relationship with her horse introduced her to the equestrian world and led her to realize her calling in equine medicine.

Dr. Lynch holds a Bachelor of Arts in history and French language from the University of Virginia.  She also completed a post-baccalaureate health sciences program at Virginia Commonwealth University prior to attending veterinary school.  A 2020 graduate of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Lynch then went on to complete a rotating medical, surgical and ambulatory internship at Bend Equine Medical Center in Bend, Oregon.  She was excited to join Tacoma Equine Hospital as an associate veterinarian in the fall of 2021.  Dr. Lynch enjoys all aspects of general practice for horses and has special interests in emergency medicine, dentistry, reproduction and foal care.  She enjoys explaining the "why" behind different diagnoses and treatment plans, and working with clients to provide the best care for their horses.

In her free time, Dr. Lynch enjoys hiking and trail running in the mountains, reading and creative writing, and spending time with her partner April (also a dressage rider) and her housecat Kel.  She is currently between horses but hopes to get back to riding soon.  She is happy to be a part of the Tacoma Equine team and looks forward to working with you and your equines.

ELIZABETH COLLAR, DVM, DACVS-LA

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Visiting Board-Certified Surgeon

Dr. Collar is native of Wisconsin, and grew up with horses and animals of all kinds.  She has a diverse horse background having grown up riding hunter/jumpers, working with dressage horses, spending time on the draft horse circuit, cross training western performance horses, and working at the racetrack.

 

She received her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota.  After completing a surgical internship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, KY, she worked at the UC Davis J.D. Wheat Veterinary Orthopedic Research Laboratory, primarily working with the California Horse Racing Board’s Racing Injury Prevention Program.  Dr. Collar then completed a three-year residency in large animal surgery at Oregon State University.  She is board certified in large animal surgery (Diplomate) with the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

 

Her primary research interests continue to focus around musculoskeletal injuries in race and performance horses, with ongoing projects in all aspects of equine medicine.  She has won multiple local and national awards for her research.  She is currently finishing a PhD in Comparative Health Sciences and working as an emergency surgeon at Oregon State University.  In addition, she works as a locum surgeon, becoming part of the surgical, lameness, and general practice teams at various clinics, including Montana Equine Medical and Surgical Center and Tacoma Equine Hospital.

 

Dr. Collar loves all aspects of equine surgery, but has a particular interest in minimally invasive surgery such as laparoscopy and arthroscopy.  When not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband, riding her horses, hiking with her dogs, telemark skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, and cheering on the Packers.

KAREN SONJU

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Practice Manager

Karen, originally a Washington native, spent her formative years in central Massachusetts.  Though she always had a love of horses, Karen didn’t truly become involved with them until a fateful day when she was 14 and her mom made the mistake of asking her if she was interested in taking riding lessons.  Ever since then, Karen’s life has revolved around everything equine.  In 2004, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences with an Equine Concentration from Oregon State University and completed an internship in Kentucky on a Thoroughbred broodmare farm.

 

After working for a couple of years in sunny Southern California as an assistant breeding & healthcare manager on an Arabian farm, Karen relocated to Washington and joined Tacoma Equine Hospital in 2007 as a veterinary assistant.  At the end of 2011 she took on the Office Manager’s duties and in 2014 stepped in to the role of Practice Manager.  She successfully completed the VMC, Inc. School of Veterinary Practice Management, an intensive short course in Colorado, in the spring of 2014.

 

When she is not drowning in paperwork, Karen is tending to her menagerie consisting of a miniature schnoodle named Hazel, three cats, an Appendix Quarter Horse named Rumba, and four rescued miniature donkeys.  In her “spare time” Karen enjoys exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest, traveling internationally, and taking photos of her adventures.

ALISSA BALTAZAR

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Office & Veterinary Assistant

Alissa was born and raised in Tacoma, only miles away from Tacoma Equine Hospital. Growing up she always loved the idea of having a horse of her own. When she was eleven years old her grandfather bought a horse for her that she could finally call her own, and trail riding was her favorite past time. From then on she's had a crazy passion for these four legged fuzzy creatures.

 

In 2012 she graduated and went off to Bellingham, WA to receive her Associates Degree at Whatcom Community College. Following graduation, Alissa moved back home to Tacoma where she worked at a rescue clinic taking in dogs and cats that had little or no care. Her love for animals had only just begun to take off. A year later she interviewed for Tacoma Equine Hospital knowing that she could live out her life’s passion helping and caring for the one animal that started her love for veterinary medicine.

 

Alissa joined Tacoma Equine Hospital in July of 2016. During her free time she likes to spend time with her family and friends.

MARGARET KEERS

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Lead Veterinary Assistant

Margaret grew up in the South Sound, falling in love with horses at seven years old when she joined Carbon River Pony Club. Although she has always loved (and still does love) riding, competing, and hunting with Woodbrook Hunt Club, she knew from early on that her passion lay with Pony Club’s emphasis on horse care and management. Margaret moved to Sammamish to complete her Pony Club HB and C-3 Certificates in 2007, and also to earn her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology at the University of Washington, Seattle.

 

Following her graduation with Honors in 2011, Margaret was preparing to work as a foreign language teacher (Japanese and French), but the lure of working with horses proved too much to resist. Margaret ran away with the circus in early 2012, and spent the next five years working for Cavalia. Initially hired as a groom, Margaret worked every job offered in the stables (except Farrier!) until finally settling into her role as Head Veterinary Technician, which is her favorite role to have around horses! Margaret returned to schoolwork in 2013 while working for Cavalia, this time pursuing a degree in Veterinary Technology from Purdue University’s Distance Learning Program. She has lived and worked in 10 different countries, but Australia was her favorite.

 

Margaret finally returned to Sammamish at the end of 2016 to finish her technician internships and spend more time with her own horses. After completing 10 weeks of clinical practice at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Margaret joined the team at Tacoma Equine Hospital in April 2017. She continues to work towards her degree and volunteer with local zoos and aquariums. Outside of work and school, she gives in to her inevitable wanderlust with a predictable regularity, and of course spoils her horses and dog.

JACKIE JONES

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Office & Veterinary Assistant

Jackie was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Western Montana. She grew up on her family’s small ranch raising draft horses, showing cattle through the local 4-H club, and rodeoing. Being raised in the western horse industry, Jackie has always had a passion for horses. That passion lead her from small youth rodeos, on to the high school rodeo circuit where she qualified for the National High School Rodeo Finals, and eventually on to rodeoing at the collegiate level. Jackie competed in college rodeo for the University of Great Falls and the University of Montana while studying biology. While she loves training performance horses, Jackie also has a deep rooted passion for wilderness and miles spent down the trail. She has spent her summers for the past twelve years as a wrangler working for a close knit family dude ranch packing into the Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana.

 

Jackie joined the team at Tacoma Equine Hospital in December of 2019 shortly after she and her husband relocated to the Pacific Northwest. Working at Tacoma Equine Hospital has allowed her to blend two of her greatest passions, horses and science. Outside of work, Jackie enjoys spending time with her husband, young daughter, her two quarter horse geldings Chex and Cash, and their two dogs Cane and Sloan.

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DANIELLE C.

Veterinary Assistant

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JAIMIE S.

Veterinary Assistant

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GRACE H.

Veterinary Assistant

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AMY BIRCHALL

Veterinary Assistant

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Annie M.

Veterinary Assistant