top of page

The Team

Our Veterinarians
Linda headshot edit.jpg

Linda Hagerman

DVM

Owner & Managing Veterinarian

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 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.

Ashley Galen.jpg

Ashley Galen

DVM, MS

IVCA-Certified in Veterinary Chiropractic

Associate Veterinarian

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 husband and son, and their two dogs, Beaker & Harlow.

Lauren Watson.jpg

Lauren Watson

DVM

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, riding her draft cross, Firenze, and spending with her border collie/heeler mix, Ava.

Valerie headshot.jpg

Valerie Pflughoeft

DVM, CVA
IVAS-Certified in Veterinary Acupuncture

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 March 2023, Dr. Valerie achieved certification from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in veterinary acupuncture. In her free time, Dr. Valerie enjoys spending time with her husband Dan and their herd of critters, cooking, and endurance riding on her horses Twix, Mickey, and Rus.  She is also a member of the Equitarian Initiative, and travels to under-served populations where veterinary care is unavailable for working equids.

IMG_2342.jpg

Ann Lynch

DVM

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), their three horses, and their cats & dogs.  She is happy to be a part of the Tacoma Equine team and looks forward to working with you and your equines.

Lumley 5.png

Tessa Lumley

DVM

Associate Veterinarian

Dr. Tessa Lumley is a California native from Monterey Bay. She earned her B.A. from Santa Clara University in 2006 and was inspired to pursue a career in veterinary medicine after her mare suffered a traumatic injury that required emergency surgery. She later worked as a technician at the referral equine hospital while she took prerequisites for vet school. In 2010 she ventured east to attend Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine where she earned her DVM in 2014. Following graduation Dr. Lumley completed a one-year rotating internship at New England Equine Medical & Surgical Center in Dover, New Hampshire where she received additional training in emergency and internal medicine, surgery, diagnostic imaging, and sports medicine. She later joined prominent equine practices in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts where she further developed her well-rounded skill set and provided emergency care, reproductive services, dentistry, internal medicine, and lameness workup throughout New England. Dr. Lumley and her family moved back to the west coast in the fall of 2022 to be closer to relatives. She is very excited to be a part of the Tacoma Equine team and loves working alongside so many great people and horses. Her professional interests include sports medicine, diagnostic imaging, ophthalmology, and reproduction. Her hobbies include running, hiking, yoga, and eating fine cheeses. When she's not working you can find her chasing after her two young daughters, Harper and Abigail, and exploring the PNW with her husband, Rich.

Liz-Collar.jpg

Elizabeth Collar

DVM, DACVS-LA

Visiting 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.

Our Administrative Team
IMG_E8737_edited.jpg

Karen Sonju

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 poodle mix named Hazel, two cats, and four miniature donkeys.  In her spare time, Karen enjoys exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest, traveling internationally, and taking photos of her adventures.

Alissa 2019_edited_edited_edited.jpg

Alissa

Front Office Lead & Accounts Receivable Specialist

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.

IMG_7848_edited_edited.jpg

Liza

Receptionist

Liza grew up a city girl dreaming of the equine world. She has loved horses as long as she can remember. As a toddler she would ride stick horses around the house and ponies at the beach any chance she got. At the age of 7, she started taking riding lessons and has been hooked with the horse fever ever since. She then went on to compete in local western pleasure and reining shows. After a few years in the western performance world, Liza was introduced to the sport of equestrian drill team. She fell in love with the thrill of the fast runs and the bond of riding with a team of wonderful horsewomen. She has now been in the competitive drill world for 8 years and competed in numerous events including drill team in her local Washington High School Equestrian Team (WAHSET) her last two years of high school. She went to state and regionals her first season of WAHSET and state her second season as the drill team captain. After high school she helped start a competitive drill team, Silver City, with some of her friends and they have competed in the Washington Ladies Riding Club Association (WLRCA) and the Pacific Northwest Drill Team Association (PNWTDA) for several seasons. Liza is also co-coaching the Port Angeles WAHSET drill team. Between coaching Silver City Drill Team, Port Angeles WAHSET drill team and training her young quarter horse, Liza runs a house and farm sitting business caring for all sorts of different types of animals. In her free time, though she doesn’t get much, she enjoys being around her friends and family and exploring new places. Working at Tacoma Equine, Liza is always happy to help our vets and clients get their horses the best care possible.

Elle.jpg

Elle

Receptionist

Elle grew up in St. Louis, MO as a proper barn rat. She traded mucking stalls and feedings for ride time and spent all of her time at the barn. When Elle turned 18, she moved to Kentucky where she joined the racetrack and graduated with a degree in Equine Science. Elle would breeze horses in the mornings, race to her classes, and be back in the barn for afternoon chores. She always had a passion for working with vets and especially loved learning how to keep her rides fit, fast, and healthy. Elle worked as an assistant trainer and was licensed in IN, KY, and LA after graduating from the North American Racing Academy. Though her love for racehorses remains strong, Elle left the track in 2016 and joined the world renowned Budweiser Clydesdales team. Working as a Clydesdale handler for the Budweiser Clydesdales was a dream and Elle got the opportunity to participate in several cool events, including assisting in one of the Super Bowl commercials. After a couple years, the racehorses called her back and Elle moved to Australia for a thoroughbred breeding season. When Elle is not with horses, her hobbies include hiking, snow and water sports, reading, and spending time with her husband who is her adventure partner. Elle is thrilled and honored to be a part of Tacoma Equine Hospital's team of brilliant vets and amazing staff.

Our Veterinary Assistants
Margaret 2019 3.jpg

Margaret Keers

Lead Veterinary Assistant

Margaret grew up in the Orting Valley, falling in love with horses at seven years old when she joined Carbon River Pony Club. She knew early on that her passion for horses lay in their care and management, and she thrived in the Pony Club environment. Margaret moved to her family’s small farm in Sammamish in 2007 to attend the University of Washington, earning her B.S. in Psychology—and also earned her Pony Club HB and C-3 certificates in that same year. In 2011, Margaret was preparing to further her career as a foreign language teacher (Japanese and French), but the lure of working professionally with horses proved too much to resist. In early 2012, Margaret ran away with the circus, and spent the next five years working for Cavalia. Starting in the front of house as a ticket taker at Marymoor Park, she eventually held every position within the stables (except for farrier!) until she settled into her favorite role as Head Veterinary Technician. She began her long distance education in Veterinary Technology through Purdue University, and managed to complete all of her textbook-based curriculum while working full (or double full) time in Australia, Europe, and Asia. She is grateful to have worked alongside top veterinarians in 10 different countries, and to have made many friends in her travels, both of the two-legged and four-legged varieties. Margaret finally returned to her home in Sammamish in 2016, where she was reunited with her Pony Club mount Paris, as well as one of her retired Cavalia favorites, a trick horse named Echo. After completing 10 weeks of clinical practice at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Margaret joined the Tacoma Equine Team in April 2017. Later that same year, her Cavalia heart horse Llicenciat retired to her home. With a little help from Dr. Watson, Margaret made her dream of getting a foal by her stallion a reality and welcomed Leo to the world in 2020. Her passion for equine reproductive medicine continues to grow, though she also enjoys surgical assistance, anesthesia, and general pharmacology. She may someday return to school to finish her veterinary technician degree, but suffering through a year of small animal nursing internships is not very appealing, and she is very happy where she is. Margaret continues riding and training horses in whatever discipline catches her eye, and serves as a fieldmaster for Woodbrook Hunt Club and as a club level examiner for Northwest Region Pony Club. In August 2022, Margaret completed the world’s longest horse race, the multi-day, 1000km+ Mongol Derby. She successfully finished the race without falling off a semi-wild horse, and even came across the finish line a day early! When not dreaming about or living out her next overseas adventure, Margaret can be seen doing objectively silly things on horseback in the Pacific Northwest, snuggling her retired foxhound Kenya, and making awfully good (or just awful) puns.

Danielle.jpg

Danielle

Veterinary Assistant

Danielle has always had a passion for horses since a young age, starting with Breyer horses. She got her first horse, an Appaloosa gelding, when she was 14. She still has her heart horse Cisco to this day. Danielle has ridden several different disciplines, but her current whim has her working toward getting her quarter horse trained in reining. Danielle graduated with her associates degree from Pierce College and entered the field of equine veterinary medicine in 2016. She joined the Tacoma Equine Hospital team in 2021 and finds great satisfaction in being able to help Tacoma Equine provide excellent care for our patients. She also really enjoys that each day in the life of a veterinary assistant is an adventure! Outside of work Danielle enjoys horseback riding, kayaking, and basically anything outdoors with her family and two Welsh corgis.

Gabbi.jpg

Gabbi

Veterinary Assistant

Born in Port Angeles, WA, the pony bug bit Gabbi at 10 years old. Intrigued by her friend's experience at pony camp, she had to try it for herself and unlike many of the kids her age, it most definitely was NOT a phase. In high school when given the choice between a car or a pony, she picked the pony and started her journey with her sweet and spicy Sassafrass, a Quarter Pony/Welsh cross. While working towards graduating from Peninsula College with her AA focusing on business and graphic design, she spent years as a working student gaining experience with many different breeds and sizes of horses. She fell most in love with the ponies (especially those with ponytude). While mainly focusing on hunter/jumper, equitation, and dressage disciplines, she has dipped her toes in everything from western performance and halter to gaming and vaulting. She is so grateful for all the equines that have helped build her into the horse person she is today and cannot wait to help your ponies thrive.

SLR Camera

Bri

Veterinary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

SLR Camera

Justyce

Veterinary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

SLR Camera

Rachel

Veterinary Assistant

Bio coming soon!

SLR Camera

Briana S.

Veterinary Assistant

Coming Soon!

SLR Camera

Justyce B.

Veterinary Assistant

Coming Soon!

SLR Camera

Grace

Veterinary Assistant

Grace grew up in the Tacoma area and has been horse crazy ever since she went on a Girl Scout outing in Kindergarten. She graduated from WSU in 2019 with degrees in History and Political Science, but her main love has always been horses. Grace finds herself doing all kinds of activities when she’s not working as a vet assistant, including (but not limited to) teaching indoor spin cycling, hot yoga, skiing (sometime with her dog!), and working as a land consultant for a regenerative agriculture firm. As a rider and horsewoman, Grace most often spends her time training for the jumper ring in addition to her new favorite hobby, Foxhunting! Grace loves to chat at appointments and will be happy to help take care of your equine!

bottom of page