Dr. A. Martin “Marty” Simensen served as the U.S. Equestrian Team (USET) Veterinarian for over 22 years and was widely known and loved for his commitment to his patients and the owners behind them. Dr. Simensen’s work touched the lives of countless equestrians, veterinarians, and horses; and he has become world famous through his dedication and support of the equine athlete.
Dr. Simensen grew up in Keene, New Hampshire and graduated from Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1956. Although he traveled widely in his career, he was always loyal to his New England roots. Dr. Simensen maintained a practice in Massachusetts and New Hampshire until his passing and he was a leading innovator in equine practice; for example, he introduced mobile ultrasound for horses and computerized veterinary records well before they became mainstream in the profession.
In the early 1970s when, under the direction of three-day event coach Jack Le Goff, the USET moved to Hamilton, Massachusetts, Dr. Simensen volunteered his services to the team horses. The connection proved to be kismet, as he ended up serving as the official veterinarian for the USET at multiple Olympic Games, Pan American Games, and World Championships. While under his care, the U.S. Combined Training (eventing) mounts earned countless medals and accolades. Dr. Simensen’s early work on heat stress in the equine athlete, especially in relation to the eventing horse, is credited as being “legendary” and “groundbreaking.”
His contributions to equestrian athletes reached far beyond the bounds of the sport of eventing. Numerous trophies and awards are named in his honor, including but not limited to: the United States Equestrian Federation Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy for humanitarian acts in the equestrian community, the Tufts University A. Martin Simensen, D.V.M. Endowed Prize, the United States Hunter Jumper Association Marty Simensen Award, the Dressage at Devon Marty Simensen Memorial Trophy, the U.S. Eventing Association’s A. Martin Simensen, DVM Memorial Trophy, and fence number one of every Groton House Farm Horse Trial, which has carried his name since his passing. Dr. Simensen’s renown also stretched into horse racing, as was evidenced by more than 700 people who honored him by attending his Celebration of Life held at Suffolk Downs racetrack in Boston, Massachusetts prior to his passing.
Beyond the competition ovals, fields, and arenas Dr. Simensen was a founding member of the American Horse Council and a very early member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) which he joined in 1958. He served on the; AAEP Racing Committee from 1978-1987, AAEP Trail & Events Committee from 1977-1985, AAEP Horse Show Committee from 1984-1992, and served as the AAEP liaison to the American Horse Shows Association (now USEF) in the early 1990s. Dr. Simensen was known for his generosity of expertise and friendship and was always willing to give his time to those who asked for it. He mentored many young veterinarians nationally and internationally, to whom he demonstrated the value of hard work, professionalism, and compassion to all living creatures – humans and animals alike.
Dr. Simensen passed away on December 7, 1995 at the age of 65 and has been sorely missed by all who knew him.