Home is where the horse is
By age 10, little Yvette Nout had already lived in several countries including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Her father, a food microbiologist studying African food processes for a private company also had a working relationship with academia.
Throughout all the family’s many moves, faithfully traveling with young Nout was a deepening love for horses. When she was 7, she began taking riding lessons from an English woman in Kenya. Sitting upon that first pony, “Brownie,” the child felt totally at home, regardless the country in which she lived.
When she was 10 and settled into her new location in The Netherlands (where her ancestral roots were planted), she continued with weekly lessons. When that schedule proved too infrequent for her, she mucked out stalls and did others horsey chores in trade for more classes. Eventually she worked at a riding camp saddling, grooming and leading younger children on rides.
There’s nothing boring, stagnant or routine about equestrian activities in The Netherlands! Instruction in dressage, other under-saddle disciplines, and driving are often coupled with pleasure riding.
One of the barns where she rode offered classes that highlighted a precision drill team. Part of that activity included Carousel Riding, a striking event during the pattern-filled, annual performance. As on a wooden carousel, horses —and riders in this case— were gaily decorated in bright hues and colorful costumes.
YVETTE NOUT, DVM
Nout, born in 1973, had early-on decided upon a veterinary career. In 1999, she graduated from Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. That school not only trained future vets but also encouraged its students to learn riding basics or, for the more advanced, to expand their skills.
Nout eagerly rode Utrecht-owned teaching horses, taking advantage of a wide range of available hours (weekdays 6-10 p.m. and all day Saturdays). When harness classes caught her eye, she added that skill to her growing equestrian resume, earning a diploma that allowed her to drive carriages, buggies, etc. on public streets.
Nout somewhat mimicked her childhood pattern by journeying worldwide for career reasons.
Having been to the U.S. during her vet school days, now Dr. Nout returned as an intern to Marion Dupont Scott Equine Medical Center, affiliated with Virginia-Maryland Veterinary Medicine. She spent a one-year internship at that Leesburg, Va., facility.
A subsequent move northward took her to Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio for a three-year residency and a PhD in neuroscience.
Go West, young vet! Dr. Nout heeded that sage advice, relocating to Pomona, Calif., where she worked with Arabian horses at the famed Kellogg Ranch. She became so enamored of the breed that she purchased a Kellogg one, a brown gelding named CP Celebrity (aka “Shoko,” Arabic for chocolate). He would eventually carry her into the world of endurance riding.
After more California employment opportunities and adventures, Dr. Nout accepted a 2014 job offer at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. In the position, she explored and developed diagnostics and therapeutics for horses with neurological disease.
Her current focus at CSU is Robotics CT, through which equine necks and spinal cords can be digitally viewed and monitored for neurological diseases. Horses with these conditions are identified through use of a motion tracking device attached to the legs, technologically diagnosing if an animal suffers from an actual disease process versus an injury-caused, temporary lameness.
Dr. Nout’s long-term plans include educating people about the improving prognoses for equines with neurological conditions. Most have traditionally been humanely euthanized or otherwise disposed of because owners are afraid to keep the ailing horses. Diseases such as West Nile, EPM, wobblers and more cause dread of permanent disability or worries that they’ll be unsafe to ride.
Relatively new technologies advance almost daily, Nout happily affirmed, bringing with each progressive development hopes for better treatments and remedies.
Three horses currently occupy Dr. Nout’s LaPorte, Colo., barn:
* “Night,” a 16-year-old black, registered Morgan gelding
* “Ober,” a bay, 15-year-old Warmblood gelding that Nout obtained in 2015 through CSU. Ober is a former jumper.
* “Shoko,” the barn name of C.P. Celebrity, the Kellogg Ranch Arabian Nout bought in Pomona. At age 17, Shoko is retired but happily spends his time just being a horse. And maybe mentally reliving his glory days?
As a member of the American Endurance Riding Conference, Mountain Region, Nout competes for points from late-March through mid-October. Although time devoted to her veterinary work prohibits it, she could travel nationwide year-round to accrue more. Some AERC members, reported Nout, spent warm winters cozily competing in states like Florida, Arizona and Texas.
However, the seven-month Mountain Region schedule suits her just fine. In 2018, her first season on Night, she did three rides. The following year, she rode both Night and Shoko. Due to COVID-19 restrictions/scheduling changes, 2020 was pretty much a non-event in the Northern Colorado area. But 2021 had a far better outcome for most participants.
Nout described AERC as a versatile group, accepting riders of all ages. Minors are usually accompanied by volunteer sponsors to ride with youngsters who’d otherwise be unaccompanied by mounted adults.
AERC offers prizes for the horses, her favorite being for “Best Condition,” chosen at each ride’s end. Nout listed heart and metabolic recovery rates, impulse, attitude and hydration status as some of the judging criteria; the rider’s weight is even accounted for in the decision.
Nout noted that all breeds are represented in AERC, with most prevalent being Arabians, Morgans, Tennessee Walking Horses and various crossbreeds.
Ober, has thus far only joined in for fun rides; after all, he has his duties as a “husband-horse” to consider. Nout and Mathew Lomas married in California in 2012. She advised that her hubby is an occasional rider who owes his success in the saddle to the dependable Warmblood.
“His Ober takes him places he would otherwise never go,” she said warmly of both her boys.
Some of those spots are Northern Colorado’s Red Mountain Open Space; Soapstone Prairie; Lory State Park. Several others are more noted for their thirst quenchers rather than wildland scenic sights.
“Sometimes we ride to O’Dell Brewery (in north Fort Collins) to have a beer,” noted Nout-Lomas, “or to Ten Bear Winery (LaPorte) for a port.”
These impromptu trips can likely be considered endurance preps as the brewery trek is a 14-mile round trip, with the wine walk-trot-canter being a tranquil 10-mile jaunt.
Next year’s endurance riding season is in the planning stages. Already, Nout-Lomas’s 8-year-old niece, Yske, from The Netherlands is eagerly looking forward to an extended visit. One of the highlights will be the girl riding Ober on a 25-mile ride with her Aunt Yvette and the AERC group.
The “Decade Team” is a horse/rider pair that must complete a 50-mile ride once a year for at least 10 years. Nout might partner with Night, she advised, to try for the fun award. That would make the gelding 26 when they accomplish the decade together! She thinks he should be able to maintain fitness even beyond that.
Regardless, that strong, spry Morgan prominently figures in the future picture. Nout-Lomas sees many 50-milers with him up ahead.
“He is such a phenomenal animal!” she declared. “Mentally, his work ethic and desire to do his job is astounding.”
Yes, wherever she’s been, and wherever she still may go, horses continue as her constant, abiding address. Yvette Nout Lomas, DVM, is home.
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