Dr. McDonald was not born into a horsey family. She began taking riding lessons in Rhode Island at 4 because her parents believed her gymnastics classes were too dangerous. Soon after, both Jen and her sister began riding daily and a young pony named O’Danny Boy became their partner for over 12 yrs followed by a thoroughbred name, Ernie. At the barn, she was always helping with foal watch and any horse that needed medical attention. Jen began riding with a local vet in high school and knew being an ambulatory vet was what she wanted to do when she “grew up”.
Jen went on to study Animal Science at The University of Vermont, where she competed for the equestrian team at IHSA nationals and was rowing for the crew team. During her time at university she studied abroad for a year at The University of Limerick in their Equine Studies program and after graduation went on to work for a small eventing yard in Northern Ireland. Upon return to the states she worked in cardiovascular research until she decided it was time to follow her dreams and apply to vet school.
As a veterinary student at the Royal Veterinary College in London, Jen spent her time outside of the classroom at externships at clinics across England and Ireland and riding through the beautiful countryside on horseback. London is also where she met her husband, Matt, a landscaper from New Zealand.
The year after graduation, Jen worked at Meddleton Equine in New Mexico where she enhanced her knowledge of performance horse lameness and cultivated her interest in chiropractic work. Jen joined The Equine Clinic at Oakencroft in 2012, and became certified in Veterinary Spinal Manipulation in February of 2013. She is affectionately known as McJen so we can keep from confusing her with Dr. Jen Smith.
Jen currently lives in Canaan with Matt, their dogs Archie and Nemo, and her horses Willy, a thoroughbred and Doc, a paint thoroughbred cross. She enjoys spending her time off outside with her husband and pets pottering around the yard and adding on to their barn.