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equine vets

About Us

“We know that we're caring for a member of your family” – GR

Gil Riley Equine Vets is a new venture launched by local vet Gil Riley and his wife, Emma, aiming to deliver the best equine care with a smile, founded on a passion for people and horses alike.


Based at Woodpecker Stables, just five minutes from Junction 25 of the M1 and in the lovely village of Dale Abbey, we run a clinic-based practice, while also operating an ambulatory service in Derby and the surrounding areas. 


Our purpose-built stables include a soft and hard lunge area, trot up track and 20mx40m all weather arena, and we are currently in the process of constructing a state-of-the-art, two storey clinic.

Drawings of the new equine practice
people riding horses
gill caring for horse

“When I see a horse it's my case - and we don't like to let go until we've got an answer” – GR

Our strength is preventative healthcare and we believe that the key to achieving this is by communicating clearly with our clients. Sometimes the optimum care options for a horse aren’t realistic for owners or stables. We provide a care plan that maximises the outcome for your horse, tailored to your circumstances.


We run regular events to educate local owners on how they can care for their horses, and tell our clients that if they ever need reassurance or advice, we’re just a phone call away.


We know what we’re good at and we focus on providing the very best first opinion equine care we can.


That’s why, if we believe one of our neighbours offer a service your horse will benefit from, we’ll make the introductions.


Our passion is your horse's welfare, and we want to work with other local practices, many of whom are our friends as well as our colleagues, to keep your horses and ponies as healthy as can be. 


We have particularly close links with Pool House Vets, who Gil helped to expand over the last 25 years, and who can provide advanced imaging and surgical options for our patients when necessary.

“My work is my passion, I never plan to retire!” – GR

vet with horse

Gil is a well-known figure in the industry, valued for his knowledge as well as his warm and genuine appreciation for patients, clients and colleagues. 


He has the Certificate in Equine Practice, has been voted equine vet of the year by different organisations, writes regularly for Horse and Hound magazine, and has close ties to the farriery industry.


Now with the opportunity to build a practice alongside his wife, based on their ethos of open and honest communication and care, we’re excited to see what the future holds!

Follow our journey on social media, and get in touch to chat with Gil and Emma to find out more.

Meet The Team

Meet the team

Gil Riley MVB CertEP MRCVS
Founder & Vet

Gil qualified in 1990 and gained experience in general practice in his native Northern Ireland and Wales. He joined Pool House Vets in Lichfield, Staffordshire in 1997. In 2000 he joined the partnership, and the practice grew into separate small animal and equine hospitals. From there, he became a fundamental member of the partnership, and developed his interest in poor performance presentations, before setting out on his own in 2022.

gil riley caring for horse
founder and practice manager

Emma Whiston Riley
Founder & Practice Manager

Emma has always been involved in the equine industry and, after leaving school, set up her own freelance coaching and livery business from Woodpecker Stables. Whilst developing the business in those early years, she gained her British Horse Society Stage 4 certificate and studied part time at Nottingham Trent University gaining a BSc (Hons) in Equine Sports Science. She loves her role as practice manager, and is studying for further qualifications in veterinary leadership and management.

Renske van der Rijt

Renske hails from the Netherlands and graduated from Utrecht University in 2007 before relocating to the UK to begin her career. Her passion for equine medicine led her to obtain the RCVS certificate in advanced veterinary practice (CertAVP) in equine internal medicine in 2013, a qualification that she has since used to develop her expertise in treating medical conditions such as airway disease, stomach ulcers, digestive issues, skin disease, and laminitis in horses.


When she’s not providing exceptional care at the clinic, Renske can often be found exploring the great outdoors with her four-legged friend, Eli, or climbing challenging rock faces.


Chloe Rockingham 
Client Care Team

Chloe has always been involved with horses and has worked on the livery side at Woodpecker Stables, covering weekends since 2020. Chloe is currently studying Veterinary at the University of Nottingham, and is looking forward to graduating!


In the meantime, she is gaining lots of experience helping Gil, and rides the livery horses in her spare time.

Olivia Whiston-Riley
Client Care Team

Livi is Gil and Emma’s daughter, and is a huge help in the office and on the yard. She is currently studying for her A-Levels, is a keen runner and competes at dressage on her horse, Troy. She also spends time at her trainer's yard riding their competition horses, which is a wonderful experience – and lots of fun!


Beth Freer
Client Care Team

Beth has worked in the equine industry ever since she left full-time education, where she qualified from college with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in horse management and BHS Stages 1 and 2. While studying she gained valuable experience in a competition livery yard, and has been a well-loved member of the Woodpecker Livery team ever since. You are likely to be greeted by Beth if you come to the clinic, while she also assists Gil with his veterinary work. In her spare time, she successfully competes her horse, Drifter, in Quest dressage.

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