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Dr Karen Marguerite Coumbe


DR Karen Marguerite CoumbeKaren Coumbe has worked as a veterinary surgeon in practice since qualifying from Girton College, Cambridge in 1984.

She spent her first five years in mixed practice and then, in 1989,  she moved into purely equine work, starting at BELL EQUINE when the practice first opened. This equine clinic has developed into a specialist equine hospital (approved by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons) employing over sixty staff.  She became a partner in 1995, then a director, until the business was sold to CVS (UK) Ltd in 2017 and has continued working there as an employee.

She obtained a first RCVS Certificate (Equine Practice) in 1989 and a second RCVS Certificate (Veterinary Anaesthesia) in 2008 and is now an Advanced Practitioner in both equine practice and anaesthesia.

As well as continuing to work for 35years in the same equine practice, she has been an official veterinarian for the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) since 2005. This has provided the privilege of working at many different equine events, including the last four Olympic Games.

She works regularly as a racecourse veterinary surgeon, as well as a government Official Veterinarian (OV) in relation to equine export certification, and also acts as an RCVS Riding Establishments inspector.

Beyond equine practice, she has been the veterinary consultant for the weekly Horse & Hound magazine for over 30years. She has published numerous articles, authored books for the public on equine topics and edited two editions of the Manual of Equine Veterinary Nursing.

Her outside interests include, most importantly, her 2 grown-up daughters, with gardening a close second, along with photography. She was honoured to win the BVA inaugural photography competition in 2016, and now focuses her attempts on photographing equine sport, especially anything involving her own horse.

Committee Membership

  • Disciplinary Committee

Declaration of interests


  • Stewards Group of the Joint Measurement Board- RCVS representative for company


  • CVS Sharesave scheme for CVS employees- Member


  • Horse and Hound magazine- Veterinary advisor

Appointments to other bodies

  • Association of Veterinary Anaesthetists Trust- President and trustee
  • Riding Establishments Inspectorate- RCVS
  • Stewards Group of the Joint Measurement Board- RCVS representative for company

Membership of other veterinary or allied organisations

  • Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons (ARVS)- Member

  • British Animal Rescue & Trauma Association (BARTA)- Member

  • British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA)- Member 

  • British Eventing (BE)- Owner/member

  • Veterinary Defence Society (VDS)- Member

  • British Veterinary Association (BVA) -Member


  • Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic, Kent from 1989 to present as assistant, partner, director and then employee since business sold to CVS(UK)Ltd in 2017.


    Previous employment southeast mixed practice from 1984 to 1989.

    Also currently:

  • Lecturer, occasional for Hartpury University & College, and others, e.g. World Horse Welfare

  • Official Veterinarian - International Equestrian Federation (FEI)

  • Racecourse veterinary surgeon

  • RCVS Advanced Practitioner assessor for anaesthesia

  • RCVS Statutory Membership Examiner for objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs) & VetGDP peer reviewer for e-portfolios.

Qualifications (other than veterinary qualifications listed in the Register)

  •  Official Veterinarian for Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA):

  • OCQ(V) - ES (Essential Skills)

  • OCQ(V) - EX (Exports General)

  • OCQ(V) - EQ (Equine Exports) revalidation due 2025

  • Testing veterinarian for the British Equestrian Federation anti-Doping Programme (BEFAR) & FEI

Interests relating to immediate family or close friends

  • None

Other relevant information

  • None