We've been based at Hoo Hall in Rivenhall for over 30 years.
During that time our team has grown and developed beyond all recognition, but we have never lost our traditional values or our dedication to you, the horse owner. Today, with 9 equine-only vets and 13 other members of the team - almost all of whom come from equestrian backgrounds and understand horses inside-out - life at Hoo Hall is as busy as ever.
Our mission is to be the first place horse owners go for information, reassurance and treatment whenever they have concerns about their horse’s health, performance or behaviour. Through our vets, nurses and support team, plus our website and social media platforms, we provide easy access to the latest evidence-based equine health advice, making sure we are always approachable and trustworthy. We are as clear as possible when communicating with owners, including being honest and accurate about case expectations (prognosis, cost estimates, terms and conditions etc). Where possible, we endeavour to use a shared decision-making process with owners, to provide the best possible outcome for them and their equine.
Our reception team and offices are open Monday to Friday from 8.30am until 5.30pm, and on Saturdays from 9.00am until 12.30pm. We always have two vets on duty for emergencies at any time, providing you with the excellent service you expect from your equine veterinary practice. All of our vets are passionate about their careers and have expert equine knowledge, with many years of experience between them and advanced veterinary qualifications too.
We also have a lot more equipment nowadays, to help us diagnose many conditions your horse might have: from the first and only standing equine MRI unit in Essex, to state-of-the-art portable digital X-ray systems, high-tech ultrasound machines and digital video endoscopy and gastroscopy, portable dental endoscopy and shockwave therapy, full anaesthetic monitoring equipment ... the list goes on.
Importantly though, despite the huge and rapid expansion of Paton and Lee, we always manage to maintain a friendly, caring and compassionate service. The expansion will undoubtedly continue, but Paton and Lee will always strive to maintain its traditional 'family feel', so that when you have to turn to us for help it feels like you're turning to a wise and trusted friend.
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Want to look around? Take the virtual tour of our practice here:
Jonathan Lee BVSc MRCVS - (Director)
"Horses were a huge part of my life as a child. I was in the Essex North Pony Club and competed in the Prince Philip Cup, winning the prestigious Calvert Cup. My passion for horses led to a degree in veterinary medicine at the University of Liverpool. After graduating with honours my first job was in a mixed practice in Northamptonshire, but I soon returned to Essex to work for Iain Paton in 1992. I became a partner in 1996, forming 'Paton & Lee'. My main clinical interests are Anaesthesia and Radiography, and I now provide an Equine Veterinary Acupuncture service too. My wife, Claire, runs a busy livery yard and is passionate about dressage. I have two grown up children, Thomas and Victoria, and Victoria is following in my footsteps, studying for her veterinary degree at the University of Surrey. When I'm not fixing horses, I'm usually found fixing old cars as a keen classic car enthusiast."
Jonathan has been nominated many times for the Petplan Equine Vet of the Year Awards and was nominated again in 2020.
"I want to say a HUGE thank you to Jonathan and everyone at Paton and Lee for fixing Goldie! It's been 11 weeks yesterday since her accident and suspected fracture. We are now out and about riding again!!! THANK YOU." - From Jane Sheppard via our Facebook page.
Tony Lock BVetMed MRCVS - (Director)
"I grew up on a farm in Suffolk and learnt to ride at a young age, so horses have always been in my blood. I graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1997 and worked for Paton and Lee straight away, having been involved with the practice as a veterinary student. In 2002 I joined the partnership. My main clinical interests are lameness investigations and breeding work. I love all types of sport and I've been a life-long supporter of Ipswich Town FC. My wife Debbie is a keen horsewoman and enjoys Parelli. She runs a fantastic business called 'Little Barn Cakes', baking the most amazing cake designs you can imagine. Our son Rory is already learning to ride, but also love tractors."
In 2015, Tony raised over £5000 for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust and 'Livvy's Race Day' challenge by carrying out a 'Raspathon' - rasping 50 sets of horse's teeth at 50 different yards in 24 hours.
"Good Afternoon, I would just like to send my appreciation to Tony who came to see Princess yesterday for x-rays and corrective shoes. She's not the easiest girl to deal with, but his calm manner both with her and me made it a very stress free day." - From Angi Hobbs via Facebook
Ben Portus BSc (Hons) BVSc CertAVP(ED) MRCVS - (Director)
"I qualified from the University of Bristol in June 2003, having also gained an intercalated in Equine Science with first-class honours. At home I was learning to ride by the age of 2 and spent my youth competing in Pony Club Triathlon and hunting. I joined Paton and Lee for 18 months before completing an internship at Rossdales Equine Hospital in Newmarket. I returned to Paton and Lee and became a partner in 2010. In my spare time I enjoy reading and writing, and in 2015 I became a private pilot, so I also enjoy flying around the Essex and Suffolk countryside. My wife, Gillian, is a UKCC qualified Dressage Coach and competes in dressage up to Inter I level."
Ben is an Advanced Veterinary Practioner in Equine Dentistry. As well as providing a comprehensive equine dental service, including referral work, Ben is also able to offer equine behaviour training, particularly for head- and needle-shy horses, but also clipper-shy horses, poor loaders and horses who stuggle with the farrier etc.
"Would like to say a big thank you to Ben, just started work again with Handy following a month off and the improvement in his legs is incredible. He's very happy to be back in work again and he's back to his happy bouncy self! Big thank you from us." - Ellen Gibson via Facebook.
Sam Harrington BSc BVSc (Hons) MRCVS (Director)
"I graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2015 before moving out to Lexington, Kentucky in the USA for an externship at the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, where I worked mainly with Thoroughbreds, focusing on orthopaedics, medicine and anaesthesia. I'm a keen sportsman and played semi-professional football when I was a bit younger, as well as representing my county in both Athletics and Curling. I'm also involved in lots of conservation work and habitat management, volunteering with the Kent Wildlife Trust."
Sam became a Director of Paton and Lee Ltd in 2021. He focuses on lameness and poor performance cases and heads up our MRI Unit here at Hoo Hall.
Charlotte Soutar BVetMed CertAVP MRCVS - (Veterinary Assistant)
"I qualified from The Royal Veterinary College in 2009. After a year in mixed practice I knew that I wanted to specialise in horse work, which I guess was where I was always destined to be: I was an active member of the Essex North Pony Club and I try to still get out and about to local dressage and riding club competitions as much as possible. In 2010 I competed at the National Dressage Championships and in 2015 I returned to dressage on my own horse "Beau", having been out of action with him for some time because of a frustrating lameness issue. Aside from my work, any spare moments I have are spent with my horses, husband and two young boys."
In January 2016 Charlotte passed her Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice.
"Thank you to Charlotte and her assistant for coming to see me and my boy today to do scans & blocking! Very patient and understanding. Always have a high level if sympathy & my horsey seems to really trust Charlotte (which is a big deal) thanks again!" - From Sarah Grant via our Facebook page.
Piret Metsamäe DVM MRCVS (Veterinary Assistant)
"When I went to Vet School I knew already that I would specialise in Equine Medicine at the end of it. Throughout my training I therefore went out of my way to get as much equine experience as possible, including doing externship placements at the Univeristy of Vienna, Ghent University and in Finland - I've studied Equine Medicine at a lot of different and interesting places throughout Europe! After graduating from the Estonian Univeristy of Life Sciences in 2017 I undertook and Equine Internship in Belgium and since then I worked for SPANA in Marrakech, which gave me a huge amount of hands-on and practical experience. I am very excited to be working in the UK now at Paton and Lee Vets and am currently working towards a Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice in Equine Medicine."
Sophie Hazle BVSc MRCVS (Veterinary Assistant)
Sophie graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2019 and after working in an equine practice in Cambridge, she joined us in 2021. Sophie enjoys all areas of equine practice and is currently working towards a certificate in Advanced Veterinary Practice. Sophie can usually be found walking Milo, her lovely yellow labrador who often accompanies her on visits.
Abbie Stoutt BVetMed MRCVS - (Veterinary Assistant)
Abbie graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2019 and has spent the last 2 years working in mixed practice in Suffolk before moving to Essex. Abbie's main clinical interests are in dentistry and wound care. When not at work, Abbie enjoys reading, playing the piano and keeping fit.
Cassie Toy REVN (Head Nurse)
"I joined Paton and Lee in 2002 as the weekend girl after completing a very enjoyable 2 weeks' work experience through Writtle college. Back then there was just 4 vets, 3 nurses/yard staff and Sherry! In 2011 I qualified as an Equine Veterinary Nurse through Myerscough college in Lancashire after 2 years of block release studying, lectures, practical exams and the dreaded portfolio! I enjoy caring for the inpatients, particularly intensive care cases, surgical procedures and laboratory work.
I own 2 horses; Blue a very sweet dark bay thoroughbred mare who is in her late 20's retired and Ernie, a very charismatic Irish Draught who has been, in no particular order, working his way through the Veterinary Textbook the last few years and testing my nursing skills to the max!
In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my horses, walking my Spanish rescue dog Katie, and I'm enjoying learning a new craft and working my way through my Society of Master Saddlers certificates in bridal making at Capel Manor College.
Jo Martin (Yard Manager)
"I joined the team as a yard assistant in March 2011, having used Paton and Lee as my vets for many years. I now manage the yard and enjoy the challenge of keeping it tidy and all our inpatients settled and happy. I've had horses and ponies since I was 11, with my passion being in showjumping. I also have a very energetic Staffordshire bull terrier who comes everywhere with me and takes up most of my spare time trying to wear her out on walks!"
Jo is our yard manager and looks after all of the inpatients at Hoo Hall.
Daniella Prodromou (Yard/Nursing assistant)
I joined Paton and Lee full time nurse assistant in September 2018, having provided maternity cover for 6 months prior to then. I always knew that working with horses was what I wanted to do as a career: I'm passionate about animals and their welfare. I left college with a diploma in horse management and care then went on to manage a competition yard for over 6 years, where I also kept my own horse Lucy, who I competed occasionally in unaffiliated dressage. In my spare time I participate in different water sports including canoeing on the river Stour, plus I enjoy cycling in the Essex and Suffolk countryside ... but I do get a bit of help up the hills because I've got an electric bike!
Daniella helps as a technician in our MRI Unit.
Sophie Bolingbroke (Yard/ Nursing assistant)
"I joined the Paton and Lee team in August 2015 as a nurse and yard assistant. I really enjoy assisting the vets with the routine work and surgical procedures. I've been involved in horses since I was 4 years old and I got my first pony when I was 11 and have had horses ever since! I worked on a flat racing yard for 3 1/2 years before running my own livery yard for 7 years. I'm also a qualified practitioner in an equine body work called 'Equine Touch'. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my horses and dogs at home."
Sophie helps as a technician in our MRI Unit.
Lucinda May (Yard Assistant)
"I joined Paton and Lee in August 2021 as a full time yard assistant. Previously I was self employed as an equine groom. I am a keen horse rider, competing in British Showjumping regularly. I also help out on our family farm at harvest time, which I enjoy getting involved within the family business."
Lucinda works on the yard helping care for our inpatients.
Laura Pearson (Yard, Nursing/ Receptionist)
Georgina Ingleton (Client Experience)
"I joined the practice in 2011 having previously studied Equine Care at college and working as a groom. In the last 10 years I have been part of the nursing team aswell as helping in reception but recently have taken more of a client based role with organising many of our practice events and social media. I learnt to ride from a young age and have been around horses all my life. I have thoroughbred called Sonny who likes to test my first aid skills!"
Lucy Mayes (Practice Coordinator)
"I've been at Paton and Lee for over 10 years now. I work in Reception and I'm responsible for Practice Standards and Health & Safety in conjunction with Tony. I was taught to ride by Sherry Brierley and for many years I kept my pony at Hunter's Mead in Shalford. I'm a married mum of 3 grown-up children and a young Cairn terrier called Evie. In my spare time I have I enjoy reading crime novels, cooking and flower arranging."
"Outstanding vetinary practice. I have used them for 10 years and would never use another. Very kind and caring and helpful have never got it wrong. Love Paton and Lee." - From Wendy Larcombe via Facebook.
Vicky Slack (Admin/Accounts)
"I've worked at Paton & Lee since 2000, starting on the yard taking care of the inpatients alongside Daff and Rachel. I was heavily involved in the nursing side of things until 2008, when I began full-time in the office alongside Sherry, Jackie & Gill. Outside of work I own a twenty year old Dartmoor named Freddie who I've had since he was six. I enjoy schooling him along classical lines as well as trips to the beach for our holidays!
Away from the ponies I'm also interested in cars and I've owned two mx5’s and I'm a member of the owners club. Last year I enjoyed a couple of road trips with the group and hope to go on some more this year."
Vicky is responsible for managing client accounts and invoices as well as a wide range of other essential office tasks at Paton and Lee.
Sharon Preddy (Insurance/ Credit Control)
Sharon joined our team in 2018, helping many of our clients with their insurance documents, making sure everything is submitted and all queries are answered. Sharon also deals with accounts and credit control.
Zoe Tucker (Receptionist/Accounts)
"I joined the Reception Team at Paton and Lee in 2014, having been a client of the practice for 20 years. I own Misty a 34 year old welsh pony and used to compete in Endurance.
When not mucking out I enjoy walking, exploring the countryside and looking at old buildings."
Emma Rushworth (Receptionist)
“I joined the Paton and Lee team in September 2018 as sickness cover in reception, having been a client of the practice for the last 14 years. I have always wanted to work with horses in some way and it was a real dream come true to get this opportunity. I come from a very customer focused work background and so this is the perfect job incorporating this and my passion for horses.
I haved owned my own horses for 22 years and over that time have enjoyed an array of different activities including showjumping, drag hunting and dressage. I started to compete BD this year with my lovely ID Tom Tum.
Other than enjoying time with my horses, I love walking and taking holidays with my dog Alfie. I also love reading, especially anything horse related and broadening my equine knowledge”
Su Thomas (Receptionist)
I joined the reception team in April 2019 and feel lucky to work with a lovely team of people. I have always had a love of horses but never thought I would actually have my own until 3 years ago in a moment of madness I rescued Red. He was a bag of bones back then and is now my pride and joy. Between Red and Tilly my Jackapoo I hardly get a minute to myself but I enjoy making jewellery, beaded browbands and baking.
Trudy Davis (Practice Manager)
Trudy joined the Paton and Lee Team in August 2019 for the vital role of finance and practice manager. As Paton and Lee continues to grow, Trudy's new role is to assist the directors with all the day-to-day running of the business side of things, plus future planning, budgeting, HR and marketing. It is a varied and challenging position, but so important for us to be able to deliver the best possible service to our clients and patients into the future.
Peter Loveless - Farrier DWCF