Arizona K-Stater makes life-long career helping horses
Larry Metheney grew up in Garden City, Kan., and worked summers at his uncle's hog farm in Oakley, Kan., where occasionally piglets would get stuck in a sow's birth canal.
Since his hands were the smallest, he would get to pull the piglets out.
Since then, Metheney has nurtured a passion for helping animals.
He graduated from Kansas State University with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1978. That summer he moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where he would become a racetrack practitioner at Turf Paradise for 26 years. He continues to practice veterinary medicine in Phoenix today, primarily focusing on performance horses.
One of the reasons horses intrigue him, aside from his short-lived rodeo days at Kansas State, is the majesty of the animals, he said.
"Historically, America was built using horses," he said. "The horse is a very noble, hard-working and dedicated animal."
Metheney has cared for thousands of horses in his career. On average, he spent 90-110 hours a week while he was a racetrack practitioner.
In 2005, Metheney stepped away from the demands of the racetrack. He now practices part time five days a week helping horses that have performance deficits. He works with each horse to diagnose its problem and treat it. He calls it "fixing their flat tires."
He's been married for 35 years and has three children and five grandchildren.
Over the years, Metheney has donated time to the Arizona State Veterinary Medical Examining Board, the Phoenix Police Department Mounted Patrol and several horse rescues.
"With the downturn in the economy, a lot of people couldn't afford horses and many were abandoned," he said.
At one time it was not unusual for Metheney to have five to eight ex-racehorses that he had adopted at his house.
In addition to his community service and serving as an elder at his church, Metheney has served on the board of directors of the K-State Alumni Association and remains an active alumnus with his alma mater.