Gemma Dransfield MA VetMB CertEP MRCVS

Clinical Director and Veterinary Surgeon

Gemma graduated from Cambridge University in 2005. She worked in equine ambulatory practice in Sussex for 2 years before joining the team at Minster in 2008. Gemma is experienced in all aspects of equine work however her main interests lie in equine stud medicine. In 2009 she spent a 6-month stud sabbatical in Western Australia gaining further experience in Thoroughbred breeding and foal medicine. She is responsible for the both Thoroughbred breeding, AI cases and infertility investigations at the clinic. She also enjoys investigating and treating mares with hormonal behavioral problems.

In 2011, Gemma gained an RCVS certificate in Equine Practice and became Clinical Director in September 2015. Gemma is the senior veterinary surgeon at York racecourse, is a FEI permitted treating veterinarian, an official JMB measurer and a riding school inspector for local councils. Outside of work she spends most of her time chasing around after her two children and enjoys yoga.

Matthew Swarbrick BVSc(Hons) CertAVP MRCVS

Clinical Director and Veterinary Surgeon

After graduating with honours from Liverpool in 2010, Matthew undertook a two-year internship at Newmarket Equine Hospital where he developed an interest in Orthopaedics and Diagnostic Imaging. Following a brief spell locuming in Cheshire he returned to Newmarket as the Diagnostic Imaging Assistant at Rossdales where he focused his attention on advanced imaging modalities (MRI and CT) and furthered his knowledge of Equine Orthopaedics. He then worked for a year in Melbourne, Australia undertaking horses-in-training work and diagnostic lameness investigations. He moved to Minster in 2016 and is mainly involved in horses-in-training work, pre-purchase examinations, lameness investigations and diagnostic imaging. He is an Advanced Practitioner and is currently studying for his Diagnostic Imaging Certificate as well as a Masters in Business Administration. Matthew has published peer-reviewed literature a veterinary journals. Along with Gemma, he is one of our Clinical Directors When not working Matthew enjoys keeping fit, fishing, walking his lurchers and occasionally riding out for his trainers and hunting.

Pol Abril-Casellas LV CertAVP(ESO) MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

After graduation from Barcelona University in 2009 Pol travelled to North America for a few months visiting renowned equine hospitals. He then undertook a one year internship at a surgical referral hospital in Canada. After this, he then moved to the Dubai for few months, focusing mainly on lameness of endurance horses. He moved to UK in 2014 and worked in Lambourn, Berkshire for a year focusing mainly on racehorses and sport horse work.

Pol joined Minster Equine Vets in May 2015. His main interests are racing, surgery and sports medicine, including lameness, gait analysis and diagnostic imaging. In 2020 he became an RCVS Advanced Practitioner in Equine Surgery (Orthopaedics).

Outside work you can find Pol hiking, rock climbing or walking his beloved Border Collie, Anek.

Katherine Hall BVSc MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

After graduating Katherine spent some time volunteering as a vet in the Cook Islands, treating a huge variety of animals. Katherine joined Minster Equine Clinic in 2015 as part of our twelve month Internship Programme, working entirely with our hospital caseload alongside our experienced vets, consisting largely of advanced lameness and orthopaedic surgery as well as medicine cases. This has given Katherine a broad experience of all types of medical and surgical patient care, anaesthesia and pain management. Katherine was then offered a position as an Ambulatory Vet and is now responsible for her own large volume of cases, both on the road all over North Yorkshire, and in our clinic at Poppleton where she is based. She has a particular interest in medicine cases, and has recently enrolled on a Certificate in Equine Internal Medicine.

Outside of work Katherine enjoys riding her horse Minstral and spending time walking her dog Hetty.

Anna Szkutnik DVM MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

Anna Szkutnik started as an Intern in 2016 but has now become part of the ambulatory team.

Anna graduated in 2010 from Warsaw University of Life Sciences in Poland. Thereafter Anna worked in Poland doing mainly emergency and night shifts in a busy equine hospital in Warsaw. In 2013 she visited many large equine hospitals in Belgium, Austria and the UK, gaining experience in varying equine veterinary environments. In 2015 Anna worked for a small but busy equine practice in Lambourn, Berkshire.

Anna has a keen interest in equine dentistry and is studying for her RCVS Certificate in Dentistry

Sophie Wiskow BVSc MRCVS

Veterinary Surgeon

Sophie joined the practice in September 2019 after graduating from Liverpool University. Sophie is primarily based in our Poppleton clinic, caring for the in-patients, performing anaesthetics and assisting other vets both in the clinic and out on the road. Sophie has been at the practice for over a year now, and spends a lot more time out on the road as an ambulatory vet. In her spare time Sophie can be found riding her two horses, walking her rescue pup Tia or playing netball.    

Abbie Pickles

Practice Manager

Abbie joined the team as practice manager in November 2020. Prior to joining Minster Equine, Abbie worked in the educational publishing sector and more recently in the office at a showjumping/breeding yard. Her professional skills are quite varied, and she will be using these to ensure the practice runs smoothly and continues to grow and develop. Outside of work, Abbie enjoys showing her coloured horses, Daisy, Darcey and Phoenix, and spending time with her husband Greg and little black cat Loki.

Trainee Nursing Consultant
Evie O’Brien

Nursing Assistant

Evie joined the practice in December 2016 and is currently studying for her Level 3 Diploma in Equine Veterinary Nursing. Her main interests are in surgical cases and she thoroughly enjoys the peri-operative care and sense of fulfillment she gets from working with those patients. In her spare time Evie has two of her own horses that she competes with locally in ROR classes and dressage.

Rachel Livsey

Nursing Assistant

Rachel has previously worked within our small animal department, and joined the equine nursing team in 2019 following eight months as receptionist at our Poppleton branch. Outside of work Rachel enjoys spending time with her horse Dougie, and is hoping to take him out eventing next year! While out competing with Doug, Rachel often takes family dog Ruby with her for moral support!

Abbie Knowlson
Abbie Knowlson

Nursing Assistant

Abbie has been part of the team here at Minster since 2011. She is well known in the Malton area, having worked in racing and been the Branch Manager at Malton.

Outside of work Abbie is kept busy looking after her daughter Matilda and walking Teabag, her Cocker x Lab, who is full of energy. Abbie and her fiancé also have a flock of pedigree Suffolk sheep which they successfully show in the summer at the country shows.

Since returning from maternity leave, Abbie is working 2 days a week out on the road assisting our vets.

Mandy Deighton


Mandy has been our groom at the Poppleton clinic for almost two decades! She arrives at 7am everyday on her bike and is responsible for all of the yard and husbandry duties of the in-patients. This includes mucking out, grooming, yard maintenance and cleaning. Mandy is a crucial part of the team. If you're passing in the mornings, you may have heard her crazy laugh which is sure to get our interns out of bed!

Before coming to Minster, Mandy worked at a large thoroughbred stud as a groom and handler. Outside of work she has a large collection of pets and can usually be found looking after her 9 horses, 2 ferrets and a neurotic oriental cat. She used to compete successfully in endurance racing, but now enjoys a more relaxed pace hacking around Poppleton.

Helen Jackson

Office Manager

Helen joined the practice in June 1994 when it was still a mixed practice at Salisbury Road. As the decision was made to develop the Equine Department further, Helen moved to Poppleton and took up the position as Manager. She assumes responsibility for the day-to-day organisation and administration of the Equine Department, and works closely with her colleagues Maddie and Becky at Poppleton and Helen at Malton. She also works at the Malton branch to offer cover as and when needed. Helen used to hunt regularly with the York and Ainsty South, and still regularly follows the Middleton hounds. She is a keen skier, has recently taken up cycling and also loves spending time in her garden.

Madeline King J-SQP


Maddie joined the practice in 2006 having completed BHS Stages 1 and 2 and NVQ’s in Business Administration and Customer Service. Initially our main receptionist at the Poppleton facility, she gained her SQP qualification in 2010, allowing her to dispense various medicines. She now works closely with our Clients, Vets and Nurses, alongside Helen ensuring efficient and professional day-to-day running of the site.

Outside of work Maddie is an experienced dressage competitor and instructor, having previously represented England as an under 21’s dressage rider in Ireland.

Helen Cooper


Helen is based at our Malton branch since April 2018. In addition to her morning reception duties, Helen now spends the afternoons as a nursing assistant at Poppleton. Helen has previously worked in hunt, racing and eventing yards. She is joined at work everyday by her golden labrador Pete. Outside of work Helen enjoys walking her dog and riding.

Becky Metcalfe


Becky joined the Practice in July 2019 as a receptionist, so many of you will recognise her voice on the phone! Becky has taken over the reins from Rachel who has moved across to join our nursing team. Prior to coming to Minster, Becky has worked predominantly in the retail industry but is enjoying the challenges of a new role as ‘first point of contact’ at Poppleton. Outside of work Becky enjoys spending time with her horse Guinness and taking part in show jumping and pleasure rides. She also enjoys taking family dog Scooby out for walks with her husband Matt.   Becky is currently on maternity leave, and we wish her the best of luck with her new arrival!

Graham Munroe
Graham Munroe BVSc.(Hons), PhD, DESM, Cert EO, DECVS, FRCVS


Graham has been a consultant to the clinic for many years and is our principal orthopaedic surgeon. He is an RCVS specialist in Equine Surgery, and his huge wealth of knowledge and experience is a big asset to the team. His skills cover a wide area, including orthopaedics, ophthalmology, stud work and dental surgery. Graham has been team vet to both the GB Driving Trials team and the Dressage team in the past, and is the author of several publications.

Julian Rishworth B.Vet.Med MRCVS


Julian joined the practice in August 1993 and became a Practice partner in March 2000. Julian has recently retired from clinical practice, and moved on to a role within VetPartners. Julian can still be found on duty at York Races, and several competitions throughout Yorkshire.

Julian’s main areas of interest were Equine Dentistry, Stud work and conditions of the sports horse. In his own time, Julian used to breed potential event horses and Flat-coated retrievers. Snowboarding and scuba diving are his favourite non-horsey activities.