The U.S. Equestrian Federation has announced the appointment of Dr. Christina “Cricket” Russillo as the U.S. Dressage Team veterinarian. Dr. Russillo will take over for Dr. Rick Mitchell, who has served in the role for 14 years.
Dr. Russillo graduated from the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2001. She completed a one-year internship in large animal medicine and surgery at the Texas A & M College of Veterinary Medicine. It was during her time in Texas that she realized her passion for equine lameness and started a career path focused on the elite sport horse.
For 13 years, Dr. Russillo was a senior associate veterinarian at Fairfield Equine Associates in Newtown, Conn. During that time, she cultivated a practice focused on top-level show jumping and dressage horses. She has served as USEF veterinarian for both show jumping and dressage on many occasions and worked alongside Dr. Kent Allen at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (Ky.), where she served as primary after-hours treating veterinarian.
In June of 2015, Dr. Russillo joined Virginia Equine Imaging as a senior associate veterinarian. She relocates to Florida during the winter months to care for her patients competing in Wellington. Dr. Russillo is also a member of the International Society for Equine Locomotor Pathology and hopes to attain certification next year.
“I am excited for the opportunity to support The Dutta Corp. U.S. Dressage Team,” Dr. Russillo said. “I have had the chance to help in smaller roles in the past and have always enjoyed working closely with the incredible people and athletes that are a part of this sport. I am honored that I have earned the trust of such a talented group and will work earnestly to support our team.”
The USEF thanked Dr. Rick Mitchell for his many years of dedicated service. He has cared for numerous equine athletes at prestigious international competitions and Olympic, Pan American and World Equestrian Games. In total, he has spent 25 years as an official veterinarian to either the show jumping or dressage teams. Dr. Mitchell will continue to practice out of Fairfield Equine Associates in Newtown, Conn., and serve in other important industry roles.
“It has been a great run. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people and horses, and feel as though I made a good contribution to the USEF effort internationally and at home,” Dr. Mitchell said. “It is time to move on and do some other things. I will still be involved with USEF while serving with the American Horse Council, and I will focus more attention on work for the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation. I will now have the opportunity to spend some summers at home with my practice and, hopefully, my family! I hand the reins over to a very capable, younger veterinarian who worked in my practice for 13 years. I think this will make for a smooth transition, and I wish the best for Dr. Russillo and the whole team at USEF.”