Home Health and vet Tom Mariën: “I was determined to become an equine surgeon.”

Tom Mariën: “I was determined to become an equine surgeon.”

Tom Mariën

By Jo de Roo
Photography: Jo de Roo and private collection

Thanks to his craftsmanship, passion, knowledge, sharing of expertise, hard work, perseverance, innovation, and entrepreneurship, Equitom has grown into the largest and most innovative equine clinic in Europe and occupies a place in the top three worldwide. Statistically, it carries out more than 2,500 surgeries a year, the clinic measures 10,000 m2 with 150 stables, 16 hectares of paddocks and pasture, and 4.3 million social media followers.
Tom Meriën is not only a world-class surgeon, but also a formidable entrepreneur who founded not only Equitom, but is also CEO of the Equine Care Group, so it was delightful to talk with him exclusively. Published in two parts, this interview focuses on Tom’s background and the story of Equitom, followed in part two where he talks about the Equine Care Group. .

Q Who is Tom Mariën (October 1, 1970, Hoogstraten, Belgium)?
I am an extremely passionate person, which is why I am where I am today. I have a lot of character and perseverance. I don’t like to give up.

Q Why your affinity with horses?
My parents had many animals, so I got to know many animals in that way. But I have always had a very special bond with horses. A horse has something that another animal does not have. I don’t really have an explanation for that. The bond between man and horse is unique. Anyone visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris will notice that over the centuries the historical remains and art from thousands of years ago have consistently featured horses, including horses with wings. Horses also used to be a symbol for carrying people to the afterlife after their death. A horse has had many functions over the years. I think the bond with horses is in our genes, with some people a little more emphatically than others.

Q Your love for horses dates back to your childhood...
As a child I was always involved with horses. I have been an active rider in many disciplines, but the best memories are from when I went riding with my horses in the woods, out in nature. I even went swimming with the horses in the ponds; there is nothing more beautiful.
A good friend of my father was a human heart surgeon and professor in Leuven. As a child I went looking and digging for fossils with him. I had a lot of admiration for him and I knew early on that I wanted to work with horses and become a doctor: in other words, a veterinarian. Even stronger, I was already determined as a teenager to become an equine surgeon. Everyone I told thought I was crazy. You should know that at that time the meadows were full of cows, not horses. The era was different then to what it is now... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber