Freer Equine: Old Fashioned Service, New Technology
by Joey Millwood, Tryon

For Bibi Freer, business is simple. It’s giving people a glimpse at the way small town business used to be. The company’s mission statement says it all."We combine old fashioned service and compassion with state-of-the-art care, and deliver it to the farm."Freer, 49, began the new mobile veterinarian service in September after leaving Bonnie Brae Vet Hospital, a company she founded in 1990.While she still loves Bonnie Brae and considers it her baby, Freer wanted something smaller.It was a decision based on family."I decided to go out on my own to do what made my family happy," Freer said. "(Bonnie Brae) just outgrew me."Now she works from an office in her back yard. Freer’s business is mobile, but customers can still bring their animals to her office.She makes house calls for normal checkups, routine medicine, and emergencies.Her website, freerequine.com, will be up and running soon.It’s currently under construction. Freer also carries some of the most state of the art equipment in veterinary services. In her truck, she carries digital x-ray, digital ultrasound, and all reproductive equipment. Her truck is a fully functional veterinarian office on wheels.Her truck, however, isn’t just a veterinary office. It’s named for someone very special, who was instrumental in Freer becoming a veterinarian. If you’re riding down the road and you come up behind a truck with "Aunt Margaret" written on the back, it’s Freer.Freer’s Aunt Margaret first advised her on becoming a veterinary technician. Freer took her aunt’s advice and looked into it and never looked back, graduating in 1988.After her aunt past away, her inheritance was spread out among her nieces and nephews. Freer bought her truck with that inheritance. She thought naming the truck after her aunt would be a great way to honor her memory.

Before she became a veterinarian, however, Freer did a couple of things in the 1980’s.She worked the vineyards, chatting it up with the Appalachian locals at the Biltmore Estate. She also worked with Charlie Whittingham, a legendary figure in horse racing, at his race track in Santa Anita, California. Whittingham, one of two heroes in her life, finally pushed her into veterinarian school. Freer complained to Whittingham that if she went through with the schooling, she’d be 30 by the time that she graduated and readied herself for practice.Whittingham gave her a response that she’d never forget. He told her that she’d be 30 if she stuck around practicing his race horses.After she graduated, Freer began working at the Apex Vet Hospital in Apex, N.C. before moving to Columbus and beginning Bonnie Brae Equine.Now, as she returns to a small business, Freer keeps her second hero in mind as she goes out on her house calls and works with her customers.Freer’s second hero was Harley Solesbee, who passed away last week. Harley is her inspiration for keeping her business small and personal. Solesbee owned a full service gas station in Landrum, where he pumped gas himself until he sold it last December."When I found it he was retiring, I took every car here over there and filled them up," Freer said.He was part of the inspiration for her mission statement and her business’s philosophy. It was Harley’s ability to not just pump gas, but to talk and know each one of his clients that made him special in Freer’s mind. She’s tried to translate that business sense in her own business.At Freer Equine, it’s not just about the horses entrusted to her care, but it’s also about the people behind the horse."You need to spend a lot of time with the people," Bibi Freer said. "Horses don’t walk in on their own."