Learning The Ropes
After finishing high school, Rob studied equine science at Colorado State University. He moved back to Texas to study veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University.
During his college, Rob met Keith Latson and they eventually became roommates and veterinary school colleagues. Rob and Keith spent their holidays and free time working for veterinarians and developing a passion for the equine athlete.
Rob and his wife Laurie moved to Ventura County, California to perform an internship at a private equine hospital. He was accepted into a residency program at the University of Florida, a school that is known as a pioneer in equine intensive care.
Rob developed an interest in educating both veterinary students and animal enthusiasts during this period. The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine awarded Rob the status of Board Certified Specialist in large animal internal medicine in 2003.
Post-residency, he worked as a specialist, establishing the first intensive care unit at the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital in Shepparton, Victoria, Australia. Victoria is home to a large population of Thoroughbred and Standardbred racehorses in training and breeding farms. Dr. Franklin returned to Ocala, Florida, the proclaimed Horse Capital of the World, and established another intensive care unit at Equine Medical Center of Ocala. This center served the local Thoroughbred breeding and training farms, winter horse show circuits, Quarter Horse farms and a large population of gaited Spanish horses. Dr. Franklin returned to Texas in 2008 to start another intensive care program at Weatherford Equine Medical Center in the Cutting Horse Capital, where he served as a specialist for 5 years. Currently, Dr. Franklin owns and manages Fredericksburg Equine Veterinary Services in the Texas Hill Country.
As a respected practitioner, researcher, lecturer and leader, Dr. Franklin formed the Texas Equine Veterinary Association in 2008 and served as its president in 2012. In 2014 he was elected as a director of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the largest equine veterinary organization in the world. After serving three years on the board between 2015-2017 and then chairing the newly formed Wellness Committee, Dr. Franklin was selected as the Vice President of the organization in 2021, and has assumed the role as President of the AAEP in 2023.
Rob and Keith connected again to begin to explore how they could develop compelling, medically sound animal supplements to treat their patients with a company that served not only the animals it was supplementing but, equally as important, the animals that required supplementation in dire circumstances.
This led them to search for a way to share their veterinary education and expertise in a much more meaningful manner.
Rob and Keith were able to begin using their first product, a probiotic digestive aid, in their own patients in 2010.
The desire to do more for the horse through the initial successes of the company sent the two veterinarians to Mexico with the Equitarian Initiative, to perform much-needed medical care on donkeys, horses and mules in very rural, impoverished villages through the Equitarian Initiative.
They identified the core problem with these animals to be nutritional in nature. This trip inspired Rob and Keith beyond all of their other life experiences to engage in a crusade to meet the needs of the animals that meet the needs of their owners.
Rob and Keith took their product and their desire to provide assistance to animals in need and started Animal Stewards International and with their marketing partner Rob Hendrickson, launched their first business, FullBucket Animal Nutritional Supplements.
Dr. Rob and his partners continue to use this belief to focus FullBucket’s work in product development, customer service and patient care. Rob has been leading veterinary volunteer trips to Central America for the past 11 years with over 18 trips completed to Mexico, Guatemala, Panama and Nicaragua serving indigenous people, their working horses/donkeys/mules and helping to train veterinary colleagues of the country. The teams provide much needed veterinary education, veterinary care and nutritional support while on mission.
“As a board-certified equine specialist who has lived, practiced and traveled all over the world, I’ve developed a singular purpose in helping other people care for the animals that they depend on for physical labor, travel, pleasure and companionship. This ethos is what drives FullBucket forward each day.” - Dr. Rob Franklin