Retired KY Veterinarian Layton Dies at 84

He was first equine vet in North America to use an ultrasound to determine pregnancy.

Gordon E. Layton, prominent Central Kentucky equine veterinarian, Thoroughbred breeder, and co-owner of Loch Lea Farm, died Aug 28 at his home in Paris, Ky. He was 84.

Layton practiced veterinary medicine from 1956 until his retirement following a heart attack in 2008. 

In 1979, Layton became the first equine veterinarian in North America to use an ultrasound machine in equine practice to determine early pregnancy status of mares. Among the many farms he worked for were Claiborne Farm, Runnymede Farm, Drymon Farm, Golden Chance Farm, Forest Retreat Farm, Stoner Creek Stud, Hidaway Farm, and Hillside Farm. 

Layton and his wife, Lyn, founded Loch Lea Farm in 1964, which was managed by their son Jim Layton since 1980. Loch Lea Farm raised many top Thoroughbred racehorses, including Racing Hall of Fame member Bold 'n Determined, U.S. champion 2-year-old filly Stardom Bound, English and French champion and Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Teenoso, English champion 2-year-old filly Cherry Hinton, and French group I winner Imperial Beauty.

Layton was proud of his family heritage of working with horses for more than 300 years in England, Canada, and the U.S. and that his father founded the first blacksmith school in the United States at Cornell University. He was active in helping young people interested in agriculture and mentored several budding young veterinarians in the 1980s and '90s. 

Honored to be mentored by late Claiborne Farm resident veterinarian Col. Floyd Sager, he was the backup veterinarian at the Hancock family's farm near Paris for 30 years and cared for many equine stars there. He was, however, most proud that he never missed a call when needed. 

Layton learned many old-time remedies from Sager, but was also progressive in adopting new management techniques based upon his keen powers of observation. 

Layton served on the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners, was awarded a Lifetime membership of the Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association, received the KVMA Distinguished Service Award, was a member of the KVMA Foundation Board, and Honor Roll Member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. He was founding president of Mountain Pleasure Horse Association. 

Layton graduated from New York State Veterinary College at Cornell in 1956 with Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree. 

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. EDT Aug. 31 at Hinton-Turner Funeral Home and Sept. 2 at 1 p.m. with a celebration of life at 2 p.m., also at Hinton-Turner. Expressions of sympathy can be made to the Alzheimer's Association or the Hopewell Museum of Paris, KY.