April 2019


Ophthalmologist competes in equestrian competitions in spare time

by Ellen Stodola EyeWorld Senior Staff Writer/Meetings Editor

Dr. Rubinate’s son Declan with her horse Chase
Source: Laura Rubinate, DO

Dr. Rubinate competes in Katy, Texas.
Source: Andrew Ryback

Dr. Rubinate competes in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Source: Jerry Mohme


Laura Rubinate, DO, started horseback riding at a young age and began competing in equestrian jumping competitions while in high school, which she put on hold until completing medical school and getting into ophthalmology. She continues riding to this day, balancing frequent competitions with practicing ophthalmology.
Dr. Rubinate began lessons at a riding school when she was 8 years old but didn’t start competing until much later. “We did small shows when I was younger and started doing more in high school when I got my own horse,” she said.
When she went to college at Cornell University, Dr. Rubinate continued riding by participating on the varsity equestrian team. Competitions ran from November through May, and she would practice 3-4 days a week. The team competed primarily in upstate New York but also in Ivy League competitions at Cornell and Dartmouth.
When Dr. Rubinate went to medical school in Fort Lauderdale, she continued to ride but said that it wasn’t easy to find time. “When I went to college, we sold my horse,” she said. “When I came home, friends would let me ride their horses when I was there for the summer.” In medical school, she found horses to ride thanks to a classmate who had a farm. “I would go some weekends, but almost never during the week—just whenever I had time,” she said.
Following medical school, Dr. Rubinate chose to do a military residency program, which she completed in San Antonio. She got her own horse again when she was stationed at William Beaumont Army Hospital at Fort Bliss in El Paso.
With the exception of 2 years in El Paso, Dr. Rubinate has been in San Antonio for the last 11 years but will soon be starting with a new practice in Palm Beach County, Florida. When she chose to specialize in ophthalmology, Dr. Rubinate said she knew she wanted to do something surgical. She liked the surgery aspect of ophthalmology, but she also liked that there is a lot of chair time with the patients and in the clinic. She does cataract surgery and refractive procedures, and she noted that working in the military, she did a lot of PRK and LASIK.
After settling into ophthalmology, Dr. Rubinate began to participate again in horse jumping competitions. She keeps her horse a short drive from her house, so she’s able to practice easily and said she tries to go out a couple days during the week and on weekends. It’s definitely a year-round commitment, she said, but summer is harder because it gets so hot, which often necessitates riding early in the morning prior to clinic.
Dr. Rubinate averages about one competition a month and said she does around 10–12 a year, sometimes clustered together. In the summer, she has competed in Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Other competitions are more local in Texas.
In Dr. Rubinate’s show jumping competitions, the goal is to clear all the jumps, without knocking any down or stopping, in the fastest time. With her current horse (who she has had for the past 2.5 years), Dr. Rubinate was ranked as the top in her state and second in her zone, which includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri, for 2018.
Though Dr. Rubinate said she doesn’t find many similarities between ophthalmology and equestrian competitions, she noted the attention to detail required for both. She said that she finds horseback riding and the competitions to be fun and a stress release.

About the doctor
Laura Rubinate, DO

Sibia Eye Institute
Boynton Beach and Lake Worth, Florida
LASIK Vision Institute
West Palm Beach, Florida

Contact information
: dr.laura.rubinate@gmail.com

Ophthalmologist competes in equestrian competitions in spare time Ophthalmologist competes in equestrian competitions in spare time
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