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Students with a focus in equine medicine often find that they have a hard time defending their career choice whilst in veterinary school. Faculty members in schools across the country are apt to point out the poor salaries, the poor work-life balance, and the almost-necessity of an internship. To students that are racking up debt in the realms of hundreds of thousands of dollars, these facts can be terrifying and enough to put anyone off of their original dream.
I entered veterinary school in fall of 2013, and I was adamant in the fact that I would be pursuing equine surgery. I had fallen in love with both equine medicine and surgery independently, and I was determined to unite the two in order to graduate and live my dream. I had learned how to ride on off the track Thoroughbreds which, as a novice rider, could sometimes be a little more exciting than I bargained for. Immediately prior to vet school, I had ridden competitively and showed in jumper classes along the east coast on my Thoroughbred cross; I was lucky enough to be able to show and ribbon at Marshall and Sterling Finals as well as the Southeast Medal Finals while breeding and raising a foal. Each and every time my school broke for holiday, I traveled home to care for and ride my horses. When someone was lame, or had some sort of malady, I was able to observe my childhood veterinarian at work and she constantly reinforced my desire to become an equine veterinarian. It was those experiences that led me to write a case report of my own horse for submission into the ABVP Case Report my first year of veterinary school.
Unfortunately, with time, I was one of those people that succumbed to the warnings from faculty members that equine medicine was a poor path to choose. I ultimately changed my path and chose to begin running toward small animal surgery. I was the secretary for the student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners at the time; continuing to help with labs that we orchestrated reminded me on a regular basis of what I had chosen to give up.
By now, I’m in my third year of veterinary school and have successfully completed the four weeks of equine rotations that are mandated by the university. Those four weeks, while difficult, were some of the most fun I’ve had since I’ve been in veterinary school. Those four weeks inspired me to try once again to pursue equine medicine and acquire a fourth year equine general practice rotation. I think I should be considered for this scholarship on the basis of the fact that I was one of those students that was talked out of trying to become an equine practitioner and yet I have returned to my original passion. While I may not have the externship experience in equine medicine that other students have at this point in time, I do plan on completing a small animal internship and surgical residency while concurrently practicing equine general medicine with the hope of eventually moving my equine practice primarily to track work. That, in my opinion, represents just as much dedication and eligibility for this scholarship as any student that has participated in an equine externship each year.
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