Growing up, I was your stereotypical horse girl. I started riding at seven years old and was very lucky because my aunt raised Quarter Horses. Most of my weekends were spent at her barn. My mom and I would drop by for a visit and instead of going inside to say hello, I would race down to the pasture. If they couldn’t find me, it was because I was curled up in my favorite horse’s stall. During the cold winters, I’d warm myself beside the tack room heater with the barn cats. Nothing kept me away from my best friends.
When I was sixteen, I was determined to have a horse of my own. I saved up enough money and found a part time job to help offset the cost of boarding. Later that year, I found the perfect Arabian mare. Her name was Valentine, and she was the dream horse that I had always wanted. Then, tragedy struck. A family emergency forced me to reconsider the sale. My dream had slipped so easily from my fingertips.
Things changed. Before I knew it, I had lost touch with the animals that had meant the most to me. I tried to take lessons during college but financial struggles got the best of me. I even spent my first year of undergrad as an Equine Studies major and worked at our campus equestrian center. It just wasn’t the same. I couldn’t relate to half of the girls who came from a much different horse background than I had. I simply couldn’t afford the lifestyle. Before I knew it, I had changed my major to biology and left that life behind me.
Here I am today; a second year veterinary student enjoying her summer vacation. I was interested to find out that there is an equine hospital just a few minutes from where I am staying. Just like that, I scheduled an opportunity to shadow. By doing this I surprised myself because I’m not really ‘into’ horses anymore. I guess I figured it would be a good learning opportunity and the chance to try something new. Now that I’ve completed four days of shadowing, my only regret is that I had not done it sooner.
Spending time with the equine veterinarians has truly rekindled my love of horses. I have met some wonderful clients and amazing animals. I have seen the love and dedication these owners feel towards their horses and it reminds me of how I once felt as a young girl. I have seen the way the horses trust their people. How they just want to feel the connection with their person. It truly makes me miss the way I once felt, still feel, for the horses I loved the most.
I’ve decided to nurture this ember. I’m going to reconnect with the animals that spurred my original passion for veterinary medicine.