EWC Vet Tech Student Participates in Exciting Internship
March 20, 2004
(Torrington, WY) Eastern Wyoming College veterinary technology student Mandy Gebhardt feels like she was given the opportunity of a lifetime. She returned to EWC this spring semester to complete her degree--one year later than she originally planned. Gebhardt took a year away from attending her classes at EWC to participate in an equine internship at Equine Medical Associates in Lexington, Kentucky. Her boss, Dr. James Morehead, was the veterinarian for many horse farms in Lexington, but the one that he is the main vet for is Three Chimneys Farm. Three Chimneys is home to race champions Seattle Slew, Silver Charm, and Point Given.
How did Gebhardt hear about such an exciting internship? Actually from EWC. "Dr. Walker and Dr. Bittner had received an e-mail request from Equine Medical Associates wondering if they had any vet tech students who would be interested in an equine internship. They both talked to me about it, and before I knew it, I was in Kentucky." Gebhardt received experience and exposure to all aspects of a fully mobile equine practice. "It was hard work. We would go to work at 4:30 some mornings and several evenings we worked until 6:00."
Gebhardt's internship began in January of 2003 and lasted through June of 2003 (the breeding season). She then returned to Lexington in August for a September sale at Keeneland Race Track. She also helped with a November sale. The sales were really an amazing thing for her as well. "One mare from Three Chimneys sold for $5-6 million, and one of the babies I x-rayed sold for between $2-3 million." Most of the work she did was during the breeding season, and working with the colts. "We would work with the mares and stallions during the breeding season. One of the most exciting things was to ultrasound a mare that you had worked with and fourteen days later see that she is pregnant. We really got to know a lot of the horses. One of my favorite babies was Malibu Karen. She was really beautiful with a lot of white on her." While Gebhardt was in Lexington, they had a major ice storm that left them without power for one week. "You don't realize how dependent we are on electricity. We were not able to perform ultrasounds during that time and we ended up with some open mares. By the time the power came back on and we were able to ultrasound, they had already completed their cycle. The ice storm cost some farms quite a bit of money!"
Three Chimneys Farm is home to nearly 350 mares and at least a dozen stallions. A brochure from the farm shows that the stud fees on their horses were well into the thousands. One stallion, Dynaformer, Gebhardt tried to stay clear of. "I have heard a lot of stories about him. He is really mean. You don't even walk by his paddock by yourself. We did have to x-ray him while I was there and I was really nervous."
Gebhardt will complete her EWC course work in December, 2004. She would really like to work at an equine practice when she is done, but there is not one yet near her hometown of Glencoe, Minnesota. "Not many people get an opportunity like this. It was fun, I learned a lot, but it is nice to be home."