Advice for Veterinary Students

    November 28, 2012

    Dr. Ashley Craig
    So this entry really is focused more towards the veterinary students who are thinking of doing an equine internship. If you are a practitioner, please feel free to leave comments on advice or suggestions you have for veterinary students. If you are an owner, trainer, horse lover or just an avid reader of the Hagyard Intern Blog- I hope this entry doesn’t bore you too much!!!

    As a first year veterinary student, a senior veterinary student gave me some great advice; it was this advice that led me down the path to an amazing internship at Hagyard. The student suggested that I do externships every summer of veterinary school. For some, this might seem like over kill, but for me it worked. The summer after my first year, I only completed one externship, but I started doing research and made my game plan for my future. Each summer, Christmas break, and spring break, I spent my time at different veterinary clinics completing externships. In the end, I was able to choose the internship that was the best fit for me when multiple internships were offered.

    So how did I decide where to go and which clinic was the best fit for me? Here is how I went about it.

    1. Look for clinics that focus on your area of interest. If you don’t know what area of equine medicine interests you, look at clinics with well-rounded internships.
    2. Environment- With this one, I am not talking about the weather or surroundings but more about the people. Do you like the practitioners? Do you like the staff? In 10 years, can you envision yourself being a practitioner at that clinic and being happy? Your work environment is important to consider when choosing an internship. Look at how the current interns are treated- this is a great view of how you will be treated in the internship.
    3. Mentorship- this has been a big buzzword in the past several years especially in the small animal world but it isn’t over-hyped. Mentorship is important to your career and future. Does the internship provide adequate mentorship or do they just turn you loose on day one? Are your mentors truly available to you at any time? How much supervision do you need or want in your internship?
    4. Location- Yes, you can do anything for a year but if you are unhappy with your location it makes for a difficult year. If you can’t stand the cold- don’t look in Colorado!
    5. Values- If your ethics do not align with the ethics of the practitioners, that clinic is probably not a good fit for you. In the same instance, if you are focused on good business practices, the clinic you do an internship at should also have good business practices.
    6. The right clinic for Suzie Shoes might not be the right clinic for Joe Smith, so don’t judge a clinic by someone else’s experience, rumors or preconceived ideas.

    Ultimately, I personally suggest visiting multiple clinics of different size and styles to find what works best for you. What you have in your head that you want as a first year student isn’t always what fits you best.

    So how about when you get there. The following are my tips on how to get the most out of an externship.

    During the externship:
    1. Be yourself. Even the world’s best actors or actresses can’t keep up the act for a year. If you present yourself in a normal fashion, the practice can see if you are a good fit for them as well.
    2. Learn as much as possible- Do this by listening, reading up on cases at night, following up with the practitioners, and asking questions at the appropriate time (aka not in front of the client, or while the practitioner is on the phone).
    3. Carry a small notebook to write down details about cases, tips the practitioner gives or the 50 things you will learn each day.
    4. If you are asked a question and truly don’t know the answer- be honest.
    5. Manners go a long way. Be nice to everyone- including technicians, barn staff, owners, etc. Ask the technicians if there is anything you can do to help such as carrying buckets or equipment, but don’t step on their toes.
    6. Don’t sit in the car texting, checking emails, or even talking on the phone. It demonstrates to most people a lack of respect.
    7. Take pictures of the cases (as long as you have the practitioner’s permission) so you can remember and share them with classmates later. BUT DON’T post them on Facebook!!! As a rule of thumb, keep everything off Facebook, even if you don’t think it could be traced back to a clinic or horse, it is best not to put it there.
    8. Pack a lunch. During the busy season, you never know when you are going to get a chance to eat or stop for lunch. If you have snacks or even a sandwich packed, it makes life easier and you can handle the long days like a pro =)
    9. Don’t expect to get to do much technically, but be prepared to if you get the opportunity!

    And in the end, have fun and learn as much as you can. Even if the clinic doesn’t end up being the right one for you- as long as you have learned a lot, it is a beneficial experience. Enjoy your time as an extern and make friends with your fellow externs- you never know who will be your intern-mate in the future!

    Pinterest Project

    November 7, 2012
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    Wine Bottle Candle

    Wine Bottle Candles

    Dr. Ashley Craig
    Have you ever heard of Pinterest? Better yet, have you ever completed a craft off of Pinterest? The Field Care interns at Hagyard can say yes to both of these questions!

    If you are currently sitting there and wondering what Pinterest is, no need to search, I can explain! Pinterest is a social media site, similar to Facebook or Twitter, where people can make accounts and share things that they like such as recipes, projects, clothes, home decorations, or numerous other things. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where words are the dominate form of communication, Pinterest is predominantly pictures. So when I want to share a recipe I like, I can pin a picture of the finished product to my Pinterest Board (envision a cork board on a virtual wall) and all of my friends can see it. I can also pin pictures of things I find online that I would like to try as well as browse my friends’ boards.

    While the internship at Hagyard is full of learning and work, the interns also get chances to relax and enjoy other things in life. One such evening happened after a long day working at the Keeneland Fall Sale. The Field Care interns decided to grill out at Bo’s (fellow internmate) house and enjoy a relaxing evening after an eventful day. A friend of Bo’s, who was also in attendance at the cookout, had recently seen a cool project on Pinterest where you can make candle holders out of wine bottles. Armed with the supplies to complete this project, we all joined in on the fun. Basically the finished product is the top ¾ of the wine bottle placed over a small teak candle. The prettier the bottle or label, the more interesting the candle holder will become. To accomplish this, you need an empty bottle of wine, cotton string, acetone, lighter, and a bucket of cold water.
    You first place the cotton string around the base of the bottle, soak the string in acetone, light the string on fire, and let it burn for almost a minute. Once the time is complete or the fire has burned out, you place the bottle in cold water. This causes the bottom of the bottle to crack off and then you have your candle holder! Bo and Jackie started off the project but both were extremely cautious and ended up wearing oven mitts and safety goggles. Better to be safe than sorry when playing with fire, gas and flammable substances! The first bottle worked perfectly, the second took several tries until it finally decided to crack.

    Ultimately the project was a success and gave us two candle holders to use for our next evening cookout. It also was a lot of fun and allowed all of the parties involved to laugh and try our hands at something different! A change of pace is always welcomed and allows us to refresh our minds for the next day filled with hard work and challenges.