The Horse

SEP 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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29 September 2018 THE HORSE "It makes me feel better," she says. "That's what being around horses does for me. That quiet presence, you know? That nuzzling, the look, the kindness in their eye, just feeling their hair under your fingers. All that can really calm me down. Smelling them, it's a big trigger for me." Macpherson, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT, is a professor in Large Animal Clinical Science at the university's College of Veterinary Medicine, in Gainesville, and current president of the American As- sociation of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). She and her husband have two children who are very active in hobbies and sports, and they have household pets and com- mitments outside of work. Macpherson has her hands on horses every day, yet the animals still provide calm and comfort, similar to how they do for many horse owners—grounding you might not know your veterinarian needs. When you see your horse's veterinar- ian, it might just be for an hour at a time for a wellness check, lameness exam, or emergency. You review findings and care instructions with him or her and carry on with the day—good, bad, or indifferent, depending on the nature of the case. Facebook and other social media plat- forms aside, we might not get a glimpse of the other 166 hours in our vet's week and how those are filled … whether emotions run high or low or whether there's time for exercise or an unrushed meal shared with family. But we know horses live their lives 24/7, in sickness and in health, so it's safe to assume vets' hours likely reflect those around-the-clock ups and downs. Every individual manages pressures stemming from work, family, finances, personal interactions, and countless other sources. Veterinarians attest that the stresses they face can make the vocation rewarding yet harrowing. The simple fact they bear witness daily to the powerful bond between human and horse dictates that. Several equine practitioners and mem- bers of the veterinary community have weighed in on these stresses, their causes, and the ways they and the profession are managing them. Balancing Work and Life Pressures hit the newly minted veteri- narian early, says Amy Grice, VMD, MBA, who, after 25 years of equine practice, consults with veterinarians on business from her base in Virginia City, Montana. "I certainly think that student debt load is definitely at the top of the list of stressors, but another stressor for those younger veterinarians is simply learning to bal- ance their desire to be accepted by clients as a new veterinarian, a new associate in the practice, while remaining able to have appropriate boundaries. "If they're lucky enough to have landed at a practice that really practices good work-life balance and tries to make time for everyone who is on the practice team to have a life outside of practice … and in their enthusiasm to (build a client base) provide their cell phone number and an- swer it all times of night … they may find it hard to back up the train," she adds. A few years after their clients begin to expect round-the-clock accessibility, Grice says many of these practitioners start families. "All of the sudden they have a lot of clients, they've trained them in a AMY K DRAGOO Intensive STEPHANIE L. CHURCH Care Why the individuals looking out for our horses also need looking out for S ometimes Margo Macpherson needs a break from the day's pressures of teaching, meeting, handling phone calls, responding to emails, troubleshooting tough cases. The equine reproduction specialist retreats to the University of Florida's teaching herd, watching them calmly munch grass and meander through their day.

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