Cross-Country, South Dakota Style

The front of the Dakota Large Animal Clinic.


It’s been a busy last couple of weeks!  I just finished my first week of work at the clinic and am about five pounds lighter with growing biceps!  I have never come home so exhausted in my life, as the doctors and vet techs have me working full time 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day and weekend work.  (I do have to say I thought this job was going to be a little more glorious than it is right now when I’m mostly doing the clinic’s dirty work.  I clean all the stalls, do feeding twice a day, take care of the dogs in the small clinic, and even power wash the exam rooms when the day is done.)

This is the large animal surgery room – you know, where all the cool stuff like colic surgeries and other horsey things happen!

I do get to experience some cool things, however!  When I’m done cleaning stalls and feeding, I usually get to scrub hocks for hock injections and go on house calls with the docs.  Whenever I get the chance to talk to vets, I try to weasel as much information out of them as possible; I ask about their undergrad classes and how they applied to vet schools.  I also ask them about what schools are looking for in prospective students.  The main doc that runs the clinic is one of the coolest/nicest people I know and is amazing with animals and finding their problems.  He often asks me to set down my pitchfork and come over to look at x-rays with him so he can teach me about the knees and hocks of horses and how they work.  I’ve been told that my chores are only temporary since we are low on help at the barn and I should be able to report some more interesting details about work soon.  *fingers crossed*

As for Essence, I have been trying to ride her when I have a slot of time or when it is not raining.  The spring here in South Dakota has been horrible.  The farmers are having a real tough start due to the overloading of rain – and it seems to rain every day!  But when the clouds clear, I’m in the saddle!

Ready to run!

The recent cross country clinic was a good start to the season.  I went with some local dressage buddies to a cross country playground (and when I say playground, I mean there were jumps within 10 feet of each other for about 10 acres)!  The group I went along with was very inexperienced with eventing so I spent most of the time just working on letting Essence get used to galloping again and getting her out and about.  Because we only work to the greenest horse’s abilities, I was only able to jump some baby fences, but I was just happy to be in the saddle, riding over banks, ditches, water, and galloping (as fast as we could – thanks Essence!).

This weekend, we will be working on Essence’s weakness:  dressage.  I am in a dressage clinic with Natalie Hamilton-Hinnemann, who is one of my favorite coaches.  She is great with helping me and Essence with our problems and she comes down to South Dakota once a month all year round – which is a big deal for me.  (I have also been searching desperately for a jumping coach in the area – any takers??)


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