A veterinarian, Edwina Palmer spent time as a racing manager before taking the plunge to go back to vet school. In this blog, she walks us through a day in her life and what keeps her motivated and wanting to go back to work every day.
After my gap year, I went to university for an equine science degree. I didn’t follow the normal path of going straight from my bachelor’s degree to vet school, instead I took some time off and mostly worked for trainer Tim Martin for three years as his racing and administration manager.
I had always wanted to be a vet so I made the decision during the period with Tim to return to vet school. I loved it when the vets came to the stable and was really interested in what they were doing so it was a natural choice to go to vet school.
On a normal day work will start at 7:00 a.m. with my rounds taking place around 7:30. I start at the stables first to do routine checks such as trotting up horses who raced or trialed the day before to make sure all is okay with them after their runs. We’re lucky enough to have a surgical theater here so it isn’t unusual to perform small surgeries a few times a week and I’ll also visit many of the spelling farms around Sydney to check up on patients.
I love visiting the spelling farms because it is fun to follow the horses from working at the track to relaxing in the paddocks between campaigns. I enjoy tracking their progress in and out of the barns and seeing how they do at the races when they come back in from their spell.
Working in racing is a lifestyle and I don’t think people could do the hours and the hard slog it takes to do what we do around the industry if you don’t love the horses. The horses are what drive and motivate you and seeing a horse that I’ve helped go on to win races or even just walk out of the hospital alive provides job satisfaction.
My affinity for the Thoroughbred just comes from the fact that they’re incredible animals to work with, they’re athletes, they’re really interesting. From a vet’s perspective I find them anatomically and physiologically really interesting. It’s so impressive to watch them perform and see what they’re capable of. They’re great patients, they offer challenges as well but I think that’s part of the job.
Being able to see the horses every day and watch the progress they make is some of the best motivation you’ll find. It makes it easy for me to get up in the morning and love my job.