Need experience for vet school. Is a racetrack job a possibility? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Need experience for vet school. Is a racetrack job a possibility?

Hi guys!

I'm in college working towards getting into a veterinary school. As most of you probably know, getting in is extremely competitive. So, I'm trying to build up my experience. I've already shadowed local equine vets in my area. However, that is only a once in awhile thing and I need more. I'm constantly on the look out for jobs in any animal related field, but there hasn't been any for months. I even tried volunteering at the local small animal hospitals, but they already have too many volunteers. I instead have been volunteering at a local animal rescue for the last 2 years.

Anyways, the reason for this post is for suggestions. I need more animal related experience to add to my application in four years.

I'm near Arlington Racetrack, and even though I'm not the biggest fan of racing I think it would be a great way to gain experience. I should also say that I have been around horses for my entire life and currently own two. I have the experience that would be needed at the race track. I'm not sure if I should, though, for some reason. I have a ton of free time in my day, especially in the mornings. How would I even get a job there? I read that you just go up to the gate and tell the guard that you are a groom and looking for work. Is that correct? It seems weird to me. Also, I've read something about taking tests to become a certified groomer. Do you have any information about that?

Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it.
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 12:28 PM
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I think this is a good idea. It will give a lot of basic horse handling skills. Throughbreds on the track are a whole other animal that pretty much any other animal out there. That said you are going to see some stuff you don't agree with. The track can be a shocking place for people who are not ready for the mentality and fact that it is a business. I think a groom might be the way to get in the door and it might provide you with good equine experience but I am not sure its enough for a vet school. I would see if you could work with the vet at the track. Grooming is good and you will gain experience but working with the track vet would look better.

If you are interested in the equine tract for vet school. I would look at finding a job working at a vet clinic. A friend of my met with the admissions councilors at Tufts who said they were looking for someone who was working at a practice for a few years and had moved up the ladder and been promoted. I know some mobile equine practices have an "on the road" tech who helps with animal restraint, vaccination preparation, talks to owners and does some billing. I think that would look good on your resume. When you work or shadow a vet and that vet does emergencies let them know you want to do emergencies. This is going to look really good to vet school because it will show that you are interested enough to get out of bed at 2 am to do things. I would also suggest you get a rabies vaccine if you work at a clinic or shelter, most clinics are looking for that even if they don't say they require it.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 12:44 PM
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The dumb "like" button won't let me click it so, I will say that I think "rookie" has given some terrific ideas and I sure can't add to them

I can say the very best of good fortune to you
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the feedback. I'd still be on the lookout for a position at a vet's clinic of course. I'll take everything I can get. You said some interesting points. I didn't think about the rabies vaccine.

I'd like to think that I know what goes on at the racetracks, but I'm prepared to deal with what I see. Like you said it is a business. I've also handled hot horses, never racehorses ( I don't think my OTTB counts. haha). I do want the experience, though.
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 03:23 PM
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I think that the track would be great. As long as you can handle a fast paced "go go go" mentality that is there. Also while there are lots of trainers out there who "love" their horses. Most trainers view their horses as a pay cheque. Don't get me wrong. They do care about their horses. But at the end of the day, if it doesn't run fast enough its off to be re-homed.

As a groom you will encounter a lot of things such as tendon bows, splints etc... you will have to have a good knowledge of equine first aid.

I had to get a grooms license when I went to work at the track(I worked with Standarbreds) and when I worked as an exercise rider(TBs) I worked directly for the trainer at home. I didn't ride at the track often. But I did need a license for that.

I would look into it. It is an experience of a life time. And as a groom you tend to build a great relationship with the horses you work with and get a lot of hands on experience.

Otherwise maybe call the school and ask what kind of experience they look for on your resume when applying.

Good luck
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 03:43 PM
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I would think that would definitely count for something. The colleges have told me that any experience helps. Volunteering at an animal shelter, equine rescue, shadowing a vet. They even said if you have given you own animals vaccinations that counts for something.

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
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So, I know I definitely what to go do this. How do I go about getting the job? I do like the fast pace environment and I think this would be a perfect chance to expand what I already know.
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post #8 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 03:52 PM
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I got my job with the harness racers by showing up at the track and talking to some trainers and just hung out during the week and offering to help out during race night and eventually one trainer just scooped me up and took me to get my license.

As an exercise rider I called local race farms asking how to go about getting a job. Found one who asked me to come by and talk and went from there.

So I would just show up at the track and ask. Or make some phone calls. Or if you know someone who knows someone kind of deal go that way. Good luck! I loved the experience and have actually thought about going back to the Standarbreds lately.

BB ~ 2014 Trakehner Bratty Mare ~ 1993 CSHA Em ~ 2007 Standardbred
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post #9 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Okay. Thank you. :)
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post #10 of 13 Old 09-16-2012, 11:17 PM
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While we're always bringing up the darker side of racing, don't forget the great strides they have provided to the average horse by having the financial backing to develop new treatments and techniques. The racing industry attracts some of the best minds in the veterinary world and you might just stumble onto something cutting edge and fascinating . Working with a trainer will also train your senses to detect subtle gait abnormalities that would limit performance. Who are the bigger trainers? See is they're on FB. Put an ad on CL. Find out who the clinics are that work with the track and perhaps they could point you in the right direction. How's your Spanish?

What about exotic animals? Any zoo around and what type of reputation does it have? Wildlife rehabilitation sanctuaries? Volunteer for a Human Society spay/neuterathon. Make your work history stand out from everyone else's. Do something different. Keep up on your riding and horsemanship skills.
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