Is equine practice the most flexible option for a sustainable veterinary career?
If you’ve ever dreamed of owning or running an equine practice, or want a more sustainable career, this panel is for you!
Join entrepreneurs and equine vets who make equine practice work for them, and have built lives they love. Sure, it’s not all sunshine and horse shows (or is it?) but these fab people have found ways to design their life and work.
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Liz is the Managing Director and alongside her husband is one of the founding partners at Loch Leven Equine Practice, which was set up in 2005. The practice has grown from a one vet ambulatory practice to a thriving team of 15 people, working from a purpose-built clinic with full surgical facilities.
In 2018 Liz completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Business Management with Liverpool University. Liz is also a Director for the Veterinary Management Group and is their incoming President. Passionate about all aspects of practice management in the veterinary industry, and keen to support others in leadership roles, Liz is particularly interested in the wellbeing of the whole practice team and creating a culture where the team can thrive in their individual roles.
Alan graduated from University College Dublin in 2005. He spent 2 years in mixed practice in Devon and then a further two years in equine practice in Hampshire. During this time he completed a postgraduate certificate in Equine Practice and was selected as one of three national finalists for the then Petplan Equine Vet of the Year awards.
Between 2009 and 2010 Alan locumed for multiple equine and small animal practices gaining experience in different practice types. In October 2010 Alan opened “Celtic Equine Vets” from an old outbuilding at his home with his now practice manager working 4 hours a day manning the office phone.
Celtic Equine established a strong USP as the local practice that brought hospital-grade technology and expertise to its clients’ premises and through this, the practice has now grown to 4 full-time vets and 4 office team, and over 1500 clients. The practice recently invested a quarter of a million pounds in providing every vet with their own portable HD ultrasound scanner and their own portable HD digital x-ray units. The practice has been nominated by its clients for multiple regional and national awards culminating in winning the Equine Vet Practice of the Year 2023 award.
I’ve spent over 30 years in vet practice, being a second generation vet, with veterinary medicine on both sides of the family (they called that a thoroughbred in veterinary college) Two of my children and my niece are carrying the veterinary profession into the next generation of the family.
Initially, I worked in Cornwall in mixed practice before returning to run the family practice after the death of my uncle in 1988.
My interest lies in equine practice but the family business covers all aspects of veterinary medicine across all species. Hence it has been a most enjoyable and extraordinarily varied caseload that we’ve handled over the years, leading to a very wide understanding of what veterinary practice means in Ireland.
I entered veterinary politics almost 20 years ago and was elected by my peers to serve eight years on the Veterinary Council and sat as Council President and Deputy President for four of those years.
I also set up and chaired the Veterinary and Welfare Commission , the integrity body of standardbred racing in Ireland.
I have acted as treating veterinarian for the Dublin Horse Show at the RDS every year for over 30 years and I also do veterinary racecourse duties for Fairyhouse, Navan and Leopardstown races.
My hobbies and interests include Gaelic football and hurling, rugby, tennis and horseriding.
I grew up in France and always knew I wanted to be a horse vet, spending my evenings and weekends riding and looking after horses at the local riding school from an early age!
When I passed my Baccalaureat (which at the time was not widely accepted by UK universities), I struggled to get an offer from Vet schools in the UK so ended up at Bristol University studying Biochemistry, Equine Anatomy, and Physiology. Qualifying with a Bachelor of Science in 2004, I decided very quickly I was still keen to be a vet so I borrowed as much as I could and started my vet degree at Edinburgh University which offered me a place as a “mature” student.
I qualified in 2009 and immediately flew off to Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Centre in California where I spent a year as an intern. This internship gave me the best start to my career and was the absolute foundation for my work ethic, experience and passion for equine veterinary medicine.
After a year there, I moved to Suffolk and spent 12 years working for a fabulous equine clinic, building my skill set and consolidating my knowledge. I grew from a fairly new graduate to a Cert AVP holder in Equine Medicine.
After the clinic was sold to a large corporate, I felt lost and dissatisfied about the lack of opportunities and progression I was now faced with, so I spent a year locuming which was the push I needed to realise that ultimately, Equine practice is only fun when you are free and flexible to treat horses and clients how you see fit and when you can work with a team who have the same ethos. I have a family and two young children, I want to love my job and I love the flexibility and hard work that ownership brings.
Linkswood Equine Vets opened 16 months ago and we have been incredibly lucky to be extremely busy from the day we opened. We work very hard but manage our workload around our families and lives, which is the beauty of ownership.
Equine veterinary medicine does not have to be all work and no play and I am determined that we remember this as we grow! Ultimately, our clients are absolutely amazing and supportive and our relationship with them is what makes equine practice a pleasure to work in, in my humble opinion!
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