Have you always been interested in horses and when did you start out in the industry? What is it exactly that you do?
I’ve always been interested in horses as I gew up with them and first attended pony club from a young age.
After high school I began working in Thoroughbred stables where I moved from 3 different establishments. All ranging from general stablehand, track rider/pre trainer, breaker, and ground staff on a broodmare farm, which included handling mares for breeding, foals, weanlings and yearlings, as well as parading for sales.
During this time I had completed and gained a Diploma of Agriculture.
Shortly after a family member had suggested becoming an Equine Dentist and forming a career from this.
I’d aways taken an interest in my own horses teeth, and the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.
So now I’m a self employed Equine Dentist.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Pretty much my whole week is related to horses. I have a part time job at a pet/produce store where I’ve had a firm input on what horse feeds are stocked and I have 2 horses of my own. Then of course the Dentistry work takes up the rest of the week.
In this field of work, is it possible for someone to be a full time professional, earning a livable income?
With this particular line of work I do it is possible to be a full time professional and earning a livable income. However it doesn’t happen straight away and takes lots of hours and hard work, as a livable income depends on your work ethic.
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
There are a number of Equine Dentistry colleges within Australia, and internationally. I believe great horsemanship skills will help to improve anyone chances at gaining entry, and also prior experience from either the Equine or Animal Health fields.
Any advice for those interested in pursuing this line of work?
So if you’re interested in pursuing this line of work it is important to investigate all courses on offer and weigh up your pros and cons to what will suit you or what you believe in.
However it is also imperative that you choose a course that is government accredited. There is one in New Zealand. I also believe that Mexico has followed suit and England aren’t far behind.
However it is unfortunate that Australia do not have a Nationally Accredited course running as of yet.
By choosing to study an accredited course you are not only qualifying yourself to a higher standard or learning, but you’ll be better equiped to treat the health of the equine and work on a professional level with veterinarians.
Is there anything else with horses you’d love to learn about or try?
I would love to learn a bit of basic massage therapy, as the muscles of the head and neck all play a big role in the mastication process.
Favourite horse memory?
My favourite horse memory is of myself as an 8 year old, winning my first Reserve Champion ribbon. Mainly because it was also against the big kids haha.
I have a number of goals for my future. Firstly to go back to New Zealand in March to gain extra accreditation by completing a short course in Endodontics which mainly consists of roots canals and fillings.
Goal No. 2 is to become a veterinarian; this is to assist with my current knowledge, and allow for the use of sedation, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and digital x-ray. I have already gained acceptance into Animal Science at Charles Sturt University – Wagga Wagga (this degree is a pathway to Veterinary Science).
My last and final goal is to design, build and operate a functional Equine Dental Clinic for advance cases yet, still run an “On the Road Schedule” at a cost that is affordable to everyone.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best part about my job is not only being self employed, but being able see the business develop and grow as I do.
“If you have it, it is for life. It is a disease for which there is no cure. You will go on riding even after they have to haul you on a comfortable wise old cob, with feet like inverted buckets and a back like a fireside chair… when I can’t ride anymore, I shall still keep horses as long as I can hobble about with a bucket and a wheelbarrow. When I can’t hobble, I shall roll my wheelchair out to the fence of the field where my horses graze, and watch them.” – Monica Dickens