by Fran Jurga | 15 August 2009 | The Jurga Report
"Is there a vet on the grounds?" You know that sound in a horse owner's or groom's voice when they ask that question. They sound a little thin, a little higher octave than usual.
The answer? "Um, yeah, parked over by B Barn. Working out of an SUV. Blue, I think," you say pointing vaguely over your shoulder, wishing them luck.
And sometimes you don't even know, unless the event has started and the vet is on duty at a prescribed spot rather than working in the stabling area.
But that's not the case when the Texas-based practice known simply as Equine Sports Medicine rolls onto the grounds of a big show, usually in the Central time zone. It's not just a team of vets who cover the show; they actually bring an entire vet clinic, housed in a converted stock car trailer, and a staff of technicians.
A hydraulic ramp comes down, revealing climate-controlling doors. Generators power lights and equipment. Inside, the vets work in air-conditioned comfort (or heat, depending on the time of year) and the horses relax while they go through radiography or have a joint injected or are examined for pre-purchase or any ailment.
I remember when Dr. Alan Donnell announced that this clinic-on-wheels was his plan. He's now on the road with two of these mobile clinics, plus an all-star crew of veterinarians and support staff.
This week, they're at the Reichert Celebration and National Snaffle Bit Futurity in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Next week, they'll head down the road to Amarillo, Texas for the AQHA Select Show. Their schedule this year takes them from Arizona in the west to Florida in the east, and as far north as Columbus, Ohio for the Quarter Horse Congress. When they go home--if they ever do--it's to Pilot Point, Texas.
I hope you enjoy this little peek inside the mobile clinic, which was provided by a local television station. Maybe they'll be be rolling into an event you'll be attending some day soon. Don't worry, you won't have a hard time finding them!