Plenty to smile about

Should equine vets be focusing more on the things that make the profession so great to be a part of?

12 April 2018, at 11:56am

This is BEVA’s 56th year and the association continues to grow in numbers and in strength. BEVA’s main objectives advance the veterinary and allied sciences for the welfare of the horse, and for public benefit through our education and training programme, the updating of information on our website and continued representation and lobbying, both nationally and internationally.

Of huge importance in assisting BEVA achieve these aims has been the development of a massive educational programme. This includes over 50 CPD courses and 12 webinars (which are free to members).

The “jewel in the crown” of our CPD programme is undoubtedly the annual congress, thought to be the second largest equine congress in the world. Spread over three days, there are over 100 hours of innovative lectures, debates, workshops and practical demonstration sessions on offer. Congress 2018 will be held at the International Convention Centre in Birmingham from 12 to 15 September.

BEVA Congress 2018 and its theme “plenty to smile about” represents the highlight of my presidential year. We face many challenges, some of which impact negatively on our health and well-being, but we are aiming to focus on the positives. We want to celebrate careers as equine veterinary professionals and assist colleagues to achieve the correct work/life balance.

I thought a fabulous way to get some ideas was to ask my BEVA Council colleagues what they found so good about being an equine vet. I was overwhelmed with the responses, some funny, some innovative and some poignant, but all of them giving us tremendous cause for optimism if we can manage to convey the positive, encouraging and supportive messages through to our young colleagues who are the future of our profession.

Apart from the obvious one of helping that selfless and wonderful animal the horse, my favourite, and one often repeated, was the collegiality, friendship, laughter and support provided by your colleagues. Here are some others; see if you can guess from which council member they came!

• Helping students and younger colleagues has been highly rewarding

• Enjoying the challenge of incorporating science with welfare, thus enhancing the life of the equines in my care

• Having a job that gives me financial security and remuneration, allowing me to have a fantastic life – not commonplace in the current economic market

• Being faced with fascinating and demanding challenges on a regular basis and the mental stimulation that brings

Maybe, just maybe we have a tendency to complain a little too much about our lot, not realising how blessed we are to be intelligent and capable.

Jonathan Pycock, BEVA President

• Working with the latest imaging technology on a daily basis

• Working as part of a great team, driving around the beautiful countryside all day long meeting a huge variety of clients, many of whom are friends and very grateful for the work we do in both a preventative and emergency role

• An interesting and rewarding career with no two days ever the same and always more to learn

• Combining a love of horses and science into a job

• The feel-good factor of working in a medical sevice-providing profession that helps those that cannot help themselves

• I cannot imagine another profession which is as loyal and endearing as ours 

• Our patients are such deserving, selfless beasts who bring so much happiness to people’s lives • Teaching the next generation of students/vets not to be scared, whether that’s of the medical mysteries, the horse or the clients

• Knowing that you have made a difference to a distressed client

Maybe, just maybe we have a tendency to complain a little too much about our lot, not realising how blessed we are to be intelligent and capable. Maybe, just maybe we need to stop worrying about what we are not good enough at, and congratulate ourselves on what we have already achieved.

In many ways, BEVA Congress symbolises the intelligence (the education), humility (the honesty), compassion (the support) and nuttiness (the crowd-surfing at the dinner dance) which make our profession wonderful to be a part of. So, for sure there is plenty to smile about, as you will see at Congress 2018 in Birmingham. See you there!


Jonathan Pycock is an equine claims consultant for the Veterinary Defence Society and an equine reproduction expert. He is a past president of the British Equine Veterinary Association.

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