Veterinary Students Dive Into Equine Practice with Seminar

This Labor Day weekend 393 veterinary students attended the eighth annual Opportunities in Equine Practice Seminar (OEPS) held in Lexington, Ky. The seminar hosted third-year veterinary student chapters of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) from 35 schools spanning the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.

Thirty-seven equine veterinary practices from across North America presented exhibits of externship and internship opportunities available to students in various areas of equine medicine.

"[OEPS] is the best recruiting opportunity ever created. You get to interact with third-year students and inspire them to meet with your practice," said Jamie O'Flynn, intern and extern coordinator for Haygard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington. "[OEPS] has revolutionized the world of equine externships and internships."

The three-day event featured practitioners and financial advisors from across the country speaking on business and equine medicine opportunities. Students toured equine hospitals, Keeneland Race Course, the Kentucky Horse Park, and Thoroughbred farms in the Bluegrass area.

"[Students] get to see equine practice is not just a pick-up truck. It's referral clinics and real medicine," said William Rood, DVM, hospital director at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, and the creator of OEPS. "They can dream because it's available."

"Even as a student who grew up wanting to be an equine practitioner, [OEPS] provided so much information about the array of opportunities that are available," said Tufts University student Melissa Restifo.

OEPS was created in 2003 to encourage more students to enter equine medicine after only around 90 graduates entered the field in 2002. Over the past eight years, an average of more than 15% of all veterinary students have attended OEPS.

"When I went through the practice exhibits, many practitioners were telling me about their OEPS experience," said Robin Murray, public relations and event coordinator for Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital. "They benefited from this when they were students, and now they're giving back."

More information about the OEPS experience can be found at

About the Author

Megan Cassels-Conway

Megan Cassels-Conway is a third-year veterinary student.

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