I had already lined up a research gig in Louisville for the summer, but now I no longer had a life plan. I was considering vet school. So I found three vets to shadow one was at Rood and Riddle (Lexington), a second was at Hagyard (also in Lexington and my favorite because he let me do stuff), and the third was the racetrack vet at Churchill Downs.
I had never even been to a racetrack until I showed up. But it was hands down one of the coolest experiences I have had. My favorite part was on race day. There was this little old cajun man that drove the water truck and the horse ambulance. He was always hollering inappropriate things at me. I didn't understand 90% of what he said (probably a good thing), but the vet would always tell him to behave himself and he would cackle madly.
The little cajun man would cook behind an old shed that was just off the track. And he used "the real cajun spices mamma sent." Holy shit that food was delicious. I was a little leery at first, but after watching the vet dig in I decided why not. I have no idea what I ate, but it was always delicious.
My second favorite thing to do was to watch the jockeys get a leg up. There were some athletic maneuvers and one horse in particular was awful. As soon as any part of the jockey hit the saddle he started bucking. I mean rodeo bucking. I don't know how the jockey stuck, but he did.
All sass no buck
Honestly, I didn't learn much about being a vet from Churchill Downs, but I had a lot of fun and got to ride in the horse ambulance (not an emergency), the water truck, and eat some of the best cajun food I have ever had.