From Goats to Godzilla to Giving Birth; Exposure is the Goal
Published on July 25, 2013 by Tiffany Coleman
(CALDWELL) It’s no secret that students in the veterinary technology program at Broadview University-Boise campus are in for a wild ride during their time in school. It is perfectly normal to work on goats one day and Godzilla-like lizards the next. Exposure is the goal, and students definitely get a realistic view of what it’s like to be a veterinary technician. During a recent trip to a ranch in nearby Canyon County, some students had the opportunity to witness something a little bit out of the ordinary. A horse gave birth and they were there to see it all!
The students and their instructor, Heather Williams, were visiting Belesemo Arabian Ranch in Caldwell as part of an applied learning opportunity for the Equine class. The students spent several hours administering vaccinations, learning proper foal restraint and wound care techniques, and drawing blood. When the students returned from the ranch, they ran the blood samples through the campus’ lab—giving them yet another opportunity to expand their learning.
Somewhere in the middle of their various activities at the ranch, a mare gave birth to a female foal. It gave students the opportunity to learn about reproduction—including some of the “less glamorous” parts of birth. One student said she had experienced a lot during her time in the program, but she had never witnessed something like THAT before. For her, it was “very cool.”
“I was very excited that our students had such an amazing opportunity to witness a natural birth,” Williams said. “It was a bonus to be at the right place at the right time.”
The filly’s birth was far from an extraordinary event at Belesemo. For nearly 40 years, the ranch has specialized in breeding and producing award-winning sport and endurance Arabian horses. At any given time, there can be 30-50 horses roaming the ranch.
“This ranch started the day I turned 16 years old,” Kim Johnson, the owner of Belesemo, said. “I received an Arabian colt as a birthday present and I have been doing this ever since. In fact, all of the horses in this breeding program have lineage that goes back to my original horse.”
Johnson’s ranch has been the site for many learning opportunities over the years. She is a patient teacher who walks students through every process, step by step. Not only have Broadview University students benefited from her teaching, but our own resident veterinarian, Dr. Kara Owen, also worked for Johnson as a teenager. She spent a number of years at the ranch cleaning stalls, breeding horses and then training them as well.
“[Dr.] Kara was one of our ranch’s original helpers,” Johnson said. “It’s wonderful to see the culmination of her chosen career as a veterinarian and now as a teacher.
This ranch is the result of a horse-crazy girl’s dreams that really did come true! I enjoy helping others achieve their own dreams.”