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Rachel Heflin

Rachel standing next to a horse

Degree: B.S. Ag. Animal Nutrition Sciences, Equine Studies minor, emphasis in equine management, May 2019

Career: Rachel works as a Nursing Technician at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, KY. Rood & Riddle is one of the largest equine practices in the country with full-service clinics in Kentucky, New York and Florida. She previously worked as a barn foreman in the nursery division of Stonestreet Farms. Rachel was responsible for providing care and treatments for routine injuries/illness in foals and broodmares, assisting with reproductive veterinary work, and assisting the broodmare manager in tracking stages of estrous cycles post foaling. Rachel started her career in Thoroughbreds as in intern in the Kentucky Equine Management Internship at Trackside Farm. During her time as an intern, she was responsible for the daily care of broodmares, foals, and yearlings. She regularly assisted the reproduction veterinarian and was heavily involved in assisting with foaling. A large part of her early Thoroughbred experience included grooming and exercising yearlings in sales preparation and working as a showman to prospective buyers at Thoroughbred auctions.

Internships and Working Student Experience: Rachel was a working student at the J.W. Ruby Research Farm from 2016-2019 and was responsible for daily care of the teaching horses, and also acted as a teaching assistant for ground handling and riding classes. Upon graduation, she was accepted into the Kentucky Equine Management Internship for the fall 2019 session, which focuses on the sale preparation of Thoroughbred yearlings, weanlings, and broodmare prospects. She enjoyed her experiences so much, she opted to stay on for the spring session the following year, and played an extensive role in delivering foals and caring for neonates and broodmares.

WVU Student Organizations: Rachel joined WVU Collegiate Horsemen’s Association in her first year as a transfer student in 2015. She served as their Secretary from 2016-2017, and President from 2017-2019. She also served as the American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association Secretary from 2017-2019. Through these leadership roles, she was exposed to various sections of the equine industry nationally, and was heavily involved in several, local service projects.

Claim to Fame: In 2018, Rachel was involved hands-on in Phase I redevelopment and re-opening of the J.W. Ruby Research Farm, home to WVU’s horse unit. She was one of the first students ever to live on the farm in the newly built working student apartments.

About attending WVU: “Prior to attending WVU, I knew I wanted a career in the equine industry, but I had no idea about the various fields open to those who loved horses, but didn’t want to pursue vet school or teach riding lessons; all I knew was I wanted to learn as much as I could about the horse. I got involved within my student organizations and participated in outside educational events that helped build my resume and added to my current knowledge about horses and their care. I would advise any incoming equine studies student to make good first impressions, get involved, commit to any pursuit you make, and pay attention in class! I have applied much of what I learned in the classroom to my everyday work.”