sanantoniorodeo

Veterinarian Benjamin Espy has been with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo for the past 22 years. He is the official show veterinarian and come on board after completing his schooling.

What does your job entail at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo?

I provide all of the veterinary care for every stock show animal, display animal, petting zoo animal, rodeo animal, and horse show entrant.  We have over 20,000 junior stock show entrants, the largest junior pig show in the United States with 2000 pigs on the grounds some days, cattle, chickens, turkeys, goats, lambs, a horse barn that holds over 750 horses, and 18 days of PRCA sanctioned Rodeo Performances.

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How important is animal care in both in and outside the arena for the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo?

It is important to remember that we treat all animal injuries everywhere with great care and advanced diagnostics.  I treat the bucking horses, bulls, calves, and steers that compete in the AT&T center with exactly the same care as I do all animals during the rest of the year in my own private practice. We do not treat the horses or food animals any different just because they are on stage during the rodeo. We use ultrasound machines, radiograph machines, bloodwork, MRI, CT scans, and even simple stethoscopes and thermometers.

The sheer number of animals from different counties, states, and from Canada and Mexico lead to a potential for animal health concerns.  We deal with disease vigilance to be on the eye for infectious disease with the intent of keeping all competitors safe, and we also deal with injuries that may occur from lacerations or falls, or simple day-to-day bumps and bruises.

What’s a story you want to share with folks not familiar with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo?

In 1996, the first year I provided veterinary services for the stock show and rodeo, I had no help.  The position has evolved into a job that requires two veterinarians and two 4th year veterinary student interns.  With my connections and relationships with competitors my practice has evolved from a general horse practice that provides preventative care and advanced reproductive assistance and infertility. Now about 80% of my practice is professional rodeo and I have a huge practice where I am licensed in 5 states (Kentucky, Texas, Colorado, Utah, and Montana). I provide veterinary care for timed event horses (barrel racing, steer wrestling, tie down roping, and team roping) and one of my clients had 34 bucking horses in the WNFR (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo) in Las Vegas during the first week of December.

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