Keeping the stock safe: An inside look at the vets helping Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo animals
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — While every effort is made to keep the cowboys and cowgirls safe at Romick Arena during the Steamboat Springs Pro Rodeo Series, the same holds true for the animals the audience sees performing.
Just like the ambulance that remains onsite for the contestants’ safety, a custom Dodge truck nearby provides the same service for the horses and livestock.
“It’s our mobile vet unit,” said Dr. Louise Batt of High Country Vet Services, which is entering its third year of providing high quality veterinary services for the rodeo’s animals. “It has everything we need to care for them, including digital X-ray equipment.”
Raised in England, Dr. Batt moved to Steamboat in 2013 from Cañon City, where she cared for wild mustangs for the Bureau of Land Management and bucking bulls for rodeo stock producers such as Mike Hadley. Since then she’s built High Country Vet Services into a thriving operation focusing on competition horses and livestock.
“We focus on equine sports medicine, lameness investigation and beef herd management,” said Dr. Batt, whose practice offers state-of-the-art mobile diagnostic equipment, the latest treatment options available, as well as a facility for hospitalizing horses and handling cattle.
While caring for rodeo animals is second nature for her and fellow practitioner Dr. Marianne Marshall, a certificated veterinary chiropractor and acupuncturist, it’s different than a typical farm visit.
“We walk through the pens beforehand to make sure none of the animals are sick or hurt and care for any injuries,” she said. “We also help the riders’ horses. And if for some reason they forgot their vet certificates for their next rodeo, we can issue those, too.”
The bottom line is the animals are cared for as much as the competitors.
“It’s great fun,” said Dr. Batt. “Luckily, there haven’t been too many hiccups so far.”