Veterinarian Amy Hoogenboom has weathered an interesting year in the Maniototo, including a bout of Covid-19, before making the move to Canterbury.

Time flies and here is an update on the past nine months of my eventful life.

Firstly, we must wind ourselves back to February for the Maniototo A&P Show, the chocolate cake baking did not go to plan this year with my performance dropping from last year, I could only manage a yellow ribbon for my efforts. However, this was made up for in the photography section by claiming both the most points and most outstanding entry.

I also decided to risk taking along my not long off the track, rather green and young thoroughbred horse for a trot around the ring. Thankfully the horse behaved and there are no moments of embarrassment to tell from this show.

Wanaka A&P Show however was a slightly different story… I managed to stay aboard but there was certainly a large gasp from spectators at one point and ‘Ralph’ should count himself lucky he got fed that night after his show ring performances.

March. March, March… some of you Otago region people may recall the ODT’s “Ranfurly vet closes after staff member gets Covid-19” headline. I can confirm that was me.

I could write a lengthy essay on this but in short, physically I was quite healthy, the only symptoms I experienced were a runny nose and slight chest tightness. However mentally, the experience was extremely challenging. It is interesting when the physical human interaction is removed, how lonely it can be. On the upside, my house was extremely clean and tidy after spending three weeks in solitary isolation.

Once back out into the real world, the veterinary space was busy with lots of weird and wonderful cases, some mind boggling and some heartbreaking. Abscesses always remain highly satisfying cases – the two favourites from this year are a huge one on a ram’s head from fighting and one over the ribs on a Huntaway in which there was an added surprise finding a 3cm piece of wood hiding away in the abscess when I drained it.

Then in August the rather windy and bumpy road of 2020 took a sharp turn towards a change in job and location; taking up a position with Zoetis Genetics NZ in a newly created role as their Beef Specialist for New Zealand and shifting to Canterbury.

Many of my previous veterinary farming clients will attest to the fact that my favourite topics of conversation when out onfarm was beef cows, herd productivity, quizzing them on bull purchases and challenging them as to what their breeding objectives were. Well now I get to chat beef cattle all day, every day.

The role is all about helping beef farmers to make better informed breeding decisions with the use of DNA technologies to lift herd performance and profit potential. It is so rewarding to be working with both commercial farmers and stud breeders from across NZ to problem solve issues and better achieve their breeding goals.

As mentioned, the winding road (actually a rather long and boring straight road) has seen me shift from Central Otago to the Canterbury area, just south of Oxford.

The weather so far is just as unpredictable here as it was in the Maniototo. It is mid-October as I write and I am looking out the window to a fairly white landscape. There’s a squash club down the road and a local A&P show in April with a chance for me to redeem my chocolate cake baking pride at and a farm to hack the horse over. The next chapter isn’t looking too bad!