Teen Ranch Scotland
For my first work experience placement I went to Teen Ranch Scotland, near Dundee. This is a western themed activity camp where horse riding is a key element involved, and it is where I have spent lots of my summers since I was 12 years old, but now since I am older, I am now able to be a staff member. The camp, which is found in a Georgian Mansion in the countryside of Perthshire, can accommodate up to sixty-eight campers and offers camps every week in summer and also October and Easter. Teen Ranch is a suitable environment for young people ranging from 10-17 years old. God is also a key element involved with the work of Teen Ranch as it is a Christian charity set up to help young people discover and learn about God whilst being outdoors and the children who come often come from difficult backgrounds at home.
Since the Ranch element involves horses I was one of the Horse Staff for 3 weeks in summer and 1 week in October. Being on Horse Staff is a very physically demanding job. The day mostly consists of horses (27 of them), looking after horses and cleaning up after horses (mucking them out and shovelling poo). The morning mainly consisted of bringing in the horses from the field, tying them up and tacking them up (and of course other maintenance jobs needed). Then straight after lunch included getting the horses ready for the campers and their trail rides. All afternoon the campers would have trail rides and on these each horse staff member has a different role on each trail ride, a lead rider, backup rider and a walker. After all the trail rides we have to untack all the horse and get them ready for going back out into the fields likewise getting the barn cleaned up after the long day. Every evening was different, but was horse free and a time to spend time getting to know the campers throughout number of different games and activities. My favorite of these being footby, a mix of football and rugby, where each of the four teams tries to score as many goals as possible without letting any goals in.
Another key aspect of being a staff member is helping the campers in any way possible whether that be through encouragement for those who are nervous riders or someone they can feel they can talk to about their worries or questions. This helped me to build up more confidence with talking to people and this is a skill I am sure will be very useful when being a vet. Likewise I believe people skills are very important in being a vet, especially when dealing with clients, not just good skills with animals because at the end if the day you are dealing with the client and their pet.
Another reason why I love the amazing work of Teen Ranch is that since not owning my own horses, I really understood the time and work involved when looking after these animals. After the 4 weeks, I felt a lot more confident with the horses and learnt lots of little things linked with horses the average person with a horse would naturally know. Also I learnt that since there was a large group of horses, every horse needed to be checked in case of any missed injury they may have picked up. A few times the local vet was called in for problems we had, the most serious one was one of the horses sustained an eye injury that we think was from her scraping her eye off the wall of the barn. The vet sedated the horse and dyed the eye to show any abrasions on the cornea. There didn’t appear to be any damage to the cornea however the tissue surrounding the eye was damage to the point of needing the vet to staple the eyelid and the tissue together in various places. This was just a little glimpse into the work of an equine vet, and again reaffirmed my desire to be vet, or even an equine vet.
Visit the Teen Ranch Website: http://www.teenranch.scot/