If there was a textbook about how to enter veterinary medicine, Dr. Ricky Osterloh would be on the cover. He grew up in a small, agriculture-focused town where the cattle and horses far outnumbered the people. “I didn’t know that I was going to be a veterinarian at that time, but every job I had always had something to do with animals.”
During his younger years, Dr. Ricky worked for a purebred Brahman operation, he moved cattle, and he worked for many different farmers. In his words, that “set the stage for my experience, and one thing led to another.” The “another”, in this case, was a volunteer position at a local, mixed-animal practice.
That experience solidified the direction that Dr. Ricky took during his veterinary career as well. Unlike Dr. Ben and his focus on internal medicine, or Dr. Beau’s love for equine athletes, Dr. Ricky loves to keep himself busy with a wide variety of patients.
Dr. Ricky attended Texas A&M. In his Sophomore year, he made a connection with Brazos Valley in Navasota through a family friend. Growing up, the family would take their horses to T-Bone at the Navasota clinic. Knowing that Dr. Ricky needed a job, the family friend put in a good word with T-Bone. Dr. Ricky started working for Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals (BVEH) during his Sophomore year and continued all the way through veterinary school.
After graduation, Dr. Ricky went back home to Wharton, TX. He chuckles when he tells the story of his return. “I did not know that [Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals] had a job opportunity available for me, so I went back to the mixed animal practice.” He stayed in Wharton for about 4 1/2 years, but he found that he needed to get some more experience with horses.
Who better to call than Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals?
Dr. Ricky spoke with Dr. Charlie Buchanan, who said that the practice had opened a location in Stephenville, and could use some help.
“It was just me and my wife at the time. Sarah and I had just gotten married and we didn’t have any kids or anything holding us back from moving. I told her ‘look, I’d beat myself up if I didn’t at least try.’ That was in 2009, so ten years ago, and I’m still here.”
There’s no place for ego at Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals. It’s always a matter of making sure that the right doctor gets to see the right patient. Dr. Ricky says that it’s not at all uncommon for him to see a horse, and then turn that same horse over to Dr. Charlie for a different problem. “Our clients think enough of their animals that they want that type of expertise, and I’m glad to help in any way that I can.”
“I come from a mixed animal background. I’d perform a c-section on a dog, and then dehorn steers that would come through the gates, and then go castrate a horse. If BVEH had a baseball team, I’d be the utility player.”
Dr. Ricky’s day usually starts on the farms around Stephenville. Right now it’s breeding season, so he will spend time palpating mares and setting them up to give birth to their foals. After that, it’s into the hospital for hourly appointments. Every day is different, and that’s part of what he loves about his utility player life.
Dr. Ricky has two children. Willow is nine and Zane is five. His wife Sarah has recently started teaching second grade after taking eight years away to raise the kids. He treasures the days that end early so that he can do homework with the kids, and take them to dance or swim practice.
That closeness of family is a theme that runs through the entire staff of Brazos Valley Equine Hospitals.
“I don’t know any other side of it. Whether I can spend 30 minutes with them before bed, or I can spend two hours with them, I love every minute and try to do what I can.”
Dr. Beau Whitaker grew up around horses on his family’s farm outside of Nashville, Tennessee. His father was the head of the equine program at Middle Tennessee State University, but Dr. Beau will tell you he had trouble deciding what he wanted to do when he was going through college himself. In fact, it wasn’t [+] Read More