#AskTheVet with Dr. Henriksen

: What is the coolest part about being an Olympic team veterinarian? The hardest part? How did it feel to be in Tokyo? Tell us all the things!

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Answer:  The coolest part of being an Olympic Team Veterinarian is just being there.   It’s a bit of a simplistic answer, but it is the most honest answer. Being in the presence of some of the best horses and riders from around the world and being able to watch them all compete against each other is truly a privilege. People pay good money (maybe not this year but in past and future Olympics) to get to go watch these horses compete, and I got to get a front row seat during my work day.  Not a bad way to spend your work day. Being selected to be the Eventing Team Veterinarian for Canada was truly one of the biggest honors of my career. This is the 3rd major games (2018 WEG and 2019 Pan Ams) that I have attended, and I can tell you it does not get any less exciting each time I go. I’ve spent my entire life being around and working with horses, and there is nothing I’d rather do with my life and being able to attend an Olympics like this is truly one of the highlights. You get to meet a lot of interesting people from all over the world and interact with them on a daily basis. Also, getting to know the riders, grooms and support staff from our team is always rewarding. 

Team Canada

The hardest part for me, is only having a few horses to care for.  Those of you who know me, know that I’m a workhorse (pun intended) and I like to stay busy with a go-go-go mentality. These major games are a major change in speed compared to what I am used to on a daily basis and that is the part I struggle with the most. Obviously only having a handful of horses under my care allows me to spend more time with each one of them, but they do not need daily care from me. I try to relish the downtime and take in the experience, but internally I miss the day to day of my job.

Tokyo Olympics

Being in Tokyo, in 2021, 18 months into COVID had its own challenges. The IOC and the Japanese government did a great job of quarantining people attending and competing at the games and limiting the spread of COVID and risk to the Japanese citizens. Obviously, this did not allow us to be able to explore Japan and see some of the sights in the area, which was disappointing, but at least we got to go.  The venue was a state of the art facility where no detail was missed.  One of the saddest parts of the trip was not being able to truly enjoy the local cuisine, since we were very restricted to the venue and our hotels (which led to Uber Eats for dinner and only from the menus I could understand).

Horse at Olympics
Fun in TokyoJH working on horse

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At B.W. Furlong & Associates, we are progressive leaders delivering the ultimate in veterinary care to our equine patients and clients in both the hospital and ambulatory setting. We have several associated practices offering exemplary care and services in New Jersey, Florida, and Virginia