Allison has been obsessed with horses since she can remember. After 2 years hard saving of her pocket money she bought her first horse at age 11. Her parents, not being horse orientated at all, were terrified!
She then proceeded to drag her long suffering parents around the country from gymkhana to show throughout her school years. An interest in Australian Stock Horses developed and for the latter part of this time she was seen going from the Best Hack over 15HH to the Working Stock Horse ring at breakneck speed.
After completing HSC (showing her age now) she worked and travelled overseas for several years before entering university with the aim of studying veterinary science. She was accepted into the veterinary science degree course at the University of Queensland in 1990 and graduated with first class honours in 1994.
Allison worked in rural practice both here and in England prior to gaining a job at the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital. She worked at GVEH for 5 years where her duties largely involved equine ambulatory, stud and reproductive medicine. She also obtained significant exposure to the heavy medical and surgical caseload at the hospital.
In 2008 she decided to start her own equine practice in the beautiful Ovens Valley near Wangaratta. Based from a 42 hectare property on the Great Alpine Road at Tarrawingee, Ovens Valley Equine continues to expand offering equine veterinary and reproductive services to clients from the North East region and beyond.
Allison has two young daughters and is surrounded by an incredibly supportive extended family and staff who allow her to continue to practice as a busy equine veterinarian and also be a mum.
She continues to breed Australian Stock Horses and has a special interest in polocrosse which she played for many years until life got too busy! She was thrilled to watch one of the Stock Horses she bred win three champion horse awards at the National Polocrosse Championships in Albury in 2016.
In addition to her obsession with horses Allison is very passionate about all things to do with snow, mountains and skiing and can be found (or maybe not) with some boards on her feet every winter. She is also very happy to go travelling... Anywhere! And cherishes quality time spent with her girls.
Dr Joanna Schirrman
Dr Jo’s horse gene has been blamed on her grandmother who was constantly putting toddler Joanna on the back of her friend’s welsh ponies. When she was 7 years old Joanna’s parents finally gave in to her begging and took her to riding lessons. It was hoped that this “horse fad” would wear off. But alas, it did not and has not worn off yet!
From a very early age Joanna was interested in veterinary science. During high school she worked as a vet nurse at the local vet hospital on weekends and during school holidays. This led to her studying pharmacology and in 1999 Joanna graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology. In 2000, Joanna completed a Diploma of Education (Secondary) and in 2001 she was teaching at Bentleigh Secondary School.
Throughout her school years Joanna rode anything she could beg or borrow. When she started university she bought her own horse, a Friesian Thoroughbred cross called Ben. Ben was her companion and love of her life and even went with her on teaching placement. In 2001, Ben got colic. During a nightmare night Joanna had to make the terrible decision to have him euthanased due to a ruptured bowel. This experience caused her to vow to fulfil her dream and go back to university to become a vet.
In 2002, Joanna moved to Perth to study Vet Science. When not in lectures she spent an awful lot of time in the equine barn at the vet school. It was also in WA that she discovered Polocrosse! Her best friend decided that Joanna had to give it a try, so using a borrowed horse, saddle and racquet, she became a new recruit at the South Midlands Polocrosse Club. She returned to Victoria in 2013 where she continued to play polocrosse with the Sale Club.
Joanna and partner Brendan moved to the North East in December 2017 and have since bought a property which they are enjoying renovating. They have 3 horses, two dogs, a cat and numerous sheep! When at Ovens Valley Equine, ask how Pixie came into Joanna’s life!
Dr Jo joined Ovens Valley Equine in early June 2019 bringing with her an interest in nutrition, hoof balance and biomechanical medicine. In her spare time she enjoys riding, cooking and frequenting clearing sales. She also has horses to break in and plans to dust that polocrosse racquet off in the near future.
Jodie was born in Wangaratta and started riding horses when she was 5. She began riding around the family farm but moved to competition barrel racing at the tender age of 12. This led to a long and distinguished career in rodeo competition. Jodie has qualified 26 times for the National Rodeo finals in both breakaway roping and barrel racing. She has been the Victorian champion in both events many times. She has been runner up Australian Breakaway Roping Champion and runner up Australian Rookie Barrel Racing Champion. She holds the Australian record for Steer Un-decorating with the APRA. She has won competitions all around Australia including the Darwin barrel racing and breakaway roping championships. Jodie spent years organising and running rodeo’s as well as competing. She has also broken in and trained many young horses of all breeds.
We were lucky to have Jodie come and work at Ovens Valley Equine in 2013. Initially she was involved with horse feeding and husbandry duties. Then she became our broodmare manager, organising mares for scanning and assisting our vets with mare preparation and treatments. With increased experience comes increased responsibility and she has now moved into our lead veterinary assistant role. She is a very practical and multi skilled person and it is a comfort to know that whatever the day brings she will have it covered. We won’t forget the day she retrieved a pair of dropped forceps from the liquid nitrogen environment of a frozen semen storage tank by inventing some contraption ….while the rest of us stood around and scratched our heads!
Jodie loves a joke and her sense of humour certainly helps alleviate the stress during a busy day in the middle of the breeding season. It’s not fair though because Jodie wins all the water fights because she’s always the one with the hose!!
Keith & Yvonne Arnott
Keith started work at Ovens Valley Equine in 2013. He has a long business background and owned and ran his own small business with his wife Yvonne for 33 years. They sold their business in 2010 and attempted to semi retire... before getting bored.
Keith is our administration and logistics manager for the majority of the year. He is often the person on the end of the phone when you call as well as being responsible for business administration and organising the logistics necessary to keep the business running smoothly. He can be found doing everything from creditors and budgets to driving semen shipments to couriers and picking up supplies from town. Yvonne also assists with solving the many logistical challenges that occur at Ovens Valley Equine during the breeding season.
They take some time off to work at Mount Hotham in the winter during Ovens Valley Equine’s quiet season. This satisfies Keith’s passion for skiing and Yvonne’s passion for good coffee!