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 Jo’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 Dr Jo 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 Jo 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 Jo 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 Jo had to make the terrible decision to have him euthanised 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, Jo 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 helping out or running reception. 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.
Dr Jo and fiancé Brendan moved to the North-East in December 2017 and have a property in Beechworth where they have three horses, two dogs, a cat and numerous sheep! In 2021, they welcomed a baby boy - Spencer into their family! Every chance she gets, Dr Jo gets Spencer out with the animals and hopes to develop his own horse gene!
Dr Jo joined Ovens Valley Equine in early June 2019 bringing with her an interest in nutrition, hoof balance and biomechanical medicine. She is fascinated with fascia and the profound effect hoof balance has on body movement.
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!
Dr Adelaide Ellison
From a very young age Adelaide has always been animal and particularly horse obsessed, and can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be a vet. Growing up in Melbourne, it was difficult to satisfy her passion for horses and the country, but Adelaide was determined, and growing up was at her grandparent’s and friend’s farms every chance she could. She eventually wore her parents down and managed to take her very own horse to pony club!
After finishing school Adelaide travelled over to the United Kingdom, working as a polo groom for two years in the beautiful Cotswolds and backpacking through Europe between the busy polo seasons. It was here that she really fostered her interest in performance horse medicine and lameness. After somewhat satiating the travelling bug, Adelaide came back to Australia to study Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. Throughout her studies Adelaide’s interest in a career as an equine vet developed further as she worked as an after-hours nurse at the CSU Equine Hospital, getting exposure to a variety of interesting emergency cases.
Adelaide graduated from Charles Sturt University in July, 2022 and moved up to the Upper Hunter Valley to pursue her equine interests and complete the 12-month rotating internship at Scone Equine Hospital. Here she gained valuable experience in all aspects of equine practice, including surgery, anaesthesia, medicine and intensive care, yearling sales radiography and sports medicine. Adelaide absolutely loved her busy time at Scone Equine but was excited to come back down south to the North East, an area she has always adored.
In September 2023, Adelaide joined the team at Ovens Valley Equine, having loved her time here on placement as a veterinary student in 2021. Whilst she is passionate about all aspects of equine ambulatory practice, Adelaide has a particular love for sports medicine and lameness.
When not at work, you’ll find Adelaide spending time with her husband Brad, their collies Sally and Sam and cat, Margaret Scratcher. They love everything outdoors, including riding their horses and camping and are also very excited to explore all the wineries in the North East!
Dr Jane Nelson
Hailing from the other side of the ditch, Jane’s desire to become a vet dates back to when she was only 4 years old. Her earliest memories with horses were spent with her aunty in Coatesville, New Zealand where she rode growing up. Despite being thrown into various smelly and sticky foaling and calving situations on-farm as a teenager, she was not put off large animal veterinary work! After a year at Massey University in Palmerston North, New Zealand, Jane pursued warmer and drier climates and made the move to Wagga Wagga, NSW to complete her veterinary studies. Throughout university, Jane could be found borrowing housemates’ horses for an evening hack.
Jane graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science with Honours in 2020. Following this, she moved south for a 13-month internship at Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital. During her internship, Jane was thrown into all varieties of equine referral work including anesthesia, internal medicine, surgery and reproduction.
In August 2021, Jane joined the team at Ovens Valley Equine and has loved every minute of working in such a beautiful part of North-East Victoria. Although she loves working in all areas of equine practice, Jane has a particular interest in equine internal medicine and reproduction. She will be the first to put her hand up to look after a sick foal in the springtime or take on an ophthalmology case.
Jane’s interests outside of horses include skiing, camping, cooking and spending time with her fiancé Pat and their Dogue de Bordeaux, Freya.
Tahnee grew up on a farm in the Indigo Valley just out of Wodonga, with her mum, dad, two older brothers who liked to pick on her a lot, a cat called Charlie and numerous Labradors. Having ridden since she was able to crawl, Tahnee has since been constantly bothering her dad to ride and teach her new things from shoeing to breaking in/starting horses and has unfortunately inherited his “hunchback” while riding which she is desperately trying to get rid of.
Her competing repertoire has included Team Yarding, Campdrafting, the occasional One Day Event and continuing to learn at horse breaking clinics and shoeing clinics with Carl O’Dwyer. After finishing Year 12, Tahnee moved north to work at Vinery Stud in Scone, NSW. Initially working as a stud hand, she moved up to 2nd In Charge of the Hospital/Foaling unit. While in Scone, she undertook and obtained her Certificate IV in Veterinary Nursing, logging many hours of work at Scone Equine Hospital and the Muswellbrook Small Animal Hospital on weekends and days off. After 3 and a half years, Tahnee decided she was ready to be home and closer to family (as Scone was a mere 10hr drive). Not long after returning home she worked as a receptionist at her old school, The Scots School Albury. It wasn’t long before Tahnee missed working with her four-legged friends and started a job at Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital as a Veterinary Nurse in August 2020. Whilst at Goulburn Valley, Tahnee was heavily involved in surgeries as well as looking after neonatal foals. It was then in December 2021 Tahnee joined us at OVE.
Tahnee lives out in St James with her partner Matt and still with her cat, Charlie and her own Labrador, Elsie. She enjoys continuing working horses that her dad has bred, getting them ready to compete and hoping to one day own a farm and breeding her own. In February 2023, Tahnee completed an Equine Bowen Therapy Course with the International School of Bowen Therapy and is enjoying treating horses after work and on weekends. She is always looking for more courses to upskill and expand her nursing career.
Wyatt joined the Ovens Valley Equine team in June 2022. Born and bred in Chicago, Wyatt attended Northern Illinois University where he received a Bachelor in Business Marketing and Communications. Always a lover of adventure, Wyatt has spent time living all around the U.S. and Australia, including Alaska, Tasmania, New South Wales and his current home, Victoria. Wyatt is extremely well-rounded, with business experience in a multitude of industries including manufacturing, wellness, hospitality, and the Victorian Thoroughbred industry.
Wyatt is your first port of call on a day-to-day basis, you can find him arranging the appointment schedule, running accounts, and tending to your administrative requests. If you can’t find Wyatt in the clinic, be sure to follow the booming American laugh and he won’t be far!
In his off-time, Wyatt enjoys spending time planting trees and plants wherever there is room and traveling with his partner.