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.
Merle was born with an obsession for horses! She grew up in Apollo Bay and spent her early years riding her pony and anyone else’s that she could borrow – no fear, she would ride anything. She spent her childhood at Pony Club competing in all disciplines. At 12 she started riding track work for a local trainer. She would exercise 4 or 5 horses, including her own, before school.
She started a jockey’s apprenticeship when she was 14 and somehow fitted this in amongst her hectic schedule. Female jockeys were a bit of a novelty then and she used to get changed into her silks in the female toilets, as no other facilities were provided.
She started breeding her own horses when she was 16. Some of her first foals were originals classified with the Australian Stock Horse Society. In the early days she had no real direction with her breeding program – she just loved quality horses of all breeds & enjoyed all aspects of competing.
Over the years she has had some memorable successes in many and varied equine endeavours including 3DE, show jumping, showing, racing, campdrafting and polocrosse. Under the banner of her stud name “Buckwell Park” horses she has bred have been exported to England (Show Jumper), NZ (Show Horses & Breeding Stallions), Italy (Dressage Stallion), Malaysia (Endurance Horses), China (Dressage Warmbloods). She has produced a number of Australian Champion Arabian derivatives, Royal Show Champions, Dressage and eventing stars. She is an accredited pony club instructor and has done quite a lot of judging over the years, which she enjoys. She now focuses on warmbloods and producing young stock for the select Auction of the Stars (Heath Ryan).
Along the way she has obtained a Diploma in Horse mastership and Horse Breeding through the British Horse Society. She has a Degree in Equine Science (CSU) and completed an Equine A.I. Course at Glenormiston Agricultural College. She taught equine studies for a number of years at Burdekin College, North Queensland and the Illawarra Institute of Technology.
Merle began working at Ovens Valley Equine in 2009. She is the lynch pin of the nursing staff and an integral part of the Ovens Valley Equine operations. During our busy breeding season she is our head nurse, stallion handler, laboratory manager and organiser of all semen shipments... a challenging portfolio. Her dry sense of humour, exceptional equine knowledge and thorough organisational skills are greatly appreciated by all of us at Ovens Valley Equine.
It should be noted at this point that she may have been born with an obsession for horses but in recent years this has been superseded... By an obsession with her pugs!
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 Steer Un-decorating record with the APRA. She has won competitions all around Australia including the Darwin barrel racing and breakaway roping championships.
Jodie and husband Russell spent years organising and running rodeo's as well as competing. They also broke in and trained many young horses of all breeds. Recently they have successfully turned their hand to training thoroughbred racehorses.
We were lucky to have Jodie come and work at Ovens Valley Equine in 2013. During the breeding season Jodie is our broodmare manager and oversees our mare husbandry and welfare. She organises mares for scanning and assists our vets with mare preparation and patient treatments. She is incredibly multi-talented and capable in all sorts of situations from fixing broken fences to retrieving forceps that have been dropped into the liquid nitrogen environment of a frozen semen storage tank!
Jodie loves a joke and her sense of humour certainly helps alleviate the stress during an overly busy day in the middle of the breeding season.
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!