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Externship Opportunities

Are You a Veterinary Student Who Is Interested in an Externship?

General Information:
Pioneer Equine Hospital is located in California’s central valley near Oakdale, CA. We are nestled between the foothills of the Sierra Mountains and the valley’s vast agricultural landscape.  Pioneer Equine Hospital opened its doors in 1973, when two veterinarians had a vision to form the premier equine veterinary clinic in the area. Drs. Britton and Black built one of the most recognized equine hospitals in the country for their foremost work in equine surgery and lameness. Since its opening, the doctors and staff have been successful in not only excelling in equine patient care but more importantly creating an atmosphere that welcomes a diverse population of equine disciplines to Pioneer Equine Hospital. 

Doctors and Staff:
We have six staff veterinarians, two of whom are board certified surgeons, and four intern veterinarians. In addition, we have two part-time veterinarians that specialize in orthopedic and soft tissue ultrasound. There are eleven equine health technicians, four resident farriers, and three front office staff.

Type of Practice:
100% equine practice - predominantly performance horse with emphasis on the w

western performance and hunter / jumper / dressage.

Caseload - We see around 3500 horses annually with the following breakdown: Lameness (including pre-purchase exams) - 40%, Reproductive -15%, Surgery -15%, Colic - 5%, Miscellaneous (ambulatory, dentistry, preventative medicine) - 20%.

The hospital is a 22,000 square foot full service facility on 20 acres in Oakdale, CA. It has two spacious surgical suites with adjacent viewing rooms. There are four padded induction/recovery rooms which are utilized by surgery and MRI. There are 4 large examination rooms with a radiology and ultrasound/endoscopy specialty rooms. The lameness area is 140X300 ft covered with hard and soft ground for optimal evaluation. We have the only high field MRI in northern California with room for Nuclear Scintigraphy in the future. There are two 20 stalls barns which separate the surgical and lameness patients from medical and emergency cases. The on-site podiatry center offers two resident farriers who see outside appointments as well as work closely with the veterinarians in cases that need therapeutic or corrective shoeing.

The reproductive center is located at our original facility on 2.5 acres only 1.5 miles from our new hospital. It is a Select Breeders Affiliate and is USDA approved for mare breeding management, stallion phantom training, semen collection and semen cryopreservation, and foaling. Additionally, we offer embryo transfer with an on-site recipient herd as well as embryo vitrification. It contains 27 stalls and 8 pens that are situated around a large treatment room and collection shed with a laboratory and reproductive pharmacy.

Pioneer Equine Hospital offer externships for veterinary students regardless of class year. Externships can vary in duration, but we encourage a stay of at least 2 weeks but a shorter duration can be arranged for students interested in our internship.  We provide housing (free of charge) with a full kitchen and cable TV for up to 6 externs at one time. We consider our externship very “hands-on” and interactive in that externs will offer assistance with out-patient and hospitalized cases, as well as provide support during business- and after-hours emergencies.  As such, our externship provides an unique opportunity for veterinary students to gain a great deal of practical experience in a clinical equine private practice and observe the daily operations of an equine hospital. 

Students are strongly encouraged to provide their own transportation to and from the clinic.  If traveling from out of state, most students will fly in and out of Sacramento International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Oakland International Airport, San Jose International Airport, or Modesto Municipal Airport.  Greyhound Bus Lines and taxi services can also be utilized to provide transportation to our clinic.  There is no dress code for the externship, however, we ask that veterinary students wear either nice jeans or khakis with collared shirts.

Externs will assist associate and intern veterinarians with daily clinical responsibilities involved in treating hospitalized patients and outpatient appointments. Students will have ample time to assist with general anesthesia and surgical observation. Additionally, externs are encouraged to spend time at our Reproduction Center (1.5 miles from main hospital) and on ambulatory calls to ensure they have experienced the full extent of Pioneer Equine Hospital.


To apply for an externship, please send a resume and letter of intent to Dr. Kami Vickerman at