Externship Program

Compassionate and High Quality Care

Are you a veterinary student who is interested in an externship?
General Information:


Pioneer Equine Hospital is located in California’s central valley in Oakdale, California. 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 equine surgery and lameness. From those deep roots, Pioneer has grown to become a full service referral hospital. In addition, we provide full service primary care on both an outpatient and ambulatory basis.

Doctors and Staff: We have 7 veterinarians, including three board certified surgeons, a certified veterinary chiropractor, and a certified veterinary acupuncturist. We also have five intern veterinarians, as well as one part-time veterinarian who specialize in orthopedic and soft tissue ultrasound. There are fourteen equine health technicians and five front office staff members.


Type of Practice: 100% equine practice – predominantly performance horse with emphasis on western performance and hunter/jumper/dressage, but also serves the local backyard equine community.


Caseload: We see around 5,700 horses annually with the following breakdown:

    • Lameness (including pre-purchase exams) – 35%
    • Reproductive – 10%
    •  Surgery – 15%
    • Emergency/medicine – 25%
    • Primary Care (ambulatory, dentistry, preventive medicine) – 15%.




The hospital is a 22,000 square foot full service facility on 20 acres in Oakdale, California. 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 seven large examination rooms including a specialty room for standing surgery, radiology, ultrasound, and endoscopy. The covered lameness area is 140×300 ft with hard and soft ground for optimal evaluation. We have the only high field equine MRI in northern California and a Pegaso CT, which has an impressive 120cm gantry. There are two 20 stall barns which separate the surgical and lameness patients from the medical and emergency cases. The on-site podiatry center offers highly skilled farriers who see outside appointments and also work closely with the veterinarians in cases that need therapeutic or corrective shoeing. Our reproductive services include assisted reproductive technology, artificial insemination, subfertile mare management, foaling, breeding soundness evaluations, as well as full service stallion management and collection of semen for shipping and freezing at our stallion center.




Pioneer Equine Hospital offers externships for veterinary students regardless of class year. Externships can vary in duration, but we encourage a stay of two weeks (shorter duration stays can be arranged for students interested in our internship). We provide housing (free of charge) with a full kitchen and satellite television for up to six externs at one time. The externships are very educational and interactive; externs will offer assistance with out-patient and hospitalized cases, as well as provide support during business and after-hours emergencies. This provides a 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 must 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.


Externs will be assigned daily to one of the associates or surgeons. 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 reproductive center (1.5 miles from our main hospital) and on ambulatory calls to ensure they have experienced all aspects of Pioneer Equine Hospital.


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