Two days left to the large animal course! Today was our second horse day! We got up and drove to a horse ranch where they have a lodge and offer horseback riding through the jungle. The owners of the farm clearly have a bond with their horses and it was really amazing to see. We were there to practice performing physical examinations on horses. In total, I checked four horses. It was crazy how the procedure felt like second nature even though I had only learned it a week ago. I started at the front and worked my way back for each horse. For one of the horses, I had this amazing moment where I was listening for gut sounds to check out the digestive system when I heard a heartbeat instead. Usually, you can’t hear the heartbeat all the way at the back of the horse that strongly, but then I remembered that this specific mare was pregnant. It was a really beautiful moment that warmed my heart just a lil’ bit.
After we performed the physicals, we were all offered the opportunity to be given a jungle tour on horseback. We were split into two groups— experienced and inexperienced riders. There were a lot of girls in our group that has been riding since they were little, so I’m really glad they gave us the opportunity to not do something we were uncomfortable with. I was also really glad to do the beginner’s group because the tour was super slow and just consisted of walking through the jungle on horseback. My horse’s name was Gray and loved trying to get to the front of the line. The walk took about an hour and when we got back to the stable, the farm had prepared a beautiful lunch for us. It was a chicken and rice soup that was so so so delicious. They also baked the best brownies I have ever had. Next to us were hummingbird feeders and about 15 hummingbirds just buzzing around. The afternoon was so relaxed and felt surreal. It was the perfect way to end our last day in the field!
Friday, May 25th was a super busy day. We started off by having our presentations and the final exam at the Paws Vet Clinic. My roommate Sidney and I did our presentation on botfly larvae, commonly referred to as “beef worms” here in Belize. While at the Placencia Humane Society, there was a dog that was brought in with beef worms, so we wanted to learn more. For those who are unfamiliar, botflies lay eggs and their larvae dig into the skin of mammals and grow under the skin, feeding off of the tissue until they are old enough to pupate. (Yeah, they’re pretty gross.) The only species of botfly known to parasitize humans are found here in Belize!! After our presentation, we listened to the presentations by our peers and then took our final exam. After the final exam, we were done with class! The only thing left on the schedule was a barbecue at Dr. T’s home at 7 o’clock that night. So we went out into San Ignacio and used that time to really explore the town that we had lived in for two weeks. It was great taking the time to just exist rather than focusing on the next place we needed to get to. A group of us got chicken stuffed fry jacks from the amazing place called Mickey’s and then we got ice cream at the super delicious ice cream shop Scoops. After walking around San Ignacio’s market anstorefrontsts, we made our way back to Midas and used that time to pack our stuff and relax before dinner.
At the barbecue at Dr. T’s house was delicious. He cooked us steak and chicken and his whole family came over. His kids were watching videos on the TV and some people played soccer with his older kids. It was a great opportunity to talk with everyone and just relax. Then, we watched a video that our TA Shiloh made that compiled all of our pictures together and got to watch that together. In the end, a few people were crying. It’s crazy what strong connections you can form with people in just two weeks. I guess when you’re in such close proximity and spending every waking moment together, you get close. After dinner, some people wanted to go out to dance so we went to the Princess Casino in San Ignacio and went to the club inside the casino. Even though I’m now 21, this was my first time in a casino where I’d legally be able to gamble and it was a pretty interesting scene. A lot of carpet, it was eerily quiet, and everyone had the same blank stare. We danced in the club and the DJ was kind enough to play some American songs for us. When we left, it was like the final realization that we were all parting ways the next day. Luckily in this day and age, social media leaves us more connected than when we were together in the first place, it’s just going to be super weird not seeing these people every day.
Tomorrow 5/26, me and two other girls, Kayla and Angela leave San Ignacio for the Tropical Education Center where we’re starting our Wildlife Health, Ecology, and Conservation course. I’ve heard there is no A/C and a lot of bugs and potentially snakes. I’m nervous but optimistic but also I’m nervous. But all in all, it’s been real Large Animal. :^)