The Rainbow Equine Clinic (as was), based at a former farm in Old Malton, was set up in 1986 by Bob Ordidge. Whilst nowadays it is furnished with the latest, high tech equipment, in the beginning, things were very different!
One of Bob’s funniest memories from the early days was when he would operate on horses in the straw whilst hens wandered in and out – sometimes laying eggs in the process!
As the practice’s client base grew, Bob realised he needed to expand and so Ieuan Pritchard came on board, becoming a partner in 1988. They were joined by Alastair Nelson in 1994, who became a partner in 1996 and a driving force in the development of the technical side of veterinary work, designing and operating a system to perform standing CT scans on horses, the first system of its kind in the world.
The expertise and standards of care available at the practice were acknowledged in 2009 when the Rainbow Equine Clinic became the Rainbow Equine Hospital, one of only two equine hospitals in the north of England to be accredited by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). The RCVS status indicates that the hospital specialises in the field of equine medicine and surgery and is testimony to the enormous amount of hard work put into the practice by a team of highly skilled and dedicated vets, nurses and practice staff.
Although as a veterinary practice Rainbow has grown tremendously since 1986, one thing that hasn’t changed is the personal approach the whole Rainbow team adopts with its clients (both the two legged and four legged varieties!). This is perhaps best illustrated by a story recounted by Paula Croft, a Rainbow client who has been bringing her horses to the practice for eight years:
“I was new to the area and didn’t have an equine vet and I’d just rescued a small Shetland pony which was tied at the side of the road. It was not much bigger than a Labrador and I really loved him to bits,” she says.
One day, Sugar, as I called him, was set on by a Rottweiler and English bull terrier and they mutilated his face. It was awful – bones were showing and he and I were covered in blood as I fought the dogs off. I bundled him into the car and looked in the Yellow Pages and found Rainbow Equine Clinic, so I drove there and pulled up outside, I didn’t know what else to do.
“I could hardly speak I was so distraught but they were so kind and lifted Sugar out of the car. Ieu worked for hours stitching him up, and the girls in the office looked after me,” she adds.
“Sugar was in there for a long time, and during his stay, a deer was knocked down at the side of the road and no one wanted to know or do anything about it, so Ieu went out and got the deer and mended its leg and when I went to see Sugar, there was a small deer in with him.
“Over the years I’ve seen the practice develop, but they still have the personal touch and they’re a wonderful team. They are all so compassionate and all try their best, from the stable girls right up to the top partners.”
As well as deer and Shetland ponies Rainbow continues to care for horses from all walks of life, and for all sorts of conditions, from race horses to pets, and from colic to scintigraphy.
If you would like to discuss any concerns you have about your horse, please contact the practice – the staff would be more than happy to help and offer advice.