New BEVA Unbridled Sessions Give Free Rein to Work/Life Discussion

BEVA Unbridled is a new series of discussions about the non-clinical elements of equine veterinary practice.
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BEVA Unbridled is a new series about veterinary work/life balance.

BEVA Unbridled, a new series of three frank discussions about some of the non-clinical elements of life and work, kicked off last month and already appears to be hitting the spot. The first webinar attracted a highly engaged audience of veterinary professionals.

Hosted by BEVA’s Veterinary Projects Officer Lucy Grieve, the sessions are providing airtime for some of the non-clinical topics that can impact the profession. The outcomes should help identify some of the hurdles around recruitment and retention within the veterinary sector. 

The first session, held in July, navigated the sensitive territory of how personal lives can affect capacity to work.

Four panelists spoke openly and honestly about their experiences of work-life balance as equine vets:

Lorna Brokenshire-Dyke: Ambulatory vet, equine physiotherapist, Master’s student, and mother of twins, including a child with a disability, shared her thoughts on juggling the work-life balance in equine practice.

Spike Milligan: Performance horse consultant spoke about how he works as an integral part of his clients’ teams alongside raising a family.

Natalie McGoldrick: Sole practitioner and 4* level event rider discussed how she manages equine practice alongside her string of competition horses.

Ian Beamish: Lambourn vet and father of three spoke about how he balances the demands of racing work with home life.

The informal evening event brought up important discussions about the needs and wants of students and new grads, and how they change over time as life evolves throughout adulthood. 

“A strong take-home message, which applies to everyone, not just vets, is to determine what you want,” said Lucy Grieve. “Each individual has a responsibility to themselves to work out what they want during the course of their life. It will likely change and adapt with age, but that focus on a goal belongs solely with the individual. 

“What was clear from the panelists is a realization that they wanted something, and their ability to determine ways to achieve those goals. Then they were able to create a career which worked for them and those around them. That feeling of having an aim, a purpose and autonomy over one’s future is not often there from day one, and this is not a failure. Conversely, it is how life often works. 

“You are unlikely to know what you want, or what is realistically achievable until you have the experience required to own that knowledge. That applies to life but also work.”

The next session will be held in mid-August, with the finale taking place live at BEVA Congress (September 13-16, 2023, at the ICC Birmingham)

EDI Isn’t a New Thing

Wednesday, August 16, at 8pm (UK time)

How equality, diversity and inclusion can improve our workplaces and ourselves.

Flexible Working

Thursday, September 14, at 5pm (UK time) 

The finale of BEVA Unbridled will be held live at BEVA Congress 2023. On the sofas in registration, wine in hand, the panelists will flesh out the challenges and solutions to flexible working in equine practice.

To sign up and to listen to a recording of the first BEVA Unbridled session:

Part three of BEVA Unbridled at this year’s Congress is just one of a number of program highlights of a non-clinical nature. Other sessions include How are practices adapting to flexible working patterns and EDI in practice: chronic illness, LGBT, neurodiversity and ethnicity. In addition, BEVA Congress’s world-famous social scene includes four special social events and more than 200 pubs, clubs and restaurants within a mile of the ICC to enjoy.

BEVA members’ prices for Congress are £679 for vets and £260 for nurses for all three days (with concessionary prices available for those in their first three years of graduation or earning less than £25,000). Day tickets are also available. 

To find out more and to book your tickets, visit

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