"You get to know everyone locally here. The clients are so welcoming"

- Ian Wickham, Vet at Hay Vets

Could you tell us about yourself and how you came to Hay Vets? 

I graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2016. After university, I went to work in Somerset for a six-month maternity cover and ended up working there for five years doing farm and equine, which is what I still do now. My interest has always been in the farm animal side of things, and as I was going through university, I decided I had an interest in equine too. 

I moved here and started working at Hay Vets two years ago. I wanted to join a practice somewhere I could settle down and raise a family with my partner. We’d never been to this area before, but I saw the advert and came to visit the area for an interview. We decided then and there that we wanted to move up here and settle down. 

I grew up on the Isle of Wight with farms all around, and farming was always a part of life for us. My granddad was a dairyman, so in primary school, I made a pact with my best friend that I would become a vet and he would become a helicopter pilot, and we both stuck to our word and have done that! 

I love working with farms because you're not only helping to maintain the welfare of the animals but also helping someone in their everyday life as a farmer, which is important to me.

What’s your impression of living here, coming in as someone new to the area?

You get to know everyone locally here. The clients are so welcoming. The fact that we're straddling the border of England and Wales is handy, and just as a place to live it is very peaceful and beautiful. 
During university, I was a kayaking instructor, so living on the edge of the River Wye is perfect for me. I’m often out and out about on my kayak, but there are things here for everyone. My partner is training to be a teacher and she's written a children's book, so having Hay nearby where they're big into their books and they have the Hay book festival is useful. We’ve discovered so much great stuff about the area living here, and it suits us well. 

Although you are out and about a lot in your work, how would you describe the team bond at the practice?

I’m on the road a lot of the time, but when I am back at the practice everyone is so helpful and friendly. We've got a good team of nurses, vets, and receptionists who are always there to help out.

 The receptionists are great at managing my time which means I can focus on being out on the road working with the animals and with our farmers. I’ve only been here two years so I’m one of the newer members of the team, and they all help me out. They all know the local area so somebody in the practice will always know where to send me if I'm lost! It's a great team here. 

What kind of cases do you see?

In terms of the equine side, we are doing a lot of first-opinion ambulatory work. So that goes from your routine vaccines up to doing lameness workups. We also do a fair amount of reproductive work which you don't see in every first-opinion practice. That's something that moving here from my last job was a step up for me which I enjoy. 

I’ve managed to do a lot here, including things like scanning tendons, lameness workups, reproductive work - it's all really rewarding. There are also your herd health plans, castrations, and feeding. All sorts, really! Around here it's predominantly beef and sheep, which is very different to what I was doing before where I predominantly worked with dairy. It’s been a real change for the better for me, and I find it interesting.

What are you proud of in your career so far? 

It’s not necessarily a specific single thing, but in any case, where there's a good outcome, I would say that I'm proud of that. Even from your simplest lambing to bigger operations and more serious situations where there's a poor prognosis, and you manage to help that animal pull through – that's something to be proud of. I’m just happy if I've made a difference really on any day, and if I’ve ensured a good outcome, I’m proud of that.

What are you looking to achieve or to work on in the future? 

I’m always aiming towards working more proactively, so you're getting ahead and working with farmers on prevention. That can be with clinical clubs or working closely with horse owners, and doing talks where you can get ahead of things and potentially change people's understanding by teaching. 

We want to be proactive, to teach people and prevent illness. That’s better value for them and better for the welfare of the animal. That’s something I’m always looking to achieve, I love working with our clients so that they’re learning as well as us. 

You’ve mentioned kayaking, but what else is there in the local area you like to do outside of work? 

Kayaking is a big thing for me, but this is also a great area for walking as we’re really close to the Brecon Beacons. 

My partner and I have just had a newborn baby named Chester who’s just over five months old – so still keeping us up at night! I’m looking forward to getting out in the countryside with him once he's old enough to walk. It’s just a nice area to be in, which is why we decided that it would be a good choice to come and settle down here. 

It's a welcoming place to be, there are all sorts of sports and all sorts of people on both the English side and the Welsh side. 

It’s a great community to be living and working in. 

Opportunities at Hay Vets

Join the IVC Evidensia Graduate Academy 2023 and find the very best start to your Veterinary career. Ours is a truly mixed practice with opportunities to learn from and engage with a huge variety of cases in all species

Find out more & apply today

We are looking for a Farm/Equine Veterinary Surgeon to join our friendly, caring team in the beautiful market town of Hay-on-Wye.

Find out more & apply today


We are looking for a Small Animal Vet to join our friendly, caring team in the beautiful market town of Hay-on-Wye.
You will be working with a dedicated, loyal and kind crew, and we’re excited about expanding it as the practice grows. 

Find out more & apply today


Get in touch

If you are interested in finding out more about our exciting job opportunities, our talent team will be happy to talk in confidence about the different options available to you.

Contact Jim Dixon directly: jim.Dixon@ivcevidensia.com