Wanganui Veterinary Services' new vet can't wait to move to town and get some horses of her own.

She's so keen she's offering to give an evening talk on common horse health problems next month.

Wilna Labuschagne has been working here since April. It's her second vet job after five years' training at Massey University. She specialises in treating horses.

Other Whanganui equine vets Bill Stewart and Malcolm Jensen are closing in on retirement. There are lots of pleasure horses in the district and Labuschagne knows her services will be needed.


Horse health problems tend to be seasonal. At the moment they are mostly to do with wet and mud - hoof abscesses, inflamed lower legs and mud fever. In spring they tend to be related to mares giving birth and sick foals.

Labuschagne's passion is endurance riding - rides of more than 80km. She spent time at a South African endurance Arab stud, putting beginning horses through their first rides.

Endurance riding requires peak fitness, and horses on their first rides aren't allowed to travel more than 16km an hour. Her job was to pace them.

These days Labuschagne lives in Palmerston North, and her accountant husband works in Dannevirke. She looks forward to them both moving here, when she will get her own horses and get involved in endurance riding.

"There's quite an active distance riding community here, which is very exciting," she said.

"I would love to live in Whanganui. I think it has everything you need while still having a bit more of a rural feel."

* Her talk at 6.30pm on June 20 will be about horse health problems such as hoof abscesses and mud fever. The cost to attend will be a gold coin, with proceeds going to Riding for the Disabled (RDA). Those wishing to go must register with Wanganui Veterinary Services by ringing 349 0155.