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Dr Nicky Holdstock

Nicky Holdstock

Senior Lecturer in Animal Reproduction

I was always going to be a vet. I remember crying on my first day at primary school because I was so homesick and being told that everyone has to go to school so that they can become what they want to be when they grow up. With tears streaming down my face I was confronted by the teacher asking the question ‘so Nicky dear, what do you want to be when you grow up?’. I said ‘I’m going to a vet’. Teacher, ‘no dear, you want to be a vet’. Me, ‘no I’m going to be a vet’ .... and it went on from there .....

No one in my family had ever been to university before so my first hurdle was getting into Cambridge. I remember the interviews etc that I went through and so consequently I take this on board now that I find myself on the other side of the interview desk.

I graduated from Cambridge Vet School in 1991 and was resolute that equine work was the thing for me. I decided that juggling a PhD and being in Practice at the same time would be a good idea (well, we get wiser as we get older!) and Rossdale & Partners, Newmarket, is where I found myself doing this. I don’t remember sleeping in those 4 years but I do remember that I was extremely happy because my learning curve was enormous. I worked as a stud vet at Rossdales for a further 5 years, gaining a certificate in internal and stud medicine. However, it was becoming obvious that being on call 24/7 wasn’t going to give me time to study around interesting cases, and trying to start a family in this environment was going to be even more difficult.

So in 2000 I moved back to Cambridge Vet School having been offered a clinical lectureship. It was suddenly wonderful to be in an environment where clinical work, teaching and research all take on the same importance. It gave me chance to spread my wings. In 2004 I became a recognised specialist in both Equine Internal Medicine and Stud Medicine, and subsequently have performed numerous Expert Witness work. I have also been chief examiner for the RCVS certificate and was on both RCVS and European Educational Boards.

I was always going to be a vet. I remember crying on my first day at primary school because I was so homesick and being told that everyone has to go to school so that they can become what they want to be when they grow up

 

In addition, I had the opportunity to research into my special interests in fetal/neonatal health and critical care. My learning curve continued to sore when I then spread my reproductive speciality into the field of exotic medicine, involving me in several endangered species breeding programmes. One opportunity lead to another and I became involved in game-capture, translocation and anti-poaching in South Africa. I continue to organise an annual course on Wildlife Game Capture held in South Africa.

When Little Holdstock was born in 2007, sadly in order to get the right work-life balance for me I had no choice but to become part-time. Consequently, my major involvement on the clinical and research side of things had to diminish and teaching is now my main remit. I miss the parts of my job that I had to ‘let go’, but I have absolutely no regrets in my decision because the rewards of motherhood for me are boundless. Also, and importantly, I’m still passionate about my job, because being at the University means I can help and see my students now start to spread their wings- something more powerful and precious to me than anything else.