September 7th 2018

Veterinary surgeon takes part in Melton parade

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Horses in the parade in Melton Mowbray

A qualified Veterinary surgeon from the Army Reserve’s only military working dog unit took part in a Leicestershire parade that was organised to celebrate 100 years of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps’ (RAVC) Royal Warrant.

Lieutenant Tessa Muir, aged 32, serves with 101 Military Working Dog Squadron, and was part of the mounted contingent of RAVC Officers during a parade in Melton Mowbray that marched through the streets 100 years after HM King George V awarded the RAVC’s Royal Warrant in 1918 giving the Defence Animal Centre a permeant home in the town.

The Defence Animal Training Regiment, formally known as the Defence Animal Training Centre, is based at Remount Barracks in the town and is home to Equine, Canine and Veterinary services.

Tessa has always had an interest in joining the military for a number of reasons: seeking a career with a breath of challenges, new opportunities and that her family have served in the forces over a number of generations.

After living and working overseas for a number of years, when Tessa moved back to the UK she researched the role of a veterinary officer and started the application process.

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The parade through Melton Mowbray

She explained: “The parade through Melton Mowbray is one of a number of events organised by the RAVC this year to celebrate being in the town for 100 years. It was fantastic to be part of the mounted contingent and parade alongside over 200 dismounted officers, soldiers and military working dogs from the animal centre. The crowd was about five people deep in places which was great to see.”

As a keen horse rider, Tessa has an established base of riding fitness but still took part in the pre-parade training riding the horses as part of the mounted contingent for a week before hand under the watchful eye of representatives from the Household Cavalry.

Tessa continued: “Military training in advance of the parade included a variety of mounted sessions, including sword drill and an early morning rehearsal ride following the parade route. We were shown how to prepare the horses such as the specifics of tacking up with military kit including the saddle, bridle and accessories.”

In her civilian job Tessa works as an Anti-Doping Manager for the British Horseracing Authority. She oversees the sports equine testing programme and the rider resting programme.

Although on the face of it, Tessa’s military and civilian roles seem different there are a number of crossovers in her skillset.

Tessa said: “Both of my roles require a strong ability to work effectively in a team environment and perform well in high pressure, often time critical environments. Life can be incredibly busy, particularly at certain times of the year when there are major racing events on. I am extremely fortunate to have a very supportive civilian employer that enables me to balance my commitments effectively.”

Looking to the future Tessa is set to travel to Cyprus to provide veterinary cover for her full-time Army counterparts and is looking forward to the opportunities the trip will provide.

"It was fantastic to be part of the mounted contingent and parade alongside over 200 dismounted officers, soldiers and military working dogs from the animal centre."