OKC – Athletes from around the world are chomping at the bit to compete in the International Finals Rodeo at the state fairgrounds this weekend. A local veterinarian is caring for their animals, but she is also using the platform for a greater purpose, to inspire the next generation.

A lot has changed for Dr. Rebekah Hartfield over the past two years. Currently, she finds herself at the helm of health at the rodeo. “These horses are in top-notch shape and they look fantastic,” she says.

It is an important job ahead of the world championships. International Pro Rodeo Association general manager Dale Yerigan says, “I know contestants and stock contestants that think more of their livestock than they do their wives or husbands.”

Dr. Hartfield loves animals, too, and wants children to share her enthusiasm. Using experiences from her own farm and work in the field, she launched her veterinarian book series in 2017 with “Rosie the Pig”, and recently released “Pistol the Horse” is the second installment.

She travels the state sharing these educational stories in schools. Dr. Hartfield says, “It’s so cool to go back to some of these schools that I’ve already visited and the kids see me pull up and they’re like ‘Dr. H! Rosie!’ I’m like, ‘Well, I have Pistol this time.’”

Her goal is to combat the shortage of veterinarians in rural areas, and next month she is practicing what she preaches by opening her own practice. “I’m going to go and be in an area where there’s not any other veterinarians in the county,” she says, “so I’m excited to put my touch on that.”

“Rowdy the Dog” will be book number three, and you can expect it to hit shelves in August. We just hope she gets through this weekend without a new injury to inspire the next one.

Kids’ Day at the rodeo is Sunday starting at 11 a.m. and Dr. Hartfield will be signing books and speaking to young animal lovers about their shared passion. To learn more about her story, click here.