To be an AgWoman you don’t have to be hands on farming day in day out. However, we know many farmers enjoy visiting Kelly Burnett who since graduating as an Osteopath has been lucky enough to be offered the opportunity to work alongside the inspiring Osteopath Dr. Neil Patel. He planted this seed in Kelly’s head for her now growing client base where she has begun to help farmers in practice with pain, movement and maximising their performance from their bodies.
Kelly spent the first 18 months of her life in the Falkland Islands where she was born whilst her parents were there managing a station. With her brother’s arrival on the way they made their way back to New Zealand. Following her parent’s separation, she grew up with memories of farm life and the rural lifestyle as well as Dunedin city. She has always had a love for all animals but has a special affection for horses in particular.
Throughout her childhood and teenage years, she was involved in pony club, eventing and showjumping and later on barrel racing. Spring and summer throughout her high school and university holidays were spent helping her Dad out with his mulsing and tailing contract runs moving from farm to farm throughout Otago and the Mackenzie Basin. “We were so lucky to see and experience the range of properties and hospitality shown to us by so many wonderful people.”
Upon leaving high school Kelly was sure that animal health was where she wanted to base her career so she pursued a qualification in veterinary nursing. After a couple of years working in a few other industries as well as returning to the tailing gang at various points she got itchy feet and went and spent some time with the Whitcher family in Texas. During this time, it was made clear that she needed a career that she was really passionate about and loved.
After returning home and doing some work experience she had her heart set on helping people and the human health care industry was in her sights in the form of nursing or paramedics. A chance encounter and conversation with her then osteopath, and now boss, upended her set plans and he talked her into potentially heading down the manual therapy track. He thought that an upbringing with animals and horses would have instilled a great understanding for feel and compassion. Following this conversation, she realised that there weren't many farms she had visited where she hadn't seen a sore or injured farmer.
After some quick deliberation and an interview, Kelly was accepted and on her way to Auckland to study a Bachelor of Applied Science in Human Biology and then a Masters Degree in Osteopathy. It was a challenging 6 years to gain both of them in the city for a girl from the quiet country. But always one to upturn a challenge into a positive, it was a no brainer that her masters research would turn to focus on something rural. She turned her attention to interviewing a group of farmers throughout Otago and Southland about their attitudes and experiences of pain and help seeking behaviour towards general mainstream medicine and holistic manual therapies. “Everywhere I went there was a farmer who had an injury and did not know where to get help or understanding advice.”
Kelly is now based in Dunedin with Dr. Neil Patel and the wonderful team at Consultancy House Clinic and is loving every minute of it.
Kelly, it sounds like you have truly found your calling and we are sure there will be many appreciative farmers out there seeking your advice and skills.