Internships & Externships
Park Equine Hospital offers a variety of undergraduate and post graduate programs, including internships, externships, preceptors, and exchange students. Internships are offered to recent graduates who are licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and are looking to gain hands on experience. Externships, preceptors, and exchange student programs are offered to veterinary students who are looking for an educational experience under the supervision of practicing veterinarians.

Please direct Internship Program inquires to

Rebecca Christel, DVM

Originally from Long Island, New York, Dr. Rebecca Christel received a Bachelor of Science in Biology from High Point University in North Carolina, and her DVM from Ross University. Her clinical year was at Texas A&M University.

As a child, Dr. Christel tried saving every sick and stray animal she encountered. She knew she wanted to become a veterinarian while she was on a veterinary mission trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua during her undergraduate years. Learning new skills and being able to use them to aid and better a community was just one of the many experiences that eventually led her to veterinary school.

Prior to graduation, Dr. Christel worked in ICU at a VCA Referral and emergency Animal Hospital in New York. She came to Kentucky for the vast horse population and culture. Dr. Christel said Park Equine Hospital was the right fit for her as the veterinarians and staff come together as a family to help each other out and every patient is taken care of as if it were their own horse. The relationship with the clients is truly special.

Dr. Christel’s favorite part about her job is that no two cases are exactly the same. Not only is there the chance to treat horses, but also to learn from each and every patient along the way.

Dr. Christel enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, and horseback riding when she’s not at the clinic.



Nicholas Rataj, DVM

Originally from Florida, Dr. Nicholas Rataj moved to Kentucky when he was two-years-old, and it’s been home ever since.

Dr. Rataj attended Murray State University, where he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Agriculture as a pre-veterinary major, and also received a chemistry minor.  After undergraduate, Dr. Rataj decided to take a semester at the University of Louisville for completion of one class while waiting on his acceptance into veterinary school.  Dr. Rataj earned his DVM in 2017 from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. Rataj’s first veterinary related job started during high school and continued part time through college at Crestwood Animal Hospital. He worked as a kennel technician and eventually became a veterinary assistant.  As his interests grew in large animal medicine, Dr. Rataj took on a student job for nearly three years in the hospital barns at Auburn Universities J.T. Vaughan Large Animal Hospital.  His senior year in veterinary school he was employed as a large animal student resident and worked after hours emergencies.

Dr. Rataj chose Park Equine Hospital because of the reputation of the practice and the great things he had heard from previous employees/interns; he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to jump in. He also says there is no better place to be immersed in a variety of horse experiences like central Kentucky.

His favorite thing about his position at Park Equine is the fact that he gets to see horses get better, and have a significant part in it.  It’s that warm feeling that he’s worked so hard towards.

When he’s not at the clinic, Dr. Rataj enjoys just about everything, especially if it involves being outside.  He likes to make winter trips snowboarding, and beach trips for surfing.  He also enjoys hoping on his horse and leisurely make it through some trails, and playing music

Tanner Walls, DVM

Originally, from Chillicothe, Ohio, Tanner Walls received her Bachelors of Science in Animal Science and Biology and an Associate of Arts in Western Equestrian Studies from the University of Findlay. She received her DVM from The Ohio State University in 2017.

Dr. Walls knew she wanted to become a veterinarian at an early age. She grew up showing horses and instantly fell in love with them and the industry.

Dr. Walls chose Park Equine Hospital because of the variety of cases and interests of the doctors, as well as the comfortable and welcoming environment of the clinic. Her favorite part of her job is seeing the variety of cases and seeing the improvement in the horse after working up, diagnosing, and treating the problem.

When Dr. Walls isn’t at the clinic, she enjoys reading, riding, hiking, and spending time with her family and dogs.