IT was a Friday night and I had received the call as I was closing the clinic. A horse had gone down with colic on a smallholding between Eston and Richmond. I did as I was told, leaving my long pants and short-sleeved shirt draped over the bed and my Jim Greens on the floor below, emerging in my khaki overalls with cut-off sleeves. I tip-toed over the carpeted floor in my socks, trying my best to render the odd holes inconspicuous by walking with my feet almost on top of each other. It was not the environment where sub-standard apparel was acceptable. Pierre Cardin would be ideal, Horse and Hound preferable, Protecto-Wear tolerated, Bargain Bin avoidable. Kind of ruled me out. My gumboots were under my arm, as I did not want to leave a trail of dried-out farmyard debris on her Persian rugs. She was waiting impatiently in the hall, her stare direct and critical, an attempt I assumed, to determine if I was an adequate alternative to the specialised horse vets from Summerveld. I felt, it must be said, like an ox at an auction.