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  1. #21
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    Jan. 21, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
    OP... you should FORGET anything and everything the promoters at SCAD tell you. Their goal is to get you to pay tuition to the school. Nothing else.

    As others have mentioned, a straight up business degree is a good, good thing. You could develop your own business, with real paying work, doing the business/tax/accounting side of things for horse folks who don't have a clue.

    Forget about getting a job as an assistant trainer, barn manager, etc. Most of those jobs suckety suck suck. They are always turning over help because no sane, sober person can deal with the BS for long....

    The truth of the matter is that in order to 'make it' in the horse business you usually have to 'make it' yourself. Make your own business, work, etc. Working for others is, very often, a hot mess. Horse people very often SUCK as employers, leaders, and business managers. Hence all the hiring of illegal help, paid under the table, that quits on a regular basis.....

    I started my college career at Lake Erie (transferred after the 1st year.) It was such a joke, I don't know where to begin. There were two 'castes' of students. Girls who came from affluent backgrounds and brought their own horses. And the other, less privileged, girls who did the grooming and shit work.....

    The smart cookies in the horse world get a good degree/job (you could be an electrician, plumber, or something else that pays well....) and then keep a riding string on the side. They are smart because they rider other people's horses..... They have a 'real job,' and a business of a few clients that breaks even. Thus they ride, they pay nothing in the end, and they still have the security of honest employment...

    If you are sick in the head, like me... then you can go all in on the horse thing. So long as you don't mind being poor, injured, uninsured, and generally on the edge of doom on a regular basis. For some of us, there is no other option besides 'all in.' If you are lucky, your are not one of us.
    Oh trust me, fingers are crossed SCAD wont be a complete waste of my time. As long as I learn something that's all I can ask for! Here's to jumping in with my head first. As someone else always mentioned, it's not like I'm stuck there forever, I can always transfer out or switch degrees if things aren't as planned. I am curious as to what kind of degree Lake Erie offered and if it's the same level that SCAD offers. ( http://www.scad.edu/forms/pdf/Equestrian-broch.pdf is pretty detailed if anyone is interested ) Although it's a no brainer to say that everything that has to do with horses goes by the rule of 'there's two different kinds of people in this world...'

    Ultimately I would like to own my own business down the line!

    And I unfortunately might be just like you. It's quite like a disease isn't it?



  2. #22
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    Some day the mental health professionals will realize we are all nuts. Then they probably won't let us have guns..... Anyhow, you sound hopeless. So best of luck. There's always more room at the bottom !!



  3. #23
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    But in answer to your original query for "advice for down the line," I would say the following.

    Get used to it. It only gets worse.


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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
    Some day the mental health professionals will realize we are all nuts. Then they probably won't let us have guns..... Anyhow, you sound hopeless. So best of luck. There's always more room at the bottom !!
    I think the day we decided we picked horses over football/soccer/etc was the day our mental ability was seriously questioned!



  5. #25
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    Jan. 20, 2008
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    SCAD is a fantastic school and from what I have seen they do prep their students for after graduation really well. Now, that said....the people I know who have gone there have big trust funds, so in the end if they did nothing with their education they would live a rather cushy life anyway.

    I totally get why people are suggesting a business degree but that's not a sure thing. My husband has one, with a minor in logistics. He's smart, hard working, graduated on the Dean's List with honors and the like....he had a horrific time finding a job. The job he has now is with the gov't and that was a really lucky break. I just put this out there because I've seen first hand that a business degree is not a guaranteed paycheck. (Or not a very good one anyway.)

    My suggestion would be to get your degree in whatever interests you. You can always double minor if you really want that film aspect. Then you can add something more practical. It might take a bit longer, but at least you can say you have it. Or even double major. Looking back I wish I would have done thing. My degrees are in psychology and criminal justice. I use them, but I really wanted to have a geology major. Would I have used it? Maybe.

    Look at jobs you want, look at what is needed for experience and education. Strive for that. Look at jobs out of those areas but stuff you would be interested in and see if you can work that in to your education. Most of the time, you can. It is all about making yourself marketable.

    My point is, none of use here can tell you what the best thing is. If those are what your heart is set on, go for it. If it were me, I would for sure add a second major/minor in something that would open you up to a wider job market just in case.
    Hope Blooming- Life with Chronic Pancreatitis

    My blog: Life with Pancreatitis



  6. #26
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    Jul. 19, 2007
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    Honestly? Going to a good (or great) school, majoring in something other than fine arts, getting an advanced degree in a field that doesn't require selling your soul to a graduate adviser and setting sucked into teaching as the only real option, and going for the 'safer' option than arts or athletics is no guarantee you won't end up dragging yourself to an hourly job doing exactly the sorts of things the teachers in high school warned you you'd be doing if you didn't get into college. There aren't any degrees that guarantee good jobs, unless you're talking something like engineering or medicine. And even there it's a huge chunk of your life just to get to the degree. One liberal arts degree isn't any more useful than any other.


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  7. #27
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    SCAD is a fantastic school and from what I have seen they do prep their students for after graduation really well. Now, that said....the people I know who have gone there have big trust funds, so in the end if they did nothing with their education they would live a rather cushy life anyway.

    I totally get why people are suggesting a business degree but that's not a sure thing. My husband has one, with a minor in logistics. He's smart, hard working, graduated on the Dean's List with honors and the like....he had a horrific time finding a job. The job he has now is with the gov't and that was a really lucky break. I just put this out there because I've seen first hand that a business degree is not a guaranteed paycheck. (Or not a very good one anyway.)

    My suggestion would be to get your degree in whatever interests you. You can always double minor if you really want that film aspect. Then you can add something more practical. It might take a bit longer, but at least you can say you have it. Or even double major. Looking back I wish I would have done thing. My degrees are in psychology and criminal justice. I use them, but I really wanted to have a geology major. Would I have used it? Maybe.

    Look at jobs you want, look at what is needed for experience and education. Strive for that. Look at jobs out of those areas but stuff you would be interested in and see if you can work that in to your education. Most of the time, you can. It is all about making yourself marketable.

    My point is, none of use here can tell you what the best thing is. If those are what your heart is set on, go for it. If it were me, I would for sure add a second major/minor in something that would open you up to a wider job market just in case.
    That is what I heard about SCAD as well, both parts of what you said. I'm hopefully getting a career is just as easy for the ones a little less well off like myself.

    And I'm thinking (thinking being the key word, I still haven't figured out my exact plan) about majoring in equine and then getting a minor in a fine art at SCAD. Possibly film or photography, whatever would be the best back up plan.

    Honestly? Going to a good (or great) school, majoring in something other than fine arts, getting an advanced degree in a field that doesn't require selling your soul to a graduate adviser and setting sucked into teaching as the only real option, and going for the 'safer' option than arts or athletics is no guarantee you won't end up dragging yourself to an hourly job doing exactly the sorts of things the teachers in high school warned you you'd be doing if you didn't get into college. There aren't any degrees that guarantee good jobs, unless you're talking something like engineering or medicine. And even there it's a huge chunk of your life just to get to the degree. One liberal arts degree isn't any more useful than any other.
    Have to agree with you there. Everyone and their mother has a business degree, and although I'm sure it helps, it's not entirely a standout degree to have on it's own. I think it's more specialized degrees (like you said, engineering and medicine) that guarantee a perfect job with a good pay right out of college. A lot of people talk about teaching jobs after getting their degree, and I don't think i'd be cut out for that.

    I always look at it this way; A degree is an degree, but it's the way you plan your life and business afterwards that really matters. A degree is only a learning experience and a stamp of approval that you're capable!


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  8. #28
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    Oct. 28, 2007
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    I teach at a state university and would highly suggest you think twice about going to SCAD.

    A young relative of mine was also enamored with doing photography and equine studies at SCAD and decided it wasn't a good investment.

    How are you going to pay for college? Most young horse professionals spend several to many years earning barely enough to pay their room and board. What are you other goals? Home ownership? Living debt-free? Travel? Children? Retirement? Do you have an idea how you will fund any of this? Are your parents going to pay for it?

    My impression is that most people who are successful in the horse industry are as the poster above described: independently wealthy or come from a professional horse family.

    You do not need a degree to train horses. In fact, I'd rather have a trainer who apprenticed for several years and rode many many horses than one who was sitting in a classroom. If you want to train, do it now while you're young and bouncy, then go to college once you decide what you want to do.

    I think being a film major makes you only slightly more employable than an equine studies major. Perhaps you should visit your state employment agency, do some of the skills tests they have and see what they suggest as being marketable skills five years from now.

    Have you thought about being a vet tech?

    I would also suggest that if you don't know what you want to do, you start off at a local state school or community college and take a couple gen ed classes and try different things out.

    I realize this is a tough choice and probably not what you want to hear but learning to make informed wise decisions is part of growing up. I applaud you for coming onto the board and asking for other folks' experience.

    Best of luck with your decisions!


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  9. #29
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    Jan. 21, 2013
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    Quote Originally Posted by ellebeaux View Post
    I teach at a state university and would highly suggest you think twice about going to SCAD.

    A young relative of mine was also enamored with doing photography and equine studies at SCAD and decided it wasn't a good investment.

    How are you going to pay for college? Most young horse professionals spend several to many years earning barely enough to pay their room and board. What are you other goals? Home ownership? Living debt-free? Travel? Children? Retirement? Do you have an idea how you will fund any of this? Are your parents going to pay for it?

    My impression is that most people who are successful in the horse industry are as the poster above described: independently wealthy or come from a professional horse family.

    You do not need a degree to train horses. In fact, I'd rather have a trainer who apprenticed for several years and rode many many horses than one who was sitting in a classroom. If you want to train, do it now while you're young and bouncy, then go to college once you decide what you want to do.

    I think being a film major makes you only slightly more employable than an equine studies major. Perhaps you should visit your state employment agency, do some of the skills tests they have and see what they suggest as being marketable skills five years from now.

    Have you thought about being a vet tech?

    I would also suggest that if you don't know what you want to do, you start off at a local state school or community college and take a couple gen ed classes and try different things out.

    I realize this is a tough choice and probably not what you want to hear but learning to make informed wise decisions is part of growing up. I applaud you for coming onto the board and asking for other folks' experience.

    Best of luck with your decisions!
    As it is my parents and scholarships/loans are going to pay for SCAD. I'm lucky and enterally grateful for having such supportive parents in the first place. I'm sorry your relative had a bad experience, but I've had both good and bad reviews from different people.

    As it is my future is rather unknown, I don't really know what my goals will be like, I'm too young to know or decide right off the bat. And I think what I'm hoping to gain with SCAD is not a stamp of approval saying people should hire me, but for me myself feel capable and learn enough to start my own business. And from what I understand, their main goal in equine studies is to do just that. I know that it won't guarantee me any job, most degrees don't, but I would like the experience and (hopefully) exposure to get myself going.

    I'm still young, four years from now I'll still be young! And I have considered vet tech, although I know someone who spent years on that degree and now that they have finished college hasn't found a job in a while.

    And I'm actually currently enrolled in a community college and trying an array of things out from business, anthropology, film, and photography classes. I'm trying my best to try things out

    Thank you so much for your advice, and as with everyone else posting in this thread. I didn't expect so many replies, and I do admit I'm still uncertain. It's hard to be optimistic and realistic at the same time.



  10. #30
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    Apr. 21, 2008
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    There is SO much great advice given here already, but if you haven't worked a full time job with horses already, then I would highly recommend taking the time to do so and find out what it's really like. Can you handle working 7 days a week, 12 hour days, and then trying to find the time to ride and enjoy your own horses and goals on top of that? Keep in mind, that starting out, you are going to spend 99% of your time on the ground, doing the crap work. Watching everybody else ride and have fun and advance their skills while you are shoveling crap, unless you get super lucky.

    As far as the equine studies program, from what advice I've been given by those in the horse business, is that most college equine studies programs are laughable. It all sounds great on paper, but you will probably learn 100 times more and make many more contacts working in a real horse world situation.

    Maybe try to find a working student position over the summer and really find out what it's all about. It's a very different world than the things horsey dreams are made of. It's about much more than just horses and riding. You will either get burned out and realize maybe this isn't what you want to do, or you'll realize this is your true calling.

    Whatever you decide, make sure you look long and hard at the REALITY of any career path you follow. Most jobs require much more than what the job is actually about and it can be a hard lesson to find that out too late.

    If you want to get into photography AND horses, you should consider working with a racetrack photographer. At some tracks, there are freelance photogs who take pictures of the morning workouts and then sell the photos to the exercise riders and trainers. The track photographers themselves are often looking for help during the races.

    Best of luck to you, I've been in your shoes for a long time (still am!) and I still don't have all the answers.
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  11. #31

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    I personally know two graduates of SCAD and both young women are successful professionals, one as a horse trainer and the other working in visual arts. Given your interests, I think SCAD would be perfect for you.

    Don't sweat which major to choose. As other posters have mentioned, many young people go to college expecting to major in one field and earning a degree in something completely different. In my case, I thought I wanted to major in English and graduated with a degree in Economics.

    Taking business courses is a good idea. No matter what field you ultimately select, just about every profession requires business skills.



  12. #32
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    If one of your financial goals is to own (and especially show) your own horse, keep in mind that very few jobs that work directly with horses pay enough for that.

    I've seen a lot of professionals... even "successful" professionals... have to make some pretty unpleasant decisions about putting off veterinary care, or otherwise not being able to put the horse's interests first because the rent had to be paid etc.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


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  13. #33
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    Jan. 21, 2013
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    There is SO much great advice given here already, but if you haven't worked a full time job with horses already, then I would highly recommend taking the time to do so and find out what it's really like. Can you handle working 7 days a week, 12 hour days, and then trying to find the time to ride and enjoy your own horses and goals on top of that? Keep in mind, that starting out, you are going to spend 99% of your time on the ground, doing the crap work. Watching everybody else ride and have fun and advance their skills while you are shoveling crap, unless you get super lucky.

    Maybe try to find a working student position over the summer and really find out what it's all about. It's a very different world than the things horsey dreams are made of. It's about much more than just horses and riding. You will either get burned out and realize maybe this isn't what you want to do, or you'll realize this is your true calling.
    I really want to get a working student job, although the barn I currently ride with does not offer anything like that (at least they have no exchange for me working there. And that's usually how most working student jobs work correct? Where you work for free and they offer you lessons/riding/experience in exchange? Correct me if i'm wrong. My barn is two branches, one more beginner, one more advanced. I may speak with my trainer in the advanced branch (because his is more a show barn environment that I want to be involved with) to see if there's anything, but he's already hired a groom etc and I don't know if he wants a working student :/). Perhaps over the summer I could see what was offered, or if/when I get accepted to SCAD find a place back east in Georgia that would let me. I'd like to think I'd be able to work that much, and as hard as I can. I try to keep rather positive about it, considering I'd much rather be doing hard work involving horses then sitting in some office filing papers haha.

    If you want to get into photography AND horses, you should consider working with a racetrack photographer. At some tracks, there are freelance photogs who take pictures of the morning workouts and then sell the photos to the exercise riders and trainers. The track photographers themselves are often looking for help during the races.
    That's interesting! I never thought about that. It's almost impossible to do so at horse shows because the rules involving official photographers, but I've never considered the race track. I will definitely look into it!

    I personally know two graduates of SCAD and both young women are successful professionals, one as a horse trainer and the other working in visual arts. Given your interests, I think SCAD would be perfect for you.
    Glad to see some positive reviews! haha. Makes me a little less worried when I know there are some success stories out there.

    If one of your financial goals is to own (and especially show) your own horse, keep in mind that very few jobs that work directly with horses pay enough for that.

    I've seen a lot of professionals... even "successful" professionals... have to make some pretty unpleasant decisions about putting off veterinary care, or otherwise not being able to put the horse's interests first because the rent had to be paid etc.
    I completely understand. One thing I've realized (from before and after all these wonderful replies) is that I'll have to sacrifice a lot, but if it truly makes me happy in the end, I'll be able to do so and hopefully prosper in the end.



  14. #34
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    Oct. 25, 2012
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    I tend to agree with those who've suggested to get your degree in something that will help you land a "stable" job. I am not sure a general business degree fits that description these days. Accounting and nursing are about the only two I can think of that really give you a shot at a good job as a new graduate. One trend that didn't pop up in everyone's comments is that, for an entry level job seeker in this market, a Masters is the new Bachelors. I don't think it really matters what your undergrad is in (with the exception of the two mentioned above) so as long as it doesn't hinder your chances for getting into a decent graduate program. You may as well study something you will enjoy. If I could be twenty again, I would probably suck it up and get a degree in accounting or a JD and then try to specialize in equine tax or law.

    At your age, you should definitely go for your dream. Just carve out enough time/energy to develop a skill that you can fall back on if the horse thing doesn't work out. Good luck!



  15. #35
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    I'm with the crowd that is saying - do what you love. A business major is a great thing, but you can be knowledgeable about business without having a business degree. If you want to be a trainer, people aren't going to hire you because you have a business degree. If you are bad at business, however, you will have lots of other problems.

    I think you've gotten a lot of great advice here - especially those that said to take every opportunity to give yourself work experience (paid or unpaid) in either of your ares or interest -- that will serve you well in the long run, not just a degree in art or a degree in equestrian studies.

    I think my biggest suggestion would be not to go into debt for degree in either art or equestrian studies. (Or very minimal debt). If you come out of college with a B.A. in Art and a hefty student loan, you will struggle. If you can find a way to come out of college with no debt or very little debt - you will be free to make different choices -- you could take a job that pays little but gives great experience and a leg-up in the future...

    But if you NEED to make $XX a year in order to pay off a big student loan, you may miss the chance to do what you love.

    Starting at a community college is actually a great thing!

    And take your time - don't make impulse decisions. Your career will not be decided by whether you have a bachelor's by 22 or 23. Or 25. If that means school part time at some point so you can travel with a pro....that's ok! That might actually help your career more than anything else, so don't be afraid to be "non-traditional."

    Good luck!


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  16. #36
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    If your idea of working in the horse industry is being the boss, having your own stable, etc., well, that won't happen for many years from where you are coming from.

    The horse industry is a service industry first, catering to client's wishes, unless you are independently wealthy and can finance your own stable and horses.
    Most that work with horses don't, they are the ones spending the time in everything else than riding at shows and live on very short salaries for years on end.

    If you are fine with being the busy bee worker and just work with horses, any one way, grooming gives you as much pleasure as getting to ride and train and the occasional chance to show a green or difficult horse, then that is a good fit to start in the horse industry.
    Will you get ahead to some day be your own boss and get to be the one riding and have others do the rest of the work?
    Very few are that lucky and talented, but who knows, you may be one.

    If you do decide to try the horse world hands on for your job for many years, there is no way you can, from where you come from, get ahead, get to work with the best horses and trainers, unless you go there now.
    Find the best top, BNT that will take you on as a working student, if you are good enough for that and then you may have a chance to work in the environment you seem to want to work in with horses.

    Don't forget there is other you can do around horses than working in a riding stable, like horse magazines, show or sales management, tack and feed stores, vet clinics, etc.

    What is important now is just what you are doing, exploring what is out there, trying this and that, until you find a good fit, for you.

    Good luck.



  17. #37
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    I'm going to say don't get stuck in a major/minor thing. Wait until you hear from SCAD, and if accepted, just wait. That place if amazing! There are SO MANY options in majors/minors it's crazy. They have a huge array of classes you can take, and I know they help you if you want to do something a little different. When I was looking, the tour guide was saying that one person wanted to do the horse thing, but got really into the fibers department. Then, realized that loving horses and fibers could be combined into desighorgan horse blankets/ saddle pads/wraps, etc.

    They have a really great riding team, so if you wanted to, you could always try out for that to get your horse fix. I think you'd be surprised at what a place like SCAD has to offer, and you never know what might really interest you until you take a few classes.

    Good luck! It's a crazy stressful time, lol, and second guessing yourself is a give in.
    "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."



  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by atilthia View Post
    I really want to get a working student job, although the barn I currently ride with does not offer anything like that (at least they have no exchange for me working there. And that's usually how most working student jobs work correct? Where you work for free and they offer you lessons/riding/experience in exchange? Correct me if i'm wrong. My barn is two branches, one more beginner, one more advanced. I may speak with my trainer in the advanced branch (because his is more a show barn environment that I want to be involved with) to see if there's anything, but he's already hired a groom etc and I don't know if he wants a working student :/). Perhaps over the summer I could see what was offered, or if/when I get accepted to SCAD find a place back east in Georgia that would let me. I'd like to think I'd be able to work that much, and as hard as I can. I try to keep rather positive about it, considering I'd much rather be doing hard work involving horses then sitting in some office filing papers haha.
    I cannot emphasize this enough! My parents let me go over to the UK to do a stint as a Working Student when I was 16. I learned the best way possible that I didn't want to be forced to do horses full time because I had no other option. I saw a girl who had dropped out of school at 16 to do horses fall off and break her leg in - wait for it - 3 places. She basically got screwed out of her livelihood. Last I heard of her, she is, at age 30, struggling to keep menial jobs and sleeping on friends sofas. And she was a talented event rider. Another girl I know is still, at aged 30 something, living out of her car. These may be extreme examples, but I saw them with my own eyes. I realized pretty quickly that I didn't want this life for myself, and actually took school seriously thereafter.

    Having said that, try to find something without the "Working Student" label because you'll get screwed over. I did. Find an actual paying (it'll be minimum wage if your lucky, but that's better than nothing) job, even if it involves mucking stalls and all the grunge work. yardandgroom.com is a great place to start.
    "Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
    "With your permission, dear, I'll take my fences one at a time" - Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey


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  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by atilthia View Post
    I'm eighteen, graduated high school and didn't get into any of the colleges I applied to for film (California is brutal, a 4.0 GPA still wasn't enough) so i'm currently taking classes at a community college.
    Perhaps you need to lower your standards about the schools you wanted to get into. I say this having graduated from a satellite campus where the *ONLY* requirement for admission was filling out a 2 page admission form and being able to sign on the bottom line, preferably in cursive. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. I got a pretty good education there.

    Most of what you get out will be based on what you put in, not the logo on your transcripts.

    Add me to the list of people who think that fim school is only slightly less useless than an equine studies degree. I would challenge you to do something that you LIKE but don't LOVE. Get a degree in something useful: accounting, nursing, PT tech, vet tech, EET, and use it to finance what you LOVE.

    If you're looking for a WS position, check out the recent thread on the H/J page. Somebody posted about a WS position they often have. Sounds like a good deal, especially if you will actually WORK as opposed just talk about it.


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  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttonwillow View Post
    I went to college and have a good career and make plenty of money. I'd trade it all to be a penniless horse trainer in a heartbeat
    Not very realistic though. Penniless trainer generally means not enough money for insurance and a higher risk of getting injured, not getting medical treatment, not being able to make your penniless salary on account of being sick/injured and no sick days.

    Just sayin.

    OP, going to second that you go to SCAD (great school) and get a regular film degree; you can then narrow your focus as you get closer to graduation, build a portfolio, and start applying at horse-centric agencies/businesses. Make sense? Or get something else like business management, accounting, and use film as a minor or outside concentration within the curriculum, which would show that you have a passion, but also a personal business plan. Don't lock yourself into something at school, get as broad and wonderful an education as you possible can. I started out Animal Science because that's what I was pointed towards by mother, who I guess thought she might get a free vet out of the deal?? I liked the animal part, sure, but hated the chemistry and sucked at it despite studying my butt off. It threatened my financial aid, so I switched to English, which I also enjoyed and the classes were easy for me. My career now was not something I would have dreamed of having when I was 18. And I am so thankful that I got the degree I did because it helps me quite a bit. I can go anywhere with it, and plan on starting my Masters this year or next in business/organizational leadership.
    COTH's official mini-donk enabler

    "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl



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