I have decided I want to major in horses when I go to college. I want to go for training/instruction to be working with horses and riders once I graduate.
I'm currently looking at University of Findlay, Lake Erie, Centenary in NJ, Sweet Briar, and Virginia Intermont. Also, Johnson&Wales and maybe William Woods.
Has anybody gone to any of these schools and recommend/discourage attending any of them or other schools known for equine majors?
I would be very grateful to hear anything you can tell me about these schools or any other school and equine major.
I agree with the above poster. Don't waste your money or your time going to college for horses. Most barn owners want people with experience. Volunteer at local barns or try and get a working student position. You will learn a heck of lot more without draining your wallet.
I already work at a stable and have been riding for years and gaining experience.
My thoughts are that with a degree, I might be a little more appealing to hire and I would be qualified for other areas besides just training as well if I chose to do so.
Also, it makes a career with horses seem more legitimate to family and if something were to fall through and I was no longer able to work with horses, I would have college experience to fall back on. I would probably either double major or minor in a business or human health area just in case.
I'm a Sweet Briar alum. I'll echo what everyone else says- pick another major, so that if horses fail then you have something to fall back on. I was an Economics major, and now I'm planning to get my Masters in Accounting and become a CPA. I always knew that horses wasn't going to be my career, especially since I fell in love with accounting during my first accounting course. Plus, Sweet Briar has a great academic reputation. Be forwarned- the classes are small and you are expected to WORK!
Sweet Briar's a great school- very horsey, tons of people ride, and there's lots of horse stuff to get involved with (if you want). Also, Sweet Briar doesn't have an equine major- they only have an equine studies certificate. BUT, the lessons are fantastic (and quite affordable), the school horses are NICE, and they have great facilities. PM if you want to know more about the school or the riding program. I only took lessons, and I was much more invovled in other areas on campus (varsity sports, clubs, etc).
Second Sweet Briar and make sure you have another major. Quite frankly, the equine major means next to nothing. Save your money, go to a state university with a really great equestrian team and major in something else. Your savings should allow you to have a horse on campus. You will learn a lot more! Working student jobs over the summer, also. You're still going to have to work your way up and you might as well have something to fall back on if you need it.
ditto what everyone else said. Go to a school that enables you to be very involved in the riding program, and get a degree in something else. Sweet Briar has excellent resources if you want to be a trainer/instructor. There are many ways to get involved and succeed, the equine certificate is just one way. But do have a backup plan in case it doesn't work out- put just as much effort into doing well in your degree as well. Get a working student position during the summer.
Most people that look to hire someone may even disqualify you based on an equine degree- depending on where you got it- unless you have stellar experience. Thank god you are not looking at meredith manor.
I'd also be inclined to say don't go to findlay...
Back in middle school, me and another girl asked our school's counsler about horse school. She told us that school is useless and to drop out as soon as we were 16.
Have you tried to talking to your trainer, or other horse people you know to see what they recommend?
Someone I talked to once told me that Midway has a good program, it's not on your list, but I don't remember who they were...
Well I went to school for what I loved first (Fashion Design) and then went back for something I could make as a career. If you can do a double major do that. I can't give you sage advice about horsey career stuff but I'm assuming a equine major is about as useless outside of the industry as a fashion design is
I know someone who was a "business-person", boring 9-5 job, who then enrolled at Midway College, Midway Kentucky, and upon gradation, found a job at one of the top breeding farms in Lexington, KY. Shortly there afterwards got promoted to their stallion manager! You might want to try there. It is a women's only college, but men can go at night.
Myself, I am not located in the same city where there is such a program, so I enrolled in a distance learning diploma program from the University Of Guelph in Ontario. It is a VERY intensive program, with great professors and tons of partcipation, field work, assignments, etc., from the very reputable ag/vet university. I hope, basically, to enhance the care for my own horses with my knowledge, but if I get offered a job down the road...great!!!
Equine majors are a waste. I started at Morrisville getting my Associates in Equine Science, but ended up transfering to Caz where I got my degree in Business, while being able to "minor" in Equine Business.
Good thing. Got a job as a BM out of college, spent 1 1/2 years doing that before getting burned out.
Now I have an Office job which allows me more time to be with my own horses, and to be able to support them as well as myself.
Things change, your dreams can change. Don't make the mistake of getting such a specialized degree, because one day you can change your mind and then have nothing but that horse degree.
I'm currently looking into Meridith Manor in West Virginia. It's not like getting a BA or a degree at all, but it seems like it will give you all the knoledge you need to start professionally working with horses. I've decided to get my associates first so if all else fails, I have that to transfer to another major plus it only takes 2 years and you can get it at a community college which is so much cheaper. I say go for your dreams! It may not be 'practical' to go, but you only live once so do what you love! Good Luck!
Thank you everyone. Midway was another I was looking at..
My trainer is a full-time middle school teacher, and only does low level lessons with a few exceptions, like myself and one other girl. I can't really talk to her much because it's not her full-time occupation.
I know I would not be able to stand an office job. I would lose my mind being inside and sitting most of the day.
I was hoping that a college would be able to help place me in a job upon graduation, and make me more apt to be selected for hiring. Also, to do a few semesters over in Europe in an exchange program seemed excellent because that would be a really great experience.
I do absolutely understand everyone's point, and wondered myself how useful an eguine degree would really be when it is experience and knowledge that's really necessary.. but the fact that I AM knowledgeable with horses combined with a degree just sounded like a good idea to me.
I was going to mention Meredith Manor as well, but I had been thinking a wiser choice would be to go to a liberal arts college where I could also get a degree in an area of broader use.
What are people's opinions of Meredith Manor?
I second William Woods & also getting a double major. I also have a Business Administration degree with a strong accounting & marketing base. It has come in very handy to have some business skills along with the teaching & training.
I went to Lake Erie College from 1979 - 1981. I left that school and worked two years at various barns before graduating from Rhode Island School of Design in 1986.
Personally, the riding instruction at LEC was EXCELLENT but you really need a great education in something else you love.
After graduating from RISD, I went on to work in NYC as a graphic designer and art director. After several years, I now own my own business which is horse related.
I ride whenever I want but I would NEVER want to be in the horse business. I really have no patience for teaching and wouldn't want to work with horses day in and day out. Your days off will eventually be away from the horses.
Those two years I took off between schools where I worked my butt off taught me that. Get a great education first and get a great job. You can always board if you have a good job and even attend clinics/show/whatever if you have the dough.
Unless you have rich parents, then by all means, get the equestrian degree and have at it! Good luck!
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Thank you everyone for sharing your experiences and opinions.
My family is far from rich, but I am willing to work my butt off for what I want and have been doing so for most of my life.
It really sounds like doubling with a business degree would be an excellent idea.
I think, if you go into it with the right frame of mind, that getting an equine degree is not the end of the world. The people that get into trouble are the ones that think a college equine program will teach them everything they need to know to train at the top of the sport. You simply cannot replace years of experience with a few years of college classes. It is so difficult to be truly successful in the horse business, and I don't think an equine degree gives you any advantage in that respect.
However, I do think that when you couple it with another major or minor, and if you realize that there are many options out there besides becoming a "trainer" that it can serve you well. Each program is different and you need to have your own internal standard of horsemanship because not everything "taught" is going to be correct or right. The program is only as good as the people teaching in it.
Both my husband and I received animal science/equine science degrees with a specialization in business from Delaware Valley College. I can't speak for the program now, but when we attended it was quite good (graduated 7 and 8 years ago, respectively). Neither of us went into it with aspirations of being trainers...in my case, it was due to the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career and figured that if I was going to college I may as well include horses in the mix.
Both of us were experienced riders going in, and the education (and externships) only enhanced our horsemanship skills. We both chose to pursue careers "outside" the horse industry, but close to it. Mr. KellyS is a law enforcement officer who is also the "go-to" guy for animals situations in our county. I worked from the ground up for a veterinary journal and am currently editorial director. Our "hobby" is our farm and the horses...while we may be considered amateurs, we do everything as professionally as possible...our success is certainly linked to the experience and contacts we acquired through our 4 years in college.
Many of our fellow graduates have great jobs in the horse industry...so it's all what you make of it. My feeling is that the people who are successful coming out of an equine program would have been successful no matter what degree they pursued. I will say that I absolutely adored college and it not only allowed me to meet my husband but be introduced to new horse sports...driving classes were required and now we compete in the sport of combined driving. It's a blast!