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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    I don't think it was promised that you would be an in-the-black pro at then end...just that you would have a better shot at it. Just like in any industry. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but there are ways to set yourself up for success
    Yes, thank you. If you want it that badly, it's worth a shot. It's been done before.



  2. #22
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    Here’s where I begin to have an issue with this article. Nowadays, after completing high school it is imperative that kids go to college. So they go to college, get a degree in something, sometimes horses, and then embark on the world. If after college, they decide to still pursue the equestrian arts, they are met with either being unpaid as a working student or minimal amounts to work in other aspects of the industry. With huge student loan debt barreling down on them, it is not feasible to follow this passion unless they are backed by wealthy parents that can continue to foot their bills.
    Sure, kids can continue to ride after high school and go into a working student position at a farm and forego college, but what happens when that doesn’t work out or the kid gets injured? Then you have a high school education and minimal marketable skills.

    I was never a delusional kid that thought that by buying new breeches I was going to become Anne Kursinski. If that’s all it took to make it, then by golly, we should have the best Olympic Team out there – wearing fancy pants at that. I have always worked on a shoe string budget and have even successfully shown minimally at the upper levels during my junior years – but that was due to amazing generosity from my trainer and a support team that believed in me because I worked hard.

    After 18 and the real world sets in, it is much harder for people to maintain their equestrian habit. It has nothing to do with desire, I desire to ride and I want to ride well and go to clinics and lessons, but the truth is I work 2 jobs over 60 hours a week to be able to afford to ride my horse. I don’t have time to go careening all over the world with him and I don’t have the funds. Mainly because I have to pay for a place to live, pay for transportation, and pay back my student loans. I am not out there buying a new saddle pad or boots every week. My horse is practically naked when I ride him. And I still wear breeches that my mother bought me when I was 14!

    I have the desire and if I could quit my job and devote every moment to being in the saddle, I would. But with the economy the real hard truth is that not many people with the will and desire can make this a reality and it’s NOT because they’re buying a bunch of crap.



  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    So the author is both right and wrong because-- to be an academic-- she doesn't distinguish between Necessary and Sufficient conditions. It is Necessary to be a good rider, hard worker and yadayada. It is not, however, Sufficient to be one of those and also broke.

    If that is correct, it's a stupid and slightly mean-spirited waste of time to tell the kiddies that if they were just more genuine, just more hard-working, just better riders, just would buy a lesson instead of a saddle pad, they'd have enough to make that WS thing be a true apprenticeship with the prospects of becoming an in-the-black professional at the end.

    Necessary vs. sufficient conditions, my friends. Learn the difference so that you don't make the unjustified criticism wrapped in a logical mistake that this writer did.
    Hmmm.... I think you could do a great service to all current and future WS if you were willing to expound on this and put it in a Chronicle article. I mean, this is the down and dirty truth that nobody wants to admit in the WS scheme. That you can work very, very, hard and very diligently (let's face it, you can work yourself almost to death) and still NOT "make it." This needs to be addressed more directly by the industry at large.

    If not an article, could I entice you to at least address a letter to the editor? Seriously, you could save some lives here.


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  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by circus peanuts View Post
    It has nothing to do with desire, I desire to ride and I want to ride well and go to clinics and lessons,
    As meup has pointed out numerous times...it has little to do with desire, but A LOT to do with sacrifice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Isabeau Z Solace View Post
    Hmmm.... I think you could do a great service to all current and future WS if you were willing to expound on this and put it in a Chronicle article. I mean, this is the down and dirty truth that nobody wants to admit in the WS scheme. That you can work very, very, hard and very diligently (let's face it, you can work yourself almost to death) and still NOT "make it." This needs to be addressed more directly by the industry at large.

    If not an article, could I entice you to at least address a letter to the editor? Seriously, you could save some lives here.
    Again, how is this any different than any other industry? If you don't have what it takes in any industry, you simply aren't going to make it. The equestrian world is no different.

    Also, there is a big difference between making a living in horses and being the BNT that everyone knows. You might never become a BNT, but you just might have a nice solid business that you can support yourself and your horse on...you know, like, I would venture to say, a large portion of the U.S. does in their "regular" jobs.
    Last edited by RugBug; Mar. 15, 2013 at 12:10 PM.
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by circus peanuts View Post
    After 18 and the real world sets in, it is much harder for people to maintain their equestrian habit. It has nothing to do with desire, I desire to ride and I want to ride well and go to clinics and lessons, but the truth is I work 2 jobs over 60 hours a week to be able to afford to ride my horse. I don’t have time to go careening all over the world with him and I don’t have the funds. Mainly because I have to pay for a place to live, pay for transportation, and pay back my student loans. I am not out there buying a new saddle pad or boots every week. My horse is practically naked when I ride him. And I still wear breeches that my mother bought me when I was 14!

    I have the desire and if I could quit my job and devote every moment to being in the saddle, I would. But with the economy the real hard truth is that not many people with the will and desire can make this a reality and it’s NOT because they’re buying a bunch of crap.
    Well from personal experience, I have never pursued horses full time. I rode on the side in college, I rode on the side in law school, and now I ride on the side of being a lawyer.

    I still ride generally at least 3 a day, and often 5 or 6 a day , even though I do not devote "every moment" to being in the saddle. I do this at 5am before my 9-5, and then I go back to the barn after my 9-5.
    News flash, real professionals don't devote "every moment" to being in the saddle either. They are doing chores, they are doing their own tack ups, they are teaching, they are driving between barns, they are riding all of the clients very green horses and get maybe five or four rides a week on their own upper level horse.

    I do my "craigslist riding activities" because they pay, entirely, for boarding two horses and lessoning and competing on one of them. They ARE my second job. I intend to make up a Grand Prix horse for myself to ride, and ideally I would like to do it expending zero income from my "real" job and all from the riding.

    Now, if I thought that quitting my day job and showing internationally were the only way to "make it," that would be very depressing. But actually, none of my current trainers have showed internationally. Amazingly, they still have the demonstrated ability to make up a Grand Prix dressage horse, from scratch, despite never horse showing on foreign soil. Perhaps the amateurs or people-who-would-like-to-be-pros of the world could aspire to learn how to do THAT before they complain no one will fly them to Aachen. They do not show internationally, but they have still demonstrated the ability to qualify a horse for Devon. Perhaps that could be a goal, to make enough income from riding to at least afford THAT, or to have one client stick with you to get their horse qualified. They do not show internationally, but they have still demonstrated the ability to train up somebody else's horse to do the AA hunters for them. These activities WILL pay for you to own your own horse and lesson until you get yourself to a very high level. It will take decades but you can get yourself to Grand Prix.

    And meanwhile it is always me me me. Nobody flies ME to Europe. I can't ride in this horse show because it is too expensive. What about sharing knowledge with other people and using it to help horses? What about learning how to TEACH really well (which in turn pays for you to learn more yourself). What about learning how to turn a horse around that no-one else wanted to bother with? What about helping someone be year end champion in the local summer series? It's not Aachen, but I have had students cry with gratitude for teaching them how to canter their horse they thought they would never be able to ride. That is BEING the part, not just figuring out how to get yourself under the lights in Basel with your name on the scoreboard. If someone is a working student and they want to go to Europe but they have no interest in teaching or helping lower level horses (WHICH PAYS THE BILLS), good luck. Even established Grand Prix dressage trainers with several GP horses they have personally trained up under their belt spend most of their time teaching looooooooots of First Level and below lessons. Not showing in Europe.

    And you can fit it around a 9-5. You will have to give up your amateur card if you want to make riding pay for riding, but to me, being able to learn how to train up a Grand Prix horse, and helping lots of other people ride better and making their horses happier along the way, is worth it. Even if nobody ever flies me to Europe.

    So, if you have at least have one day a week off, get on craigslist and find some lessons to teach and prorides to do. Thus you will turn one otherwise not income producing day into an income producing day. Treat that money as a windfall and use it to take additional lessons or to additional clinics on your own horse. Help people with their horses as you go on your own journey with yours.
    And you're off!
    Last edited by meupatdoes; Mar. 15, 2013 at 12:11 PM.


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  6. #26
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    There are no fields in which hard work guarantees the top job, or even a job. Some people are limited by talent, some by outside commitments (I can't show on the circuit or take the account in Cleveland, because I have 3 children...) or even by a head trainer who doesn't want them to advance and move on because he or she needs them but is unwilling to pay them as if they were irreplaceable. These scenarios occur in horses or law or sales or welding.

    Not every horse pro is a "BN" pro. There are very good horsemen and women making a decent living who will never be featured in CoTh or who are not household names. If you love horses and riding and want to share that interest you may never be Beezie or Laura Kraut but where there is a will there is a way.
    A friend of mine (and a CoTH'er) called me at the unexpected hour of 7am yesterday. I was surprised by her call at that hour but she explained that she'd been up for hours having driven 45 minutes to school a horse in near dark conditions before heading back to tend to her own and prep her trailer for a long trip (PA to VA) for the Thoroughbred Celebration Show this weekend. She was heading home to change for her "real job" in an office and after that she was schooling her own horses. Today she sets out for VA. She's trying to establish herself as a pro while working FT in the "real world" so long, hard days are a-comin' for her. She's talented and determined, so I expect her to succeed, but she knows how hard it is as she's been involved professionally with horses in different capacities for years.

    Also, I am no pro and no one is handing me six figure horses, but I just lost 1/2 my income when my job cut me back so I can't afford much right now. I have time but no money. Guess what, I'm riding as much now as I was when I was leasing! I'm a capable rider who can put a decent ride on a horse and work to fix little issues ("he's a bit stiff to the left, can you work on bending, my left leg is weak...") and I have a reputation for taking good care of horses I am graciously permitted to ride. A new boarder saw that I was asked to hack a sometimes challenging schoolie, heard me ask if I could do anything specific to help the mare, and now the client would like me to hack her horse for her. A friend with a lesson on Friday but a Thursday too full for riding likes me to tune her horse up for her on Thu. I visit barns where my friends board and lesson. I watch lessons and offer to help and it pays off. I offer to set fences for instructors or clinicians. I'm NOT a pro and accept no money, for me, saddle time is pay enough and I don't think I'm good enough to ask for payment.
    Whether pro or ammy there are ways
    Last edited by Linny; Mar. 15, 2013 at 12:25 PM.
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  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    Again, how is this any different than any other industry? If you don't have what it takes in any industry, you simply aren't going to make it. The equestrian world is no different.

    Also, there is a big difference between making a living in horses and being the BNT that everyone knows. You might never become a BNT, but you just might have a nice solid business that you can support yourself and your horse on...you know, like, I would venture to say, a large portion of the U.S. does in their "regular" jobs.
    It's very different because the risk associated with a big investment in becoming a horse trainer is larger than with other industries, at least the white-collar ones.

    For example, are you sure you'd advise a kid to forego a college education to apprentice here? And as another poster pointed out, the post-college crowd is often saddled with debt that essentially cuts out the "salad days" era where you could live very low on the hog while testing the waters in a non-white collar career. You can't do that if the minute you graduate, you student loans payments to make.

    Of course, there is the risk of getting so hurt by a horse that you can't train them anymore. That ain't so bad if you have family money, but it's a serious problem for the trainer who is living month-to-month. And let's be clear, too, the hungry young trainers often get the riskier horses. I can't tell you how many LNT friends of mine have had the conversation about "Man, I hope that by this time next year I don't have to sit on colts or reform cases so much." These folks were very, very good at what they did and were wise about how they worked with these more dangerous horses. But they worried about their business staying centered around these horses and the odds of staying healthy doing that.

    Let me be clear-- borrowing a ton to go to law school right now has risks of its own. But if the bottom drops out of your law career, the chances are that you can find another still in white-collar world.
    The armchair saddler
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonewolf View Post
    I found the article pretty condescending.

    The main reason that people aren't getting to the top of the sport is because they're buying too many expensive pairs of breeches? Or will only ride fancy imports?

    I'm sorry, but that's nuts. As someone who worked for years as a working student/groom/low-paid assistant, I am well aware of the barriers to entry in this sport, and being over-focused on "looking the part" is simply not one of them.

    The costs of entry into this sport are prohibitive, and fancy apparel and even horses are the least of it.

    Working students don't get the opportunity to show and move up on other people's horses unless they are already proven as winners on a horse of their own. So the people trying to work their way up from the bottom can very rarely get that first foothold because they cannot afford the costs of the circuit or a horse capable of getting them the results they need to earn rides on others.

    The "working students" who make it are the ones whose families have already put in hundreds of thousands of dollars into their kids' riding.

    And yes, in the past, some of the top riders came from nothing. But I cannot think of ONE person in the new generation of upcoming top riders who did not come from a wealthy family.

    Ok, rant over. Suffice it to say that the article hit pretty close to home and I found it a bit insulting.
    ^All of those. Not to mention that you need to be able to afford to support yourself while you're not making money as a working student. That is my biggest obstacle right now: saving up enough money to live off of if I were to find a working student position. Suffice to say, I am not blowing any of that on the latest fashion statements.



  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    It's very different because the risk associated with a big investment in becoming a horse trainer is larger than with other industries, at least the white-collar ones.
    FWIW: The horse industry is not like every other job. Wanting to be a BNT is not like wanting to be an accountant. It's more like wanting to be the coach of a professional sports team. However, wanting to make a living in the horse industry is a lot more comparable to many other professions.

    For example, are you sure you'd advise a kid to forego a college education to apprentice here?
    You're kind of asking the wrong person here because:

    1. I think far too many kids are pushed into college.
    2. This has "cheapened" the college degree. A degree is now the status of a high school diploma. I do not think that every child should go to college. It is a waste of money for many.
    3. That said, I would encourage someone wanting to work as a trainer to be a WS while they were going to college. The ones that want it, would make it work. (just like the people who don't want to be in debt after college will work their butts off in high school for grants/scholarships and will then work a full time job while going to college. It's hard, but let's not pretend that it can't be done. That's what the energy of youth is for...don't waste it on "enjoying the college experience" if you have aimed for some lofty goals.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    3. That said, I would encourage someone wanting to work as a trainer to be a WS while they were going to college. The ones that want it, would make it work. (just like the people who don't want to be in debt after college will work their butts off in high school for grants/scholarships and will then work a full time job while going to college. It's hard, but let's not pretend that it can't be done. That's what the energy of youth is for...don't waste it on "enjoying the college experience" if you have aimed for some lofty goals.
    This is pretty much what I did, except instead of being a working student I was teaching lessons as an assistant trainer for the first year in college, then on my own for the other three years. I drove back and forth to the barn (which was 1.5 hours away) 3-4 days per week. I ended up graduating with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology with minors in chemistry and microbiology as well as taking two foreign languages- Spanish and German. Then somehow I also managed to run cross country and track for my school (which is a major division I college) and got married!

    So it is DEFINITELY possible to do both. And yes, you will not get to stay up till 2:00AM every morning or drink yourself into a stupor every weekend. I ended up with a valuable degree and enough experience to become a fulltime professional trainer. I chose the trainer route and never regretted it!


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  11. #31
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    ^ But you don't have the money to show a grand prix horse in euuuuurrrrroooooooopppppe or winter in wellingtooooooonnnnnn.




  12. #32
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    NOPE! Definitely not raking it in at the moment, BUT... I actually will be going back to Europe this summer for a sport horse breeding competition (one of the opportunities that I have gotten via hard work).

    I would like to think that in the future, I will have the means to do all those exciting things that the really big pros are out there doing.



  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugBug View Post
    FWIW: The horse industry is not like every other job. Wanting to be a BNT is not like wanting to be an accountant. It's more like wanting to be the coach of a professional sports team. However, wanting to make a living in the horse industry is a lot more comparable to many other professions.



    You're kind of asking the wrong person here because:

    1. I think far too many kids are pushed into college.
    2. This has "cheapened" the college degree. A degree is now the status of a high school diploma. I do not think that every child should go to college. It is a waste of money for many.
    3. That said, I would encourage someone wanting to work as a trainer to be a WS while they were going to college. The ones that want it, would make it work. (just like the people who don't want to be in debt after college will work their butts off in high school for grants/scholarships and will then work a full time job while going to college. It's hard, but let's not pretend that it can't be done. That's what the energy of youth is for...don't waste it on "enjoying the college experience" if you have aimed for some lofty goals.
    The tough parts are that

    1) The earning records for those without a college degree remain much, much lower than for those folks with a college degree.

    While "college" can be expensive or cheap, useful or merely fun, it's financially a bad idea to nix the whole thing.

    2) The enormous debt-loads incurred by those who do go to college. It becomes hard to not leap into trying to use that degree immediately since your lenders don't care that you changed your mind or the investment didn't pay the returns anyone expected. You need to pay now (or accumulate interest while not repaying), and you'll need to repay always even if you declare bankruptcy.

    The whippersnappers are stuck. They can't afford not to got to college, but they'll spend a heck of a long time paying for it, too.
    The armchair saddler
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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    Well from personal experience, I have never pursued horses full time. I rode on the side in college, I rode on the side in law school, and now I ride on the side of being a lawyer.....

    I do my "craigslist riding activities" because they pay, entirely, for boarding two horses and lessoning and competing on one of them. They ARE my second job. I intend to make up a Grand Prix horse for myself to ride, and ideally I would like to do it expending zero income from my "real" job and all from the riding.
    I, too, have done the CL thing. My experience has been complete with the details mentioned: No great place to ride, equipment that's marginal (bring your own if you can), and well-intentioned but uneducated HOs.

    One thing that can be a bit hard there is that the folks who aren't in the training world don't know much about what it takes to make a nice horse. They want it cheap (no problem) and they want it fast. "Fast" can be a big problem if the horse and/or rider lack a foundation.

    IME, a good rider and trainer can build their skill into something more. But Keep Your Day Job!

    Also, it really helps to have a horse of your own that you can continue to improve. That's your best form of advertising. It doesn't have to be fancy, of course.
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  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    The tough parts are that

    1) The earning records for those without a college degree remain much, much lower than for those folks with a college degree.

    While "college" can be expensive or cheap, useful or merely fun, it's financially a bad idea to nix the whole thing.
    This is true...and I think it's a shame. I am currently in a position that doesn't "require" a college degree. Except that it does when a job description is generated.

    Same with just about every other white collar position out there. It's sad...and it's part of the cheapening of the degree. For example: Why in the world does a receptionist need a degree? They don't. And yet, you'd be hard pressed to find an entry-level receptionist position that doesn't list it as a requirement.


    2) The enormous debt-loads incurred by those who do go to college. It becomes hard to not leap into trying to use that degree immediately since your lenders don't care that you changed your mind or the investment didn't pay the returns anyone expected. You need to pay now (or accumulate interest while not repaying), and you'll need to repay always even if you declare bankruptcy.[/quote]

    And this is why parents/guidance counselors need to be having tough discussions with students about what a degree will do for them and how much debt is acceptable. It is unpopular to say it in this day and age, but if you are poor and haven't worked hard enough to get grants/scholarships, etc, college may not be for you. These kids, as well as lackluster students, should be aimed for trades. Heck, my lackluster/unmotivated student brother went into construction and then started specializing in electricial. He is now an electrical foreman at a very large company and is better off than I...who did go to college.

    Kids wanting to be trainers need to think about what it takes to be want they want to be (including skills, background, sacrifice, risks, back-up plan) etc and decide what path is going to get them where they want. If they are unwilling to accept all that comes with their chosen path, maybe they need to be realistic about the path.
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    ^^^

    Before we divide ourselves to the College-Worthy and Tech School populations, let me remind you guys of the benefits of having a well-educated population.

    To wit: That distinction between Necessary and Sufficient Conditions that the Op Ed writer didn't make and which started the whole problem? Learned that in college, in a philosophy class no less.

    Extrapolate, if you will, to a whole mass of people making piss-poor arguments, not appreciating better and worse, or not even caring about the quality of thought and reasoning in there as they do important things like vote, sign loan documents, raise up their kids, follow a boarding contract and the like.

    And another thing! Numerical literacy is just as important as any other kind. Your average joe should know a tad about statistics, interest, how to read a scientific paper and such..... or they'll have to take the word of (interested) experts.
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    I teach at a university, and I agree with whoever said that not everyone should go. Although I love most of my students, I have too many who are unmotivated and immature with no academic inclinations or intellectual curiosity.

    I think a lot of new high school graduates would benefit greatly by working for a few years, entering the military, or even being a working student for awhile and reconsidering college later when they are more mature and have a better idea about what they want to do with their lives.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    Extrapolate, if you will, to a whole mass of people making piss-poor arguments, not appreciating better and worse, or not even caring about the quality of thought and reasoning in there as they do important things like vote, sign loan documents, raise up their kids, follow a boarding contract and the like.

    And another thing! Numerical literacy is just as important as any other kind. Your average joe should know a tad about statistics, interest, how to read a scientific paper and such..... or they'll have to take the word of (interested) experts.
    I believe the majority of COTHers are college educated and live in six figure households based on whatever that poll was a while ago, and you will note that piss-poor arguments and total lack of numerical literacy are rampant on here.

    Just ask someone to convert inches to hands and when they get 66 inches divided by 4 inches to a hand = 16.5 they conclude that the horse is 17.1 .



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    Touché re: COTHers gettin' it wrong, too. Some of that might be cluelessness or carelessness, but the inspiration for the rant is a whole bunch of people who don't respect the process of acquiring knowledge in the first place. It's not that they don't respect experts, it's that they don't wish to break a sweat to become well-informed at all.

    This is relevant to this thread because any good professional-- from horse trainer to HVAC guru to neurosurgeon-- does continuing education.

    If you don't do that (and learn to like it) when you are in the official schooling era of your life, I think it can be harder to adopt and apply that value later. And it really counts later.

    Also, I think it would be great to have a spin-off thread where folks describe how they *did* build a little horse business with or without a WS stint in there.
    The armchair saddler
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    ^^^

    Before we divide ourselves to the College-Worthy and Tech School populations, let me remind you guys of the benefits of having a well-educated population.

    To wit: That distinction between Necessary and Sufficient Conditions that the Op Ed writer didn't make and which started the whole problem? Learned that in college, in a philosophy class no less.

    Extrapolate, if you will, to a whole mass of people making piss-poor arguments, not appreciating better and worse, or not even caring about the quality of thought and reasoning in there as they do important things like vote, sign loan documents, raise up their kids, follow a boarding contract and the like.

    And another thing! Numerical literacy is just as important as any other kind. Your average joe should know a tad about statistics, interest, how to read a scientific paper and such..... or they'll have to take the word of (interested) experts.
    Heh...so they need, what, two classes?

    Critical Thinking isn't just taught at the college level...although what is taught there is often more liberal then elsewhere.

    I have plenty of college-educated friends that are fools in some areas of their thinking. I'm sure I am as well.

    Those who choose/want to be well-educated will be. Those who don't want to be, won't be. It's the proverbial horse-water argument.
    Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
    Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"



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