Thursday, Jun. 13, 2024

Equine Career Guide: Carey Williams Always Has Good Advice For New Jersey Horsemen

As an undergraduate student at Colorado State University, Carey Williams didn't know much about the role of an extension agent. But by the time she'd earned her doctoral degree in equine nutrition at Virginia Tech, she'd realized the job suited her perfectly.

Now an equine extension specialist and assistant professor at Rutgers University (N.J.), she gives seminars on equine nutrition, helping people to provide the best diets for their horses and understand the latest research in the industry. She also conducts her own research in equine exercise physiology.

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As an undergraduate student at Colorado State University, Carey Williams didn’t know much about the role of an extension agent. But by the time she’d earned her doctoral degree in equine nutrition at Virginia Tech, she’d realized the job suited her perfectly.

Now an equine extension specialist and assistant professor at Rutgers University (N.J.), she gives seminars on equine nutrition, helping people to provide the best diets for their horses and understand the latest research in the industry. She also conducts her own research in equine exercise physiology.

“I’m a link between the horse industry in New Jersey and Rutgers,” she said. “I knew I wanted to teach, and as I worked through my Ph.D., I learned I liked research too.”

Williams, 29, has traveled to Arizona, California and all over the East Coast, giving talks on her research and listening to the outcome of other research projects. She’ll be heading to France in August for the International Conference on Exercise Physiology, where she’ll present her research on antioxidants and how they benefit horses in work. She gives seminars to horse groups and travels to farms and tracks for nutritional consultations and advice on renovating pastures.

“I’m similar to an equine nutritionist, but within the state, we do it for free,” she said. “Almost every state has one specialist, usually at a land-grant university.”

Williams, who lives in East Windsor, N.J., cites a lack of opportunities as a disadvantage of this profession. “This job is very specialized, and there’s not too many out there,” she said. “I never would have guessed I’d end up in New Jersey, but the industry is big here.”

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As the only extension specialist in the state, she has a lot to juggle. “I’ve had to say no to a couple of talks and things I love doing,” she said.

Williams also helped develop the website for Rutgers’ equine program (www.esc.rutgers.edu), where people can ask questions about equine nutrition and management. She suggested that anyone who has an interest in this field contact the agent in his or her state and find out what he or she does.

For Williams, the best part of the job is staying closely in touch with the horse world. “I haven’t even been here three years, but a lot of people in the [horse world] know who I am and how I can help. I like that industry contact, in all the disciplines, from the race horses to the backyard pleasure person who just wants to make their horse happy and healthy. I like to make an impact,” she said.

Willliams, who trains with advanced rider Wendy Lewis, grew up in Pony Club in Wisconsin and enjoys eventing her 8-year-old mare, whom she bought as a yearling at the Virginia Tech MARE Center’s annual Thoroughbred auction. Now, they’ve become a familiar part of the local horse scene.

“I went to an event at the [New Jersey] Horse Park, and the announcer said I was from Rutgers, so everyone starting chanting, ‘Go, Rutgers’ as I went into the show jumping,” she said with a laugh.

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