I took an equine science degree, and after many years of working in the industry (riding, training, managing, these were supposed to be the GOOD jobs!) and barely making enough money to scrape by, I've finally gotten out of the industry and found myself a non-horsey job that is flexible and pays enough so that I can afford to have my horses and show, it's now on my own terms, and it's FUN. I don't regret taking the degree, I had a blast and learned a ton, but now I realize it's all stuff I could have learned by getting out there and finding an awesome internship or working student placement, and I would have saved myself tens of thousands of dollars:P
I just couldn't do it anymore in the horse industry, all the responsibility of managing a barn, the long hours, I couldn't afford a decent car, I definitely couldn't get financing to get a place of my own on that wage, I was sick of living in tiny barn apartments and shoddy houses, my days off were extremely few and far between, you kind of become a slave to the industry, and there comes a point where it's just not fun anymore.
Not much of what I learned in my equine science degree transferred over to other jobs, so I was kind of stuck there until I went back to school. I wish I would have planned ahead a bit better when I was younger, you HAVE to have a backup plan nowadays. It is absolutely crucial. What if you get sick/hurt and can't ride anymore? There goes your barn/training business.
If you have your heart set on doing the equine degree thing, narrow it down to a handful of schools/courses that you like the sounds of, then get out there, post on facebook/forums, research everything, get out there and actually talk to the people who have gone through these courses. Don't look at the statistics the schools put out, as they are usually extremely skewed. Ask the former students about everything, what they thought of it, what they did when they got done, what they're doing now, and if they'd recommend it to others. You might be extremely surprised by what you find! Out of 40 some odd people who took equine science with me, less than 5 are still working in the horse industry. A lot of them still have horses and ride for themselves, but most found they just couldn't afford to have a LIFE working in horses. And I'm not talking about any sort of extravagant lifestyle, just general making ends meet, affording the necessities, and saving and planning for the future (everyone wants to get a decent car and house, right?). THAT is what they were having trouble doing. And some of these people were riding at established barns, working as assistant for big name trainers, etc. It is a very difficult industry to make a living in, and it's hard to understand until you actually get out there and get your hands wet.
Last edited by albertaeventer; 04-11-2013 at 01:08 PM.