Deciding what to major in - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By alexischristina
  • 1 Post By alexischristina
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-24-2013, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Deciding what to major in

I'm a freshman in college and I've been struggling to decide what I want to major in and what I want as a career. I have decided to stick with something agriculture related, particularly something with horses. I also love health and nutrition. So I'm thinking I could combine these two and do something with animal nutrition. What should I major in? I've always heard that equine science is not a good option. I want a useful degree. Still not sure what kind of job I want-maybe something along the lines of developing horse exercise and feeding plans, or designing feeds. I don't really know what all's out there though.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-24-2013, 11:52 AM
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Equine fields are seriously limited and super dependent on your area. The best thing you can do for yourself is sit down with an academic/career counsellor and talk it out. And then take a whole bunch of classes, try different things and don't put all your eggs in one basket. I started my undergrad in Psychology, now I'm seriously looking at communications and urban planning. What you want to do now might not be what you want to do in the future, but you'll never know until you check out your options.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-24-2013, 12:16 PM
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What I can offer is this. Don't stress about it. I don't have the numbers in front of me right now but most people where you are change, sometimes more than once. Alexis is right talk it over with the academic advisors. Your actually in a good position, although it might not seem so right now.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-24-2013, 12:22 PM
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^^ Agree to both posts. If you wanted something ag related I know some schools have a general ag sciences degree. I'd go with something pretty general though, like a biology degree as that can put you in so many broad spectrum options for careers later on.

But the point of colleges having GERs is so that you have to broaden your horizons and learn a little bit about everything to see what catches your mind and moves you, and then before you know it you have made your decision (and speaking from experience it's usually something that will surprise you ;)

Good luck, study hard!

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-24-2013, 03:53 PM
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My observation on equine degrees of any type:

I have worked with horses for a little over 40 years. I have yet to meet anyone successfully working with horses professionally who has an equine degree.

I have met people with degrees in business, general education/liberal arts, teachers, allied health fields, English majors, communication majors, journalism majors, social work and sociology, and history majors all holding positions of responsibility with good horse skills. A gentleman I know said he'll hire an English major over a person with a equine degree every day. He'd rather listen to analysis of poetry or of an author than how to manage bot flies any day. Managing flies in a barn is grunt work, not rocket science and does not require a degree, in his opinion.

I have met young ladies with various equine degrees in entry level barn jobs. I have not seen them advance, and I have seen them quit - left with large debt. Often.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-24-2013, 04:41 PM
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I'm in sorta the same boat you are. I agree with the above posters.

Is there something you want to continue your education onwards into grad school for? Something like Equine vet med, or even a tech position, etc. If so then my counselors and profs told me to pick a major that I enjoyed and excelled in (though that's true for ANY major ).

I've not seen anyone with a college degree that has a good job and is well respected in the horse industry (I'm sure there's some but usually the consensus where I live is that a degree is just a peice of paper: what matter's is how long and well you've been doing what you've been doing and how quick you learn).

Don't count out any options, and explore.
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-24-2013, 07:15 PM
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It was briefly brought up, but maybe you should look into a degree in business. You can always do something with a business degree and you can definitely relate that back to horses. Barns need managers, feed companies need people on the business end, big events need to be organized, etc. And then you have a good, solid back up plan.
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-25-2013, 12:39 AM
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To be honest, I don't think there is a lot of work in horses, and the people who are somewhat successful at it usually don't have degrees in a related field, they just work at it, get jobs, experience and they're talented. Even a lot of trainers, instructors, breeders even vets aren't that well off.

Really think about what you want in the future and then think if it's realistic. Like it sounds good and all to make horse feeds and exercise plans... but have you ever hired someone to do that for you? I never have, in fact I've never met anyone who has. That is the kind of knowledge most experienced horse people have without needing degrees, maybe people would get the information from trainers, instructors, vets etc but I don't know if it would be a field to get into. If you wanted to do feeds for a company then I'd imagine you'd have to look into getting into research which is different again.

To have a job with agriculture I'd probably look at doing an Agribusiness degree or something, or look at specialising in a field, like environmental farming, waterways conservation and care, soil management etc. Look at what is going to be needed in the future, which is probably going to be higher yield farming etc.

Or if you are interested in health become a human nutritionist.

It's up to you, but I really don't think a degree in a horse field is going to get you farm. Most well paying horse jobs will incorporate a lot business and management principals rather than those covered in equine/animal science.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-25-2013, 12:42 AM
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Get in a field that makes lots of money then use that money to enjoy your horses.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-25-2013, 12:44 AM
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think about you. Are you good at explaining things? (teacher, writer, manager, businessperson) are you good with people or do you prefer to work alone?
do you like to solve problems, such as research? Do you like to create plans, such as business? Are you a good observer, ?

In a group activity, do you prefer to be a"chief", or an "indian"? Would you rather keep the heavy responsibility of leadership but also the control, or would you rather allow someone else the control, but not have to bear the burden of making the decisions?

Do you thrive on uncertainty, or do you find predictability reassuring and pleasant?

Can you tolerate seeing another in pain, and maybe not being able to stop it? (such as a vet/doc)

lots of things to think about, in terms of the kind of career you, personally, will be most at home in.

not really sure how one can quantify all those questions, but that might help you describe yourself, IF you answer them without second guessing nor taking too much time to think about what is the "right"answer.
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