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Ariat164 01-17-2010 11:41 PM

College help
ok i dont know what college i want to go to i want to be a horse trainer and give lessons. i realy want to go to Findlay but its verry expensive, so i want to know if there are any other good equine colleges where you can bring your own horse. i also looked at lake erie and Meridith Mannor, but from what i hear it has gone downhill. i dont care where it is located as long as it has an amazing equine program and will not break the bank lol. i also plan on doing a minor in psycology in case training doesnt work out. suggestions are greatly apreciated. thnx :-)

Jubilee 01-18-2010 09:05 AM

I attended William Woods University in Fulton, MO for one semester. They have an Equine Science degree and an Equine Business degree. It is a good school over all, but it is VERY expensive, it's an Ivy League school. In my opinion, it was not worth the money. It is great if you wanted to major in something else like Law or whatever and just wanted to minor in horse stuff. But it is not worth it for just the horse stuff. You won't learn to be a trainer there. You will learn to teach CHA very well, but there is no training. I was only about to ride two or three times a week and only worked in the barn a couple days a week (those positions were limited to those that qualified for work studies. Not nearly as much hands on experience as I wanted.

I ended up leaving there and got a working internship at a dressage training barn, which in my opinion is the best way to go. I was there for seven months and learned more in that span of time then I did in the previous three years combined. I lived and worked on the farm, got to ride multiply horses a day, I became a part of their team and got some REAL WORLD experience. I got to train young horses, I got to ride stallions, I got to help birth foals, it was amazing! I also had some opportunities to show for free.

Right now I am applying for an apprenticeship at another barn. That is the cool thing about getting your education that way, they are usually short term, anywhere from 6 months to a couple years, so you can do multiple internship to make yourself a well rounded horseperson.

If you want to become a horse trainer or riding instructor (or horse manager, or groom, etc.) I HIGHLY suggest that you find an internship, apprenticeship, or working student position. It is FAR less expensive (in my case it was free and I got free room and board in exchange for my work) and you will get much MUCH more experience.

I'm tell you right now, you will never need a college degree to become a horse trainer or riding instructor, people don't care about your GPA in those positions, they want to know how well you can ride, how many horses you have trained, and how enjoyable you are to work with (meaning you need to have a good code of ethics, it goes a long way in this industry, trust me. Slander and backstabbing are popular in the horse world, but if you abstain from that junk people will notice and THAT will get you ahead. Just a side note).

You said you want to do Psychology in case horse training does not work out... Do not take that stance, DO NOT have that mind set. It is pointless to have a plan B if you want to work with horses. You know why? In order to do well in the horse industry you have to go after it wholeheartedly, you have to want it more than anyone else around you wants it. If you spend a lot of time setting up a plan B then that is time taken away from your main goal, meaning you don't really want it as much as you say you want it. Those that really do well in this industry are those that are willing to work hard and step out of the traditional mold that society has set. If you set up a plan B then you will fall back on it as soon as times get tough, and trust me times WILL get tough. But later on you will regret not sticking with it, that is if horses really are your true passion. You need to decided if horses are what you really want to do with you life. Do you want to be a trainer? Or do you want to be a Psychologist? You need to make up your mind.

Now, don't get me wrong, college is great for your overall development as a person. I did not graduate from college, but I spent three years taking basic core courses before I transfered to William Woods, I have a fundamental education that I am very thankful for. If you are hesitant about going cold turkey and not going to college then I suggest you go to a community college and get an AA or something and then go work an internship (in some cases, you may be able to do both at the same time if you work part time in each). You will save so much time and money in the long run.

Here is the thing, when you graduate from a "Horse College" you are still going to have to get a job and work from the very bottom up. So why not just start out from the bottom and work your way up while learning on the job?

Think it over, start looking around for internships, apprenticeships, and working student positions. Check out They have lots of postings all over the world for internships, apprenticeships, and working student jobs (as well as any other horse job you may be looking for later on). Start talking to trainers that you are interested with. Don't be afraid to send them e-mails and ask questions about the industry. Be willing to step out of your comfort zone. Look for every opportunity you can to ride and work with horses. A career with horses does not come easy and it will NOT just come to you, even if you go to a top horse college. But if you chase after it, you CAN achieve it.

Good luck. If you have any more questions and want to talk to me more about what I have done and what I am doing, don't be hesitant to PM me. I am still in the thick of it, I'm not a professional yet but I am well on my way and am tacking active steps to get there. It is very exciting!

Sorry for the long post,


Ariat164 01-18-2010 09:57 AM

thank you for being so helpful!!!!! :D

dantexeventer 01-18-2010 09:58 AM

I agree with Jubilee (although WWU isn't an Ivy League - but it IS expensive!).
The best thing you can do if you want to have a career as a trainer is to be a working student. Do it for several years, then work your way up to an assistant trainer, get a good client base, and start your own business. A lot of trainers in the industry actually say that they shy away from people with Equine Science degrees, because the programs are very one-sided - you learn the school's way of doing things, and that's not necessarily the right way. Plus, as far as tuition costs go, you'd be far better of being a WS and putting that money towards a non-horse related degree - you mentioned Psychology. That way, all your bases will be covered. A minor really won't get you a job or help you do anything post-college; its purpose is just to give you a chance to take some extra non-major courses in something you're interested in.
Good luck! :)

SmoothTrails 01-18-2010 10:03 AM

I love your advice. I am going for a degree in horse science right now at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro,TN. I'm not yet sure what my minor is going to be, but I am thinking entrepreneurship or business management so that I have some education in that side of things. I am trying to get a job at a local biarding and training facility right now. I have a lot of horse experience, but I am trying to get some actual working experience.

Jubilee 01-18-2010 10:18 AM

Dantexeventer, did you go to WWU too?

I was under the impression that William Woods was an Ivy League school, but honestly I don't know much about the subject. They had a HUGE elaborate plaque on the wall that says "Ivy League" and we had an "Ivy" ceremony that everyone made a huge deal over and the sports program was really nice. But, what do I know? I was only there for one semester and I could really care less about that stuff. But that's besides the point, it is way too expensive (not Yale or Harvard, but still insane).

Ariat164, try talking to some trainers that are already doing well in the industry and ask them how they went about getting their education and ask if they have any tips. You can get some great ideas that way.


dantexeventer 01-18-2010 10:24 AM

No, I was accepted but didn't matriculate - did the WS thing instead, haha! :)

Jubilee 01-18-2010 10:28 AM

SmoothTrails, if you can get a job at a barn while you are in school, that would be great. I'm not saying to No one should go to college for a horse degree, it may work well for some people, especially if they already have a lot of horse experience and are already established in showing (which I was not). But in my opinion, Working Student is the best way to go. Do whatever it takes to get that job because that will be your greatest asset. If you already have some barn working experience by the time you graduate you will already be that much more ahead.


Ariat164 01-18-2010 04:23 PM

i have talked to trainers, and i have worked at a barn for years, and i have been riding for 6 or 7 years so i have quite a bit of experience with horses, i have already been offered an internship with my new trainer. i was thinking of getting a degree in psycology so i could maybe get a part time job so i could have some money to start out on.

upnover 01-18-2010 09:47 PM

To be quite honest most barns don't care what kind of degree you have (if you have one at all), they're more concerned with what kind of experience you have. Someone with an equine science degree but almost no experience outside of that isn't as valuable as someone who has shown all over the country but only has a high school diploma. Jubilee had some great things to say. If you really want to be in the horse industry, you're going to have to start from the bottom and go up from there. Doing an internship or apprenticeship will be some of the best 'learning' you'll do! Plus, a large part of getting a job in the horse industry is who you know. Working under the right person can get you connections that will take you where you need to go.

My opinion though, is that you should look at a back up plan. Even if this may be your absolutely 100% "I'm never going to change my mind" dream in life, you need to think practically about skills that will make you marketable outside of the training world. What if you get hurt and can't work for a while? What if it's slow getting started and you can't make a living on what you earn at first? You don't necessarily have to pick one or the other, I would just suggest doing something that can make you hire-able in other fields. I personally think so many trainers are often horribly lacking in some basic business skills. My suggestion is to consider studying business (unless you're completely opposed). The things you study in a basic business degree are crucial every day things you'll use as a trainer and can open a lot of doors should you decide to work outside of horses. Small business management, finance, marketing, law/liability, accounting, etc etc etc... all things most trainers use daily. If I knew that I'd use Excel so frequently I would have paid more attention in my computer class! The more you know, the better off you'll be. There are some really fabulous public universities with great riding programs. A lot of those trainers have some really great connections they can hook you up with during the summers or after graduation.

Also, do you have any kind of show record? if not, if at all possible, i'd get into the show ring! You could be a great rider/trainer but having some awards that you can put on your resume will be more tangible to hiring barns. Also, you can show off your skills in front of several barns you may not have connections with otherwise. If you have a successful show career and people hear your name a lot on the loudspeaker, they'll know who you are when you come looking for a job!

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