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Discussion Starter #1
I am currently a junior in high school, and so, it is time to begin my search for the right path in life xD I've always been 100% about having a career in the equine industry. However, I have swayed back and forth from equine veterinarian, to professional rider, to trainer and everything in between. I have also been 100% about going to college. So at this point, I am trying to find the right major and college. I recently recieved mail from Delaware Valley College and so, checked out their website. In doing so I saw they have an Equine Studies major. I have heard about it before but never really read up on what it was. From the DelVal website, it seems to be really interesting. And so here is my question. Has anyone here majored in Equine Studies or does anyone have extensinve information about said major? If you did major in Equine Studies, do you think it adequately prepared you for the equine industry, and how well rounded would you say it has made you? Thanks!
 

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I have an animal science degree (pre-vet) with an equine emphasis from a major university. I rode with IHSA, took classes on equine industry, equine evaluation, equine production, behavior and training, etc etc. I've been teaching/training full time for about 6 years now and while I absolutely loved my college years, quite honestly, my degree hasn't helped me out a whole lot. Sure, it's crucial to be able to evaluate the conformation of a horse but you don't need a degree to do it. The things that I use in my job are things that you need to learn with hands on experience and time in the field. I have a reputation as a trainer because people bring me horses to ride and they leave happy, healthy, and more rideable horses. I have a reputation as an instructor because people bring me their kids and they learn how to ride. Success in the show ring (for myself, my horses, and my kids) doesn't hurt either... Do you need a degree to do this? Nope. For me it's just icing on the cake. I know quite a few very respectable and very successful people in the industry with no degrees.

I think in this day and age though a degree is very important. I'm glad you're definitely going to college. It's especially important to have a back up plan when your life and dream is horses. You never know what will happen in this industry. What i think is really lacking in a lot of really successful trainers is business skills. Trainers/instructors/BMs/BOs use business every single day: management, law, insurance, finance, investments, accounting, advertising, different computer programs, I could go on and on. If you REEEAALLY want to work in the industry, my suggestion would be to get a degree in some kind of business and spend your summers working your butt off as a working student with a reputable trainer who is willing to teach you everything she knows and has a sizable network of people who she can hook you up with for a job after graduation.

Sorry, this is kind of long. :) But quite honestly if someone came up to me looking to be hired I would care less if they had an equine degree, or any degree at all. All I need to know is can they ride, can they teach, and are they willing to work hard.
 

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I'm only in grade 10 but like eventer17 i am also looking at an equine future. is getting a major good enough. I was considering going to Olds College and getting an Equine Business and Management major. I considered a horsemanship major but my boss and instructor is an olympic rider so I get all the riding needs right there. Would getting a major be good enough?
 

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Do what you love. The downside to working with horses is you will make crap for money. Don't get my wrong, you will make enough to perhaps live "comfortably" but money will always be tight. If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.

I always thought I wanted to work with horses, I got accepted into three different colleges for large animal science/equine sciences, but I would come out with what? you know? Now I'm in college to be a vet tech with a minor in large animal science so atleast I have a backup plan. Always have a backup!
 

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^^ After re-reading your first post, I got accepted into Delval and I loved it!!! But it was more expensive to go out of state. They have a GREAT equine program. The town next to it is really cute it's called Doyles town and it's like an old english style place. I have a friend who goes there for Zoology. It's a very very small college though.

And the girls on the riding team are very close-nit and the majority of the girls are stuck up.
 

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Thanks so much for info guys!

upnover: That is my major concern about a degree in equine studies. I was scanning through the major specific courses, however, and there were quite a few involving business and barn management, so I'm thinking maybe it would still be okay. Do you think I should minor in business?

White Foot: Yes I know Doylestown. Lol. I actually only live a half hour away in King of Prussia, so I'm right in the area ;]
 

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To the OP- I am just about to finish my second year of vet school so I can give you some input on that route. If you want to become an equine vet, you should definitely shadow/work in a clinic first. Equine medicine is a 24 hour a day 7 days a week job and most of the time you are working with owners who are difficult. You don't get a lot of time to ride or to be with your own horses and if you want to have a family in the future that is also very hard.

But it can be done so don't let these things stop you, just realize that you must think about them long and hard. For me, I love science and solving puzzles and that is what vet med is all about. As far as majors in college, it doesn't matter what you major in as long as you fulfill all the pre-reqs. We have girls in our class with majors in foreign languages, theology, communications, and of course things like zoology and animal science. The most important thing to getting into vet school is having lots of experience and good GRE scores. Straight A's are not necessary but will help you a lot.

Good luck with finding your path in life. The best advice I can ever give anyone is don't be in a hurry. Take time to travel and to work and live life, I started vet school at age 30 and it has not hurt me one bit at all!!!
 

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xD Small world.

If you go for equine studies you can do alot in the field. Anything from lab work (testing food, looking for cures, eta..) to working and riding in the field.
 

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honestly, its better to do what will make the best money, then do something you love. you want to be able to afford horses, and being a professional rider, horse trainer, riding instructor, etc will most likely not make enough money.
My mother is a engineer and she works for the military. she didnt want to do this as a carrier, but it makes great money, and she can afford a great house, having 3 cars and a motorcycle, and the horses.
She always told me never go to college for the most "fun" thing you can study because its the easy way out and you'll struggle later.
My aunt was an engineer making great money, but she quit to "do something she loves", and now she's dirt poor and has to stay with her abusive boyfriend so she has a roof over her head.

if you really want to work with horses, i would recommed Vet tech or Veterinarian. Both of those carriers were in Time Magazine on their best jobs for upcoming years list.

Im sorry if I didnt give you the answer you wanted, or if i sound cynical, but im truely trying to help you out. You want to afford horses, and you want to live confortably. Professional rider, instructor, horse trainer are deffinitly not the way to go. Keep horses your hobby, or as a second job to a job that makes better money.
 

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I have an animal science degree (pre-vet) with an equine emphasis from a major university. I rode with IHSA, took classes on equine industry, equine evaluation, equine production, behavior and training, etc etc. I've been teaching/training full time for about 6 years now and while I absolutely loved my college years, quite honestly, my degree hasn't helped me out a whole lot. Sure, it's crucial to be able to evaluate the conformation of a horse but you don't need a degree to do it. The things that I use in my job are things that you need to learn with hands on experience and time in the field. I have a reputation as a trainer because people bring me horses to ride and they leave happy, healthy, and more rideable horses. I have a reputation as an instructor because people bring me their kids and they learn how to ride. Success in the show ring (for myself, my horses, and my kids) doesn't hurt either... Do you need a degree to do this? Nope. For me it's just icing on the cake. I know quite a few very respectable and very successful people in the industry with no degrees.

I think in this day and age though a degree is very important. I'm glad you're definitely going to college. It's especially important to have a back up plan when your life and dream is horses. You never know what will happen in this industry. What i think is really lacking in a lot of really successful trainers is business skills. Trainers/instructors/BMs/BOs use business every single day: management, law, insurance, finance, investments, accounting, advertising, different computer programs, I could go on and on. If you REEEAALLY want to work in the industry, my suggestion would be to get a degree in some kind of business and spend your summers working your butt off as a working student with a reputable trainer who is willing to teach you everything she knows and has a sizable network of people who she can hook you up with for a job after graduation.

Sorry, this is kind of long. :) But quite honestly if someone came up to me looking to be hired I would care less if they had an equine degree, or any degree at all. All I need to know is can they ride, can they teach, and are they willing to work hard.
This is very good advice.
We have good friends down the road that have been in the horse business for 40+ years. They have no college, do no advertising, have no internet access, but have a great reputation, all via word of mouth. They are very savy business people and weather the ups and downs of the economy, seasons, and horse business because they are well diversified... breeding, training, instruction, boarding (full and self care), trail rides/special occasions, farming (hay), and construction (e.g. arenas, fencing, etc).
 

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Discussion Starter #11
honestly, its better to do what will make the best money, then do something you love. you want to be able to afford horses, and being a professional rider, horse trainer, riding instructor, etc will most likely not make enough money.
My mother is a engineer and she works for the military. she didnt want to do this as a carrier, but it makes great money, and she can afford a great house, having 3 cars and a motorcycle, and the horses.
She always told me never go to college for the most "fun" thing you can study because its the easy way out and you'll struggle later.
My aunt was an engineer making great money, but she quit to "do something she loves", and now she's dirt poor and has to stay with her abusive boyfriend so she has a roof over her head.

if you really want to work with horses, i would recommed Vet tech or Veterinarian. Both of those carriers were in Time Magazine on their best jobs for upcoming years list.

Im sorry if I didnt give you the answer you wanted, or if i sound cynical, but im truely trying to help you out. You want to afford horses, and you want to live confortably. Professional rider, instructor, horse trainer are deffinitly not the way to go. Keep horses your hobby, or as a second job to a job that makes better money.

I understand what you're saying, but that is all entirely opinion based and not helpful to me at all. My BIGGEST pet peeve is when people try to pass off opinion as fact. Some people can do something they hate just for the money, I cannot. I would much rather not have a significant amount of money and do something I love every single day then spend my life miserable slaving away at something I dislike just to have some extra cash.

I appreciate that you are trying to help, but these are things I have considered. At this point, a career in veterinary medicine does not seem to be the best choice for me. I feel as though, although it would make me feel good about what I do, I would not actually enjoy it.

I would like a career in the equine industry because, as much as I understand money would not be fantastic, it is quite possible to make enough to live comfortably, and although I may not be able to have my own, I will spend my days working with horses and truly enjoying myself.

I really do appreciate that you are trying to help though.


Good luck with finding your path in life. The best advice I can ever give anyone is don't be in a hurry. Take time to travel and to work and live life, I started vet school at age 30 and it has not hurt me one bit at all!!!
Very good advice :D Also, your post gives me hope that if I begin a career that is just not working out, it is possible to go back and try something else.
 

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I would like to give a big ditto to Upnover's advice.

I frequently saw working students or graduates of equine science programs who were ill prepared to work in the real world horse industry.

Also, I got my business education when I opened my barn. I made it through that experience, but I wouldn't recommend it. A strong business or general education followed by an apprenticeship or working student position with good professionals is a much better route.

Oh, and I did considerably better than "crap for money." I made a good living and I had a fabulous time. My horse business funded my further rider education, my horses and my competitive career. The *only* reason I reluctantly changed careers was because of the physical demands of the work and the difficulty of maintaining family life.
 

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I don't want to sound cynical either, but I will tell you the same thing that my father told me when I wanted to do the horse program at Virginia Tech.

He told me that getting an Equine degree is way too specialized. If it doesn't work out, it would be hard to find a job that pays the bills. An office won't hire you for your skills with horses, that's meaningless to them. And in the same vein, if you did want to be a trainer, instructor, it doesn't seem like the people that hire for those things would even care whether you had a degree or not.

It would be much better to get a broader degree, such as business, and then you can use what you know from that to find a job involving horses, like managing a horse business. You could use a law degree to work specifically with equine law. In getting those broader degrees though, if it works out you don't make as much money as you'd like, you can use them to get a job outside of horses.

Think carefully about what it is you'd like to do with horses. Being a equine vet is most certainly a worthy goal, and would require a specialized equine degree. Other things you can think about could be manufacturing of equine goods, sales, research, construction/architecture of equine housing, etc. With those types of things, just having an Equine Science degree may not get you as far as you like.

Getting paid to do what you love (riding/training I assume), is a nice thought, but it's not realistic in most cases. Just like there's tons of girls that want to grow up and be famous hollywood actresses, there's also a ton of girls/boys that want to grow up and work with horses, so competition is fierce in such a specialized industry. That doesn't even count the people who have already "made it" and are well established in your area. And, as someone else mentioned, if you get hurt, you can't work at all. AND you have no provided health care, no 401k, no vacation, no benefits from a company, you would have to get it yourself.

I would suggest not picking an Equine major, unless you're going to be a vet. You can still work in the horse industry, but pick a major that could be used in all industries, ex. Marketing- you could join/start an ad agency that caters to Equine clients, but if that doesn't work, you could still get a job with any other marketing firm.

If you do decide not to major in Equine Science, you could just find a collge that has a riding team, or riding classes, that way you can still do what you love and learn while you study. Maybe you could use it for a minor!

Again, I don't mean to sound cynical, but I am a very practical person. It's easy to get caught up in a dream, and maybe one day you will be the professional trainer or rider you want to be. But unless you have someone else paying all your bills during and many years after college, it would be extremely hard to start up.

I want to add also: http://diplomaguide.com/articles/Equine_Science_Masters_Degrees_Career_Info.html

This is for a Masters degree, which would require more education than a bachelors.
Average starting salary of $33,000, which is not a lot. I made that fresh out of high school with zero degree.
It's all well and good that you don't care about the money, but your horses will care when you can't afford to feed them, or keep their feet trimmed, and your car breaks down and you can't afford to fix it, or your heat/water gets shut off in your house.

I don't mean to rag on Equine Science Majors, but I highly recommend getting a more versatile degree.
 

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i just thought id throw my 2 cents in
and i agree with ptvintage, please do lots of research on how much jobs your interested in make, so you'll know what to expect. you dont want to dig yourself into a deep hole
 

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I went into college absolutely CERTAIN I would be going into a career with horses, either pre-vet or equine journalism. I passed over a good college closer to home to go to one with an established IHSA team.

Through a series of rather unfortunate events, I still have doubts I made a good choice, or that my education got me anywhere closer to where I wanted to be...

Good equine industry jobs are hard to come by and most care more about documentable experience, the degree is just icing on the cake.
I ended up having to get a "real" job, because I wanted to eat and so did the horsie.

ptvintage is giving you really good advice. Most starting jobs (especially equine related ones) don't pay much and if you decide you need to get another job, your degree is not versitile.

My degree is in communications with every horse related animal science course they had thrown in. I'm currently getting teaching certifications so that I can support myself as an elementary teacher and use the remaining time to work on establishing myself in the equine industry.

Then again, I graduated right as the recession began and maybe we can just blame all of it on that, but I'm just now beginning to get to where I want to be and I figure it'll be another 2-5 years before I really get what I wanted when I started college.
 
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