The Horse Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, so the time has come. It's time to start looking at colleges (or a trade school) and to pick my top 3 in the summer. So what're some of the ones you guys have heard of? I personally really hate school, so would prefer to not have to go for academic purpose, but more for equine/riding purposes. The main one I have been looking at is called Meridith Manor in WV, it looks like a really cool school. Has anyone heard of it?
 

·
Registered
Dreama - rescue from the local dog pound. Some type of gaited horse mix of unknown history.
Joined
·
430 Posts
I don't know much about finding college programs that are geared toward work with horses except for vets, but I want to offer you some advice I offer to anyone thinking about college.

Please don't write off a profession you might want to do just because you "hate school" and you think it requires too much school. College is SO much different than high school and many people find they thrive in college even though they hated high school.

Set your college or trade school goals based on the field you'd actually like to go into rather than how much school it requires. Look into what kinds of scholarships and financial aid you might qualify for with different schools. Think about what you'd like to do after college and look at schools that have good programs for what you think you might like to do. Your future is worth it.

You may think you only want to work with horses now, but working with horses means you'll also have to work a lot with people (owners, trainers, barn owners, etc.) So it's important to think about whether you like working with people too or if that's going to get tiresome after a while. I'd imagine it does require some level of customer service skill (something I was always very good at on the outside, but quickly ate me down inside.)

I work for the Technical College System in my state, but different states are organized differently. Here we're all under one big system even though we are many colleges and offer different programs depending on the area. Definitely check out your local community colleges in your area. Sometimes they have programs you might not even have thought about wanting to do that don't take that long to learn and can earn quite large salaries in the long run.

Here, you can even get an Associate's degree at a community college (which is often a much smaller and more personalized atmosphere than a bigger 4 year college) and then transfer to a 4 year college if you want or need a Bachelor's degree in your field. Statistically, students who've completed their first two years with a community college tend to do much better once they transfer than students who went straight to a 4 year college from high school. It gives you time to learn the ropes and responsibilities in a more intimate environment before heading off to the "big college."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,105 Posts
Also, equine degrees are not viewed in a very good light by much of the industry. Many people prefer those with a solid degree in something like business, accounting, etc. and will actively avoid equine degrees. Decide what field you would like to go into, then get a degree that compliments it. A good friend went to Meredith Manor, but she went back to school and got an elementary education degree instead after she couldn't find a job in the horse industry that paid enough to live on.

Honestly, I know several people who have equine science degrees/went to equestian colleges/programs, and all had to go back to school to get a more marketable degree and/or learn a trade instead. I don't know anyone in the equine industry outside of veterinarians who actually have any sort of equine degree. You can still work with horses and get a long way in the industry with a BS/BA/associates/trades program and real-world experience. Who you know and what experience you have goes a lot farther than what your degree says.

The equine industry is shrinking. Finding a job in it is becoming increasingly difficult, especially if you actually have to earn enough to pay your living expenses and it's not just a side-job or you don't have a spouse/partner whose work pays all the bills.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,048 Posts
If you really don't like school but want to work with horses professionally, then a "horse college" seems like a waste of money.

Another route you might consider is to find a professional trainer and apprentice with them for a few years. A lot of pros get their start that way, probably most. Be prepared to work seven days a week, 365 days a year and make very little money though. That said, when you are ready to strike out on your own you would most likely be in a good position.

The only "horse" degrees that I would ever recommend would be a four year degree from a serious university like Texas A&M or Oklahoma State which both are world experts in all things equine.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,823 Posts
Ive not only heard of Meredith Manor but I attended and graduated all the way back in 2010 😳

Feel free to PM me with any questions. I can and will be completely honest in the fact that FOR ME PERSONALLY....the jobs Ive had in the horse industry I would have been able to get regardless if I had gone to MM or not. Obviously everyone has different experiences/stories and different outcomes so keep that in mind!

Personally, Id look at an apprenticeship, or go to a college and get other degrees along with equine related ones. Best of luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,498 Posts
I probably shouldn't be giving advice because I did really like school - and still do, so much so that I became a university professor. But I want to echo what others have said. Getting a degree in an equine field sounds awesome, but jobs are so scarce that almost no one is making a living at it. Those I know who did this ended up doing a bunch of other things just to make ends meet, and some had to throw in the towel altogether. I do know a couple of people who have made a living trimming hooves, but it's brutal work for little money and you have no vacation, no benefits and no pension.

Horses are expensive. Maybe consider a degree in a broader field that will be of use to you, but that can also help you make a living so you can afford horses.

I don't think you should focus on going to a specific college so you can ride.

Also, keep your mind open. It's possible you just haven't found what you are truly passionate about. Meantime, a horse apprenticeship is not a bad idea - you get skills but don't have to spend a fortune on tuition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
796 Posts
Agree with the above, it's not in your best interest to go to college for an equine field. I attend Delaware Valley University (in PA) that has several equine majors. I'm not here for an equine degree, but I can tell you this:

If you're not already a solid rider/trainer/whatever already, an equine degree is not going to fill that gap and make the difference between getting a job or not, because at the end of the day, you won't be much better of a rider.

And if you already ARE a solid rider/trainer/whatever, an equine degree is not going to make you a better candidate for equine jobs, because they don't care about the degree, they just care about whether or not you are a good rider. And for good reason: I've seen people start their equine degree without ever having touched a horse and then graduate only knowing how to sit w/t/c! The degree doesn't mean anything.

My favorite and most successful trainers never went to college. I see a lot of equine students graduating here with crappy riding skills (not the fault of the trainer, just not good riders to begin with). Don't waste tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands on a degree that won't get you anywhere! On top of that, as already mentioned (sorry to sound harsh), the field is already overflowing with wanna-be trainers and competitive riders. Even if you ARE just that good of a rider, there is absolutely no guarantee you'll be able to make any money off of showing and training.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,990 Posts
I got a degree in Animal Science... But i am thinking of going back to school for something else. I had a full ride scholarship and that covered all my books and tuition. If i had not had a scholarship, i might have been more careful when choosing a degree.

My friends with animal science degrees- one ended up working with border patrol, and another as agricultural inspectors at the airport. Another was working as a receptionist at the local equine veterinary clinic.

People change careers all the time. I know a lawyer who now works at Lowes of all places. My cousin had a music degree and is now a teacher. Not everyone sticks to a chosen path. You need to find something you are interested in and search for jobs related to that... Come up with a backup plan.
 

·
Registered
Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
Joined
·
2,085 Posts
I have read some absolutely horrendous things about Meredith Manor from people who have gone there in recent years. I have no firsthand opinion, of course, but there are lot of reviews and reports online that it's extremely expensive, disappointing, and has a bad reputation in the industry. I would do a whole heck of a lot of research before picking that particular place.

Why not look at working student positions instead? You won't have to pay tuition, and you'll get a much more thorough and intensive learning experience if you get a good placement.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,105 Posts
Most people switch jobs every few years--- our economy is no longer one where you pick a career and do the same thing for 40 years in most cases. Employers looking for a degree are often looking for a widely marketable degree, and what it's in doesn't matter as long as it's got wide-reaching benefits--- just that you have one. So, that being said, choose a degree that is marketable across a variety of fields, especially if you don't know for sure what you want to do. Most careers in the equine field don't require a degree in that field, and most employers outside the equine industry will view an equine science degree as worthless. You won't get hired at a bank with an equine science degree. You could with nearly anything 'standard' -- they just want to know you know basic math skills and computer skills, and will train the rest, for example. (A bank job isn't half bad if you can get it-- regular hours, no nights, no weekends once you've been there long enough to not be the 'low man on the totem pole' who works the drive-up window on Saturdays, lol.)

Degrees that are most marketable tend to be things like computer science, business/marketing, accounting, etc. Those don't sound terribly exciting to most people, but they will get you a job and get you the ability to be choosy about your job and able to live where you want and still be able to be hired.

Education is starving for good teachers, but the teaching profession is so looked down on and overburdened, I can't say I'd recommend that-- and about half my friends and family work in education on some way, shape, or form.

Health care is booming. If anything in healthcare interests you, that is a good place to start.

Most people in the horse industry have 'real jobs', too. Those who don't usually have a spouse whose job pays the bills, or they worked a 'real job' in addition to their horse job until they got enough savings and reputation and clients built up to make it worth the risk to enter the industry as a career.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
10,045 Posts
I compete and also work for higher level competitors. Not uncommon in my discipline.

Years ago I was having dinner with several people who own larger operations. A couple of them mentioned needing more help. I suggested contacting two of the colleges in our area that have horse programs. They said they would not. I asked why.

Reasons given were: a) Grads come out thinking they know more than they do, b) they have the notion some of the grunt work is beneath them, c) they don't have anything special to offer (though some think they are equal to vets or know more than the owner), d) "How many hours a day does one want to listen to the causes and cures for colic?" or "Listen to the benefits of their instructor's favorite bit." Everyone had similar opinions.

A couple others agreed they had better luck hiring "kids who had a liberal arts degree because they were more interesting and eager to learn."

A few said hiring groom's and riders with some business background (whether schooling or experience in a family business) worked well because they understood that money was a finite resource.

Since then, I have heard similar things said from people who do the hiring for bigger outfits.

So... I can't recommend going to school specifically to work with horses. I second the working student or apprenticeship route, with an eye to getting a back up option for the future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,105 Posts
I've been to several conferences lately that are also saying that in the next 10 - 15 years, up to 65% (or more) of current jobs will no longer exist. Jobs are changing rapidly. Many of the jobs we have now will be replaced by computers/AI in the near future, particular service-oriented positions. There will be jobs, but they will require computer and coding skills, the ability to network, possibly speak multiple languages (Mandarin Chinese is one coming highly recommended now for college), and be adaptable and able to function and learn with a global economy. When looking into your future, consider if your chosen path is likely to be replaced by computers or not. For instance, it's estimated that in the next 5-8 years, a high percentage of delivery and truck drivers will be replaced by self-driving vehicles. Waiters/restaurant workers will be replaced. Clerks and customer service people will be replaced. Healthcare as an industry is growing as our population ages and becomes more unhealthy. Logistics companies are growing. Electric vehicles are gaining ground. "Green" energy is a field that is booming, and most people in it went to a 2-year trade program and are making a lot of money right after graduation.

Our world is changing rapidly. A lot of our current workforce lacks the skills to change with it and I think that will be a huge issue in the next decade or so as jobs become more skilled and employees are replaced by computers, then can't find new jobs because they lack computer and coding skills. If at all possible, consider a degree that gives you those skills--- even in the horse industry, it's likely to be important, and the way the world is going, we can't really depend on a horse industry job--- far more people are getting out of horses than are getting in due to the cost of land, aging, health, regulation, etc. The ability to 'work from home' with a computer will be huge--- I know many people who work for international companies from their living rooms in the middle of nowhere, make good money, and that's what enables them to afford to have horses.

My experience is similar to boots' above--- equine industry people don't want to hire those with equine degrees.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top