Page 32

Back to School Jessica Stewart Riley - Randolph Center, VT


hat is the value of an equine studies degree, and how can it help me to get a job? As the director of an equine studies program, I frequently hear this logical and valid question. The first thing to keep in mind is that there are many ways to arrive at the same goal, and every person will not take the same path. The most important consideration is what the best plan might be for the individual, based on his or her experience, resources, and desire. If you have had the opportunity to take lessons or work at a reputable barn(s) throughout your life, then an equine degree may not be as essential for you. However, many of the young people I meet are passionate about a career with horses, but have had

minimal opportunities for formal education in a safe and reputable setting. They also may have been exposed to basic horse care and stable management and some riding, but not the finer details of equine health and diseases, lameness, training, formal riding instruction (including communication skills, lesson plans, and rider anatomy & biomechanics), liabilit y, contract s, insurance, nutrition, fire safety, equine anatomy and biomechanics, or equine massage. We also prepare students for the work force by focusing on soft skills that they can use in any career, anywhere. This includes professionalism, working in a team or as a leader, work ethic, resiliency, mature conduct, interview skills, professional dress, career plans, and how to prepare a “perfect� resume and cover letter. All of these topics are included in the courses within the Associate of Applied Science in Equine Studies curriculum at Vermont Technical College. Our goal is to turn out graduates who are professional, knowledgeable, and ethical horse people. As with any other college major in any field, that means accepting students with whatever level of previous knowledge or experience they may have, and helping them become an employable professional in the industry. This can be challenging Continued Next Page

30 4 Legs & a Tail

Fall 2017

4 Legs & a Tail Lebanon Fall 2017