Hi again 🙂
I hope you're enjoying, or enjoyed, your spring break. As many students are making their final college decisions, I thought I would share my thoughts on the benefits of the college-equestrian-life. William Woods' Equestrian Science program brings many students to campus who are interested in pursuing an equine education. There are many adjustments to make when transitioning to a college equestrian atmosphere, versus a riding or lesson program at home, but below I have listed out the great advantages.
- Lots of People to Learn From
Some students may come from large barns, but the vast majority of people probably don't experience an equestrian environment as rich and diverse as William Woods'. There are so many students and faculty with a variety of experiences to learn from. If you want to know about something horse-related at William Woods, there's someone or some resource that can help you on campus.
- Lots of Horses to Learn From
Just as there are many people to learn from, there are a variety of horses, too. In a lesson program, a student might ride a few horses, but at William Woods there are over 150 to experience! They come from so many backgrounds and teach the students how to handle to many situations.
- Multiple Disciplines
Most students come from barns that only featured one discipline, but at William Woods you can experience one of four seats! While many people have a seat in mind when they start riding, it's not uncommon for a student to find a new seat they enjoy. The environment at William Woods allows students to do a lot of exploration and experimentation.
- Classroom Instruction
Many lesson programs are solely focused on riding, but here at WWU students not only learn while riding but in the classroom, too. There is so much to learn about handling and healing horses, and much of that instruction starts in the classroom.
- Care, Care, and More Care
Before I started school at William Woods, I had never administered any medication, wrapped a leg, or taken a horse's vitals. Now I have done it all dozens of times. It's the hands-on atmosphere that taught me all of these skills, which I had never learned by taking lessons.
There's a lot to learn as an equestrian, and William Woods can teach you anything.
This semester I am taking an applied riding class! As a Biology Pre-Vet student, my primary courses are in the Biology Department but here at The Woods there is an integrated Equestrian portion for Pre-Vet students. I also decided to take on an Equestrian Science Minor, just so that I can take even more equestrian classes.
Last fall my Biology coursload was rather heavy, so I did not ride. Now I am trying out Dressage with Karen Pautz. I've ridden in two other riding classes at WWU, but this is my first time in the Dressage barn. Primarily a Hunter/Jumper, it has been interesting learning about the world of Dressage. It truly is the underlying basics for Hunter/Jumper, which I had been told before but didn't quite understand until I got on last week.
Karen Pautz is phenomenal. She has explained things to me that I already "knew" how to do, but I am learning how to do them better. So far I've ridden Aurea, a very willing Chestnut mare. It has been great, even with the freezing temperatures. We are lucky to have heating in our facilities so nobody gets too cold.
On the weekends I take tech lessons, which gives me more chances to practice with the help of someone from the ground. Each applied riding class has 1-2 teaching techs. These are students who are learning how to teach. They help in class and then you can ride with them on the weekends or you can take the opportunity to free ride on your own.
This semester I have two other classes in the Equestrian Studies Department. I am taking Practical Equine Anatomy and Condition as well as Stable Management. There are a lot of different classes for all the equestrian majors. Students take classes like Facility Management, Equine Health and First Aid, Origin of Modern Riding, and Equine Evaluation. There is also Horse Management Practicum (I&II). In that class you are responsible first for 1-3 horses, and then if you take it a second time for 5-8 horses, and you learn all about what it takes to keep horses happy and healthy in a professional environment.
I am very excited to be back at the barn, working with the horses and continuing on with my Mentor-Mentee project! I hope you are all staying warm!