By Crystal Smith
Teaching Assistant Professor of Animal and Nutritional Sciences
Members of the West Virginia University Collegiate Horsemen’s Association recently traveled to the heart of Florida’s horse country for the 2012 American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association National Convention. On day one, student attendees toured thoroughbred training center Gold Mark Farm, visited the Horses in the Sun (HITS) hunter/jumper show, had a behind-the-scenes look at producing a nationally recognized horse show series, and learned about turning horse manure ito electricity at Planet Green Solutions.Day two tours included: Ocala Breeders Sales, a large horse sale production company; The Sanctuary: Equine Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation Center; and Silver Springs Ocala, a wildlife park with alligators, native birds and a large natural spring. Additionally, students visited the University of Florida horse unit and campus, learned about team roping from nationally-ranked ropers and had leadership sessions with numerous guest speakers from the horse industry.
Kady Malone, a freshmen agribusiness management a rural development major with an equine management minor, was excited to see the diverse career opportunities available within the horse industry. After attending a session on internships she noted, “I learned the importance of seeking internships specific to my career goals and that being flexible in terms of timing and location of internships is incredibly important to landing that first job after graduation.”
Janie Beale found talking to Brandon Rice, a third generation horsemen helpful. Beale, a psychology major with an equine management minor, noted, “The Rice family talked about the importance of having sound business and people skills to be successful. I’m hoping my major, minor and student involvement will help me develop these marketable skills while at WVU.”
Cassandra Morgan, a senior student in agricultural and extension education, enjoyed learning more about the soils, pasture species and management on Florida horse farms in comparison to those found in our region. “It was interesting to learn about a very different climate, landscape and soil type since my goal is to be a Natural Resource Conservation Service soil conservationist, and I could get placed at any location around the country.”
Khrystian Rosier, WVU Collegiate Horsemen’s chapter president, said, “The networking opportunities with equine professionals and other students have been a great way to expand my contact base. I look forward to bringing what I’ve learned back to WVU and using these skills to grow our student organization. The networking opportunities also will help me as I prepare to enter the horse industry after graduation.”
If you are looking for a student organization that will expose you to the diverse equine industry with guest speakers, trips to equine events and networking than WVU Collegiate Horsemen’s Association is for you! Our next meeting is Wednesday March 7 at 7 p.m. in 2001 Agricultural Sciences Building. Highlights from the 2012 Convention will be shared, plus a guest speaker from Southern States Cooperative will discuss careers in equine nutrition.
For more information, contact us on Facebook through the WVU Collegiate Horsemen’s Association group page or contact advisers Holly Spooner at Holly.Spooner@mail.wvu.edu and Crystal Smith at Crystal.Smith@mail.wvu.edu.
For information about the expanding equine program at WVU and the student opportunities available visit our website.