A year after graduating from DelVal
Posted on May 6, 2014 by Emily Meagher ’13.
With graduation fast approaching and all of the current seniors ready to spread their wings, I wanted to take a minute to express my gratitude and let you know what an impact the Equine Studies program has had on my first year in the ‘real world.’
Exactly four days after graduating from Delaware Valley College, I hopped on a plane and traveled to Colorado to work as a Wrangler at North Fork Dude and Guest Ranch. A high school dream turned into a reality, I was truly excited to step away from the stress of college and slow my pace for a summer. Sit on a horse all day and talk to guests while riding breath-taking trails in the Rocky Mountains? Anyone can handle that. What I didn’t realize was how applicable my equine studies courses would be, even in such an alternate universe within the equine industry. Many of the guests had not ridden horses before and I began to draw on the skills learned in Intro to Equine Instruction. I loved teaching the guests and could see improvements in all the riders as they became more comfortable in the saddle throughout their week-long stay. As the summer continued on, we received more horses to accommodate our large number of guests. One of the new horses needed to put on weight but was a very picky eater. When my manager began looking for new ideas, my Equine Nutrition and Feed course jumped to mind. It seemed that each week presented a new challenge that, with the skills I gained during my college career, I was able to handle with ease.
As the summer ended, I began to look forward to my annual employment with the Standardbred Sale Company during their Harrisburg sale. A connection I gained through DelVal, November marked my fourth sale in Harrisburg. As I looked around the sale, I had flashbacks to freshman year and the dreaded horse care exams. Pre-sale set up included scrubbing stall walls and, after the sale began, it seemed everyone around me was scrambling to make their horses look as clean and polished as possible. My solid horse handling skills and a well-trained eye monitoring horse health, both developed during college, makes the sale company more than happy to hire me on each year.
With my temporary employments coming to an end, it was time to figure out what was next. Countless applications and multiple job interviews began to fill my time. The most important interview I had was at Ohio University Southern for their barn manager position. Once again out of my element, I reached out for help and was overwhelmed with the tips and support I received from all of the equine professors. I rocked the interview and the head of the program let me know “I was their top candidate on paper and thoroughly exceeded their expectations in person.” Some soul searching and a very difficult decision between multiple job offers led me to decline the position. I was shocked when the dean of the school called me after hearing my decision and asked me to reconsider. I told him that my ‘adventurous spirit’ (his words) was my downfall for the position and I promptly hopped on a plane headed for Florida.
I am currently grooming for show jumper Schuyler Riley at Wolfstone Stables in Wellington. The Winter Equestrian Festival was an experience like no other and my college career has once again prepared me more than I would have ever realized. IM/IV shots, setting courses, walking distances, handling colic, treating minor wounds; each and every day I utilize my equine studies knowledge. I am also pleased to say that with much practice my standing wraps now look textbook quality. Body clipping, braiding, pulling manes, show-quality turnout on a daily basis… those care horse exams are back to haunt me! I continue to soak up knowledge on training and conditioning, equine nutrition, equine business and equine exercise physiology, but the building blocks were solidly laid during my four years at DelVal.
While this short note has quickly become a lot longer than expected, in brief, what I really wanted to say is THANK YOU! Thank you for taking the time and effort to make sure I truly grasped the information. Thank you for laying the proper building blocks for my success in the industry. Thank you for developing a program that is 100 percent applicable to real life situations. And thank you for the comfort of knowing that no matter what situation I run into, I always have the continued support of a fantastic group of professors.
I am soon headed back to Colorado for another refreshing summer and I am still not exactly sure where my career is headed. I have been toying with the idea of entering into equine education, although, that idea is fairly intimidating due to the high standards set by my role models. What I do know is, no matter where I go, the Equine Studies program and its wonderful professors have prepared me for success.
Emily Meagher ’13