Category Archives: Profile On

Profile On Steph Milburn, Melbourne Equine Assisted Counselling

Steph was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about Melbourne Equine Assisted Counselling and her work as an equine assisted psychotherapist.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I spend around 4-5 hours a day with my herd of horses, which involves feeding, picking up poo and doing therapy sessions.

Steph, Melbourne Equine Assisted Counselling | Equus Education
Steph, Melbourne Equine Assisted Counselling | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
I work as an equine assisted psychotherapist offering counselling sessions to individuals, couples and groups. The horses act as co-therapists in the process and assist me in helping people deal with different issues like personal development, anxiety, depression and trauma.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I think it is possible, however a lot of people choose to do this work as a portion of their role and have another job to supplement their work. I have chosen to do this work as a full time position and make enough to cover my expenses with the horses but certainly don’t do my work for the money. For me it’s more about helping my clients.

Equine Assisted Counselling | Equus Education
Equine Assisted Counselling | Equus Education

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
You need to have the important qualifications such as training in the mental health field to be a counsellor, social worker or psychologist. You also need horse experience and specific training in equine assisted therapy. I have trained with the equine psychotherapy institute which is world renowned.

Favourite horse memory?
I absolutely love watching the way my herd interact with my clients, the moments of tranquility that they offer are so precious.

Future goals?
In the near future I would really love to offer equine assisted support groups for young girls affected by sexual abuse.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about my profession is that I get to help so many people with such a wide variety of issues whilst working outside everyday with my beautiful herd of horses.

Profile On: Tracy Beavers, the Printable Pony

“I’ve loved horses ever since I was a kid, and from the very first riding lesson I ever took, I was hooked. In college, my love of horses helped me discover my major: Agricultural Communications with a minor in Equine Science. My first job out of college was running the communications department for the world’s largest single breed horse show, the All American Quarter Horse Congress. Now, as the founder of The Printable Pony — a blog and Etsy store dedicated to providing stylish and economical solutions for equestrian enthusiasts — I’m putting my degrees to good use!”

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Currently I spend about 15 hours per week writing blog posts, developing new products and staying up to date with the hunter/jumper industry. Plus, I’m at the barn to ride my horses at least 5 days per week. Being able to have the flexibility to ride is one of the best things about being an entrepreneur!

Profile On: Tracy Beavers, the Printable Pony | Equus Education
Profile On: Tracy Beavers, the Printable Pony | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
The Printable Pony is primarily a blog, where I chronicle my journey as an adult amateur showing on the local A circuit in hunter/jumpers. I also have an Etsy store where I sell printables and stationery to equestrians just like you and me! A typical day includes research and writing blog posts, brainstorming and creating new products, designing graphics and also planning social media content. Plus, I read a lot about the industry as a whole.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I know several bloggers as well as Etsy store owners who do earn a full-time living! Currently, The Printable Pony is in its start-up phase.  While it’s growing quickly, it’s not quite profitable enough to provide a full-time income (horses are expensive!). One day, I hope it will though! And as I said above, a lot of the skills I use to run my business today I learned from my degree in Agricultural Communications and minor in Equine Science (which did get me a full-time job doing a lot of what I do now). So I definitely think it’s possible!

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Persistence. Dedication. Creativity. Don’t give up because it’s tough and don’t let failure stop you from continuing to innovate!

Favourite horse memory?
The day I bought my very first horse — he was a 16th birthday gift from my parents and ensured that my love of horses didn’t fade throughout high school, college and beyond. He taught me so many life lessons.  My time with my first horse, Visa, turned me into the person I am today!

Future goals?
Keep trying new things to make The Printable Pony a fun, creative space for me, as well as my fellow equestrians. And to enjoy the journey, both in and out of the saddle!

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The amazing people you meet — so many equestrians are hardworking, intelligent and generous. I am so blessed to be among such talented and driven men and women every day!!

Profile On: Denise O’Meara, Equine Land Conservation Resource

Denise O’Meara was kind enough to answer some questions regarding her work relating to the Equine Land Conservation Resource.

Denise O'Meara, Equine Land Conservation Resource | Equus Education
Denise O’Meara, Equine Land Conservation Resource | Equus Education

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
8 hours per day, 5 days per week. Additional 6-8 hrs per month in evening meetings.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am the director of education for Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), a non-profit national organization focused on educating and advocating for equine land, facilities and trails through locally based organizations. Let’s face it – No Land, No Horse.

We are the only national organization to take on this task. I perform research into a variety of related areas, give presentations, write articles, administer webinars, monitor our online website educational library, and also handle technical assistance inquiries from around the country. I also provide content for social media platforms and create communication and marketing pieces. On top of this I am also a professional landscape architect (that’s the PLA) and have a background in thoroughbred racing and farm management.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Other non-profit organizations may have representatives that advocate and otherwise spread the word about the need to protect land for equine activities.  To get an idea of potential areas of study that might lead prospective students into land protection jobs look at the six issues that ELCR focuses on six issues: Planning and Zoning, Conservation Tools, Access to Public Lands, Access to Private Lands, Best Management Practices and the Economic Impact of Horses.

Jobs such as this one, combining equine knowledge and land conservation expertise, are replicated locally in mostly volunteer situations.

However, it is possible to earn a living in national breed and discipline organizations that have paid staff, as faculty and staff for equine science and equestrian programs at colleges and universities, in government agencies, and as staff for land trusts and other land conservation organizations, such as Nature Conservancy. One may also earn a living in positions training horses and riders, boarding horses, and farm management.

Denise (second from left) from Equine Land Conservation Resource at Jefferson Memorial Forest in Louisville, KY | Equus Education
Denise (second from left) from Equine Land Conservation Resource at Jefferson Memorial Forest in Louisville, KY | Equus Education

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
First, acquire an equine science, equine management, business, communications, natural resources or other degree that will fit in to the employment/research area of choice. If you can afford to, take one or more intern positions. It’s amazing what you will learn.

Learn to communicate well, both verbally and in writing. Also learn about conservation. Network as much as you can. Most jobs worth having are the result of relationships rather than putting resumes out there by the hundreds. That said; develop a good portfolio of work.

Favourite horse memory?
I don’t think there is just one. Here are three of many that come to mind:

  1. When training at a local thoroughbred track, I had been away for a while. When I walked down the shed row, one of my horses, anticipating my return, began nickering in his stall and poked his head out in greeting.  He laid his head on my shoulder and closed his eyes. Not a mild mannered horse by any means, this horse had taken to me like a faithful pup.
  2. During my years foaling mares at our Kentucky farm, a client’s mare had a poorly presented foal and was making no progress.  This was to the point of her life being endangered. We called our vet, but until he arrived, we had to do something. I had to push the foal back up into the mare as far as possible and give her a light muscle relaxer. When the vet arrived, we were able to manipulate the foal out of the breach presentation.  We got him out, saving both that lovely mare and her foal. In those moments after the birth, listening to the mare nicker as she nudged her healthy newborn was singularly amazing.
  3. I guess the best memory would be running a horse named Mane Minister in all three Triple Crown races. He was third in each race. It was thrilling to see the horse do so well in exceptional company, and to be part of the entourage and celebrate all three race outcomes in the tracks’ turf club inner sancta for triple crown owners whose horses had won, placed or showed.

Future goals?
After a couple of decades in thoroughbreds, two degrees as well as an equal period as a landscape architect, I’m looking forward to “retirement” in a few years and enjoying my family and the rest of the world through travel and adventure.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
As an educator in this field, I’m constantly immersed in research about community planning, land protection and the horse industry. As a landscape architect, I’ve grown to understand both development and conservation, and how important both are to the liveability of cities and towns. As for my years in the thoroughbred racing and breeding world, it’s very hard work and incredibly rewarding!”

Profile On: Dr David Marlin, Equine Exercise Physiology

Dr. David Marlin has a background in equine exercise physiology.  He was kind enough to take the time to answer some questions about what he does and how he got there.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Probably 75%. As well as my work, my son used to ride and my daughter still does and I sometimes go to watch friends compete, although avoid offering advice unless they specifically ask. I go racing at Newmarket as well. I enjoy photography and horse events make great opportunities for taking pictures.

Dr David Marlin, Equine Exercise Physiology | Equus Education
Dr David Marlin, Equine Exercise Physiology | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
My background is in physiology, biochemistry and computing with some experience in electronics. I started off doing my degree at Stirling University and then spent a few years in different jobs before I saw that the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket was setting up a unit to study equine exercise physiology. I managed to get a PhD with David Snow and Roger Harris who were running the group and ran the first study in the UK on a high-speed treadmill.

Then I worked for Newmarket racehorse trainer Luca Cumani for 3 years before going back to the AHT. Around 18 years ago I setup Science Supplements and 15 years ago I setup my own consultancy business. I work or have worked for many different clients including:

  • the IOC, FEI and DEFRA,
  • charities such as the BHS, World Horse Welfare and Redwings,
  • commercial companies such as Spillers, Polar, Arioneo, Haygain and Equilibrium Products
  • as well as private owners, riders and trainers.

Essentially I either help design or conduct studies, evaluate studies, advise on products and services, help with marketing, get involved with new product development, and help sort out problems. I also have another working life separate from horses in human sport and healthcare involving physiological monitoring and respiratory diagnostics.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes, it has been for me.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I think to some extent I was in the right place at the right time.  Before university I was interested in fish farming. I learned to ride at University and then spent some time training with rider, coach and judge Judy Harvey. When I started at the AHT there were small computers around but no software. I wrote my own software and so that really helped me progress.

I also used to make a lot of my own kit for studies as you couldn’t buy it. The 1990’s was a great time for equine research – grant money was fairly easy to come by. I also had the opportunity to work with some great scientists; David Snow, Roger Harris, Eric Hultman, Birgitta Essen-Gustavsson, Bob Schroter, Frank Kelly, Ed Robinson, David Poole, Howard Erickson, Hal Schott, Petra Reinhold. Too many to name.

For me, collaboration with talented people who have a similar interest but perhaps complimentary skills has been something I strived for.

Favourite horse memory?
Just one? There are so many. There are two I can’t really separate. Working with Mary King and King William is one. I remember traveling with the British 3DE team to Rome in 1995 when they had to qualify for Atlanta. I took a weighbridge and discovered KW didn’t drink after cross-country. He had a reputation for being high up in the dressage and XC and then dropping 10-20 places in the SJ. We discovered once he was rehydrated that he jumped a lot better.

Meeting the Queen | Equus Education
Meeting the Queen | Equus Education

The other top moment was when the Queen asked to come and visit the AHT to hear about my research into heat and humidity for Atlanta 1996.

Future goals?
I’ve been involved in many aspects of horse welfare, including climate management of World Equestrian Games and Olympics and I’m keen to carry on in this area. I’m working on WEG 2018 in Tryon and the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but I also have welfare related projects in endurance and eventing.

I’m also particularly interested in performance analysis.  I have recently published work on endurance and show jumping with long-term collaborator Dr Jane Williams at Hartpury. Jane and I also share an interest in psychology and we’ve been investigating horse owner behaviour. First study to be presented in Rome in September which might cause a few raised eyebrows

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I like to think some of the things I do have an influence on horse welfare. Horses are phenomenal animals but can be so open to abuse by a small number of riders, owners or trainers, either for financial gain or ignorance. So education is very important to me.

I really enjoy working collaboratively with others and seeing some of the next generation of young equine scientists emerge. The past year I’ve been working with Lorna Cameron at Sparsholt on a very exciting project with one of her undergraduate students, Ella Bartlett. Ella has a real talent for research.  Helping such people to develop as researchers gives me a lot of pleasure. It’s competitive being a scientist in the horse world but hard work, persistence and talent usually pay off eventually.

Profile On: Tracey Hammond, Dengie Horse Feeds

Tracey Hammond works for Dengie Horse Feeds.  She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about her horse nutrition related career.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
The majority of my day/week is related to horses both at work and home.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am an Equine Nutritionist for Dengie Horse Feeds. I spend my days communicating with horse owners and advising them what and how to feed their horses. This can also including writing articles and giving talks in association with vet practices for example. In addition to this we frequently give talks at colleges and universities as well, therefore helping to educate the future generation of advisors.

Tracey Hammond, Dengie Horse Feeds | Equus Education
Tracey Hammond, Dengie Horse Feeds | Equus Education

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
It is, but you would probably be a little more comfortable if you didn’t also own horses!

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
If you are keen on equine nutrition it is important to realise that there aren’t actually that many jobs available and therefore the more that you can do to help yourself stand out from the crowd the better. Typically at the very minimum you will need an equine degree. In addition to this practical equine experience is great.

The usual office skills including the use of PowerPoint and also being confident with presenting and speaking to people on the phone are all good skills to have as well. If you are looking for work to try and make you stand out then working in a feed store/saddlery would give you great experience of handling customers and also knowledge of a wide range of products.

Favourite horse memory?
Any day with a horse is a happy memory and I am lucky to do a job that I am passionate about.

Future goals?
I would like to have the opportunity to perform some research perhaps as part of a PhD. A particular area of interest is equine obesity and the practical problem of grass intake/management.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Making a difference. There is nothing more satisfying than working with a horse and their owner and making a difference be it to their performance, weight or any other issue that they may have!

 

Profile On: Dr Natasha Hamilton, Racing Australia Equine Genetics Research Centre

Dr Natasha Hamilton has a unique science horse related role.  She is the director at the Racing Australia Equine Genetics Research Centre and has kindly answered some questions about her profession.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
This depends on how you classify relating to horses. 100% of what we do revolves around horses; however because we perform laboratory work we don’t actually get to work WITH the horse, only their samples (we extract DNA from their hair).

However, most of us in the lab have a ‘horsey’ background. My second post-doctoral job (after graduating with my PhD) was based on studying sheep genetics, but my boss used to tell me they were just small woolly horses to try and keep my attention!

Natasha Hamilton (Racing Australia Equine Genetics Research Centre) with her Racehorse | Equus Education
Natasha Hamilton (Racing Australia Equine Genetics Research Centre) with her Racehorse | Equus Education

What is it exactly that you do?
I oversee the day to day running.  This is as well as long term planning and development for the Racing Australia Equine Genetics Research Centre. Our core business is to perform the DNA based parentage verification for the Thoroughbred racing and breeding industry. We also perform parentage verification for many other horse studbooks in Australia.  This is as well as diagnostic DNA tests for genetic diseases and traits of interest (such as coat colours and patterns). While we are just starting up we are focusing on developing the procedures to carry out these tests with the highest possible level of accuracy and as efficiently as possible.

Once we have the procedures fully developed and tested, we will also perform genetics research. I am interested in anything to do with genetics and horses.  However, I am particularly focused on the impact genetics has on racehorse soundness and durability, as well as any other factor that might impact welfare in racehorses. Our staff also have different research interests which we would like them to develop as they work here.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
This job is more of a laboratory position that happens to be in horses, so it is certainly possible to make a living doing this job; but positions like this are very difficult to come by. I feel incredibly lucky to have been given this opportunity by Racing Australia.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I think the most important step is to gain relevant scientific qualifications. My first degree was a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, then I completed a PhD in horse genetics. There was very little practical horse work during my studies.  But I still found this fascinating because it was focused on horses.

Luckily, I was also able to get involved with some teaching of Veterinary Students in horse handling.  So I was still able to get my horse fix doing that. My PhD involved doing lots of laboratory work.  So I could develop the practical skills I needed for my current position; in addition to the research side of things – learning how to find and critically evaluate information and develop a research idea into a peer-reviewed paper. Genetics research has come a long way in a short time, so in the future less laboratory skills are required.  And instead a better understanding of how to analyse large amounts of biological data, such as whole genome sequence is more important.

Natasha Hamilton (Racing Australia Equine Genetics Research Centre) with a Racehorse | Equus Education
Natasha Hamilton (Racing Australia Equine Genetics Research Centre) with a Racehorse | Equus Education

Favourite horse memory?
So how do you pick just one??!! I have also worked at the racetrack as a swab collection official for over 20 years so I get to know racehorses a little better than most. I have been lucky enough to see such horses as Octagonal, Tie the Knot, Lonhro & Sunline, as well as Black Caviar & now Winx.

Because I am a huge horse racing fan my favourite horse memories are racing related.  And often they relate to the personalities of the horse in question. About 15 years ago I was a huge fan of a horse called Clangalang because he was just the sweetest colt you could ever come across. Him winning the Australian Derby was amazing. When Red Cadeaux visited Sydney, I got to meet him and feed him carrots – one of my favourite memories.

I also just purchased a very small share in a super cute little filly last year. Her winning her first race as an early 2 year old late last year is one of my best horse experiences yet.  But I hope there are more to come with her!

Future goals?
To own lots more fast racehorses 😊.  Professionally, I would like to contribute to our understanding of how genetics influences a horse’s soundness and career length. I would also like to do more to promote the Thoroughbred as an all-round great breed of horse. Thoroughbreds are kind, generous, brave, athletic, tolerant and generally well exposed to many of the day to day husbandry procedures that other horses get upset about (e.g. getting their teeth & feet done, floating).

At the ripe old age of 42, I am currently learning to ride on off-the-track TBs.  And they will do everything they can to stop me from falling off (and I am quite bad!). I understand that while some TBs do have personalities that make them unsuitable for beginner riders like myself, there are very few that can’t turn their hand to anything with the right training.  It is the rider that limits these amazing animals, not the horse.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
Everyone is always talking about horses.  Whether it be the performance of their own racehorse at some country track, or the latest Winx demolition job. Also, our lab is based in Scone NSW – horse country. It’s an absolutely beautiful place to go and work, although some rain certainly wouldn’t go astray.

Profile On: Alicia Benben, Academic Coordinator at NARA

Alicia works as the Academic Coordinator and an instructor at the North American Racing Academy.  She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about her role with BCTC – NARA.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
I am very fortunate that my position involves daily interaction with horses through our laboratory, hands-on courses.  This is particularly the Racehorse Care and Racehorse Care Lab.  These are the first two hands-on courses that students take as part of our Equine Studies program. One of the many unique features about the North American Racing Academy is the amount of hands-on experience students get within their 1st or 2nd semester (depending on when they start).  Over the course of 16 weeks, students will spend over 120 hours hands-on in our barn.  This is located at a public Thoroughbred training center.

Alicia Benben, Academic Coordinator/Instructor BCTC – NARA | Equus Education
Alicia Benben, Academic Coordinator/Instructor BCTC – NARA | Equus Education

I spend roughly 2 – 4 hours of each workday in the barn working with students who are learning about the care and management of Thoroughbred racehorses. Students are fully immersed in the real working environment of a Thoroughbred racing stable.  They learn everything from basic handling to the application of training bandages, tack and equipment, restraints, etc. Being a part of a student’s introduction to the Thoroughbred industry is an extremely rewarding aspect of my job.  It is such a pleasure to watch students develop their horsemanship skills throughout the program.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am an Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator with Bluegrass Community & Technical College’s (BCTC) Equine Studies program, the North American Racing Academy (NARA). My role within NARA is to carry out the instruction and development of equine studies classes  I prepare and facilitate all class materials for laboratory, lecture, and online classes, and advise students on course selections in order to complete program requirements.

The majority of my instruction revolves around our first-year students.  I teach many of the courses required during the 1st year of enrollment such as Basic Equine Physiology, Introduction to the Racing Industry, Racehorse Care Lab, Racehorse Care, Equine Nutrition, Equine Health & Medications, and Equine Legal & Business Principles.

As a faculty member with BCTC, I also serve on committees to promote the college’s mission and values.  I am also active in the greater equine community around Lexington, KY.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Teaching, whether it be at the secondary or post-secondary level, affords one a full-time position and livable wage. In regards to the Thoroughbred industry, this is a topic I spend a great deal of time on with my students in our Introduction to the Racing Industry course.

As a two-year Associates degree program, time passes very quickly, so it is important to introduce and discuss all of the positions available in the Thoroughbred industry.  This is whether it be at the racetrack, farm, sales, or even administrative or veterinary settings. Jobs in the Thoroughbred industry range greatly in pay, travel, stability, etc. so it is important to be upfront about each job’s characteristics.  A student that does not want to travel for work may want to reconsider certain positions within the industry, such as working sales or being an exercise rider. There are many positions, both hands-on and hands-off, that can provide full-time work and livable income but one must consider a multitude of factors, such as housing, travel, insurance, etc.

Certain positions in the Thoroughbred industry may come with “perks”, such as free housing, which can skew wage information. The opportunities are there for an individual who has passion and a strong work ethic.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
For teaching, one must acquire a bachelor’s degree and potentially a master’s degree depending on the institution they are looking to gain employment with. I obtained my Bachelor of Professional Studies in Management, Equine Business Management at Cazenovia College and am currently pursuing a Master of Science in Education, Instructional Systems Design at the University of Kentucky.

For my particular program, industry experience was necessary. Prior to working for NARA, I was a licensed Assistant Trainer in the state of Kentucky, Indiana, and Minnesota and I worked in the support sector of the equine industry with an equine nutritional supplement company and nutritionist. I also spent many years working in the Sport Horse side of the equine industry, particularly with dressage, show jumping, and event horses. I am very fortunate to have had a wide array of experiences both hands-on and in the support sector of the equine industry.

For an individual looking to get involved in the Thoroughbred industry, experience is key. Having developed and well-rounded horsemanship skills, as well as passion and a strong work ethic, are beginning steps to pursuing a career with Thoroughbreds. Being a part of NARA has been a wonderful way to give back to the industry.  And to provide students the knowledge and support needed for successful careers.

Favourite horse memory?
It is hard to pick just one! One of my most favorite horse memories has to be my first win as an Assistant Trainer. To watch a horse that you spent countless hours with reach the wire first is just unbelievable,.  It is hard to put into words. To make it even better, my first win was also a new track record.  So that day is pretty hard to beat!

Honestly many of my most favorite memories were just enjoying being around the horse.  That is, having the opportunity to work with one and having a moment where everything just “clicks”.  That breakthrough whether it be on the ground or under saddle, forming a partnership.

Future goals?
Professionally, future goals would involve continuing the success of NARA and our students.  This is through reaching out to new populations about our program, and supporting the Thoroughbred industry with a qualified and quality workforce of horsemen and riders. I am also looking forward to finishing my Masters! I would also like to continue my personal riding ventures, which involve dressage and eventing.

Student Field Trip to Taylor Made Farm | Equus Education
Student Field Trip to Taylor Made Farm | Equus Education

Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best things about Thoroughbred racing and my role as an educator is the horse. Truly these animals make the long days worth it.  And seeing the partnerships formed among the individuals involved is a unique feature of our industry.

Profile On: Chelsie Huseman, Equine Extension Specialist

I recently became aware of the horse related career, the equine extension specialist.  Feeling a little in the dark about this, I contacted one at a university in Texas and asked if she’d be willing to answer some questions about her role.  Below are Chelsie’s responses.

Chelsie Huseman, Equine Extension Specialist | Equus Education
Chelsie Huseman, Equine Extension Specialist | Equus Education

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
All of my job is related to horses and people.  With horses, however, I participate in hands-on horse work 2-3 times/week.  My other obligations involve interacting with people, traveling and work in the office.

What is it exactly that you do?
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service is a unique education agency with a statewide network of professional educators, trained volunteers and county offices. The Extension Horse Program addresses priorities and needs identified at a local level by county horse program committees.  Specialists, Extension Agents and industry professionals work together to address issues and opportunities of horse production, ownership and use through development of educational resource materials and activities.

The Extension horse specialists within the Department of Animal Science serve more than 950,000 Texas horse industry participants and more than 289,000 Texas horse owners.  The Extension horse specialists provide research-based best management practices as related to nutrition, breeding, management, care and use.  This is through educational programs and workshops.

Information developed by the Extension equine group is available to all clientele.  This includes individual horse owners, goods and service providers, and also industry professionals.  Extension remains a leader in helping horse owners become better organized through assistance and leadership in formation of associations and groups.

In addition, the horse specialists are committed to supporting the Texas 4-H, Extension’s primary youth program.  This is through support of educational and competitive activities that foster decision making, problem solving and other important life skills.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Yes.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Horse Program Specialists need a masters degree in a related field of study, while Horse Specialists need a PhD. Diversified horse experience is a plus to be a successful candidate in this area of work.  This can include horse showing, judging, management, and also ownership.

Chelsie Huseman, Equine Extension Specialist | Equus Education
Chelsie Huseman, Equine Extension Specialist | Equus Education

Favourite horse memory?
I have many fond memories of all the mistakes I made as a kid trying to learn about horses on my own growing up. For instance, when I saddled my horse for the first time because my Dad wasn’t available.  That saddle went flying off the side of the horse with me in it because I didn’t tighten the cinch properly. It was frustrating at times not having formal training as a kid.  But I look back on it now and feel truly lucky to have learned so many things the hard way. It makes me a better educator today.

Future goals?
Future goals involve continuing to develop equine international opportunities to disperse equine education and provide cultural experiences for Texas A&M undergraduate students. Also, increasing our online following by continuing to utilize our Facebook page Texas Horse to disperse equine education and develop our YouTube channel Texas Horse Help.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
I never live the same day twice. The world of equine education is constantly evolving and I have to keep up! Plus it is extremely gratifying and fulfilling to see youth and adults develop their knowledge and passion for the horse.

Profile On: Kari Fulmek, Equine Connection

Recently Equus Education looked at the role of Equine Connection in qualifying equine assisted learning facilitators.  Kari Fulmek has kindly answered some questions about her profession relating to this.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
60 hours minimum!

Profile On: Kari Fulmek, Equine Connection
Profile On: Kari Fulmek, Equine Connection

What is it exactly that you do?
I am a Master Instructor for the Equine Assisted Learning Certification that we offer at Equine Connection – The Academy of Equine Assisted Learning. We train people to bring their dreams of working with horses and people into their reality through our course.

We are a Global Equine Assisted Learning Business Training™ (EABT™) company that works together to find success around the world.  This is through helping people to be empowered and helping them to change their lives while working with the horse.  There are currently two campuses in Calgary, Ab Canada and Sydney, NSW Australia as well as numerous travelling schools throughout the world. We have certified people from Bosnia, Ireland, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and of course Canada.

The other side of our business is facilitating clients in our objectively driven courses. We offer curriculum courses to youth and women at risk as well as offer women workshops and team building workshops. The horse’s jobs are speaking to the clients through their bodies to help bring about the changes that the clients need to make. Exercises are developed to encourage self-confidence through validated, hands-on experiences.

Equine Assisted Learning through the Equine Connection is NOT equine therapy. We do not require a clinical professional with us to do these exercises and programs given to you in your horse course. Equine Assisted Learning works, because the teachers are the horses! We are the facilitators who help our clients to take their teaching back to their everyday lives.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Absolutely! Facilitators who train with us can get a return on investment immediately through business write-offs alone! Plus, depending on how quickly facilitators start up, they can earn a decent living while living their dream! We always tell people that they won’t be a millionaire running these courses because let’s face it, horses are expensive, but you can make a comfortable living and be rich in life!

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
The first step is getting certified! Through the course, we also train you on marketing, how to set up your business, as well as providing you 3 years of set up and work in your business pack! We are setting people up for success!

Favourite horse memory?
I always wanted a horse as a child – desperately – but we were very poor growing up. I remember my beautiful mom giving me a horse book instead.  And at that moment I began my journey with horses. It was just a little book, 25 cents from a garage sale, but it was what my mom could do, and her way of giving me a horse. That moment will forever reside in my heart.

Future goals?
To help people understand their horses differently and helping them to find their purpose. Truly, it is making an impact on the world through spreading Equine Assisted Learning and all that it can do to help others throughout the globe.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
It’s real. We get to live in the moment – just like our horses.

Profile On: Chinkit Patel, Cofounder of Horsely

Cofounder of Horsely, Chinkit Patel takes the time to answer some questions about his horse related career.

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
Unfortunately, not often as I have recently moved closer to the CBD (inner city). Most of my time during the day is spent behind a laptop, managing our new brand HORSELY.

What is it exactly that you do?
HORSELY – it is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle; aims to provide horse lover’s with high-quality, price-competitive products to meet their equestrian & lifestyle needs. A 7-year old family operated small business founded by close friends Chinkit & Gagan; manufacturing and retailing equestrian products in Sydney and Adelaide, Australia. Our brands are www.paylesssaddlery.com.au and our new baby is www.horsely.com.au – started in May 2017.

Our love for the outdoors, barn and Gagan’s leather craft as a ‘saddle maker’ brings us to all things equestrian. You will find us either at a coffee shop or in vineyards perhaps dreaming about our next adventure.

Chinkit Patel, Cofounder of Horsely | Equus Education
Chinkit Patel, Cofounder of Horsely | Equus Education

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
I would love to say yes, however just like any other business, there are numerous challenges with an equestrian business. Unless you have 100k dollars stashed in your account, you are better off to continue with your day job while you set up your business.

Once you have tested the waters, the long term goal should always be to switch over completely to fuel your passion. With the right set of product/s that bring value to the community and a clear vision, it is absolutely possible to earn a liveable income or even more as a full time professional.

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Apart from your passion for all things equestrian, to run an ecommerce business, you need to build your online presence. Our website is powered by Shopify which is a great ecommerce platform for beginners and experts alike. In today’s age, with so many apps and tools to assist with inventory, shipping, accounting, client management and social media marketing; you can save time and get to focus on your area of expertise. A good know how of business management practices is required.

Favourite horse memory?
That’s a tough one, as I am not a hard-core rider. I do enjoy leisure rides though. It is my dream to be able to spend more time around these magnificent beings and be more confident with riding.

Future goals?
Currently, most of our sales are in Australia. Our goal is to serve the horsey community globally. We are working to introduce an exciting new range of equestrian jewellery, bags and belts.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
In our experience, horsey people are adventurous, passionate and love a good laugh. There have been occasions when we were unable to meet customer expectations. During such times, we always make it a point to be honest and explain the real situation with sincere apologies. Our efforts to provide 5-star customer experience has often transformed furious customers to loyal fans and supporters.

On the other hand, customers that are happy with their purchase have been kind enough to appreciate and leave motivating feedback. After a day’s hard work, there is nothing more satisfying than a happy customer. This fuels our passion and pushes us to extend our boundaries. The ability to serve this amazing horsey community is what we love the most about our profession.