BY SISSY WICKES
Cazenovia College is one the oldest independent, co-educational colleges in America. Established in 1824, the picturesque campus is set in the quaint, Main Street, USA town of Cazenovia, NY. College enrollment is approximately 1000 students with the student/faculty ratio at a low 12:1. Students compliment the school’s welcoming environment and tight-knit community. Academic programs are offered in four divisions: Art and Design, Business and Management, Humanities and Natural Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Science. Within these divisions are a myriad of majors and specializations such as Studio Art, Liberal Studies, Human Services, and Sport Management. For the equestrian, Cazenovia offers a well-respected program in Equine Business Management.
The Equine Business Management specialization of the Management Program leads to a Bachelor of Professional Studies and is designed for students exploring the many facets of employment in the equine industry. Young equestrians aspiring to find a career within the horse business are availed of this opportunity at Cazenovia College. Out of the 1000 students enrolled at the college, approximately 100 pursue this specialized degree program.
The fields of commercial management and operations as well as advanced horse care, breeding, and stable management are all addressed within the curriculum. Course requirements include a variety of equine business courses and equine science- related courses. In addition, the program includes business courses such as Accounting, Human Resource Management, and Business Law and Ethics. Students interested in the field of equine reproduction may pursue elective courses resulting in a Certificate in Equine Reproductive Management.
Cazenovia College’s Equine Education Center is a magnificent facility on 240 bucolic acres just five miles from campus. The barn is impressive in its size and setting, a hallmark of the superlative quality of all things equine related at Cazenovia. With 70 horses, including Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods, and Quarter Horses, the facility offers a large, heated indoor ring, multiple outdoor rings and paddocks, and enough open space to pursue any equestrian activity. As senior Katie Brewer explained, “We drove five hours to upstate New York to see Cazenovia. When we pulled in and saw the barn, I turned to my mom and said, ‘I am going here.’ It is just breathtaking.” Brewer arrived at college with a background in hunt seat riding and a little eventing experience. While at “Caz,” she has explored the dressage and Western disciplines as well with the purposeful intent of experiencing as much as possible. “I love building my resume with anything and everything that I can possibly put on it. There are so many different options with equine industry courses and different business classes that it was an easy decision for me to come here to college.”
Cazenovia participates in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) and in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) with great success. IHSA riders may compete in hunt seat, Cazenovia participates in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA)) and in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) with great success. IHSA riders may compete in hunt seat, reining, and Western horsemanship, while the IDA riders compete in the dressage discipline. The team programs at Cazenovia are robust with the 2016 rosters consisting of 50-60 members of the student body. To date, Cazenovia has won twelve individual National Championships as well as multiple national team placings. While the riding program is competitive at the highest IHSA/IDA level, it is also an inclusive community. Many freshman equestrians find transition to college is easier with the inherent commonality of a riding team. Love of horses is a language spoken by all of the students involved with the equine program. Required for completion from the Equine Business Management Program is the experiential learning component of an internship. Application of learning through hands-on experience is a significant part of the course work at Cazenovia College. The stellar reputation of this well-established program opens many doors in the equine world for student internship. Katie Brewer spent her summer working in the show office at the HITS Horse Shows in Saugerties, NY. As a member of the marketing department, she was involved in projects ranging from logo re-design to the creation of a quick fact guide for show secretaries. “I felt very involved and everyone was so nice to me the minute I got there.” As testament to her talent and preparedness, Brewer was offered a permanent position at HITS, an opportunity that she is still evaluating. “I am not sure because I still want to build my resume and try everything under the sun with horses. With my Equine Reproduction Certification, I may dabble in that or possibly instruct or go in a business direction. With this degree, I can do anything!” Brewer exclaims.
Chittenango native Alex Belton echoes many of Brewer’s sentiments. With a major in Equine Business Management and a minor in Pre-Law, Belton is considering her options after graduation in 2017. Leaning away from law school, she may take advantage of the articulation agreement between Cazenovia and nearby Le Moyne College. Under this cooperative plan, Cazenovia students may apply many of their upper-level business course credits toward the MBA program requirements at Le Moyne, thereby allowing them to complete the Master’s degree in one year instead of two.
Belton had the fortunate opportunity to complete her internship at the renowned Hilltop Farm in Colora, MD. Her official title was Event Management Intern, although her duties frequently led her out of the office and literally into the field with mares and foals. “I worked on planning events, prepping the horses with a lot of hands-on work, and helping with the mares and foals. I got a ton of experience from handling to office work.” The winner of the IDA National Quiz Challenge Championships, Belton was awarded a two week internship at Hilltop. Her request for an expansion to a twelve week experience was generously granted because of the long and successful relationship between Hilltop Farm and Cazenovia College.
Internships are an extremely important requisite to the Equine Business Management Program. As Carol Buckhout, an Assistant Professor in the program, explains, “All internships must have a management component. I work very closely with the students to make sure that the experience works. It is a credit-bearing course which puts a framework behind how the internship is set up.” The student’s performance is graded using the evaluations from their site supervisor, written submissions from the student, and a final presentation made by the student to the management division consisting of a portfolio and visual exhibition. Important to Buckhout is the valuable exposure that the internship program provides. “More often than not, the student is offered a job through the internship program. Sometimes they do not take it which is fine, because it is as valuable to learn what you do not want to do as what you want to do.”
Cazenovia College endeavors not only to educate students in their fields of interest, but to inspire them to broaden their intellectual and personal experiences. Barbara Lindberg explains the expansive process experienced by students in the Equine Business Management Program. “When the students arrive as freshmen, they only know what they have seen. They have seen the instructors and trainers, and we try to expose them to many other facets of the equine industry. Often times, their internships allow them to explore fields that they previously did not know were in existence.”
According to the American Horse Council, the equine industry has a direct economic effect on the U.S. of $39 billion annually and provides over 1.4 million full-time jobs. (horsecouncil.org). Young equestrians who dream of a career involving horses can realize that dream through education. Programs like Equine Business Management at Cazenovia College will educate and enlighten the collegiate equestrian to the many opportunities inside and outside of the barn.
About the Author: Sissy is a Princeton University graduate, a lifelong rider and trainer, a USEF R rated judge, a freelance journalist, and an autism advocate. Her illustrious resume includes extensive show hunter and jumper experience. She lives with her family in Unionville, PA and Wellington, FL.
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