Why bother with an equine college course ?

exracehorse

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Local to me is a college which offers a two year equine course. A friends daughter is intending to go. It’s a mix of ‘animal management’ and basic riding. While tacking up at the weekend, I asked mum what her daughter intended to do after being at college and she had no idea. I know so many young girls who have attended this course over the years and they still end up as a groom and have to work their way up. Unless they are seriously talented at riding and schooling. In fact many left the course and found they couldn’t even find a decent job. Just mucking out positions. I wondered how many of us on here work within the equine industry but didn’t attend a course. Is it necessary? I told the girl she’d be better off getting a ‘proper’ job and then have the money to run her own horse. 😀.
 

Cortez

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Having attempted to employ several equine college graduates over the years, I would say don't bother. You'd learn more as a working pupil at a reputable competition yard. The graduates I've met have all been absolutely handless when it came to practical skills (when I asked one to bandage a leg she told me they weren't allowed to bandage a real horse at college, they had to practice on a plastic model). Add to that the inflated idea of what they're worth and the very low level of riding skills it means I have steered clear of these sort of people.
 

ester

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I think a lot of it is ticking the box re. staying in education until you are 18. So you would have to find an apprenticeship rather than just getting a grooms job straight off and working your way up.

So for many it is something they will vaguely enjoy doing for the next couple of years rather than something that will get them anywhere.
 

ihatework

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I’m afraid my view of what equine colleges churn out is very low indeed.

For sure there will be some good people attending. But they would have been good whether they did an equine course or not. All they have done is wasted their time in a non hands on working environment and also inadvertently labelled themselves!

Some of the apprentice courses have merit though
 

blitznbobs

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I don’t understand it - I’d take on someone who had competed / handled horses on a pro yard over any one with a horsey degree - all the ones I’ve seen can’t handle anything more than a riding school pony - maybe harsh but ‘‘tis my experience ... whereas those who have worked on competition yards or showing yards get on and ride anything, sort out any manners issues that might arise and generally make
My life easier not harder...
 

exracehorse

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Thanks guys. That’s what I was trying to explain to mum on Saturday but don’t think it sunk in. My daughter done an animal management two year course at the same college. couldn’t find anything and then trained as a dental nurse, which she’s now qualified for and has a good well paid job.
 

BOWS28

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I studied at Writtle College when I left school and can honestly say I had the best 2 years of my life. The facilities are fantastic - as are all the lecturers! The horses were fab and the majority were privately owned so it wasn't like a riding school at all! I jumped 1m+ and learnt so much! I have to admit, ive been around horses since the age of 5 and had a lot more experience than a lot on my course but I thought they catered for everyones capabilities perfectly! I learnt so much and was gutted when my course ended!!
I think it's down to the college and the student in question as to whether it suits them!
I got a job a month after I left on an event yard. I rode everyday and the option to travel to stay away shows was always available. Unfortunately, having 2 horses of my own made it impossible!!
 

MotherOfChickens

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I guess positions such as the one I had on leaving school at 16 no longer exist apart from apprenticeships. I had some experience at said college a few years back, I was gobsmacked at the the shod horses there, all their hinds had a broken back hoof pastern axis and bull nosed hoof walls-every single horse that had been there some time.
 

Red-1

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I agree with an earlier poster that many people go there just to pass the two years until they can leave school. Many have few skills at the end of it. A neighbour went and was not allowed to clip even after 2 years.

Of course, some people will be capable, but they would have been so without the course. Much as I think the BHS is imperfect, for working in the industry their qualifications are better than the NVQs colleges churn out.

I would think doing an apprenticeship with an actual commercial yard, where people start early, finish late and work hard would be a better grounding for working anywhere.
 

wispagold

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Thanks guys. That’s what I was trying to explain to mum on Saturday but don’t think it sunk in. My daughter done an animal management two year course at the same college. couldn’t find anything and then trained as a dental nurse, which she’s now qualified for and has a good well paid job.
Hi, interested that you consider dental nursing to be well paid. My sister is a dental nurse, she qualified about 7 years ago and I think the pay is appalling for how hard she works. Especially compared to what the dentists are paid. She is really good at her job and has worked at a few different practices and they are all very similar. I want her to get a job in a hospital or even dental sales if she can.

Anyway, I think the equine courses are useful if you are looking for a way of getting the UCAS points for uni entry but otherwise wouldn't bother. I wanted to do equine nutrition when I left school but after speaking to numerous feed companies who told me not to do an equine course I did a degree in animal science and now work for one of the uk's biggest ruminant feed manufactures. Best decision I made!!
 

Cortez

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I studied at Writtle College when I left school and can honestly say I had the best 2 years of my life. The facilities are fantastic - as are all the lecturers! The horses were fab and the majority were privately owned so it wasn't like a riding school at all! I jumped 1m+ and learnt so much! I have to admit, ive been around horses since the age of 5 and had a lot more experience than a lot on my course but I thought they catered for everyones capabilities perfectly! I learnt so much and was gutted when my course ended!!
I think it's down to the college and the student in question as to whether it suits them!
I got a job a month after I left on an event yard. I rode everyday and the option to travel to stay away shows was always available. Unfortunately, having 2 horses of my own made it impossible!!
Yes, you probably had a lot of fun, but I rather thought the purpose of education is to actually teach you to be useful at something?
 

JFTDWS

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The only decent Writtle student I know openly says she went there to play ponies for a few years and avoid getting a proper job!

Knowing some of their lecturers, instructors, and a few of the college horses, my opinion isn't overly high. My opinion of the students is generally lower still!
 

sport horse

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I have taken several college students for work experience. Frankly I stopped when one said she had never used a broom and did not know how. I asked if they did not have to sweep the yard at college after mucking out and the response was 'oh no we do not do that sort of things - the grooms do'.

I have since avoided any work experience students (I do not have time to teach them how to use a broom!) and mostly I avoid employing anyone who has been to college - practical experience in a yard is far more valuable. I also now avoid apprentices as, certainly the lower level ones, seem to think it is an easy option - leave school with no exam results and do the bare minimum from there on.

I have three super girls, all been with me for 18 months to 4 years, none went to college but all A1 and great.
 

bluedanube

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Mother of chickens I understand that Writtle has to bus their students out to ride at a BHS riding school some 30 minutes away because they don’t have suitable horses! Perhaps the owners of the horses on working livery there saw their feet and took them away...
 

Rowreach

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I've always told my kids they can follow their dreams unless it involves going to an equine college ...

I have taught at one (couldn't believe what I was being asked to teach, and the things that were being taught) and I have attempted to employ graduates (people with a first in "Equine Management", who I couldn't leave to look after horses that were turned out 24/7 and not in work because they were that useless and needed constant supervision.

You only have to look at the sort of questionnaires that students put on this forum to get some inkling - and it's nearly that time of year again :oops:
 

HEM

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Genuine question though for those who have said they take experience over college course,what kind of experience do these kids have working with horses before you hire them? (assuming they have come straight from school)

Like would you hire just from owning their own or BHS/equivalent qualifications?
 

LaurenBay

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The only decent Writtle student I know openly says she went there to play ponies for a few years and avoid getting a proper job!

Knowing some of their lecturers, instructors, and a few of the college horses, my opinion isn't overly high. My opinion of the students is generally lower still!
I went to Writtle, I was supposed to be doing a 2 year course. I left after the first year. It was awful, awful instructors, unsuitable Horses (a few nice ones but majority ended up there for a reason!) I can honestly say I have learnt more about Horses form this forum then what I did at college.
 

Tiddlypom

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Bluedanube, not just their foot balance but their teeth (which for mine were absolutely appalling), their backs, whether they're working evenly or are so crooked that one side of the quarters is developed much more than the other... Plus not being hacked out for 2 years even though the horse is a diamond to hack :oops:.
image.jpeg
 
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equi

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I did a short equine course purely for fun cause my friend and I wanted something to do to relive our “school” days. Frankly I was on the verge of correcting the teacher a few times and they stuff she was teaching was such bollocks. I didn’t actually learn anything new (and had to forget some bad teaching) but I had fun doing it. I think a lot of kids want to do a course cause they think it’s what they’re interested in and thus it will get them somewhere but as said many people will only employ people with practical experience not a course / but it’s something fun they can do to keep them out of trouble if they’re too young or inexperienced to get a Posistion anywhere but they just have to realise that a yard will more likely want to teach them their ways and if someone goes in with a “this is how I did it in college” attitude they probably won’t last long.
 

exracehorse

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Hi, interested that you consider dental nursing to be well paid. My sister is a dental nurse, she qualified about 7 years ago and I think the pay is appalling for how hard she works. Especially compared to what the dentists are paid. She is really good at her job and has worked at a few different practices and they are all very similar. I want her to get a job in a hospital or even dental sales if she can.

Anyway, I think the equine courses are useful if you are looking for a way of getting the UCAS points for uni entry but otherwise wouldn't bother. I wanted to do equine nutrition when I left school but after speaking to numerous feed companies who told me not to do an equine course I did a degree in animal science and now work for one of the uk's biggest ruminant feed manufactures. Best decision I made!!
She gets 10 pounds a hour in a private practice. And double time for Saturdays plus if you want to go on the out of hours rota, it’s 20 pounds if you don’t get calked in and 50 pounds if you do. It’s not amazing salary. But, my point is that after two years doing an animal management diploma, the only jobs on offer were grooms work at min wage.
 

Rowreach

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Genuine question though for those who have said they take experience over college course,what kind of experience do these kids have working with horses before you hire them? (assuming they have come straight from school)

Like would you hire just from owning their own or BHS/equivalent qualifications?
I've had a few that came at 16/17 just from pony backgrounds, maybe a few Pony Club tests done, and they have all ended up with careers in horses - one's a well known dealer (well known for the right reasons!), one is a horsemanship trainer, one went to work for a top showjumper and travels the world - they are the sort who absorb stuff, work hard, move about to different yards to learn different things - they don't expect to learn it by sitting in a library or doing "yards" one day a fortnight and never at weekends or in the holidays.

My old boss used to "interview" people by handing them a yard broom and telling them to start sweeping. It was their response to that that decided if he would give them a job or not :D
 

only_me

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I've had a few that came at 16/17 just from pony backgrounds, maybe a few Pony Club tests done, and they have all ended up with careers in horses - one's a well known dealer (well known for the right reasons!), one is a horsemanship trainer, one went to work for a top showjumper and travels the world - they are the sort who absorb stuff, work hard, move about to different yards to learn different things - they don't expect to learn it by sitting in a library or doing "yards" one day a fortnight and never at weekends or in the holidays.

My old boss used to "interview" people by handing them a yard broom and telling them to start sweeping. It was their response to that that decided if he would give them a job or not :D
Some friends from PC have gone on to amazing horsey jobs, one is at USA cooley! All the ones I can think of that have great horsey jobs never even entertained the idea of going to college, they either set up themselves (E.C rowreach?) or learnt on the job and work their way ups.

I wonder if the type of yard you grow up on keeping horses dictates equine college beliefs?
 

Crazy_cat_lady

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I don't work with horses but if i did own my own yard (when I win the lottery haha) I'd be looking for someone who had worked on yards e.g. starting off helping out at their local rs then working as a working pupil as working with horses there is only so much a book can teach you in my opinion, there are so many scenarios that can happen especially with each horse being an individual.
 

honetpot

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I was amazed when I found out that at the local equine college the yard didn't open to nine. When I got there the gates were still locked. They also had flowering ragwort in their fields.
I would rather send them to Talland for a month and pay and then send them to a pro yard on work experience. They would at least come back with some sort of work ethic.
 

Elf On A Shelf

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I really don't rate anyone that has done an equne course. They end up totally useless but at the same time so up thier own backsides because they have a piece of paper telling them they did something. Yet not one can follow instructions let alone look after a horse properly.

The Racing School is different. It is very specialised. You are there for 9-14 weeks and you learn to ride and care for racehorses. You are guaranteed a job at the end of it with a trainer - its up to you to keep the job mind!

I have worked in racing for 14 years. I left school with a couple of Highers nothing more. I never went to the racing school. I get paid significantly more than your average job and a hell of a lot more than any equine job! Plus it is regulated with proper pay structures. Racing is a very good job to get into if you want to work with horses.
 

Custard Cream

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I studied at Writtle College when I left school and can honestly say I had the best 2 years of my life. The facilities are fantastic - as are all the lecturers! The horses were fab and the majority were privately owned so it wasn't like a riding school at all! I jumped 1m+ and learnt so much! I have to admit, ive been around horses since the age of 5 and had a lot more experience than a lot on my course but I thought they catered for everyones capabilities perfectly! I learnt so much and was gutted when my course ended!!
I think it's down to the college and the student in question as to whether it suits them!
I got a job a month after I left on an event yard. I rode everyday and the option to travel to stay away shows was always available. Unfortunately, having 2 horses of my own made it impossible!!
I went to Writtle!! Didn't do Equine though....
 
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