I was honored to be asked to speak at St. Mary of the Woods College on Friday, January 29, during their Mane Event, a special gathering focused on careers in the equine industry. This was the second time I’ve attended the event, and I love the excitement that the staff builds with the students to learn about life after college.
During The Mane Event, I spoke about my experiences as a freelance writer, how I used my internships to my advantage, how I taught myself new skills to constantly evolve my career path and coached the students on how they can get a solid start in whatever career path they choose. (My number one tip: Be aware of the reputation you’re already building for yourself with your social media posts and how you work in your classes and with your teammates.)
The morning started with the students coming into Le Fer Ballroom and speaking with individuals about potential job and internship opportunities. Representatives from therapeutic riding facilities, horse training farms, horse-related camps, the Marines and the school’s career counseling department each had tables where we could answer questions and recruit however we wanted.
I offered some fun swag from Tough1 and printed information about the American Horse Publication‘s (AHP) Student Membership Program. Since I wasn’t offering any paid positions myself, I just wanted to talk with each student and find out what their passions and goals were, then tried to advise them on where they could look. So many of them were excited to learn about AHP and the idea that the annual seminar is so close this year (Lexington, Kentucky!). I accepted a couple resumes to review and see where I could send them as a courtesy. I loved seeing so many interested in communications or marketing realize they could still be a part of the equine industry and not be a trainer.
After the lunch, I sat alongside NRHA/AQHA Judge and Professional Horseman Brett Walters and certified therapeutic instructor Amanda Bubb of Reins of Life and learned just as much from them as the students did as we sat on the stage to share our experiences and answer any questions. I was impressed with the variety of questions the students asked, and definitely appreciated Tabatha Taylor (SMWC Equestrian Team Coach) facilitating it all.
I realize that the horse industry can be a fickle one, and most times those of us who are dedicated to it struggle in one way or another, so we did all warn them of the need for thick skin and to never be discouraged by a “no”. But, I also felt it was important to encourage and pep them up for the idea of a career in the industry, because we always need fresh insight (aka “new blood”).
I’m grateful to be recognized as a leader in the industry, and I appreciate SMWC reaching out to me for the second time. As much as I love to encourage people to learn more about the horse and outreach, I love speaking with students because I wish someone had come to Murray State to speak with me when I was a college student.