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Caz College’s Equine Studies Program: Enriching the profession, community

The Cazenovia College Equine Education Center, located on Woodfield Road in Cazenovia, boasts 70 stalls, two indoor riding rings and an indoor arena on 243 acres.

The Cazenovia College Equine Education Center, located on Woodfield Road in Cazenovia, boasts 70 stalls, two indoor riding rings and an indoor arena on 243 acres. John Seiter

— The Cazenovia Equestrian Education Center is nestled at the base of a hill on Woodfield Road, a stately white building surrounded by meadows and forest. Dutch doors extend across two wings, and everywhere horses peek out from the tops of the doors, almost too many to count.

This majestic setting evokes a Hollywood film, or brings to mind one of the classic farms you might see while driving along the back roads of Lexington, Ky. The structure is slightly worn from wear, but this only adds to its beauty.

Horses live and work here, the barn seems to say. It is not just impressive, but a functional, working facility. Stabling more than 70 horses from different breeds, the equestrian center features a competition size indoor arena, classrooms and staff offices and is the heart of the equine studies program at Cazenovia College.

The program is a four-year degree equine management program with a specialization in equine business management. Offering the option to focus on hunter-seat, western pleasure, dressage or driving, the program prepares students to enter the industry as hands-on professionals and/or support staff with keen business acumen.

According to Program Director Barbara Lindberg, this combination of hands-on horse knowledge with a top-notch business degree is pivotal to the success of any equine professional in today’s climate.

“Any enterprises our graduates embark upon — equine related or otherwise — benefit from the application of sound business management,” she said. “Certainly in the latest recession, people in general have been more cautious with their discretionary spending. And that just amplifies the need for the business serving those people to work not just harder, but smarter.”

While the program offers a comprehensive education to those seeking jobs in the industry, it also connects students directly to the industry through a robust networking system, said Lindberg. Many students graduate to work in stable management, horse care, or as teachers/trainers, and some enter the industry as support staff for equine related businesses such as Dover Saddlery or Smart Pak. The business management aspect of the program is so strong, she said that students also graduate to pursue MBA degrees at prestigious universities.

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