“I chose Equine Studies because I have always loved horses more than anything in my life. When I found out I could go to school for that, I knew that’s what I was going to do, regardless of what other people told me.”
Vermont Tech offers a hands-on Equine Studies degree that involves training in everything from equine massage to running a barn. Ashley is completing the Equine Studies program as well as her Associates in Business Management to become a better-rounded student. Ashley chose Vermont Tech because of the small class sizes.
“I looked at other, larger schools, but their programs were much larger and I don’t think I would have gotten the personal, one-on-one that I wanted with my instructors.”
She settled into life at Vermont Tech after about a month of being homesick. Now, she says everyone is welcoming and supportive.
“I’m still challenged every day by my classes, but I know that it is just making sure I get the education I need in order to be prepared for life after college and an actual career.”
It’s clear that Ashley has a positive attitude about learning, and her professors recognize that as well. Ashley describes a time in class with Professor Jessica (Jessy) Stewart Riley as one of her most memorable moments.
“Since I’ve started here at Vermont Tech, one of my favorite, and probably most important, memories was the day I ended up getting a private lesson with Jessy for my equitation class. Jessy said that it was the nicest she’d ever seen that horse and that she hopes I find a career in riding because she thinks I could excel at whatever discipline I choose. She was really impressed with how far I’ve come as a rider since I started here. This moment boosted my confidence so much. Jessy is someone I admire and look up to a lot, so having this moment made me proud of myself and proud of all that I’ve worked on and accomplished at Vermont Tech.”
Ashley says Jessy is always there for her, no matter the situation.
“I really like that all of my professors and instructors go on a first name basis. It makes me feel a mutual respect for each other and I really like that.”
She has some advice for incoming Equine students, “For those who are considering the equine studies program, be prepared to work hard. The horses don’t care what the weather is or what day of the week it is. They need to be cared for and the chore shifts we have to do are a part of the program for a reason.”
When she’s not in class, Ashley likes to visit her parents and horse back home in Northfield. She also coaches varsity softball.