CNCC has a variety of degrees students can pursue. Because of the school’s location in a small town, one program offered that is hard to find at most colleges is Horsemanship and Horse Management, informally known as the Horsemanship Program.
The fairly new Horsemanship program was started in the fall of 2007; in July 2008, Brandon Velie came to Rangely and became the program director.
Since then, Velie has taken charge, getting the program off its feet.
“Because the program is still very new we only have (five) students currently; however, the program is building momentum with every day, and I predict at least 15 incoming freshman for the fall of 2010,” says Velie. Right now, there are five women in the program, all freshmen.
Those in the program have the opportunity to either earn a two-year degree, an associate’s in horsemanship and horse management, or students can earn two different one-year certificates, one in horse management and another in horse training.
“After earning my associate’s degree, I plan to possibly teach about horses, like Brandon,” says one new student Abigail Helman. “Or I would also like to board horses.”
After finishing up at CNCC, students should be able to find employment in any field of the equine industry.
“Students can become trainers, farm managers, exercise riders, and even compete professionally when they leave CNCC with their degree in hand,” says Velie. In addition, students can continue their education by transferring schools and earning a bachelor of arts degree in Equine Science or Animal Science.
Helman says that even after being in classes just over a month, she has already learned a great deal of information.
“I have learned loads, such as how I was improperly caring for horses by overfeeding them, and I didn’t even know it before I came here,” she says.
Helman and her family own four horses on their dairy ranch at home in Chambersburg, Pa. She chose to come all the way to Rangely for the Horsemanship program, which isn’t offered in Pennsylvania.
“All I could do with my horses is look at them, feed them, and groom them,” says Helman. Now, after just a short time in classes, Helman knows the proper feeding techniques for different horses and how to better take care of them.
Each person in the class takes responsibility for taking care of the school’s three horses. The horses have a strict feeding schedule that students split up on a weekly basis. This type of hands-on experience is only the beginning of the students interacting directly with the horses.
In the first semester, students do spend a good deal of time in the classroom taking introduction classes, learning the biology of the horse, such as the skeletal, muscular, and respiratory systems.
“So far, I have learned a lot about the anatomy of a horse and conformation,” says Helman. Conformation is learning how to evaluate the horses’ correctness of bones, muscles and body proportion. Students are learning how to tell what different breeds of horses’ qualities are by recognizing the pros and cons of a horse’s posture.
While the new students do spend a lot of time in the classroom, they also have a weekly four-hour lab class. During this time, they have the chance to work with horses by riding them and learning to train a foal. Students also have a Stable Operations class in which they learn how to use equipment properly.
Once the first invigorating semester is completed, a great deal of time is spent directly with the horses.
“In the spring, they will spend about 12 hours a week working with and riding horses,” explains Velie.
Just as college programs should be, the Horsemanship Program is one that teaches students everything they need to properly take care of and work with horses.
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