Taylor A. Flury
Does it ever feel like life is just flying by? The other day I was talking to a friend about how crazy busy I have been and how many different jobs I have. We were talking about the BWP (Belgium Warmblood Paard) Keuring Tour this summer where we travel around the country inspecting horses for the studbook (More on this subject to come in a later blog). This is one of the various positions that I have undertaken; I have a problem with trying to do too many things. I am on the board of the BWP Studbook where I write articles for our Stallion Guide, travel with the inspector/judge for usually about 1 week every summer, and whatever other various tasks I am assigned. I have my numerous “hats” that I wear here at AliBoo; breeder, rider, manager, trainer. Managing includes overseeing everything associated with all of these areas, plus all of the office work. We have 22 horses and I ride anywhere from 6-10 a day. I write my blog here for the chronicle; although that is a “fun job,” not necessarily a “work job.” Lastly, I am a part time student.
This is when my friend said to me, “you’re in college?” She was surprised by this. I knew after I graduated high school that I somehow wanted to make my career in horses. Yet, unlike many other professions, in the horse world you can be one of the best and never need or have a college degree to succeed. In fact, many of my friends that also graduated around when I did decided to simply skip school and just go straight into the horses. I hear all the time of kids who decide they are going to try to become professionals and how they don’t need to go to school. I do not think they or myself, realized just how hard it is to make a living with horses. When I read one of the other blogs on the Chronicle about this subject, it was so true.
After high school, I took a year off because I felt I had lost a year of riding after my surgeries and I really just wanted one year to focus on my riding. I knew all along though that I would be going to college. When I was a teenager, I had these grand illusions of becoming a veterinarian or neurosurgeon (I loved my surgeon and wanted to take after him). When I realized just how much those would consume my life and as I got more into breeding, I decided a simple business degree would suffice. Nobody ever knows what the future will hold and if circumstances change because of any reason I want to have something to fall back on. The business world is so competitive today that it is very difficult to obtain a “position” without having a college degree. In addition, we have all of these talks about making the “horse world” more professional and improving communication. Would that not start with having “business sense.”
I grew up with two parents who are entrepreneurs that have made themselves very successful in their chosen industries. Living and working with my mom is like having my very own incredible personal college professor. She has taught me so much and I owe everything to her. She is the first one to tell you how important common sense and hands on experience are in business. My mom though, has also always stressed the importance of a degree because it lends you credibility. She has always told me, “I don’t care if it takes you double the amount of time to finish; you just have to have a degree.”
With all of my different responsibilities, I realized that I would most likely not be able to go away to college for four years like a “traditional student.” Nor would I be able to attend school full time with 20 credit hours each semester because I just would not be able to handle everything. Thus, I started to look into schools that were accredited, flexible, and would allow me to take classes online. I started my classes about 2 years ago and I will need another year or two to finish. I only take 10 credit hours a semester, but I go year round in an effort to finish slightly faster.
If I could give one piece of advice to young professionals, it would be to recognize the importance of a degree even if you only go part time and it takes you longer to finish. You never know when that degree is going to help you obtain a sponsorship, help you write contracts to protect yourself, or better your “business skills” to run a successful barn.