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Equine Business Interns share insights from spring semester

Laurinburg, N.C. – The Equine Business Management program at St. Andrews offers students hands-on experiences in both the equestrian and business aspects.

The ideal scenario of hands-on training was obtained this past spring when six Equine Business Majors tackled seven local internships.

Amber Powell, Erica Hill and Karen Gruninger did equine specific internships off campus in three diverse areas of the industry.

"I got to do a little bit of everything and they were very good about getting me involved,” said Powell of her internship with Gene Parker Farms, LLC, a breeding and showing facility in Orrum. “The value of this internship was that getting up at 5 a.m. is exhausting and it is a long day with hard work but the experience was priceless."

Powell felt so prepared by the experience that she has no doubt that she could move to another facility and step in.

"I learned how to do each of the processes and I feel like I could go to any breeding farm and step in right away,” she said. “This is how a business should be run. I also learned how crucial it is to get prepared and try to stay a step ahead. I would love to find a job somewhere like that."

Hill had a similarly successful at The T3 Ranch in Laurinburg.

"It was a great environment for me,” Hill said. “I thrived in the family atmosphere. It allowed for the refining of my skills and to refocus my steps for progression. It was not what I expected, and I had to do a 180 on my thinking.

“The learning here at St. Andrews forced me to partner with the horse and I took that to this internship,” she added. “I got the ranch on the track of education that moved them from a raw material location to a show level facility."

Gruninger worked with Carolina Horse Park in Raeford as well as doing an internship with the St. Andrews Equestrian Center as well.

"On schooling days at the Carolina Horse Park, I was in charge of theses events and collected paperwork and money, raised jumps in the ring and designing courses for some of the show,” Gruninger said. “I helped with the Southern Pines Horse Trials I and II. The first was for 300 local riders and the second is the first stop for the pro-rider tour with Olympic riders.”

Gruninger was able to network with those Olympic riders and others knowledgeable of the ins and outs of equestrian events.

"I did the administrative work that I hadn't ever experienced before,” she said. “I realized the value of teamwork. It was different knowing that no matter what, if something needed to get done, whether it was your normal skill set or not, we had to get it done. Organizing events I realized how important it was to do things but you hold on until the end. There is only so much you can do once the day arrives."

This helped Gruninger in her work with the St. Andrews Equestrian ANRC program.

“It included event entry, cleaning out the trailer, packing, and going down early for the ANRC to set up the barn so the horses could come straight off the trailer and go into the barn,” Gruninger said. "I learned the importance of effective communication before, during and after the events. I also learned about event entries. I have done my own entries before, but getting an entire barn together was definitely a learning experience."

Equestrian Program Director Peggy McElveen was highly impressed with Gruninger’s work.

“She has worked 12 – 14 hour days and done a fantastic job,” McElveen said. “She was the backbone of the team, planning horse feedings around competitive ride times, getting all the barn management done on time and knowing the rules of the competition to make sure everyone was in compliance. She was fabulous.”

Despite the success, Gruninger already knew that it is not the full-time direction for her future.

"I enjoy going to shows but it is not a full-time career choice for me,” she said. “I always knew what I wanted to do but one of the things I like about this program is getting to see all the facets of barn management."

Jenn Callahan also spent the semester working with the St. Andrews Equestrian Center events coordination, with hers specifically focusing on hunter seat clinics.

“I worked with the Scot Evans clinic with the ANRC team and the Sarah Good clinic helped prepare for the IHSA Zones," Callahan said. "I learned about the importance of organizing, scheduling, researching and promotion."

Through working with the other students and the staff with the events, Callahan saw an added value of the experience.

"I realized that you are never done learning,” she said. “A clinician can change one thing and the light bulb goes off."

Allison Brewer and Marissa Romaniello had parallel internships focused on publicizing the St. Andrews Equestrian Program to the world through web and social media outlets.

"My internship was to work around the equestrian website in the St. Andrews Communications Office,” said Brewer. "I learned the importance of strong communication, especially when you are working with someone. I did a lot of research and had to determine the most reliable sources because there are so many ideas out there. Time management was another key lesson and I realized this is something I need to improve on."

While Brewer was focused specifically on the website and video, Romaniello worked on the social media promotions more directly attached to the Equestrian center.

"I worked in marketing with a specific focus on social media,” Romaniello said. “We had a blank slate as this position was created for me. We started with a survey to determine where we should focus. "We created a schedule to provide our fans to get a taste of what we do here and we hope to get more participation in the future,” she continued.

About St. Andrews

An innovative and bold academic venture, the distinctive character of St. Andrews has been marked by an interdisciplinary curriculum, a highly acclaimed college press, an award-winning pipe band, national champion equestrian teams, and first-rate scholarship. In addition to classes on the main campus, adult learners also choose the Center for Adult and Professional Studies opportunities through St. Andrews @ Sandhills and St. Andrews ONLINE.

On Aug. 29, 1958, the merger between Presbyterian Junior College and Flora Macdonald College became official with the formation of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, N.C. Further information may be obtained by visiting the College's website www.sapc.edu, calling 800-763-0198 or sending an e-mail to info@sapc.edu.


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