"Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway"
- John Wayne

Friday, May 11, 2012

Has to be the Horse, of Course!

In my self discovery of who I want to be/what I want to do in my life, I realized the subject of horses is a rather difficult one.  Having grown up around the important influences that aided me in my riding and horsemanship, I decided to minor in Equine Science at my college.  Since I was little, horses have always pranced across, through, and around my brain.  My toys would consist of horse figures and the assignments I would write for class would in some way, shape or form, include a horse.  I'm nuts, right?  Some would call me obsessed, but I would call it a passion; an "antidrug" if you may.  Through junior high and high school, I had taken up riding lessons.  I loved every second of it.  In the last couple years of high school, I would dedicate my Saturdays to volunteering at a local stables just to get in more "hands on" horse education and experience.  Entering into college, I knew I wanted to do something with horses, but I just wasn't sure what that was.  Not being pre-vet, I knew I definitely did not want to inject, float, open up, sedate, cut... horses at a scientific level.  But, I wanted to do something with horses.  Well I thought, "Hey!  I'm majoring in Agriculture Communications.  If I pick up a minor in Equine Science, maybe horse organizations and horse companies would want to hire me to write/draw/create stuff for them!".  Brilliant.  I had an A-ha! moment.  Now here's where it gets good:
This spring quarter of my first year being at Cal Poly SLO, I enrolled in Equine Science, aka "ASCI 224-01, 03".  The purpose of this class is to be understand the background and behavior of the horse and the horse's main bodily functions.  I didn't think this class was going to be a breeze just because I have a little experience with horses, but I didn't think this class was going to be quite so hard.  When I say "hard", I mean a lot of new things are to be learned.  All my life, I had been hearing people's advice on the horse from a riding point of view as well as proper maintenance and also picking up a few slang.  In this class, however, the title says it all.  Science.  Oh boy, was I in for it.  Muscular system, digestive system, horse conformation, horse movement, dental structure, horse diseases, horse nutrition, horse reproduction, horse neonatal care...
Frankly, having a good professor and a good study group helps.  It's just this class was not what I had expected.  I assumed and therefore, made a horse, I mean ass out of me.  One thing I am excited about are our weekly labs.  The trickiest, yet probably one of the more fun things I've done for a class was to write a paper on the conformation and movement of ten horses we all observed in lab.  It was interesting to find a correlation between a horse's body structure and the way they move.  It really was an eye opener.  To put it simple, the more poorly a horse is put together is reflected in the horse's movement.  It gets very complicated from there, but I had a lot of fun putting my paper together and gaining new knowledge (Not to mention my A I enjoyed as well!).  Even though I may not like science, I realize it is something I cannot just toss under the bus; science is the future.  Completing my minor is equine science will be a tough road ahead because if it requires more than knowing the name the location of all the muscles and skeletons in the horse, then I just might have to have mom send up my old horse figures to "practice".