Friday, May 15, 2015

A Day in the Life of Jackie Dwelle - St. Andrews Faculty & Dressage Coach

For the summer I thought it would be fun to do a "Day in the Life of..." series. I am kicking it off with my "average" day with the hopes that I can inspire the Equestrian staff to share what an average day  (if there is such a thing) is like for them.
 
My days during the academic year start with a large cup of English style tea and exercises for my back. Since having back surgery 2 years ago for a ruptured disk, I have been dedicated to stretching and strengthening every morning. My 60 pound yellow, German Shepherd/mutt (Abby) and I take a walk, the length of which varies with what time I need to be on campus to teach. Having fed Abby, my sweet little black cat Ziva and myself I make the 20 minute drive to campus.

Mornings are usually spent teaching academic classes. Every semester I teach Stable Management, Basic Riding Instructor class and Lab and spring and fall I alternate between Equine Business, The History & Theory of Modern Riding, Introduction to the Management of Equine Operations and Natural Horsemanship. Lunch is a quick sandwich at my desk and the afternoons are spent at the barn teaching dressage lessons.

Tuesdays are my really busy day with classes starting at 8:00 a.m. while other days I have time for class preparation, planning for events, special projects and working on the social media campaign. Friday afternoon is dedicated to dressage practice. Weekends are flexible depending on whether or not we are hosting a horse show, event or clinic, traveling to a horse show or once in a while a free weekend from work related responsibilities. On those occasions Abby and I head out for some long forest hikes.

At the end of the day a stop at the grocery store is a common occurrence to pick up things from my ongoing shopping list. Abby is always pleased to see me when I get home, I like to think Ziva is too she just won’t admit it. Abby and I take a quick walk to the community mailbox to pick up the mail followed by doggy dinner time, a glass of wine for me, dinner and emailing. I record Cramer’s Mad Money on weeknights and try to catch some of the show to see what the stock market did that day and pick up a hint or two on how to become a better investor. Bedtime comes early although I usually fall asleep in front of the TV.

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Power of Support

Guest Post by Jessica Story for Equine Business Management Class

      When entering the arena on a horses back, there is always a chance that something unexpected can happen. You can prepare for months and months but you never know what is going to happen the day you walk into the arena. Horses have a mind of their own which is what makes this sport so exciting because riders have to find a unity with their horse in order to perform. Amy Wrozek, a returning competitor for the St. Andrews American National Riding Commission (ANRC) team, had a rough start to the show this year but showed perseverance and pushed through the remainder of the show.

      The first phase of the show that was on horseback was the program ride. This is an equitation test that includes a series of movements on the flat and includes two jumps within the test. Amy entered the ring confident about the test that she had practiced over and over but when she went to extend the trot across the diagonal, one of the first few movements required in the test, the horse she was riding threw a very large and unexpected buck. Not only did she fall off and not get a score for that phase, but she broke one her fingers.

      With the support of her ANRC team, IHSA teammates, coaches, as well as people from other schools she managed to keep her head up and compete the next day in the medal and derby phases. She had beautiful rounds in both phases and took home multiple ribbons. With all of the support she received it gave her to confidence to compete the next day as if nothing had happened the day before. The power of support is a wonderful thing and all of the St. Andrews equestrian teams show each other a tremendous amount of support.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

An Unsuspected Danger in Your Barn!

by Logan Teeter for Equine Business Management class

Ever look up at the ceiling of your barn?  What do you see?  Mostly likely you are going to see one of the most dangerous threats to your barn.  Every night while your horses are resting, spiders are busy at work spinning webs.  These webs over time start to collect dust and start to hang downward.   There are some people who believe that these cobwebs are a good thing because they trap insects such as flies.  This could not be further from the truth.  The truth is that cobwebs are very dangerous.  If a cobweb is touching a burning lightbulb without a safety shield, the heat from the lightbulb can cause the cobweb to ignite.  Once the cobweb is ignited a chain reaction starts.  Cobwebs act as a burning passageway from one end of your barn to the other.  It only takes seconds for the fire to travel through the webbing.  As the cobweb burns it will fall to the floor of your barn starting new fires.  If a burning piece of cobwebbing fell into a stall with dry bedding, you would have approximately 90 seconds before the stall would burn completely.  This only gives you about 30 seconds to get your horse out without injury.   This is a horrific reality.  Take the time to knock down cobwebs in your barn.  It is not a glamourous task but one that could possibly save your horse’s life. 

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Life as an Intern at St. Andrews

By Madison Edwards for Equine Business Management class

Michelle Eld is a senior Business Administration Major and has competed on the hunter seat and western team throughout her time at St. Andrews. She is President of the business club and has participated in the honors program. She is a great team leader and a wonderful asset to the program. Michelle is one of six interns doing a semester long internship to organize the American National Riding Commission National Championships (ANRC) hosted by St. Andrews April 17 – 19, 2015.

I spoke to Michelle about her internship.

Q: How has this experience been beneficial?
A: This experience has provided me with insightful knowledge about event planning in addition to giving me the opportunity to have a truly hands on experience throughout planning ANRC.

Q: Were there any challenges you faced along the planning process?
A: The biggest challenge I faced is organizing my time, especially the week of the event because of how much dedication it takes to put on an event of this caliber.

Q: What were some of the major projects you are involved in?
A: The major projects I was involved in was scheduling food vendors and getting sponsorships from local and corporate venues. However, all of us interns worked together in a variety of ways in media relations, hospitality, and volunteer management.

Q: What are some valuable lessons you will take away from this experience?
A: One of the most important things I have gained from this internship is experience is communicating with business owners and building relationships with them. Additionally, I have gained a healthy respect for people who successfully plan and organize large scale events.

Q: How has your St. Andrews education prepared you for this internship.
A: My St. Andrews education has prepared me for this internship by giving me the communication skills that have prepared me to forge successful business relationships. Additionally, it has allowed me to combine my love and knowledge of horses with my business education.


I look forward to this weekend and I wish the best for luck to all competitors! I also want to thank all of the volunteers who have helped us not only this week but also throughout the past few months. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Never, Never Give Up

By Claire Pollard for Equine Business Management class.

“Life is like a dressage test. If you are too busy thinking about your last move, the next one won’t be any good either.” – Anonymous

While those words hold very true, sometimes looking back can give good insight. When I first came to St. Andrews as a freshman four years ago, I wanted to try something different.  I had grown up riding saddleseat and had gaited trail horses at home, but was always fascinated by dressage.  I signed up for two dressage lessons my first semester and decided to give it a shot. I had to then make a decision as to whether or not I wanted to try out for the Intercollegiate Dressage Team. I had planned to wait until my sophomore year, but with a little prompting from the team coach, Jackie Dwelle, I thought I could at least try out. With two lessons under my belt, I tried out and made it as an Intro rider.

I quickly learned just how challenging dressage is as I was taught that “dressage is not a speed event”, circles should never be “pancaked shaped” and that suddenly high school geometry became important again. I learned that sitting the trot requires ab muscles and that getting a horse on the bit was not nearly as easy as people made it look. I did not do well showing my freshman year at the Intro level, but I was completely hooked. I watched my senior teammates make it to Nationals as a team and vowed silently to myself that I, too, would get to go before I graduated. I also calculated if I worked hard enough, I could possibly ride at First Level by the time I was a senior…

I did slightly better showing my sophomore year at Intro, but not by much. Dressage was very frustrating, especially when you have ten minutes to figure out a horse and ride a perfectly executed test. I grew as a rider thanks to Jackie despite my lack of success in the show ring and became even more addicted to the sport. To my dismay, my intro eligibility expired after two years and my junior year, I moved up to Lower Training. I was dismayed. I had hardly succeeded at Intro and now was expected to ride a harder test?! I experienced my share of frustrations and highs and lows. I learned to lose and lose gracefully. I learned that even if you did not get a ribbon, you still gained something and that was what to fix for next time. I learned that attitude is everything and that experience is more valuable than that coveted blue ribbon.

Time was running out. I was now a senior in college and had one year left if my Nationals dream was to become a reality. I spent part of the summer interning with Vicki Kelley at Antares Dressage in Pinehurst and she helped greatly improving both my knowledge and riding abilities. I moved up yet another level in IDA to Upper Training. Then, it finally paid off. The first show of the season I won my first blue ribbon for dressage and was high point rider for the day at the show NC State hosted. I continued to be competitive throughout the season, placing well and finally seeing some success. Through the season, I remained close in points for the lead for the Upper Training Division. It finally came down to where I could not beat her to win the division, but could finish Reserve Champion with a shot at a wild card slot for Nationals and I did. After a lengthy wait, I found out that I do indeed get to travel to Ohio for IDA Nationals to represent St. Andrews as an individual, achieving that silent promise I made to myself freshman year.

There is no way I could have done it without the help from coaches at St. Andrews who pushed me to be my best. Jackie Dwelle, Lindsey Agaliotis, and Carla Wennberg all taught me valuable lessons about the sport of dressage. St. Andrews gave me the opportunity to take something I had no knowledge of and really run with it. And as for my First Level promise made freshman year? While I did not compete First Level for IDA, I rode my first First Level test at a schooling show in Pinehurst, checking off that goal as well. It has truly been an awesome experience and I would not trade it for anything.


The next goal on my list to accomplish? Finally teaching my grandmother how to pronounce “dressage.”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What can you do with an Equine Business Management Degree?



by Mary Thomson for Equine Business Management Class

When I first started looking for colleges, I knew I wanted to find a college where I could combine my love for riding horses and get a degree that I could use later in life. St. Andrews University offers a unique Equine Business Management degree that has allowed me to do just that. When people first hear me say that I am getting my bachelor’s degree in “Equine Business Management” they tend to look at me funny, but this is always a great conversation starter. I am able to then explain what all I have learned as a part of this degree.
            Unlike an Equine Studies degree, Equine Business Management is a business degree. We take classes like Accounting, Economics, Finance, Communications, and Marketing to name a few. What makes this degree special is that in addition to these business classes, we also get hands-on learning with the horses at the equestrian center. We take classes like Stable Management, Equitation, and Horse Science. We learn about horses inside and out and everywhere in between. Combining these two elements in this special degree makes for dynamic equine professionals entering the workplace.
            Many people ask me what you can do with a B.A. in Equine Business Management. My answer would be almost anything! Many students who graduate with this degree go on to become barn managers, trainers, professional riders, sales representatives for equine companies, and much more. The great thing about this degree, is that it does not limit students to only working in the equestrian field. Because it is also a business degree, it opens up the possibility to go into many other fields as well. If you are interested in furthering your education past a bachelor’s, there is now the opportunity to receive your master’s in Business Administration at St. Andrews. If you love riding or just being around horses and want to make them a part of your future career, consider checking out the Equine Business Management degree at St. Andrews University!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Western Team Qualifies for IHSA National Championships!

by Guest Blogger Coach Carla Wennberg

Florida State University was Host college
17 other Universities represented; Top Four placing out of 16 riders per class move forward to nationals.

Results for St Andrews University;
Jarret Vaughn, from Gastonia, NC was 3rd in Intermediate  Horsemanship
Logan Teeter, from Henderson, NC was first in Novice Horsemanship
Both students advance to Nationals as Individuals in those divisions

Top three Teams winning points advance forward to Nationals IN Springfield, Mass. First weekend of May!
1. University of Findlay 32 points
2. St Andrews University 31 points
3. Black Hawk College 22 points

4. Middle Tennessee State University
5. Alfred State University
6. University of Fla.
7. Cal Poly Pomona
8. University of Delaware

Great Competition, Lovely location!
We fought all the way through the weekend to stay consistent and not make mistakes!!!
It paid off. I am soooo Proud of my Team and their Sp
All the hard work and determination!
It takes a Village to make this all work!!
Thank you to Lindsey Agaliotis and Peggy McElveen!!!
Jennifer Sansbury for care and driving our horses to competition
Kara Copeland and Cailey Culp for great warm up riding!
Very Proud Coach!!!
Carla



Colleges and Universities represented;
Kutztown, Lenoir-Ryne, University of AZ, Rutgers, Iowa State, Florida State University, Murray State University, Centenary College, Knoxville, United States Military Academy, Western Ky University, Illinois State University, Va Tech, University of Central Fla, NE Oklahoma A&M, Missouri State University, NC State University.

Full Teams competing;
1. Alfred University, New York
2. Black Hawk College, Ill
3. Cal Poly Pomona, Calif
4. Middle Tennessee State Univ, Tn
5. St Andrews University, NC
6. University of Delaware, De
7. University of Findlay, Ohio
8. University of Fla, Fla

Dressage Senior Waiting for Slot at Nationals

Laurinburg, NC – With six riders in contention for three slots, St. Andrews University Senior Claire Pollard (Foxfire Village, NC) will have to wait another couple of weeks for other regions to end their season to see if her average percentage score of 73.243% for the year will be enough to take her to the Intercollegiate Dressage Association, National Championships hosted by Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio April 24 – 26.

Pollard ended the year as Reserve Champion in the Upper Training division with a second place at Saturday’s home show and a score of 75%. “When I first came to St. Andrews as a freshman, I wanted to try dressage because it fascinated me. I watched my senior teammates make it to Nationals and I told myself I would do the same before I graduated,” said Pollard. “I went from knowing next to nothing about dressage as an Intro rider to Reserve Champion for the region as an Upper Training rider.”

Coach Jackie Dwelle is hopeful Pollard will be making the trip to Ohio. “73.253% would be a “C” academically but in dressage that is considered a pretty good score,” quipped Dwelle who also teaches in the Equine Studies Department.

The St. Andrews team was Reserve Champion at the home show on Saturday earning 13 points and a team average score of 73.6%. Freshmen Alex Varisco was 6th at First level with 64.063%. Junior Megan Pustarfi was 4th in Upper Training with 73.077%, Sophomore McCall DiMarco was 5th with 71.923%. Freshman Geneva Masak earned second place in the Lower Training division with a score of 76.739%, Sophomore Kate Neidrick and Senior Sarah Lishen were 3rd and 4th with scores of 71.563% and 69.063% in the Intro division.

In the Dressage Seat Equitation Regional Finals Courtney Anderson placed 3rd at Training Level and Sarah Lishen was the Champion at the Intro Level.

“This has been a difficult year for the dressage team,” said Dwelle, “We struggled all year. We not only ran a wonderful show on Saturday with the first Dressage Seat Equitation Regional Finals and our first Regional Banquet but we also placed well. Keeping fingers and toes crossed that Claire will advance to Nationals!”


Claire Pollard