This summer, six
West Virginia University students got an inside look at the Thoroughbred and
Standardbred racing industries during an intensive, week-long travel course offered
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design.
Designed to provide an in-depth understanding of the horse racing industry, the Racehorse
Industry Tour gave students the opportunity to visit breeding farms, sales facilities,
race tracks, veterinary hospitals and connect with WVU alumni working in the industry.
“This course gives students a behind-the-scenes look at the industry, the job opportunities
within it, and allows them to network with industry professionals,” said
Crystal Smith, teaching associate professor of animal and nutritional sciences.
“Meeting WVU equine studies alumni who work at some of the best farms in the country
allows current students to ask candid questions, gain valuable advice on skills needed
to be marketable, and helps them realize a career in the industry is attainable if
they have the work ethic and passion.”
Beginning at a large-scale breeding and racing facility in Pennsylvania and ending
at the prestigious Churchill Downs in Kentucky, the tour allowed students to learn
more about internship and employment opportunities within the industry.
“On this trip, we met with internship program coordinators and were given the opportunity
to ask questions and get a better idea of what it takes to get in and what they’re
looking for in their interns,” said Samantha Osborne, a senior animal and nutritional
sciences major from Walkersville. “If I hadn’t gone on this trip, I might not know
about the variety of jobs available in the industry.”
Highlights of the trip included learning about stallion management from one of the
first female stallion managers in the industry, a tour of Keeneland which is home
to America’s largest sales company specializing in Thoroughbreds, and watching horse
races at Churchill Downs.
“Watching the races added a whole new perspective to what the trainers, jockeys and
farm staff do to get the horses to where they are,” said Jill Eberlein, a junior
marketing major from Staten Island, New York.