A naval recruit stationed in Iraq is among students from around the world who have graduated from a US university offering more than a dozen online equine courses.
The degree course from Global Equine Academy in conjunction with Dickinson State University in North Dakota has 14 online horse courses. It currently has more than 200 students from around the world. Many of its graduates have gone on to start their own equine businesses, "and others have gotten equine management jobs and are fulfilling their lifelong dream," says GEA's Sandy Miller. The programme is accredited through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
"The horse world offers a wide variety of careers and distance learning holds the key for those presently with full-time jobs and other responsibilities that make it difficult to relocate to a college campus," she said.
One such example is Navy Corpsmen Second Class Melissa Bartelson, who found an advertisement in Western Horseman for the online Associate of Science Degree in Ag Sales and Service with Equine Management Option.
She was stationed in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq in the spring of 2005 when she decided to enrol. Sergeant Bartelson began her generals while serving her first tour of duty in the gulf. She returned home to Wisconsin for a few months after this tour but continued to take classes through Dickinson State.
Bartelson was called to a second tour in the Gulf, this time in Kuwait. She continued her job as a medical corpsman and her career as a student during her down time. It was a struggle for Bartelson to be both military personnel and a student having to meet deadlines for online tests and papers. But she went on to obtain her degree, and will complete her final class later this year.
After serving for five years in the regular Navy, Bartelson is now state-side and living at home in Wisconsin where she still serves in the Navy as a reservist. Bartelson plans to pursue a BSN in Wisconsin and combine that with her Associate of Science degree with Equine Management Option. Her dream is to open a ranch and use horses for therapeutic riding purposes for children.
The format for Global Equine Academy is a whole new theory for equine education and distance learning. The online equine education classes, such as: equine marketing, equine business, equine nutrition, equine anatomy, equine disease and health, equine reproduction, equine behaviour and four horse training classes provided through video and online lectures.
"We use a combination of lecture notes, college text books and online tests to present the classes We have done everything possible to make the classes as much like a college classroom as possible and included technical information," Miller says. "As far as we know, this is the only NCA online accredited equine degree programme offered anywhere."
Global Equine Academy
March 14, 2008