William Woods University students work with horses over summer break

Graduate Assistant Bailey McCallum and one of the many horses she helps take care of over the summer at William Woods University.

Graduate Assistant Bailey McCallum and one of the many horses she helps take care of over the summer at William Woods University.

During the regular school year at William Woods University, there are plenty of students around to help care for the horses and facilities that the university owns. After the majority of the students leave for the summer, however, the atmosphere becomes much more low-key.

Graduate Assistant Bailey McCallum is one student who has stayed on campus during the summer who helps in facilities. She graduated in 2012 with a degree in equine studies, and she is currently working on her master’s degree.

According to McCallum, there are about 157 horses on campus that the university owns, and these horses are all cared for and maintained during the regular school year by students, faculty and staff. Over the summer, though, the school leases some horses out to students and other people. Other horses even go to farms and pastures to spend their summers leisurely.

Right now, she said, there are about 80 horses on lease, leaving about 50-55 on campus. There are eight student workers total, two for each of the four disciplines the university offers — hunter/jumper, dressage, saddle seat and western — and each of these disciplines holds about 10-15 horses during the summer.

According to McCallum, “Part of the reason (for leasing the horses out during the summer) is because we like to get repairs done.”

Leasing the horses out over the summer, she said, helps students, faculty, and staff get caught up on the facility maintenance and upkeep.

Over the summer, faculty members still host riding lessons, and students can ride any of the four seats, or disciplines, that they want.

“I think the most interesting thing about the William Woods equine department is that we cater to all four disciplines,” said McCallum.

The university also offers summer camps for beginning riders, hosted by the faculty and aided by the student workers. The student workers are also responsible for all aspects of the care for the horses including feedings, turn outs, exercises, cleaning and general barn maintenance.

Being with the horses “turns into your own special place, and you end up with a sense of comradery,” said McCallum. “Horses are gregarious in nature, so they want to make friends.”

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