Melissa Lloyd discovered a passion for horses when, at the age of 10, she began taking riding lessons and learning about the animals. Now, the December 2013 graduate of West Virginia University is following her passion to the Horse Capital of the World.
Lloyd, who graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in animal and nutritional sciences and a minor in equine management, will spend six months working at WinStar Farm as part of the prestigious Kentucky Equine Management Internship program in Lexington, Ky.
The program is dedicated to improving the opportunities for college students interested in equine careers and places interns on Thoroughbred breeding and training farms throughout the Lexington area.
Lloyd is the third WVU student to be accepted into the KEMI program.
Sarah Claprood, who graduated in December 2011 with a degree in animal and nutritional sciences, and Brittany Hoffman, a December 2012 graduate with a degree in agribusiness management and rural development, participated in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
“I was ecstatic when I received my acceptance letter to program. KEMI is an amazing opportunity and for WVU to have another student be accepted is an honor,” Lloyd said. “I understand the workload will be difficult and trying at times, but the experience is unlike one I will ever have again.”
During the internship, Lloyd will have a variety of opportunities available to her including job shadowing, volunteering and interacting with experienced equine professionals.
She will spend six days a week at WinStar Farm which equine enthusiasts might recognize as the home of well-known stallions Bodemeister, Speightstown and Tiznow. In addition, the operation is fully integrated in the Thoroughbred industry and offers a full-service training center with the capability to take a horse from conception to the racetrack.
“To say we are excited about Melissa’s placement at WinStar Farm is an understatement,” said Crystal Smith, teaching assistant professor of equine management in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design. “Melissa will be exposed to all aspects of the Thoroughbred industry at WinStar and have the opportunity to work with the best horses in the business.”
While at WVU, Lloyd’s love of horses continued to blossom.
She was employed as a student worker at the WVU Reedsville Farm, home to the University’s teaching herd of horses. She was also president of the WVU Collegiate Horsemen’s Association and earned the American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association Outstanding Senior Award at the 2013 Convention.
“Through my undergraduate career at WVU I was able to interact with great equine faculty who provided the resources to foster my knowledge growth and set me up for success in the equine industry,” Lloyd said. “Working at Reedsville prepares you for working on a professional horse farm. You learn skills you can’t truly master in the classroom and are exposed to all aspects of managing horses.”
With the knowledge she gained as a student and being part of the KEMI program, Lloyd is well on her way to a career in the equine industry.
“This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and I am looking forward to the move,” she said.
Lloyd will also be blogging about her internship experience at http://ohhmylloyd.weebly.com.
West Virginia University’s equine program has an excellent success rate of placing graduates into internships and careers in the highly competitive horse industry. For more information, visit http://horses.wvu.edu or contact Smith at Crystal.Smith@mail.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Crystal Smith, Teaching Assistant Professor, Equine Management
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