Choosing a Career with Horses, Julie Griffin finds Meredith Manor
by Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre
Before she even knew a place like Meredith Manor existed, Julie (Huffman) Griffin earned an associate degree in business then worked as a media photographer at PGA golf tournaments and
NASCAR auto races. While many people would consider this their dream job, Julie itched for something else. She wanted a career with horses. So she began looking for a program that would
give her the credentials she needed to succeed in the horse business.
Julie says she considered four or five different schools with programs geared towards horses.
Then she bumped into a graduate and learned about Meredith Manor. “When I graduated from
high school, I didn’t know there was anything like a ‘horse school’ or I might have gone sooner,” Julie says.
Julie chose Meredith Manor for the concentrated equine
experience it offered her. At many other schools, she points out, students learn about stable management but they ride only once a week. By comparison, Meredith Manor students ride
four times every day in addition to their intensive horse care practice. As an older student, she worried about living on campus with students right out of high school, but after
observing the instructors and the classes she recognized that the Meredith Manor program was exactly what she wanted to do.
Thanks to some networking help from Meredith Manor
contacts, Julie landed her first job after graduation supervising the riding program at Camp Arrowhead, a boy’s camp in Flatrock, North Carolina. At first she was hesitant about
teaching kids who didn’t know anything about horses. “Now,” she says, “I’d almost make it a prerequisite.” The camp had never had a riding instructor per se,
just someone to supervise trail rides. She turned the program upside down, introducing riding skills, a safety program and parental involvement. Julie still supervises the program today.
That teaching experience and the skills Julie learned at Meredith Manor both helped when she applied for a management position at Steeplechase Equestrian. The owner wanted someone who
could run the equestrian business while he ran his other businesses. When Julie arrived with a portfolio, certification, maturity and both business and horse experience, she not only got the job
but also became a partner.
Julie manages the 20-stall facility with responsibility for all the feeding, shoveling, and other daily
care that horses require. She also runs a lesson program for over 20 youngsters, supervises the 4
-H club she started at the barn, and trains horses for resale. Julie credits the intensive daily riding program at Meredith Manor for preparing her to manage her current workload.
One of the things Julie had not anticipated while a Meredith Manor student was the credibility her teaching certification would give her. Certification not only helped her land her position at
Steeplechase Equestrian but she also found it made a big difference in her ability to attract students
in the area. “I got students really quickly once they found out I was a certified instructor. The
student count went up almost before I was ready. I didn’t realize what a difference having that piece of paper would make.”
Julie enjoys being able to make suggestions
that help youngsters work through problems and find the solutions themselves. “That’s so much more rewarding than if I tell them what
to do,” she says. She counts the little notes they send her and their happy smiles among the highlights of each day. “My greatest sense of accomplishment is teaching the kids.”
Julie (Huffman) Griffin graduated from Meredith Manor in May 2003 with a Riding Master IV, Teaching Level I Certification, and Equine Massage Therapy Certification. She is
now a business partner at Steeplechase Equestrian Center in Gastonia, NC.
Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre
Meredith Manor is an equestrian trade school
dedicated entirely to producing professional riders, trainers, instructors, and farriers for the horse industry. All programs and courses are designed specifically to prepare you for a successful
equine career. Our programs range in length from 3 to 18 months, and our students spend 6 hours a day in primarily hands-on, skill based classes with additional time
spent in the barns and with the horses. Students don't have to excel in academic, classroom based
classes to be successful in our programs, but they must have a passion for horses and a dedication to having a successful equestrian career.
Meredith Manor's name and reputation are known by serious horse people throughout the world. Students from the ages of seventeen to sixty-three have attended the School from every state and
many foreign countries. Meredith Manor strives to provide a climate of learning in which each student may identify and accomplish his or her goals. We have continuously researched the horse
industry, designed the facilities, and developed the educational programs that will give our students
the training, experience, and confidence needed to have successful, life-long careers with horses!
Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre
147 Saddle Lane
Waverly, West Virginia 26184
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