Living with Horses
Kate Meyer is a senior at Penn State majoring in Animal Sciences. Deciding this to be the path for her higher education and future career came as no surprise. Her life has revolved around horses from a very young age, so she knew from the start that she wanted to work with animals.
As a young girl, her family lived on a farm with a barn that housed a few horses and some other animals as well. She enjoyed caring for the horses, riding the horses, and helping rehab the horses that were sick or injured.
Meyer says that her favorite job was riding the horses. She wished that she could have jumped them, raced them or competed on a horse but, her mother did not approve. Instead, she enjoyed leisure riding every chance she got.
Learning of her acceptance to Penn State was a world-wind of emotions. She was ecstatic to leave home and further her education, but she knew that it would be hard to leave her horses.
Meyer than learned about Penn State’s equine facility, which houses over 80+ horses and can be visited by the public any time. She also learned that Penn State offers classes where you can help train the colts for college credit.
While she knew that she would miss her horses. She realized she could fill the void by volunteering at Penn State.
Throughout her freshman year, Meyer was balancing: classes, studying, a social life, and spending time at the equine facility.
While she enjoyed Penn State, her favorite memories were those spent with the horses.
When looking for housing for her sophomore year and realizing the cost of being an out-of-state student, Meyer knew she needed to make a change. This is when she learned that the equine facility offers housing in exchange for work.
Meyer was granted housing at the “pink house” her sophomore and junior year. This building houses anywhere from three to five students and is right down the road from the horse barns.
In exchange for housing, Meyer was expected to work five to 10 hours per week. Work included cleaning the stalls, feeding the horses, taking them out to pastures, bringing them in for the night, training them, riding them, vaccinating them and much more.
Meyer said she wanted to continue living near the horses and helping the equine facility, so as housing contracts came up for her senior year, she applied again.
She was surprised to be offered housing in the barn. She lives in a room in between two stalls in a barn full of horses. This took her affection for horses to an entirely new level.
She was still responsible for cleaning, feeding, training, and vaccinating, but now she was able to be the horses first responder.
If anything happens, like a horse giving birth, Meyer is right there. She can hear everything: the munching of hay, wall kicking, even water breaking on a pregnant mare. Meyer is in the thick of it.
This brought on a new task of challenges Meyer wasn’t ready for her senior year. Studying or test taking in her room or trying to sleep in on Sunday morning was no longer possible now that she had 25+ roommates that were all horses.
Meyer says she is enjoying and has taken all the opportunities and challenges that living in the barn had to offer.
Living with horses has also provided an opportunity for Meyer to grow her passion for photography.
Photography is a way for her to share with everyone else just how special these animals can be.
Meyer will be graduating in a few weeks and has chosen to move out to California where she will be attending Western University of Health Sciences to get a Doctor of veterinarian medicine degree.
Her fondness for horse will continue to grow as will her love for other animals too. Penn State’s equine facility will hold a special place in her heart, not only for the housing it provided for 3 years, but because of the fury, smelly and hay eating friends she made too.
Photo gallery: Horses
Kate Meyer's Instagram page features her favorite pictures of Penn State's horses.
Even horses can enjoy a quiet walk and sunset. Photo by Kate Meyer
Sister, sister bonding time. Photo by Kate Meyer
A white knight (horse) leaping into the night. Photo by Kate Meyer
Fouls getting play time after breakfast. Photo by Kate Meyer
Golden hour is a good hour, even for horses. Photo by Kate Meyer
A young horse waiting for football season to start again. Photo by Kate Meyer
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Caitlin will be finishing up her senior year at The Pennsylvania State University in May 2019. With her Digital Media Trends and Analytics (DMTA) minor as well as her major, Caitlin has interned as a Communications and Marketing intern for ESF, she is a Package Producer for 46LIVE (a live broadcasting of Penn State’s THON), and has worked as a congressional intern for a congressman in Washington, D.C. After graduation Caitlin hopes to return home to the DMV area and pursue a career in Communication and Public Relations.