While most students have just arrived back in town for the start of the spring semester, senior Sarah Albinson and junior Kate Meyer have been working at the Penn State horse barn since the close of the fall semester.
Albinson and Meyer are two of the 13 students who care for the horses at the barn on a daily basis. Albinson said the barn is home to 70-100 horses, depending on the season. She and Meyer wake up in time for the 8 a.m. feeding before filling hay feeders and other general duties before evening feeding.
Albinson and her roommate Sydney Vogt live at the barn in order to provide care for the horses even when class isn’t in session. Meyer, who lives in the nearby “pink house,” worked Christmas evening, while Albinson worked at the barn Christmas morning.
“The other extra students aren’t coming in, so we just work all day,” Albinson said. “I think that made us better friends because we have to work closely together and rely on each other for help.”
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When class is in session, Albinson said, there will be at least two or three students at the barn to work with the horses.
Even though the horses grow accustomed to working with several different handlers, Meyer said there isn’t a behavioral change in the horses when students leave campus.
“Some of the horses benefit from having many different people handle them, especially the younger horses,” Meyer said. “But we definitely have some horses that need consistent handling. For example, the stallions generally do better if they’re on a routine.”
The barn allows students to receive hands-on experience with horses in many different areas.
“Students do pretty much everything here. The students are involved with everything like the research and the breeding, which is pretty cool,” Albinson said.
“It’s pretty amazing how much the students are involved in the day-to-day running of the place,” Meyer said.