Horses and humans alike welcome the start of school


Grab your hat, hone your hoot and get your boots down to the vast, open air Pierce Equestrian Center to see horse science ambassadors connect with the school’s roots.

“Pierce College was founded with the principle ‘learn by doing.’ Watching others do, seeing movies of others doing, reading about others doing does not prepare you for the real world. DOING prepares you for doing.” Dr. Leland S. Shapiro, chair of the Agriculture Department at Pierce College said in an email.

The  Horse Science program at Pierce College teaches hands-on; how to condition horses, proper mechanics and equipment of riding, nutrition and husbandry, training and veterinary first aid.

Paddy Warner, assistant professor of Horse Science at Pierce College, is an energetic and giving expert in animal training who also advises the Boots and Saddles Club and puts on quality horse shows like the upcoming Farm Walk on Apr. 28th, Shapiro said. “We are very fortunate to have her on our faculty.”

There are 18 “beyond safe” trail horses from the Sierras that live at Pierce during the school year. They seem to enjoy the coddling students provide compared to the service the horses provide up North, according to Warner.

“We get a lot of students that have never even ridden a horse before so we have to have horses like that. We can’t have high dollar, high power show horses.” Warner said.

Warner, who usually performs at Farm Walk, will perform a trick training dog and sheep show called “Anything you can do I can do better” with a student at Fiesta of the Spanish Horse charity show May 4 – 5 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, Warner said.

A new class offering, Horse Show Activities, Section AS616, Wednesday, 12:40 p.m. – 3:50 p.m., is an intermediate riding class which prepares students for professional level show performances.

Warner feels the new class melds riding, training, and equipment together in a way that will fill a need and benefit students.

  • How to sit and use your body
  • How to condition a show horse
  • Describes all the show equipment

“People don’t talk enough about conditioning show horses or conditioning riders. I felt it was a big need in the program. This was the time to do it. Everybody is beyond thrilled to have it.” Warner said.

Marieve Elliott, a 20 year-old equine veterinarian student arrived late in the semester but petitioned to join the class just to observe. She was without a horse on Wednesday but that didn’t stop her from learning.

“She [Warner] is very knowledgeable and I’m going to be able to apply everything that I learn here to my own work with horses.” Elliott said.

Aspiring horse breeder and veterinarian, Janet Peña is taking five equine classes in her third semester at Pierce College. She wants to operate a local, low-cost veterinary service when she completes her education.

“I hope to transfer to Cal Poly or UC Davis.” Peña said. When asked what she likes best, “Riding with the horses and contact.”


For more information about the Horse Science program at Pierce College, please visit their website: