How about one of these for a holiday gift?
A meet and greet with the one and only Zenyatta. A pair of all-stage VIP passes to the New Orleans Jazz Fest. A Darley America Dream Day tour. A VIP meet and greet with TV host Glenn Beck. A 2014 Mardi Gras Package. A bluegrass horse farm getaway with a private tour of Claiborne Farm.
These are just a few of the items available in an eBay auction that starts Sunday, and by bidding, you'll help high school students who could be the future leaders of the horse industry.
The auction benefits the new Lexington Catholic Equine Academy, a four-year high school program designed as a stepping stone to college for students hoping to launch an equine career. This fall, 18 freshmen entered the program's first class, a course on equine science taught by volunteer instructor Shannon White, the general manager of Fares Farms.
“It just gives them the foundation and the vernacular, primarily anatomy and physiology,” said White.
White will teach another science course next semester. As sophomores, juniors, and seniors, students will study more advanced topics, including reproduction, animal behavior, diseases, as well as equine business and marketing.
“We'll help them learn how to make good business decisions, giving them a bed of fundamentals,” White said. “They'll learn how to read a profit and loss statement, and a balance sheet, and ask whether this is a good business model, a sustainable one.”
But the Equine Academy goes well beyond the classroom, said the program's director Sarah Coleman.
“We try to tie in what Shannon is lecturing about in class,” Coleman said. “For example, when she was teaching the evolution of the horse, we took students to the International Museum of the Horse at Kentucky Horse Park.”
Students have also already visited the Keeneland Sale, the Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, the Red Mile, the Kentucky Horse Shoeing School, and the Alltech National Horse Show, among other places (see photo box above).
In the future, there will be service projects, mentoring opportunities and hands-on learning experiences, like following a mare through her pregnancy and ride-alongs with veterinarians.
“We're also planning some very practical things, like mock interviews for juniors and seniors, making them aware of job opportunities,” Coleman said. “It's fun to open their eyes to all the different careers out there. For every job type, there's an applicable job in the equine world.”
The Equine Academy costs students $1,000 a year, but that doesn't cover all of the programming expenses, and that's where the eBay auction comes in. The auction will begin at 8 p.m. Sunday night and run until 8 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16. The auction will be live at: http://myworld.ebay.com/lchsequine.
“We called upon our board, and they were extremely generous in getting us these opportunities,” said Coleman. “We're so tickled pink that our board members came through with items that are truly priceless.”
A brief list of the items up for auction:
- Meet and greet with 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta
- A Darley America Dream Day tour & Keeneland racing experience
- VIP meet and greet with Glenn Beck at a taping of his program
- Create your own VIP tour at Three Chimneys Farm
- 2014 Mardi Gras Package, ride in the Thoth parade and dinner
- Collectible, autographed guitar from the 46th Country Music Association awards
- Bluegrass horse farm getaway with a private tour of Claiborne Farm
- VIP Day at Keeneland Spring Meet 2013 with River Mountain Farm B&B
- Opening weekend at Saratoga Racecourse with two nights hotel & dinner
- US Hunter Jumper saddle pad & hat signed by Olympic, PanAm and Nations Cup riders
- Two All-Stage Ultimate VIP passes to the New Orleans Jazz Fest
- Halter worn by Storm Cat, with COA, sire of 158 stakes winners
- Night racing & VIP paddock tour at Churchill Downs – Box for 6
- Halter worn by 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace with COA
Coleman said the long-range plan for the Lexington Catholic Equine Academy is to attract students from outside Central Kentucky and to offer tuition assistance.
“There are just so many opportunities here that are not available anywhere else,” Coleman said.
The Equine Academy also hopes to recruit area professionals to help teach courses in addition to White, who is a volunteer.
“Our goal is that students will have a knowledge base to make good decisions, whether they become vets, owners or just casual racing fans.”
Thanks to the generosity of Three Chimneys Farm, the sponsor of Good News Friday, a donation of $100 will be made in support of the Lexington Catholic Equine Academy. Three Chimneys will be donating $100 each and every week we bring you a story of people or organizations making a positive difference in our world.
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