International equine exchange program takes student to prestigious program in Europe


Equine entrepreneurship major Madeline Anderson ’19 is living her dream through the School of Equine Studies’ international exchange program – with no hesitation. From Newark, Ohio, one of Lake Erie College’s most diversely involved students has spent her fall semester in Gloucestershire, England at the toast of European equine academe, Hartpury College.

“For me, studying abroad at another equine-specialized school perfectly combines my lifelong passion for horses, my undying wanderlust and love for travel, as well as my collegiate career work,” she said.

The largest and most prestigious equine program in the world, Hartpury offers unparalleled facilities, including the Equine Therapy Centre. Here, Anderson met a legendary dressage competitor, double world champion and two-time concurrent gold medalist in the London and Rio summer Olympics – Valegro. In his retirement, the famous gelding turns up often to work with some unusual equipment, such as a treadmill and Aquafit tub for horses.

“I get to work hands-on with some pretty incredible horses,” Anderson said. “At Hartpury College, I have had the opportunity to attend great events, such as the Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials – not to mention the school hosts large horse shows/events at its facilities every weekend.”

Aside from training one-on-one with a personal fitness trainer specifically for equestrian riders, she takes lessons with Hartpury’s equestrian club. The Hartpury Polo Club is another perk of the exchange program.

“It has been an absolute blast to play polo over here in England,” said Anderson, who competes on the IHSA Hunt Seat team at LEC.

Back in the states, she has complemented her studies with a number of equine-related jobs, including horse camp counseling, equine caretaking and stable assistance. Now in her junior year, Anderson is swept up in an entirely new academic system, which she called “invigorating.”

“University work here is primarily based on independent study and research, and typically your entire grade for the semester is solely dependent on how well you do on the final assessment,” she said. “I also know that I will return to finish my studies at Lake Erie with a whole new invaluable set of knowledge and skills that I would not have otherwise gained. Studying abroad has truly been one of the best experiences of my life thus far.”

She personalized her education in the LEC Arts, Cultures and Humanities Learning Community and as a frequent contributor to the College’s community on The Odyssey, an online writing collective for young millennials. She also participates in LEC’s student volunteer group Students Making a Difference (SMAD).

“I have taken the opportunity to travel, and thus far have visited many parts of England, Wales, Ireland, Paris, and Rome. Experiencing all that Hartpury has to offer, as well as taking the time to travel Europe as much as I can, is truly what has made this time abroad so monumental for me.”

To learn more about LEC’s study abroad opportunities for all students, visit

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