The promise of equine entrepreneurship alumna Sarah Dwyer ’18


Sarah riding horseAre all successful entrepreneurs ruthless, self-motivated competitors out to win at any cost?

Generally not, no. Disciplined to the core, those who win out invest in serving genuine needs. They execute details like no other, with eyes on every possibility.

They also fetch opportunity, as does our newly minted alumna Sarah Dwyer, an honors scholar who graduated summa cum laude in May of 2018.

Having ridden horses since the age of four, Dwyer is now a registered therapeutic riding instructor certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH), International. In 2017, she joined Kirtland, Ohio’s Red Oak Camp as riding director, and she is their newest director of equestrian programs.

Early on, Dwyer’s potential for riding, showing and teaching lessons emerged at a pony camp in the Metro-Detroit area, near her hometown of Livonia, Michigan.

At LEC, she double-majored in equine entrepreneurship and business administration while concentrating in equine therapeutic horsemanship. She served as an assiduous co-captain of the IHSA hunt seat team for two years and the team’s public relations manager for one year.

In 2016, she was named Emerging Jumper individual champion at the Hunter/Jumper Prix de Villes. She has since competed at IHSA Zones and the World Equestrian Center Winter Classic.

Sarah speakingNot simply accruing trophies, she seized her first job learning the ropes of an equine startup. Undertaking the responsibilities of program developer, operations manager, and horse care manager at Keystone Riding Center (formerly Sage's Stables Therapies) pushed her to earn her PATH, Intl. certification with haste.

“I have been incredibly lucky to have made great connections while at school with the help of some very dedicated professors who helped me find the right people and places,” she said. “Everywhere I worked, I worked with and for incredible people who trusted me to take on responsibility and let me learn a lot along the way.”

That’s how Dwyer interned as an assistant summer camp director and instructor-in-training at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, a popular site for LEC students to earn teaching hours towards their PATH, Intl. instructor certification.

Sarah on stage with Dr. HessLEC adjunct faculty member Teresa Morris serves as program director of the non-profit, which provides therapy to individuals of all ages with various physical, mental, behavioral and emotional challenges.

“After starting to take classes with Teresa and helping out with community students who came to our class for their weekly lesson, I became committed to getting involved in therapeutic riding. Watching the way that this experience can change the lives of the therapeutic riding students inspired me,” Dwyer said.

Lessons planned and approved, arenas safely set and riders fitted for helmets, she led supervised evening lessons at Fieldstone.

“In the lessons that I taught, I worked mainly with children who have Autism and also a few older individuals with memory challenges, although I was also able to experience teaching a wide range of students who were there for other reasons and seeking different therapeutic results,” said Dwyer.

On occasion, she assisted instructors by leading horses or sidewalking – helping riders to maintain their balance and follow instructions.

Since 2016, her certification has given Dwyer a leg up in more ways than one. At Honors Convocation on May 4, Dr. Pamela Hess, dean of the School of Equine Studies, bestowed upon her the Academic Excellence Award for the School Equine Studies.

“It is not unusual to have a student excel and stand out among peers. But every once in a while, an outstanding student commands special interest,” Dr. Hess said. “Through all of Sarah’s hard work, she has always remained an admired leader among her peers, an excellent student with very high grades, an excellent role model as an accomplished equestrian and a great friend to her classmates.”

Dr. Hess went on to note Dwyer’s hard work setting jumps for riding clinics, shining her teammates’ boots at IHSA shows and body clipping many extra horses in spare moments.

For the next two years, Dwyer will work as a graduate assistant in the School of Equine Studies and serve as assistant coach of the Lake Erie College Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) hunt seat team. She will join the Parker Master of Business Administration program in fall of 2018.

We’re happy to have her back on the grind, developing her entrepreneurial aptitudes.

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