It often seems that equestrians and those interested in the equine industry are steered away from majoring or minoring in some kind of equine degree. It can often be seen as ‘limiting’ or ‘too narrow’ of a focus. Those not privy to the industry might think that the only thing to do with an equine degree is to become a barn owner or ride professionally.
However, at Otterbein University (located in Westerville, Ohio), students are encouraged to pursue their equine-related dreams with several equine majors and minors, and a strong equestrian team. The Equine Department at Otterbein has graduated a multitude of students who have gone on to amazing and unique careers in the equine industry, proving the multifaceted nature of the industry, and how versatile an equine-related degree can be.
In this series, I will be catching up with a variety of Otterbein alumna and sharing the careers that they have found within the equine industry.
Lindsay Paulsen is a 2014 graduate of Otterbein University, where she double majored in Journalism and Equine Studies.
Today, she is the Managing Editor at Dressage Today magazine. She describes her job as, “getting to read, write, live and breathe dressage every day.”
Having dreamed about a career like this since she was a kid, Paulsen stated, “Although I have found that there are many paths to this particular career, attending Otterbein and being involved in the equine program was, I think, the most direct route to this job.”
Attending Otterbein allowed Paulsen to pursue a double major in equine studies as well as journalism, and the riding program allowed her to ride with respected professionals while she completed her degree. During her time at Otterbein, Paulsen was a valued member of the equestrian team, and an integral part of the University’s print publication, the Tan and Cardinal magazine.
Through both of her programs, Paulsen found a balance for her passion in the equine and journalism industries. “While Otterbein’s journalism program offered me the opportunity to get first-hand, intensive experience with story crafting and newspaper and magazine production”, explained Paulsen, “the equine program was pivotal in keeping me immersed in the equestrian community and allowing me to surround myself with knowledgeable equine professionals. Even in my career now, I still really depend on the connections I’ve made with my beloved Otterbein trainers and professors.”
But how do you get involved in this kind of industry? Paulsen found her ‘in’ through a series of internships.
“I first got connected with Dressage Today when their sister website, EquiSearch.com contacted a professor at Otterbein asking if a student was available to write an online story about the upcoming Tournament of Champions Show we were hosting” said Paulsen. “Since I was the token journalist and photographer of the team at the time, I think my name was the first that came up. That story eventually led to an internship with Dressage Today and later an internship with sister magazine Practical Horseman, and then eventually my full-time position with Dressage Today.”
The skills that Paulsen learned from her undergraduate career at Otterbein, in addition to the experiences she had during her internships, have transferred over to her job with Dressage Today. “The bulk of my job involves writing and editing stories that go in our monthly magazine, as well as posting articles to our website and keeping all of our social media platforms current” stated Paulsen.
Paulsen’s job isn’t limited to writing stories behind a desk all day; she shared with me some of the amazing opportunities that she has experienced since beginning work full-time for Dressage Today. She has taken “…countless trips to Wellington and reporting on the Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals in Las Vegas in 2015. In October of this year, I will be spending a month in Germany working remotely and immersing myself in German dressage culture! What could possibly be better? In many ways, it’s like every serious horse-person’s dream come true!” exclaimed Paulsen.
She has also been able to meet some of her idols through her job. Paulsen recalled, “One of my most memorable experiences with Dressage Today has been getting the chance to write a story with my childhood dressage hero, Lisa Wilcox. Having my name next to hers in an article was definitely a highlight of my career.”
“Through the magazine, I’ve also had the privilege of meeting and interviewing World No. 1 dressage rider, Charlotte Dujardin, and I can vouch for the fact that she is every bit as lovely as one might expect!” Paulsen shared. “Those charming British accents get me every time, dang it” she joked.
Paulsen’s undergraduate studies put her on the fast-track to her ideal equine career. “I smile when I think about how I arrived at this place so much faster than I ever thought I would. I expected to spend years working towards this goal of becoming an editor at a national equestrian magazine, but thanks to the skills I learned at Otterbein and the relationships I was able to develop during my time there, this distant dream I had turned out to be right there waiting for me all along.”
Many thanks to Lindsay for providing photos and sharing her story with me!
If you would like to learn more about Otterbein’s Equine Department and Equestrian Teams, click here