A skilled rider and trainer, Christy Lynn Hart herself sees teaching as her specialty. "I get lots of practice teaching since I am both a college professor teaching equestrian studies and a dressage instructor teaching clients. I am also good at training horses that aren't necessarily dressage types, but are presentable lower-level horses," she said.
Christy lists as the biggest turning point in my career her appointment as the head of Equine Services at Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tennessee. "I'm an adjunct professor at the college teaching equestrian studies. The college had an equine science program before, but it lost funding and the program ended. All we had to work with was a dilapidated barn, barb wire fencing, and an arena that had been used for tractor pulls.
My good friend and business partner came to me with the idea of renovating the college's horse barn and grounds in order to turn into our own boarding and training stable. When she and her husband approached the college about the idea, they were ecstatic."
By fall 2007, Hiwassee Equestrian Center was up and running. The completely renovated facility features a state-of-the art barn, four-board fencing and a full-size dressage arena with mirrors. "My position at the college allows me to run my own business, with my partner, out of the equestrian center. As the president of the college says, 'it's a creative partnership.'"
Christy has found it extremely rewarding taking charge of building an equine science program at Hiwassee College. "Our program offers two tracts of study for students enrolled in equine science. One tract is for students interested in pursuing veterinary medicine and the other tract is for students who are interested in pursuing a job in the equine industry as a trainer, barn manager, etc."
With Christy in charge, it's no surprise that dressage is the focus of Hiwassee's equestrian studies program. Students learn correct dressage basics and how they apply to the training of the horse. In addition, students in the program learn about farrier work, equine dentistry, veterinary care and even get lessons in cleaning stalls.