William Woods University senior Kathleen Sullivan is back at WWU after spending spring semester in Ireland, where she continued her study of equestrian science at the University of Limerick, in Limerick City.
“They have a very big program, pretty much identical to the curriculum here at William Woods, though they run it a little differently,” said Sullivan.
Just like at WWU, she took two riding classes a week, only at the University of Limerick the program was aimed more at eventing or cross country, so she was riding huntseat and dressage, with two hours of flatwork and two hours of jumping in the field a week.
She also studied in the classroom, and the classes she took were the equivalents of taking veterinary medicine and reproduction, equine nutrition and equine entrepreneurship at WWU.
“I didn’t lose any credit going, everything transferred back directly,” Sullivan explained.
Sullivan lived in an apartment complex that was part of campus housing.
“They have different ‘villages,’ which are pretty much groupings of apartments. I lived with four Irish boys and a German girl in a six-bedroom apartment, with the same kitchen and living room,” explained Sullivan.
The daughter of John and Kathleen Sullivan of Whitesboro, N.Y., she became interested in going to Ireland because that is where her grandparents came from.
Her 26-year-old sister, Siobhain, is horse trainer at Rosehill Farm in Long Island, N.Y., and she joined Sullivan in Ireland for two months.
It was her sister’s influence that originally got Kathleen into riding. Siobhain began riding lessons when Kathleen was only 4.
“My mother said I couldn’t start taking lessons until I was 5,” Sullivan reminisces.
She waited until she was 5, and has never looked back. She has been riding Saddleseat consistently ever since, although she takes any opportunity she can to learn about other seats, such as her experience with hunter/jumpers in Ireland.
Sullivan would recommend the study abroad program to anyone.
“It is absolutely the experience of a lifetime, especially for the equestrian science majors. Financially it is not that much more than William Woods and it is well worth the extra $1,000 or $2,000 in tuition,” she said.
“There are programs all over like this, not just at University of Limerick and not just in Ireland. There are programs for everyone, everywhere. I just found the one that was right for me and the equestrian program.”
CUTLINE: William Woods University student Kathleen Sullivan sits on the rocks in the Burren, a rocky plateau in western Ireland.