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Foreign-exchange student learns the ropes at local Gypsy Vanner horse farm

Hands-on study - Lauren Daussion of the Lycée D’Enseignement Agricole Privé Val de Sarthe, an agricultural school in the Loire region in France, is working towards her agriculture science degree with an internship at Wellington County Gypsy Vanner Horse Farm in Ariss.  submitted photo

Foreign-exchange student learns the ropes at local Gypsy Vanner horse farm

ARISS - For two months this summer, Kathy and Dennis Mutti of Wellington County Gypsy Vanner Horses are hosting an exchange college student from France as part of her internship program.  

Lauren Daussion, 18, from Lycée D’Enseignement Agricole Privé (LEAP) Val de Sarthe, an agricultural school in the Loire region, is working on the Muttis’ farm as part of her educational component, which requires a mandatory work internship to develop abilities in foreign languages.  

A student successfully completing the college program receives the diploma of ‘Brevet de Technicien Superior’ (BTS) in agricultural science or animal production.     

At the end of their studies, the students find employment in advising, milk control, technical services, animal feeding, selection, genetics, sales in cooperatives, rural development, banking and insurance, or start their own enterprise or become farmers.

“In the course of my studies, I must complete an internship abroad,” said Daussion. “Canada is a country that has always interested me, but I never had the occasion to go.  With my course specialization in equine animal production, the opportunity at Wellington County Gypsy Vanner Horses, a small breeding and training stable, was very appealing.

“I wanted to discover the methods of stable management and horse breeding in Canada”

Having 10 years’ riding experience combined with her equine-focused studies, Daussion is proving to be a valuable part of the Mutti’s team this summer, not only taking on the bulk of the daily chores, but also working on halter training and ground manners of the young horses.        

While feeding horses, mucking stalls and grooming may seem like skills that would be universal, equine management practices vary greatly even within a region and certainly vary with the breed of horse and its job.  

The particularly hot, humid and wet conditions of this summer are especially hard on the Gypsy Vanner Horses, with their long thick manes and profuse hair.

Most work with them must be done in the early mornings and late evenings to avoid the worst heat and the occasional swim with them in the pond gives them a refreshing break during the day.  

During her stay in Canada, the Muttis have laid out an itinerary to help Daussion experience as many different equine activities as possible.   

She’s already volunteered at a local horse camp for a day, and attended harness racing and a rodeo. Still on the agenda are visits to the Wellington County Plowing Match and several local horse shows.  

“I am very happy to have the opportunity for this exchange, without which I could not have discovered the beautiful country of Canada and the Gypsy Vanner horse breed,” Daussion said.

July 26, 2013


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