Fri, June 21, 2024

Multimillion-dollar CSRA business gets help from local college and foundation

The inventory value of horses and their equipment in Aiken County is $68 million. The horse business includes stabling, saddles and bridles, feed, workout rings, riding apparel, and farrier fees, not to mention the visitors who spend money attending polo and steeplechase events.

This fall, Aiken Technical College partnered with the Aiken Horse Park Foundation to create a new equine technician course through the College’s Office of Continuing Education. The inaugural cohort of students were recognized during a completion ceremony yesterday at Great Oaks Equine Assisted Programs location, 1123 Edgefield Highway in Aiken.

The cohort began classes in September. During the course, students learned about handling horses safely and confidently, general barn management and cleaning, grooming techniques, hoof picking and cleaning, equine nutrition, and how to perform basic equine first aid.

The course was created to address the need to increase the number of skilled professionals entering the region’s equine industry.

Aiken is known as the “Horse Capital of the South” in much part due to New York financier, William C. Whitney, who brought polo to the city in the late nineteenth century. Whitney helped establish the Aiken Winter Colony for the Northern elite who traveled south to play polo and buy and sell thoroughbreds.

Augusta has golf. Aiken has horses. Both are a win for the CSRA economy. Enrollment is open now for the next equine technician course cohort, scheduled to begin February 13, 2024. For more information or to enroll, call (803) 508-7342 or email

Editor’s Note:
Mitzi Oxford is a veteran broadcaster and features writer who also worked at the same television station in Columbus, Georgia as Augusta’s Brad Means! If you have a South Carolina story idea for Mitzi, please email her at

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