By FFA New Horizons

When Imperial, Neb., FFA member Jared Knobbe started a horseshoeing business as a supervised agricultural experience program (SAE) during his sophomore year of high school, he had no idea that skill would eventually put him through college. Now a senior at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Jared continues to operate his horseshoeing business, JK Horseshoeing Services, and will graduate debt-free in December 2015.

“One of my goals was to graduate college debt-free, and with the help of scholarships and the money I earn from horseshoeing, I will graduate one semester early with no debt,” Jared says.

A Shoe-In For The Job

The son of a ranch and feed yard manager, Knobbe joined FFA his freshman year at Chase County High School. He owned horses and trained colts that he showed in 4-H. An older cousin from West Point, Neb., introduced him to horseshoeing.

“My cousin needed help with his horseshoeing business, so I spent several summers with him learning the trade. That was the initial spark for me,” Knobbe says. “Later, I bought my own tools so I could shoe my own horses. My FFA advisor suggested I do it for my SAE.”

After graduating high school in 2012, Jared attended the Texas Horseshoeing School, a 6-week program where his cousin learned the trade. He paid for the program in part with a scholarship he was awarded by the Imperial Community Foundation Fund, an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation.

“Jared already knew how to horseshoe, but he needed certification for clients who didn’t already know him,” says Lori Pankonin, a member of the Imperial Community Foundation and co-publisher of the Imperial Republican newspaper. “He was a great fit for the scholarship. He was awarded $750 to apply to his Texas Horseshoeing School training, and he ended up being a leader in the class and helping the instructor teach other students.”

Equine Entrepreneur

Word of Knobbe’s talent spread around the Imperial area, and he soon developed a client base. Today, he shoes horses for between 40 and 50 clients, one of which is a feed yard with 18 horses.

“It’s been a great thing to be able to do while I’m in college, because I can work Friday through Sunday. My hours are flexible,” he says. “It keeps me active and busy, so I don’t have time to procrastinate. Another positive is that I’ve been able to build relationships with my clients, and I enjoy having their friendship.”

Knobbe says FFA is another reason for his success.

“The people I’ve met and the opportunities I’ve had through FFA gave me the skills I needed to learn to write scholarship applications for college, and my FFA experiences helped me win those scholarships,” he says. “FFA is the reason why I’m here today.”

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Equine Entrepre