University of Findlay Graduate James Novak ’20

BY Jack Barger ’01


James Novak, a University of Findlay Equestrian Studies major who graduated in May has a great love for horses and “the amazing experiences” University of Findlay has given him. Novak, who said that, after graduation, he’ll work hard and do whatever it takes to be the best trainer out there, has some points of consideration for the students who are considering or already enrolled at UF:


Novak said that he was often up every day at 4:30 a.m. for a 5 a.m. ride with his instructor, Meri Marsh, before heading to a 7 a.m. class.


“I had originally gone to a vocational school to learn automotive, but after about a year I learned that my heart wasn’t in working on cars,” Novak said. He said he found out about Findlay through some former trainers after telling one of them he wanted to train horses for a living. Novak asked a friend who was going to UF about how the program was set up. “She told me how it’s unlike any other school for horse training, and after that, it was all just applying for the University and hoping I would get in.”


Novak said that what makes UF so special is the community. “Especially at the western farm, we all have healthy competition between us and encourage each other,” he explained. “The students work together to further grasp what instructors teach them.” Anywhere he goes within the horse industry he finds that people either attended Findlay or know of it, which, Novak has found, leads to new friends and great connections all over the world.


After a year of pushing his comfort zone and practicing every chance he got, Novak won the senior reining while he was only a junior.


“I’m leaving my future open to great possibilities,” said Novak. In the nearest future, he will be working as a UF assistant trainer with aspirations to take over as head trainer. “This is an almost unbelievable opportunity that I am very grateful for. It would allow me to stay at the top tier of reining and not have to restart on my own later with lower quality horses,” he explained further. “Although, whatever happens, my dream is to be the best reining trainer out there.”