In what may have been a first for UA Little Rock, spring graduate and equestrian Bethann Coldiron brought her two horses to campus to have graduation photos taken on May 21.
The equine/graduation photo shoot was quite an unusual sight for UA Little Rock Police Chief Regina Wade-Carter, who doesn’t recall this ever happening before in her nearly 25 years at the university but said she “was super excited to grant the request.”
“I don’t know how many people bring their horses to campus, but it is a tradition for equestrians to have photos taken with their horses when they graduate from college,” Coldiron explained. “They are such a big part of our lives, and they are members of the family. I even bought my horses little graduation caps to wear.”
Coldiron is the proud owner of Louis, a seven-year-old Palomino, and Monty, an eight-year-old Appaloosa. Coldiron, who has been riding horses since age 5, is an accomplished equestrian who regularly competes in ranch pleasure, ranch trail, and dressage events.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications from Tarleton State University, Coldiron worked as an editor of the Burleson Star Newspaper. She also put her equine knowledge to good use as editor of Cutting Horse Chatter Magazine.
After moving to Arkansas with her husband, who is a captain in the U.S. Air Force, Coldiron decided to pursue a new career in social work.
“Instead of writing about people who are helping others, I wanted to be the person who would help people,” Coldiron said. “I wanted a career where I was going to be able to help someone in need and give them the support that they need during a time of crisis.”
While earning her Master of Social Work degree at UA Little Rock, Coldiron gained invaluable experience working as an intern with The Van, a homeless outreach organization, as well as the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System.
With her husband serving in the military, Coldiron found that working at the VA is a natural fit for her. Now that she’s graduated, she will continue working at the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System in a post-graduate fellowship program for social workers, occupational therapists, and psychologists.
In the future, Coldiron hopes to put her social work and equine skills to use by starting a nonprofit organization dedicated to equine therapy.