Just Do You: Laith Shannon

March 9, 2011 – Fort Valley State University’s rich tradition, friendly atmosphere, and signature academic programs attract students from across the United States and abroad. For animal-lovers like Laith Shannon FVSU is ideal. The sophomore criminal justice student is a member of FVSU’s Equine program. In 2010, the presidential scholar purchased a horse named “Kain” which is boarded in the university’s stable. In this “Just Do You” segment, Shannon tells FVSU’s public relations specialist, Tauheedah Asad, what drew him to FVSU and how he balances being a presidential scholar and horse-owner.

You’re a military kid from Washington D.C.; but, you’ve traveled around the country, living in places like California and Alaska. How did you find Fort Valley State University?
I know an alumnus of the institution who is a minister at my church back in Virginia. He convinced me to visit Fort Valley State. He told me all about the school and eventually I was awarded a presidential scholarship that pays my room and board for four years.

How do you like Fort Valley State University?
When I first got here it was a bit of a culture shock because it’s a long way from Virginia and D.C. but it quickly started to grow on me, with the student life and everything. Sometimes a slower pace is a good thing.

What is your day-to-day life like as a Presidential Scholar?
As a part of the scholarship program, we volunteer at campus events such as the “Wheels in the Valley Car Show” and we have to maintain a 3.3 GPA each semester. Presidential Scholars are really involved with the university.

What are your future goals once you graduate?
I plan on going into the military as a commissioned officer, but I’m not exactly sure what I want to do yet.

Shannon takes us on a short trip to the FVSU stables to meet his beloved horse Kainand shares how he became interested in horses and what life is like as a horse owner:

What has owning a horse taught you about life?
It’s definitely taught me to be responsible. It’s taught me that there’s a lot more outside of myself and that the world doesn’t revolve around me.

What does the daily care consist of?
The daily care consists of coming out and feeding him, making sure he has water, and grooming him. As far as vet care, I do most of that myself. Making sure his shots are up to date and that he has a wormer every 3-6 months. He has to have his hooves clipped every six months and I have my friend come out and do that. Also, sometimes horses grind their teeth and it will start bothering them, in that case you have to get their teeth floated, which is grinding them down to make sure they’re flat. Other than that, I just ride him.

How much time do you spend with the horse?
I usually spend about three hours every day. Feeding and grooming takes about an hour or so and then, I usually ride for about an hour or two. Sometimes my friends come down and ride with me.

So you spend a lot of time with Kain, do you talk to him?
(laughs) I mean I built a relationship with him, but I’m not crazy, just walking around here talking to my horse. He’s not like my therapist or anything. He’s like a big dog. But I don’t kiss him on the mouth or anything like that.

FVSU’s Equestrian Club meets the 2nd Friday of every month. For more information about riding classes or FVSU’s Equine Program contact Sara Dzimianski at 478-827-3090.
Tauheedah Shukriyyah Asad
Public Relations Specialist
Fort Valley State University
Office of Marketing and Communications
478.827.3110/ asadt@fvsu.edu <asadt@fvsu.edu>