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Equine Studies

The Breakdown

Horses are majestic creatures. With their graceful strides, their strength and their speed, it’s easy to be taken with these regal animals. If you have a passion for all things equestrian and feel most comfortable when you’re in a saddle, perhaps equine studies is the academic path you should consider.

Should you pursue this major, you’ll receive an extremely thorough education in all topics equine related. Certainly, you will learn all about the health and anatomy of a horse, studying everything from physiology to nutrition and combating lameness. Additionally, depending on the program, you might choose a concentration such as riding instruction and training, equine science, equine business management or communications (as they relate to the equine industry). You can also expect your classroom studies will be coupled with a good deal of practical application and hands-on work. Indeed, be prepared to log a number of hours at the barn as you’ll likely be required to help care for, train and ride horses.

Equine studies is not for the indolent or the faint of heart. Indeed, to succeed in this major (and professionally) you’ll need a strong work ethic coupled with physical stamina and prowess. It also helps to be both sensitive and intuitive (with people and animals). Further, strong communication skills will be paramount. Lastly, we recommend knowing how to handle a riding crop.

Nuts and Bolts

As an equine studies major, you’re certain to cover such courses as: Fundamentals of Farm and Stable Management, Anatomy and Physiology of Domestic Animals, Basic Training Methods, Equine Nutrition, Equine Disease Management, Principles of Riding Instruction, Ethics in Veterinary Medicine, Small Business Management, Equitation, Stud Farm Management, Equine Behavior, Equine Biomechanics and Conformation, and Equine Pathology and Diseases.

Decisions, Decisions

With their unbridled enthusiasm for animals and their interest in science and the outdoors, equine studies majors might also consider studying biology, zoology, environmental science, pre-veterinary studies, chemistry, conservation biology, wildlife management, biochemistry, animal science, forestry and outdoor education.

What's Next

As far as college majors go, equine studies is fairly targeted and specific. Therefore, as you can imagine, the vast majority of graduates pursue work within the equestrian industry. Of course, even within the field career opportunities are varied. For example, equine studies majors can become breeders, barn managers or horse trainers. Others might find positions as riding instructors for youth programs and summer camps. Employment in horse show training, judging and management is another popular route. Additionally, therapeutic riding is a growing aspect of the equestrian industry and graduates can certainly become therapy instructors. Finally, a handful of graduates often decide to pursue a graduate degree in veterinary medicine. With these myriad possibilities, you can be assured your equine studies degree is indeed marketable.


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Don Munce