If you have a passion for horses, you know that these intelligent and sensitive animals need to be trained, exercised, housed, and groomed.
As an equestrian or equine studies major, you will learn how to meet those needs. You'll learn about everything from breeding beautiful and fast horses to taking care of health concerns such as lameness and arthritis. You might even learn how to teach riding or dressage.
Equestrian studies focuses on horses and horseback riding. Students learn about the care and feeding, breeding, and anatomy of horses; horseback riding and horse training; and running horse-related businesses, such as riding schools, stables, and stud farms.
“I look at every student and every horse similarly. Each is an individual that needs support and the freedom of self-expression in order to grow and realize his or her full potential.”H. Jerry Schurink, Director of Equine Studies and IHSA Team Coach, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Are You Ready To...?
- Work outdoors, even very early in the morning
- Artificially inseminate a mare
- Hire (and even fire) employees
- Massage tense muscles on an animal that weighs close to a ton
- Decide if a saddle is fitting a horse correctly
It Helps To Be...
Very responsible with a strong work ethic, organized, and able to work with a wide range of people. It also helps to be interested in sports and willing to do hard physical work.
- Does the department have an internship program so you can gain hands-on experience?
- Does the college have on-campus horses, well-equipped stables, and arenas?
- Does the department offer courses in your area of interest, whether riding or business or science?
- Will the program help you build a broad base of knowledge and skills?
- Does the college have active extracurricular programs, such as a polo or equestrian team?
Did You Know?
Many college programs work with local businesses to offer internships, ranging from assistant barn manager to riding instructor, and camp instructor to horse breeding technician.
You'll probably study equine nutrition your first year, which makes sense, since feeding horses correctly lies at the heart of any horse-related activity. In equine nutrition, you'll learn about the ingredients in feed, the digestive anatomy of the horse, and what a horse needs to eat as it gets older. In laboratory sessions, you may make hands-on identifications of different feeds and judge their quality.