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A future in Equine Studies
By Amber Gragert
“Wherever man has left his footprints in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization, we find the hoof print of a horse beside it.” -John Trotwood Moore
Horses have been domesticated since 4000BC and have ever since been figures of nobility, beauty, hard work, speed and strength. Studying as an equine major means you will work intimately with one of God's noblest creatures. You will study horse anatomy, how to properly exercise them, train them, house and groom them. You will also learn to care for a variety of health concerns and all about horse equine nutrition and breeding. Horse riding for both sport and show will also be studied. You will gain an understanding of just how intelligent and sensitive they are as you study and work alongside them. Additionally, you could delve into a specific concentration like equine business, management or communications within the industry, equine science or riding instruction.
Coursework will include classes covering topics such as: anatomy and physiology of domestic animals, farm and stable management fundamentals, equine behavior, equine disease management, equine nutrition, training methods and small business management to name a few.
Career examples: Breeder, Barn Manager, Coach, Horse Show, Trainer, Judge or Manager, Horse Therapy Instructor, Equine Scientist, Equine Manager, Equine Veterinarian, Riding Instructor
Equine studies is very specific to the equine industry, so job opportunities are relatively contained within the equestrian field. Equine therapy, for instance, is the occupation where a person with a passion for horses can pair it with the helping and healing of others. There is a whole facet of equine studies dedicated to horses helping people through the psychology involved in activities like riding, brushing and speaking with the animal. You could work hand in hoof with your favorite animal to assist someone with autism, a behavior disorder, or even cerebral palsy to find their balance and tranquility through equine assisted therapy. This is just one example of how to apply your equine studies major in a career setting.
“The horse. Here is nobility without conceit, friendship without envy, beauty without vanity. A willing servant, yet never a slave.” -Ronald Duncan
Two year programs of study are also a great jumping off point into other areas of study focus and careers. Equine studies piques the interest in some student's passion for animals and science and causes them to pursue other areas of study like animal science, biology, conservation biology, forestry, environmental studies, pre-veterinary studies or wildlife management, which all open doors to other employment opportunities.
One of those might be farm and/or ranch management. Farming is likely the oldest human occupation, but what was once a family 'getting by,' has become an industry that depends on a team of people operating and managing farms and ranches consisting of hundreds of animals. This requires a ranch manager, assistant manager, business manager - so the ranch turns a profit, a veterinarian and equine nutritionist and so forth. Depending on how large the operation is, you may be required to have a degree in equine or animal science; whereas, others may only require a two-year degree plus experience. A ranch is not just a property with a few horses on it, it is a business and, just like any other business, it requires insurance, bookkeeping, state regulations and licensure etcetera. These are all careers open to you as you pursue your equine studies degree.