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Colleges for Equine Studies and Courses

If you want to turn your passion for horses and the equestrian lifestyle into a lifelong career, consider pursuing an equine studies major in college. Equine colleges and schools prepare students to train, exercise and groom different breeds of horses, and students have the chance to attend horseback riding courses led by professional equestrian instructors. Choosing the right equine schools for your goals is an important step when preparing for a career in this field, and you will have the chance to participate in both hands-on learning sessions and in-classroom instruction as you complete your studies requirements.

Programs Available at Equine School

Equine colleges offer several types of courses and workshops as part of their equestrian studies programs. You will learn everything from horseback riding skills, the anatomy of horses, to business skills so that you can run your own riding school or stable. Most four-year equine studies programs include courses in the following core areas:

  • Dressage, Jumping and Western Riding Technique
  • Farrier
  • Equine Massage
  • Breeding
  • Horse Health
  • Training and Teaching
  • Business Management
  • Animal Science or Horse Science

Each of these equine school programs vary in length from three months to up to three years, depending on the major and your career goals.

Attending Equine Colleges

Some of the larger equine colleges around the country have their own private, on-site equestrian center with horse stables, a cross-country course, riding trails and an indoor arena. Attending these equine schools gives you a chance to complete your horseback riding requirements in a supervised setting, and receive professional training from experienced instructors.

Part of your equine studies learning track also includes classroom instruction. Classroom courses may include lessons in horse health and anatomy, animal science, and basic business management.

Typical courses available at the equine school, include:

  • Equine Physiology
  • Equine Anatomy
  • Equine Health Management
  • Equine Breed Types
  • Selecting Equine Breeds
  • Equine Nutrition
  • Horseback Riding (Equitation)
  • Stud Farm Management
  • Stable Management

Many students already have an educational background in animal sciences, farm and ranch management, preveterinary studies, zoology and veterinary technology.

Careers After Equine School

After you have successfully completed your major requirements, you can pursue several career paths at a ranch, horse breeding farm, stable, racetrack or even at a veterinarian's office. Some of the most common career paths after equine school, include:

  • Horse Trainer
  • Horse Jockey
  • Stablehand or Horse Groomer
  • Barn Foreman
  • Bloodstock Agent
  • Blacksmith
  • Horse Sales Person or Auction Manager
  • Equine Feed/Nutrition Specialist
  • Racetrack Manager
  • Veterinarian Assistant

Some career paths are also involved in the selling, marketing and advertising of various products and equine feed. If you pursue these types of careers, you may need to take additional courses in business management and sales.

Choosing the Right Equine Schools for Your Training

Choosing the right equine schools for your career and training goals can be challenging, because many require you to stay on site so that you can train with a professional horse trainer and use the equestrian center to complete your course work. This may mean you need to move across the country or stay in a new city while completing your studies. Consider the following when choosing between different schools so that you can find the best fit for your needs:

  • Range of degree programs - some equine colleges and schools only offer one-year programs, while others offer four-year bachelor's degree programs. Consider how many advanced skills you need to meet your career objectives.
  • Location - how far are you willing to travel to attend your equine school of choice? Are you prepared to live on campus? Will you need to commute back and forth to your equine college? Location will be an important determining factor when making your decision.
  • Cost of equine studies programs - every school sets its own program fees and may require you to purchase special equestrian equipment, uniforms and supplies. Make sure you understand what the total cost of the equine studies program will be, and find out if your school offers financial aid.
  • Availability of certification programs - if you already have a degree in animal science or a related field, you may only need to obtain riding certification, horse management certification or other types of equine certificates to pursue your ideal career. Consider both degree and certificate programs available when comparing different equine schools and colleges.
  • Internship and externship options - does the school offer any hands-on training through an internship or externship program? Do you have to pay a fee to enroll in these programs? Consider your options for getting work experience in the field so that you can graduate with the most important skills and knowledge under your belt.


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