Students in an equine studies bachelor's program spend extensive time working directly with horses, either on campus or at nearby stables, to gain practical experience. Course topics span the health and care of horses, as well as the exploration of professional riding and training techniques and styles, such as dressage, hunter jumper and natural horsemanship. Internships at locations such as farms and horse-training facilities are also common components of equine studies. Generally, a high school diploma and standardized test scores are needed to get into these programs, which normally last four years.
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Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies
Students in a bachelor of equine studies program learn through a combination of lecture-based courses and hands-on training. They may receive training in show judging and riding horses on show courses; programs also typically include business courses since graduates often pursue management roles in the equine industry and/or become self-employed. Because equine studies programs are intended for students without a concentrated area of interest, they cover diverse skills relevant to multiple horse industry careers. Common course topics include:
- Horse training
- Equine health and nutrition
- Equine diseases
- Riding instructor training
- Stable management
Popular Career Options
An equine studies degree prepares students for a multitude of careers involving horses. Some possibilities include:
- Horse trainer
- Riding instructor
- Barn manager
- Equine boarding manager
- Horse show manager
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't provide information for equine studies careers, the BLS does provide information for animal trainers, including horse trainers. The mean annual wages for animal trainers were $33,600 in May 2015. Job growth for these workers was projected to grow by 11% from 2014-2024.
Continuing Education Information
Certification is available and recommended in a variety of equine fields. For example, a group such as the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) may certify riding instructors; CHA offers certification in English and Western riding at eight levels, based on experience and skill level. Individuals may also be certified through CHA as trail guides, including overnight guides and wilderness guides. Additional education is required only for a career field requiring advanced technical or medical knowledge, such as veterinary science.
A Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies provides students with the opportunity to learn many skills, from horse training to managing a barn. Students may find careers training riders, training horses for shows, and a variety of other career options, only requiring further study when a career in more technical knowledge, such as equine medicine, is desired.