Educational programs in equine health explore diverse areas that may be useful in a number of horse-related careers, such as horse trainer, guest ranch manager, stable manager, riding instructor and equine health journalist. Students participate in classes and hands-on experiences.
Prerequisites for both an associate's and bachelor's degree include a high school diploma or its equivalent, transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. A background in math and science coursework may also be required.
Associate Degree in Equine Health Education
Several associate degree programs in equine studies are available, including an Associate of Applied Science in Equine Studies or in Equine Health and Complementary Therapies. These programs may include lessons in riding, horse training and stable management, in addition to health-related topics such as nutrition, grooming, hoof care, equine diseases and medical treatment. Students may also explore the legal aspects of caring for, training and transporting horses.
Common topics in an equine studies program include the natural sciences, environmental science, marketing and promotions for horse shows and events, horse management, horse behavior and the English and Western riding traditions. Other topics may include the following:
- Basic horse care and first aid
- Equine physiology
- Equine reproduction
- Horse nutrition
- Business administration and management
Bachelor's Degree in Equine Health Education
Bachelor's degree programs in equine studies or equine science offer concentrations in health, rehabilitation and equine management. Many programs also offer optional riding instruction and horse training, as well as interdisciplinary study opportunities in areas such as journalism, business or photography. Students learn about horses through hands-on training, seminars, internships, labs or workshops. Areas of study may include the following:
- Equine reproduction
- Equine lameness
- Equine nutrition and food consumption
- Horse anatomy
- Horse exercise and performance
- Horse fitness
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Those who are interested in equine health may pursue a variety of careers, including caretaker and horse trainer. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there is an expected growth of 11% for animal care and service workers in general between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also noted that the median annual salary for animal trainers was $26,610 in 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Equine health program graduates might want to extend their studies to include the business side of the equine health industry or to receive training in veterinary assisting. Bachelor's degree holders can continue their education by enrolling in a post-baccalaureate equine certificate program, most of which last about 14 months.
Students interested in pursuing studies in equine health can enroll in an associate's or bachelor's degree program. Both programs cover equine nutrition, anatomy and reproduction and prepare graduates for employment in the industry as horse trainers, stable managers or riding instructors.