Equestrian studies programs teach people to ride and care for horses. Students may learn to manage the training of horses and riders. Students learn about horse breeding, nutrition, health, and safety. They also learn how horses develop and how to train them.
Before there were cars, everyone traveled by horse. Some people still use horses in farming, ranching, and logging operations. But more people ride for pleasure or competition. The Kentucky Derby, for example, has been held at Churchill Downs for well over 100 years. Horses are valued for their strength and beauty, endurance on the trail, speed, and their grace and skill in jumping.
By definition, equestrians are people who perform or compete on horseback. In equestrian studies programs, you may focus on riding, performing, training, and teaching others to ride. This includes both Western and English styles of riding. Western riding techniques include colt breaking, cutting, and reining. Hunter, jumpers, and dressage are examples of English riding styles. You also learn how to manage and maintain a stable and riding equipment, such as bridles and saddles.
Many equestrian studies also include the study of horse or farrier (leg, foot, and hoof care) science. You study horse breeding and reproduction. You also learn about horse nutrition, growth, and development. Many programs encourage participation in competitions. As a result, you can study performing and show preparation. In addition, many equestrian studies programs contain a business focus. You take courses in finance, marketing, management, and administration. These skills come in handy if you wish to become a stable manager or operate your own business.
Several four-year schools offer equestrian studies programs. They are often offered as part of the program in animal science. You can choose a two-year program in horse or farrier science that leads to an associate's degree. If you plan to complete a bachelor's degree in horse science, you may want to plan your first two years so that you can transfer the credits.
In addition, each state's land grant college offers agricultural science programs. Many offer horse science within their programs in animal science. Bachelor's degree programs typically take four years of full-time study after high school.
Graduate programs are usually offered as part of an animal science or related program. Be sure to check the animal science program for more information.
Equestrian studies majors may choose to focus on a certain breed, on a certain type of performance, or on teaching others how to ride and take care of horses. They may focus on farrier science or on teaching horse science to others.