Going Collegiate - Expert how-to for English Riders

Are you ready to take your love of horses to the next level?

Autumn is upon us, and just because you’re college-bound doesn’t mean you have to hang up your boots and helmet. Why not look for institutions with riding programs or pursue your passion with a related degree or associate degree program?

Even in the age of coronavirus, horses remain a part of our lives, and employees are still needed in various facets of the equine industry. Besides riding, training, teaching lessons and stable management, challenging jobs await you in such fields as equine health care, marketing, equine law, equine publishing and facilities management. To pursue many of these career paths, you’ll need specific technical credentials that you can acquire at college with a little advance planning.

Some, like jobs in equine veterinary practice, veterinary research, veterinary pharmaceuticals or equine health care, will likely require a four-year Bachelor of Science program. As an alternative, a solid business degree through a four-year equine program could help pave the way for a job in the growing field of equine business. Particularly if you are good with the public and like dealing with numbers, a position as an equine facility manager or a comptroller at a large breeding farm might be right up your alley.

A four-year equestrian studies program combined with classes or another major in business or tech management can also help set you up for not only training, teaching or facility management but marketing work at equine companies, breed associations and governing bodies in equine sport. Master’s degrees to expand your reach are even a possibility at some institutions.

Associate or two-year equine degree programs are another option that affords a lot of flexibility, especially if there is hands-on component combined with classroom time. When you want a solid foundation, these abbreviated programs can provide a good starting point for many pathways, since they generally include the basics in riding, training and stable management, as well as core liberal arts courses. They’re also a great way to test the waters in a certain career track, with internships and summer jobs that help you get a foot in the door. In addition, two-year programs offer you a chance to determine whether your chosen path is a good fit for you.

If you love horses, teaching and kids—and/or working with the disabled—the field of therapeutic riding is another route worth considering, with more TR centers being built around the country every year. Look for colleges that offer four-year degrees in TR or that offer a TR emphasis within an equine program, as well as preparation for Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International certification.

Last but not least, you can always choose a non-equine career path but study for it at a college that also offers riding programs, riding clubs or even varsity/intercollegiate competitive riding. What better way to take a break from the books? When all is said and done, the equine-inclined have more choices than ever when choosing a college, especially if combining several related fields of study in your degree. So mount up, go forth and conquer!

Here are a few options to get you started:

Albion College

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#OneTeam is the ethos of the equestrian program at Albion College. #OneTeam is the bond between our horses and their riders. #OneTeam is the way the students from our hunt seat, dressage and Western teams unite to make the Held Equestrian Center their home away from home. #OneTeam is the way our staff work with faculty to find innovative and fun ways to incorporate horsemanship into lessons about history, culture, the sciences and business, too. #OneTeam partners the Held Center with our veterinarians, farriers and other professionals to care for our equine partners and help our students become better horsemen and women. Albion College is one of the nation’s top 100 liberal arts colleges and consistently ranks as a great educational value, as well as producing alumni who are top earners and experts in their fields. Full support for varsity and club equestrian athletes on campus creates a dynamic, well-rounded experience for riders during their four years. Learn more about the Albion equestrian experience today. We invite you to become part of our #OneTeam! www.albion.edu/equestrian

Asbury University

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God-People-Horses—all in one place! Located just a few miles south of the horse capital of the world, the Asbury University Equine Program strives for its students to become Christ-centered leaders in the equine industry. The unique location of the program allows for limitless opportunities for students to excel in their equine-related education at Asbury and to gain practical experience on the many local farms and businesses. The Equine program allows for students to pursue their interests whether in Equine Management, Equine Training, Equine Science, Equine Assisted Activities, Equine Facilitated Mental Health or Pre-Veterinarian Medicine. www.asbury.edu

Emory & Henry College

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Whether you want to pursue a college degree in equine studies or ride competitively at the collegiate level, Emory & Henry College (E&H) is the perfect place for students to graduate with a top-notch, private, liberal arts education in beautiful southwest Virginia. E&H students start learning, doing and connecting, enabling them to become a valuable part of the equestrian industry. Emory & Henry offers a B.A., a B.S. and a minor in Equine Studies—and a pre-professional program for pre-veterinary. Students participate in hands-on learning through unique research and work opportunities, from performing equine health-related research studies to assisting in running collegiate horse shows. The nationally-acclaimed Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College boasts 21 national championships in competitive riding since 2001. Emory & Henry’s IHSA, IDA and ANRC teams offer opportunities for students to gain competitive experience in hunters, jumpers, equitation and dressage. Graduates from the E&H equestrian program succeed in careers ranging from instructors, trainers and barn managers to professional riders. They also enter veterinary medicine or achieve positions of industry leadership, working with some of the best in the equestrian field. www.ehc.edu/equine

Otterbein University

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Learn by doing at Otterbein University. The Department of Equine Science prides itself on experiential learning opportunities and individualized attention. Students are immersed in their own living laboratory and have the opportunity to expand their passion for horses into a competitive career path. Become a part of the every-growing equine industry and explore one of the three highly marketable degrees that Otterbein has to offer: Equine Business Management, Equine Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Graduate Studies and Equine Veterinary Technology. https://www.otterbein.edu/equine

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