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Bachelor of Science (BS) in Equestrian Science

bachelors in equestrian science.

Make a 1,100 lb. difference.

William Woods University Equestrian Science graduates can be found in every corner of the equestrian world. Our graduates are professional horse trainers, riding instructors, clinicians and veterinarians. They’re horse show judges, teaching at the college or university level, boarding facility owners and more.

As a Bachelors in Equestrian Science student at William Woods University, you can pursue a successful career in your dream field, and make a difference in a growing industry. We hold high standards in horse healthcare, training and teaching. Utilize the most advanced technology, learn the best practices in equine healthcare, and enjoy practical experiences that are relevant no matter which way your equestrian career takes you.

Essential skills you will learn include:

  • The anatomy of movement
  • Digestive physiology and feeding programs
  • Proper farrier methods and variations of shoeing
  • Breed/type evaluation for performance and conformation
  • Logistics of teaching and managing a lesson program
  • Overview of the horse industry and employment opportunities
  • Equine health and first aid
  • Day-to-day care of horses
  • Designing and managing a stable
  • Advanced business practices for a horse competition
  • Small business fundamentals
  • Riding and teaching techniques for the four disciplines: Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, Saddle Seat and Western

Extracurricular learning:

Equestrian Organizations

Get involved with other students who share your interests through the several equestrian organizations on campus, open to all students, regardless of major. There is a club for each seat: Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, Saddle Seat, and Western. Each of these clubs has its own personality and activities, and they all promote camaraderie and learning through horse shows, service events, and professional competitions. There is also an intercollegiate Competitive Judging Team, open to anyone who wants to learn more about horses and competitive judging. This team travels to regional judging competitions each fall and helps at regional clinics and judging contests each spring. This team won the U.S. Nationals Arabian/ Half-Arabian Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2015.

Equestrian Shows

William Woods participates in a number of national and international horse shows each year, in which all students are invited to participate. Showing at these events teaches poise, sportsmanship and responsibility and provides opportunities to come in contact with prospective employers. Shows range from local schooling shows to “A” rated national shows such as:

  • The American Royal in Kansas City
  • The St. Louis National Charity Horse Show
  • The Morgan Grand Nationals
  • Color Breed Congress
  • Pinto World Championships
  • Sport Horse Nationals
  • The Central State Regional Dressage Finals

We also host a variety of shows on campus throughout the year.

Equestrian Clinics and seminars

In addition to instruction from our own nationally renowned faculty members, you will learn from top industry professionals in various clinics and seminars. Clinicians include Smith Lilly, Richard Shrake, Ann Judge, Jeff Cook, Melanie Smith-Taylor, Betsy Steiner, and Pierre St. Jacque.

Regional, national, and international field trips

Field trips include visits to area professional horse training facilities, the Veterinary School at the University of Missouri, horse shows, and museums. Special courses have given students the opportunity to tour show horse barns in Kentucky and Missouri, ride with professional horse trainers in Oregon and Hawaii, and tour and ride in famous horse facilities in England and France. Faculty have taken students to volunteer at horse shows including the U.S. Dressage Finals at the Kentucky Horse Park.


On-campus equine complex: an optimal learning environment

  • 150 show-quality horses
  • Four heated barns with a total of 150 box stalls
  • Eight tack rooms
  • Two heated indoor arenas
  • Lighted outdoor ring
  • Outdoor round pen
  • Four turnout paddocks
  • Two fully equipped, technology-enhanced classrooms
  • 40-acre cross-country course
  • Six wash stalls
  • USEF regulation jumps
  • USEF regulation Dressage area
  • Student lockers and laundry

Few educational institutions can match William Woods University for its on-campus equine facilities that accommodate riding, care and study at all levels and seats. Our classrooms include an extensive video library and viewing equipment, and our dedicated library includes more than 1,000 books on all aspects of the field, from history and physiology to behavior, training, law, and competition. Our more than 150 horses represent the most popular breeds and are cared for by William Woods University students and our full-time, on-site veterinarian.

The Center for Equine Medicine

Our large, modern equestrian complex that will provide you with an excellent educational experience in both classroom and the field.

The center includes:

  • A full-time doctor of veterinary medicine who has an extensive background in sports medicine, reproduction as well as general equine medicine and surgery
  • A 17-acre property located within blocks of the university — ideally suited for continued equine research and care
  • A facility that includes classroom space, a large indoor riding facility, six horse stalls, an isolation area for ill and contagious horses and a home for the veterinarian and his family, which allows him to be on-site in case of an emergency
  • The unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on classroom environment that will enhance your education, including the opportunity to assist with emergency care and treatment, perform research and gain hands-on clinical experience

Our Equestrian degree at work

Our graduates can be found working in a wide array of careers across the country.

Trot, canter or gallop into a rewarding career as a:

  • Professional horse trainer
  • Professional riding instructor
  • Professional clinician
  • Professional horse show judge
  • Equine sales representative
  • College or University professor
  • Recreational riding program instructor, trainer or manager
  • Boarding facility owner or employee
  • Breed Association Employee
  • And more
  • Or, pursue graduate school in education or business

Recent Employers

Our students are highly sought after by distinguished employers across the country, including:

Equestrian Employer Logos

Other employers of our recent alumni include:

  • Appaloosa Horse Club
  • Kirkwood Community College
  • Virginia Intermont
  • Sweetbriar College
  • United States Dressage Federation
  • Chronicle of the Horse
  • Betsy Steiner Dressage
  • Lyndon Rife Dressage
  • Liz Austin Dressage
  • SmartPak
  • Golden Horseshoe Tack Store
  • University of WI - River Falls
  • American Quarter Horse Association
  • Pony of the Americas
  • American Saddlebred Association
  • La Cense Montana Professional School of Horsemanship
  • Howard Schatzberg Photography
  • Castle Forbes Stud, County Longford, Ireland
  • County Line Equine Practice
  • The American Saddlebred Museum
  • St. Louis Carriage Company
  • Kansas City Carriages, Kansas City, MO
  • American Royal Museum & Visitors Center
  • Miller & Associates, Equine Veterinarians, Brewster, NY
  • The Blood Horse
  • Stephens College, Equestrian Studies
  • Kirkwood Community College, Equine Science
  • Virginia Intermont College
  • Tina M. Konyot Dressage
  • Sidelines Magazine (Art Director/Assistant Production Manager - Alex Moritz-Long)
  • Bruce Davidson 1976 Olympic Gold Medal Winner Eventing
  • Jan Ebeling, The Acres Dressage
  • Peeper Ranch, Lenexa, KS
  • The National Horseman Magazine
  • Menlo Circus Club Stables, Menlo, CA
  • Arabian Horse Times
  • Robert Battaglia Arabian Horses
  • Murray State University, Equine Science, Murray, KY
  • Equine Medical Services

Alumni Perspectives

My proudest moment while working in this program has been the development of hands-on clinical education opportunities and the introduction of a collaborative program with the Biology Department focusing on regenerative medicine in horses.

— Dr. Paul Schiltz, Staff Veterinarian

I am often struck by how significant even small moments feel when a student is achieving success. I always feel a tremendous sense of pride watching a rider earn their first major title at a national level show, but feel the same about a rider who has overcome even a small difficulty in their riding or training or just mastered a concept in the classroom.

— Jennie Petterson, Division Chair

Of course, I’m quite proud of my students’ many competitive accomplishments, including strong placings in Regional Championships and inclusion on the Region 4 Junior/Young Rider Championship team. But I’m most proud of the compliments I hear from other professionals and employers in the field, who make a point of telling me how pleased they are with work ethic and willingness to learn of their William Woods University employees.

— Karen Pautz

I have so much respect for Linda McClaren as my teacher and mentor. I have enjoyed every class and all of the amazing horses I have been given the chance to learn from and work with. The Mentor-Mentee program was an incredible honor to participate in and I am thankful for the dedication and time put into the program by the faculty.

— Alison Gay, equestrian science graduate, Ireland

William Woods put my equine career on the fast track to success. I would not be where I am today as a dressage trainer and instructor, without The Woods Way.

— Erin Ackley, equestrian science graduate Kentwood, Mich.


The Bachelor of Science in Equestrian Science degree at William Woods University consists of 122 distinct credit hours for graduation—including 45 core major credits and 8 credits of riding courses.

Courses you may take

EQS 212 - Theory of Teaching Techniques I - 3.00

An introduction to applied riding instruction. Prerequisites: EQU 111 and EQU 118 or permission of instructor

EQS 306 - Practical Equine Anatomy & Conditng - 3.00

This course primarily focuses on the horse’s musculoskeletal system or “the anatomy of movement,” although other important points of equine anatomy will be examined. Conditioning programs for these anatomical systems will be studied and integrated in the development of conditioning programs applicable to various performance horses and their specific needs. Digestive physiology and the development of appropriate feeding programs for the modern performance horse will be covered. Overview of proper farrier methods for all horses will be reviewed while the applicable variations of shoeing in the different performance disciplines will be studied. Prerequisite - EQU111 (or EQU 112) and EQU 118

EQS 328 - Equine Evaluation - 3.00

This course addresses breed/type specifics and form to function in relation to movement and performance requisites. Students will compare and contrast principles of ideal conformation, temperament, serviceability, movement and competitive ability. Prerequisite: EQS 201 or EQS306

EQS 404 - Veterinary Medicine & Reproduction - 3.00

This course is an advanced study of equine veterinary topics. Open only to students with senior standing. Prerequisites: EQU117, EQS 306 and Senior Standing

EQU 101 - Equestrian First Year Seminar - 1.00

Students will explore the equestrian majors and minors offered at WWU as they relate to employment, graduate school, and other career goals. Developing an equestrian program plan will be a focus of the course with emphasis on identifying suitable careers for each program. An introduction to the required proficiency test sequence and senior portfolio will be presented.

EQU 111 - Introduction to the Horse Industry - 3.00

This course is an introduction to equestrians and horse organizations and their objectives including the extent of horse sport on the national and international level. The role of the horse in today’s society will be explored. The four WWU disciplines of Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, Saddle Seat and Western along with their respective practices will be surveyed. Points concerning horse behavior, care of the domesticated horse, developing a professional lexicon and the importance of proper fitting and uses of basic tack will be covered. The course will also explore employment opportunities and practices in the industry.

EQU 117 - Theory of Performance Hrs Hlth Mgmt - 3.00

Students will explore management and treatment protocols for performance horses. Identification and administration methods and dosage for equine drugs and medications associated with the competition or working horse will also be addressed. Equine infectious diseases, injuries, illnesses and complications are a primary focus of the course.

EQU 118 - Theory Prfrmnc Horse Hlth Mngmt II - 3.00

Students will further explore more elements of practical management skills, the normal horse, health issues, lameness, drugs and medications and competitive drug rules. Prerequisite: EQU117

EQU 201 - Horse Management Practicum I - 3.00

An introduction to applied horse management emphasizing the day to day care of horses. All aspects of the daily care and health management of a string of horses will be practiced. (Required grade of C or higher to satisfy major requirements). Prerequisites: EQU111 & EQU 118

EQU 202 - Foundations of Equestrian Teaching and Learning - 2.00

This course is a comprehensive overview and introduction to teaching methods and learning styles as they apply to an equestrian program and learning environment.

EQU 206 - Introduction to Equine Entrepreneurship - 3.00

Students will explore the many opportunities within the equestrian world for a start-up business. They will learn how to research and collect the data and then turn that into a plan for a startup business focusing on organization, management and the financial requirements.

EQU 221 - Stable Management - 3.00

This course focuses on the design and management of safe working equestrian facilities that provide healthy environments for horses and their caretakers. Topics include the behavioral needs of horses and how they influence management methods as well as the design and maintenance of stables and layouts of complete equestrian facilities. Developing management routines for all aspects of the care of the stabled/pastured horse. Identifying skills needed for dealing with machinery, animal waste, emergencies and security. Evaluation of record keeping, hiring of competent employees, and the importance of professionalism in all aspects of your management methods including the working relationship needed with skilled professionals such as your farrier/veterinarian. Prerequisite - EQU111 (or EQU 112) , EQU 113 and EQU 118

EQU 391 - Horse Management Practicum II - 4.00

An applied management course emphasizing the further development of the skills necessary for the day to day care of horses. All aspects of the daily care and health management of a larger string of horses will be practiced. (Required grade of C or higher to satisfy major requirements - must be taken before student accumulates 90 credit hours.) Prerequisites: EQU 201; passed with C grade or higher.

EQU 403 - Equestrian Senior Seminar - 3.00

Students will engage in the application of the skills and techniques acquired through their equestrian program in a seminar format. Analysis of the industry, characteristics for successful employment and strategies for advancing in the field are a focus of the course. Prerequisite: Successful completion of the proficiency examinations for all declared Equestrian majors

EQU 405 - Equine Business Practices - 3.00

This lecture course is designed to provide an overview of equine business practices. Three main course elements include: horse transactions (buying, selling, leasing, donating, contracts, etc.), and business management (business plans, personnel management, customer relations, advertising, marketing, legal issues, taxation, insurance, record keeping, book keeping, leadership principles, etc.). Prerequisites: Senior Standing

EQU 415 - Equestrian Senior Portfolio - 1.00

Students will complete their required EQA, EQS, and EQGS portfolio during the class. Reflective writing and a through understanding of program objectives for the equestrian studies major are a focus of this course. Corequisites: EQU403

EXS 104 - First Aid and CPR - 2.00

This course is designed around the American Red Cross Responding to Emergencies: Comprehensive First Aid/CPR/AED. In this course the student will be educated on proper Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation for the adult, child and infant. Also, the student will be taught how to identify and care for several sudden illnesses, as well as, proper First Aid techniques and procedures for bodily injuries ranging from minor bleeding to severe musculoskeletal conditions. Upon completion of this course, proper demonstration of skills, and meeting American Red Cross guidelines the student will receive American Red Cross certification in CPR/AED for Adult, Child, and Infant, as well as certification in First Aid. This certification will last for two (2) years. Physical Requirements: The student will also have to perform several skills that will require them to be in a crouched, kneeling, or squatted position for a minimum of five (5) minutes.


Admissions Information

Learn more about undergraduate admissions requirements, deadlines, tuition and financial aid available to you.

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