What is an Equine Science Degree?

Degree programs in equine science teach students about horse anatomy, physiology, health, nutrition, breeding, and behavior. Many programs also cover the business aspects of the field.

Here are some sample courses that may be part of an equine science curriculum:

• Evolution of the Horse
• Breeds of Horses
• How Horse Muscles Work
• The Reproductive Process
• Hoof Care
• Horse Behavior
• Horse Diseases
• Grazing and Pasture Management

Program Options

Bachelor’s Degree in Equine Science – Four Year Duration
The typical equine science bachelor’s curriculum is made up of courses like those listed below. Many programs combine classroom and hands-on learning.

• Agricultural Microbiology
• Equine Anatomy and Physiology
• Equine Genetics
• Equine Health and Disease
• Equine Behavior
• Equine Nutrition
• Equine Exercise Physiology
• Equine Ethical Concepts
• Equine Reproductive Techniques
• Stud Management and Reproduction
• Farrier Science
• Equine Industry
• Equitation – the art and science of horsemanship and horse riding
• Analysis of Equestrian Sporting Disciplines
• Equine Biomechanics and Performance Analysis
• Nutrition for the Performance Horse
• Equine Sports Medicine
• Equine Therapy and Rehabilitation

Master’s Degree in Equine Science – Two Year Duration
At the master’s level, equine science students continue to study many of the topics introduced in their undergraduate program. The master’s curriculum, however, has a greater focus on research and analysis, as students prepare to write their master’s thesis on a subject of their choice.

Core courses for master’s candidates may include:

• Animal Reproductive Science
• Animal Nutrition and Technology
• Agricultural Research Methods
• Leadership in Rural Industries and Communities
• Global Challenges in Agriculture
• Equine Digestive Physiology and Nutrition
• Equine Health and Welfare (with emphasis on the effects of the environment on the health and welfare of horses)

Doctoral Degree in Equine Science – Four to Six Year Duration
The Doctoral Degree in Equine Science is generally pursued by students whose career goal is to teach the discipline or to conduct advanced research in the field.

Here are some possible areas of research on which to base a doctoral dissertation:

Assisted Reproduction
• Artificial Insemination
• Cloning
• Cooled and Frozen Semen
• Embryo Transfer

• Breeding Planning
• Breeding process
• Breeding Restraint
• Breeding Shed
• Foaling and Foaling Problems
• Teasing
• Twins

Foal Care and Problems
• Cleft Palate
• Developmental Orthopaedic Disease
• Foal Diarrhea
• Foaling and Foaling Problems
• Orphaned Foals
• Premature Foals
• Weaning

Mare Care and Problems
• Abortion and Embryonic Death
• Contagious Equine Metritis
• Endometritis
• Equine Herpesvirus
• Fetal Monitoring
• Fetal Sexing
• Hormones for Breeding
• Mare Fertility
• Mare Nutrition
• Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome
• Ovarian and Uterine Cysts
• Placentitis

Stallion Care and Problems
• Equine Viral Arteritis
• Stallion Fertility
• Stallion Nutrition
• Venereal Disease

Diseases and Conditions
• Combined Immunodeficiency Syndrome
• Digestive Track Problems – choke, colic, colitis, diarrhea, enteroliths (mineral masses), impactions, kidney problems, liver problems, protein-losing enteropathy, rotavirus, salmonella, ulcers

Eye and Ear Problems
• Congenital Stationary Night Blindness
• Ear Problems
• Other Eye Problems
• Uveitis (moon blindness)

Infectious Diseases
• African Horse Sickness
• Botulism and Shaker Foals
• Foot and Mouth Disease
• Hendra Virus
• Leptospirosis
• Lyme Disease

Other Diseases and Conditions
• Anemia
• Cancer
• Dental Problems
• Grass Sickness
• Headshaking
• Heart and Cardiovascular Problems
• Hernias
• Narcolepsy
• Obesity
• Poisoning and Toxicity
• Ruptured Bladder
• Seizures
• Sinus Problems
• Thyroid Problems

Neurologic Disease
• Equine Degenerative Myelopathy
• Rabies
• Tetanus
• Wobbler Syndrome

Respiratory Problems
• Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage
• Guttural Pouch Infection
• Influenza
• Pneumonia

Skin Problems
• Animal Reproductive Science
• Hair Loss
• Hives and Skin Allergies
• Tumors and Melanoma

Hoof Care and Problems
• Club Feet
• Hoof Balance
• Shoeing
• Abscesses
• Canker
• Hoof Cracks
• Thrush

Basic Care
• Body Condition
• Castration and Gelding
• Deworming and Internal Parasites
• Euthanasia
• Grooming
• Insect Control
• Medications
• Nutrition
• Vitamins and Herbal Supplements

Older Horse Care
• Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease
• Feeding Old Horses

• Conditioning for Competition
• Monitoring Exercise Performance
• Warmup and Cool Down

Degrees Similar to Equine Science

As the name implies, agribusiness degree programs are focused on the business of agriculture. Students learn about the economics and operations of farming, ranching, livestock management, and other agricultural businesses. Coursework spans topics such as finance, marketing, sales, and human resource management.

Degree programs in this discipline teach students about one or more aspects of general agriculture. Coursework may cover topics like farm management, crop science, animal husbandry, agriculture technology, soil science, and food distribution.

Degree programs in this field teach the science and art of cultivating fruits, vegetables, flowers, and/or ornamental plants. Horticulture students learn about plant biology and nutrition, soil science, and greenhouse and nursery management.

Veterinary Medicine
Veterinary medicine degree programs prepare students to work as veterinarians. Subject matter covered includes the prevention, control, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases that affect wild, food-producing, and domestic animals.

Zoology students learn about animals, their evolution, anatomy, physiology, and natural habitats. Graduates may be employed by zoos, veterinary clinics, or labs. Their work may involve monitoring and writing reports on animal behavior, analyzing specimens to test for diseases, and/or working in the areas of ecology and conservation.

Skills You'll Learn

In addition to learning about the physiology, behavior, nutrition, and handling of horses, equine science students gain the following transferable skills:

• Communication / social skills – equine workers need to effectively interact with veterinarians, groomers, and trainers
• Math and science skills – equine science students take courses in biology, chemistry, physics, zoology, statistics, and calculus
• Writing and recordkeeping skills – as is the case in any scientific role, accurate note taking and recordkeeping are key, especially in a medical records environment

What Can You Do with an Equine Science Degree?

An equine science degree can open the door to several career options:

• Bloodstock Agent – evaluate horses for buyers and sellers and bid on them at auction on behalf of horse buyers
• Breeding Manager
• Broodmare Manager – oversee the care of mares and foals
• Dude Ranch Wrangler
• Equine Dental Technician
• Exercise Rider
Farrier – trim, maintain, balance horse hooves
• Horse Appraiser
• Horse Breeder
• Horse Groom
• Horse Massage Therapist
• Horse Show Manager
• Race Track Designer
Racehorse Trainer
• Stable Manager
• Stallion Manager – oversee the care and breeding of stallions
• Stunt Rider
• Therapeutic Horseback Rider – help people with physical and mental disabilities to ride a horse to improve their balance and coordination and increase their self-confidence
Veterinary Assistant/Technician

To work in these positions may require an advanced degree:

• Horse Feed Development Specialist – research and develop nutrient-rich horse feed
• Nutritional Consultant
• Pedigree Analyst

To work in these positions will require an advanced degree:

• Horse Geneticist – research genetic/hereditary traits of horses
• Horse Veterinarian


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