The 10 Best Equestrian Colleges in the US

If you are interested in pursuing a degree in a relatively narrow, special interest area of study, then it is very important that you do your research to find out what schools offer your desired program. 

Current high school students who are horse lovers and plan to seek a career in the equine field will want to be on the lookout for the colleges with the best equine degree programs and facilities for equestrian studies. 

Thankfully, many different colleges offer stellar courses of study and opportunities for equestrian students.

On top of that, these colleges are not limited to specialized schools you have never heard of — rather, they include prestigious, well-renowned universities, like Michigan State University, which is currently ranked within the top 100 undergraduate institutions in the United States. 

Here, we have compiled a list of 10 of the best equestrian colleges in the country. Each of these amazing schools offers students access to their state-of-the-art equestrian facilities, intercollegiate competitions, and everything else you will need to gain a valuable, enriching education, both relating to the equestrian field and otherwise. 

Read on to learn a bit more about what makes each of these great schools a perfect fit for the horse-loving prospective student, including their degree programs, course offerings, facilities, and more.

Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)

The Department of Animal Science at Michigan State University’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources offers a Bachelor of Science degree program, as well as opportunities for graduate study in the equestrian field. 

MSU’s equestrian program also conducts research on improving the lifespan and performance of horses through training, management, and nutrition, focusing on the development of the skeletal system.  

In addition to the college’s academic offerings in the equestrian field, MSU is also home to multiple different student organizations and clubs relating to horses. 

The main one of these is the Horsemen’s Association, which is responsible for a number of fundraising events in support of the school’s other equestrian extracurriculars. The club also  hosts social and recreational activities.

Other horse-related clubs at MSU include the polo club, the dressage club, the horse judging team, and two different equestrian teams.

Berry College (Rome, GA)

A part of the school’s Animal Science Department, the Gunby Equine Center at Berry College is a state-of-the-art, 185-acre facility featuring 64 stalls, two round pens, seating fit for as many as 400 spectators, a covered outdoor arena — with a classroom attached — and more. 

Students can even opt to board their own horse at the center. 

Through community donations, Berry College owns around 60 horses, which are primarily used for educational purposes. This allows students to engage in valuable, experiential learning experiences working hands-on with real horses.

The Berry College Animal Science Department offers both major and minor programs relating to equestrian studies, in addition to a concentration in pre-veterinary animal science for those who intend to pursue graduate school. 

Course offerings for these programs range from required courses, like calculus and chemistry, to elective classes, like veterinary microbiology, the behavior of domesticated animals, and forage production.  

UMass Amherst (Amherst, MA)

UMass Amherst
Gbear605, UMass Student Union, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst offers an animal science major with a concentration in equine science. 

Students who are a part of this BS degree program can receive hands-on professional training at the UMass Equine and Livestock Research and Education Farm in Hadley.

Training and taking classes at the Hadley farm, equine science majors at UMass Amherst work directly with health and reproductive specialists in the equine field. The program allows students to reinforce their understanding of the scientific concepts they study in the classroom through practical application.

All equine science students are required to take biology, chemistry, and other core science courses, in order to develop a well-rounded understanding of the veterinary science field. 

Other course offerings in the equine science concentration include equine sports medicine, equine behavior and learning, and equine nutrition. 

University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH)

University of New Hampshire
Millyard800, University of New Hampshire Urban Campus (August 2015), CC BY-SA 4.0

At the University of New Hampshire, students who are interested in pursuing a degree relating to the equestrian field have three different options to choose from. 

Offered by the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at the, students who choose the equine studies major can specialize in either equine science, equine industry and management, or equine-assisted activities and therapies. 

Intended for students interested in a horse riding therapy career, the equine-assisted activities and therapies option includes courses on human development, psychology, and nonprofit organizations, in addition to basic courses in the equine field. Those who opt for this track graduate with PATH International instructor certification. 

With a heavy focus on science courses, the equine science path is intended for students who plan to go on to veterinary school or a career in equine research, nutrition, health, or reproduction.

Last, there is the equine industry and management track, which focuses heavily on experiential learning and professional training in order to prepare students for careers in the horse business.

Auburn University (Auburn, AL)

Auburn University
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The College of Agriculture at Auburn University offers a bachelor’s degree program in equine science. Intended to prepare students for careers in the horse industry, this program emphasizes the sciences and practical skill development.

Students in the equine science program have the opportunity to become a part of the six-time national championship-winning Auburn Equestrian Team. The team’s home is located at the Auburn University Equestrian Center is a state-of-the-art, 80-acre facility for equine training and research in the field of horse nutrition and behavior. 

Equestrian students and equine science majors at Auburn have access to the Center’s multiple, vast pastures and shelters. Additionally, the Center is used by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates for many different courses, laboratories, and demonstrations. 

Emory & Henry College (Emory, VA)

Emory & Henry College offers a unique, flexible bachelor’s degree program in equine studies. 

Students in the equine studies program can choose between a bachelor of arts and a bachelor of science track, customizing their experience with elective courses, internships, and research projects that reflect the individual’s students desires and professional aspirations.

The college’s Equestrian Center is a 120-acre, state-of-the-art equine facility featuring indoor and outdoor arenas, 10 large paddocks, 4 tack rooms, over 80 box stalls, a cross-country course, and much more. The Center is also home to 50 or so college-owned horses. 

Additionally, there is a 15-stall boarder barn, where space is available for students who opt to bring their own horses from home.

Students at Emory & Henry College have the opportunity to become a part of Intermont Equestrian, the school’s equestrian team, which has won an impressive 21 national championships since 2001.

Asbury University (Wilmore, KY)

For students who are interested in a career in the equestrian field, Asbury University offers both a bachelor’s degree program and a master’s degree program. 

Within each of these equine studies programs, students have many different options for areas of concentration, allowing students to tailor their plan of study according to their individual preferences. 

Concentration options for students who choose to pursue a BA in equine studies at Asbury include equine science, equine assisted activities, equine training, and equine management, in addition to a pre-veterinary equine science BS program. 

With three horse barns, two round pens, two outdoor riding areas, and an indoor riding arena on over 300 acres acres of land, the Asbury Equine Center is an expansive facility used by equine students at Asbury. The center provides ample opportunities for students to engage in hands-on learning activities and gain experience interacting with real horses. 

University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN)

The College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota has a lot to offer students who are interested in studying equine science, pre-veterinary science, or animal science in general. 

The Leatherdale Equine Center, a central meeting point for all of the University of Minnesota’s various equine programs, is a cutting-edge facility, featuring the indoor Barenscheer Arena, the Nutrena Conference Center, and the Dudley Barn, with 14 stalls for short-term boarding. 

The Center hosts community activities, conducts research, and engages in equine veterinary education events. 

Located at the center, the Piper Clinic is a fully-operational equine hospital run and maintained by the college. Each year, through clinical services, outreach programs, and research efforts, the Piper Clinic helps over 1,000 horses in the local community.

University of Louisville (Louisville, KY)

Intended for students who want to pursue a career in the horse industry, the College of Business at the University of Louisville offers multiple equine industry programs. 

First, there is the four-year Bachelor of Science in Business Administration for equine business. This program is designed to prepare students for careers in the equine industry by helping them develop the entrepreneurial, analytical, and practical skills the equine field requires.

The University of Louisville also offers a minor in equine business and two certificate programs.

One of these is the Certificate in Equine Business, a one-year undergraduate program open to all University of Louisville students. For students who have already completed a bachelor’s degree, the school offers the Online Horse Racing Industry Business Certificate.

Colorado State University (Fort Collins, CO)

Colorado State University was the first land grant university to offer a four-year bachelor’s degree program in equine sciences. Currently, over 400 undergraduate students are enrolled in the equine sciences major. 

Over the course of this program, students study subjects relating to equine health, such as equine reproduction, nutrition, genetics, disease management, and more. 

Additionally, the program covers business skills relating to the equine industry, such as facility management and horse training and sales preparation.

Colorado State University’s equine sciences program also boasts seven different student organizations. These include the polo club, ranch horse club, rodeo club, English riding club, and mountain riders club. 

CSU also has an equestrian drill team called the Rocky Mountain Belles. The school has a horse judging team for students who may prefer to be on the judging side of things.  

For students who are interested in the therapeutic side of things, there is the Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies Club. Students in any of these clubs can join the Colorado State Collegiate Horseman’s Association.