Equine Studies (Minor)

Equine Studies (Minor)

student and horse

What is the equine-assisted activities and therapies minor?

Equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) are dynamic treatments that focus on the frequent, rhythmic, low-amplitude movement of horses to help individuals achieve specific physical, cognitive, social and emotional goals.  The minor in program provides students with exposure to several disciplines within this diverse field. The required courses introduce students to key concepts in equine handling and EAAT, including equine skills and the opportunity to test for PATH International CTRI instructor certification in therapeutic riding.

Why study equine-assisted activities and therapies at UNH?

UNH is one of a handful of PATH Intl. Level III Higher Education Centers. Through the PATH Intl. Premier Accredited UNH Therapeutic Riding Program, undergraduates have the opportunity to work with individuals who have physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities and learn how to create an environment that integrates members of the disabled and able-bodied communities. Students in the program can earn their Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International instructor certification, which enables them to teach at any PATH International operating center in the world. Students have daily opportunities to work with horses in numerous facilities that are located within a 10-minute walk from campus.

Potential career areas

  • Counselor for mental health or youth at risk
  • Veteran's programming
  • Fundraiser
  • Nonprofit manager
  • Hippotherapy
  • Therapeutic riding instructor
  • Therapeutic riding center manager
  • Volunteer coordinator


Sarah Rigg

Pronouns: She/her/hers
Phone: (603) 862-1356
Office: Equine Center, Equine Center, Durham, NH 03824
Department of Agriculture, Nutrition, and Food Systems
University of New Hampshire
Kendall Hall
129 Main Street
Durham, NH 03824
(603) 862-2130
  • UNH Equine helps state in rescue efforts
    The UNH Equine program is helping to rehabilite two rescued ponies, as part of a coordinated effort that included the New Hampshire State Police, Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food and  the State Veterinarian. 
    UNH Equine helps state in rescue efforts
    The UNH Equine program is helping to rehabilite two rescued ponies, as part of a coordinated effort that included the New Hampshire State Police, Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food and  the State Veterinarian. 
  • Students work together to prepare for the big event
    UNH hosted the USEA/USEF-recognized horse trials on Saturday, September 29, and Sunday, September 30. This is UNH's 47th year hosting the trials.
    Students work together to prepare for the big event
    UNH hosted the USEA/USEF-recognized horse trials on Saturday, September 29, and Sunday, September 30. This is UNH's 47th year hosting the trials.
  • Students volunteer at NEDA for team fundraiser
    A group of riders from the UNH equestrian team recently volunteered at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Fall Festival of Dressage at HITS Saugerties in New York as part of a team fundraiser.
    Students volunteer at NEDA for team fundraiser
    A group of riders from the UNH equestrian team recently volunteered at the New England Dressage Association (NEDA) Fall Festival of Dressage at HITS Saugerties in New York as part of a team fundraiser.

Curriculum & Requirements

The equine studies minor at UNH will allow you to pursue your interest in horsemanship while also getting an introduction to equine science, equine industry and management, and equine-assisted activities and therapies. You’ll be able to explore equine care and management, equine health, and equine anatomy while also working with horses to develop professional equine skills. Combine this minor with a major such as biology, business, agriculture, or human-service-related fields to expand your possibilities for an equine-related career or further studies.

Students interested in the minor in equine studies should contact Sarah Rigg.

A minor in equine studies consists of a minimum of 20 credits of equine-related animal science courses.

  • ANSC 402 may be counted only once for minor credit.
  • Students MUST take either ANSC 504 Equine Physiology or ANSC 437 Equine Husbandry Techniques.
  • Students may count either ANSC 422 or ANSC 522 for minor credit, but they may not count both.
  • Students may count either ANSC 548 or ANSC 635 for minor credit, but they may not count both.
  • Students must receive a minimum grade of C- in any course used for the minor. Students failing to do this will need to retake the course in order to receive credit.
  • No courses taken on a pass(credit)/fail basis may count toward the minor.
  • No more than 12 credits at the 400-level may be used for the minor.
  • Students may petition equine faculty in their junior year to include a course that is not listed.
  • Students must take at least one course at the 600- or 700-level.
  • Students who transfer from other institutions may petition the equine program faculty for course approval.
  • Students who choose both ANSC 500 and ANSC 643 as two of their courses toward the minor in equine studies will be eligible for PATH International therapeutic riding instructor certification.
Required Course
ANSC 437Equine Husbandry Techniques4
Select a minimum of 16 credits from the following electives:
AAS 434Equipment and Facilities Management3
ANSC 402Horsemanship Lab1
ANSC 405Theory of Horsemanship2
ANSC 419Horse Power4
ANSC 422Introduction to Horsemanship Theory3
or ANSC 522 Ethical Horsemanship - Considerations and Theory
ANSC 426Equine Conformation and Lameness4
ANSC 500Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies4
ANSC 504Equine Physiology4
ANSC #507Survey of Equine Training Techniques3
ANSC 536Preparation and Competition Techniques for the Modern Sport Horse4
ANSC 538Equine Handling/Longeing1
ANSC 546Animal Business Applications4
ANSC 547Equine Stable Management3
ANSC 548Agricultural Business Management4
or ANSC 635 Nonprofit Management for Agriculture Business
ANSC 640Principles of Riding Instruction4
ANSC 641Principles of Dressage Instruction2
ANSC 642Principles of Jumping Instruction2
ANSC 643Principles of Therapeutic Riding Instruction4
ANSC 665Agricultural & Equine Event Design, Planning and Management2
ANSC 695Supervised Teaching Experience 11-2
ANSC 724Reproductive Management and Artificial Insemination4
ANSC 725Equine Sports Medicine4
ANSC 744Advanced Concepts in Therapeutic Riding Instruction4
ANSC 795Investigations 11-4
ANSC 795WInvestigations 11-4
ANSC 799Honors Senior Thesis 11-4
Total Credits78-88

Subject to approval. Must be equine-related.

Explore Program Details

I want to major in Equine Studies, but I'm unsure what sorts of jobs I'll get with that major.

The majority of equine studies majors at UNH obtain jobs in the equine industry after graduation. The equine industry has a $122 BILLION impact on the United States’ economy every year. There are many career opportunities for motivated and skilled individuals.  In addition to the advice and support you will receive from the faculty, the dedicated staff from UNH's Career and Professional Service are here to assist students navigate and seek employment opportunities.

Do I really need a degree to work in the equine industry?

Whether you want to go on to veterinary school, become a riding instructor, run horse shows, or manage a stable, an undergraduate degree will give you a significant advantage by providing specialized training, business skills, and a body of theoretical and practical knowledge. These are invaluable tools for seeking employment or running a business.

How do I know which option in Equine Studies is right for me?

Equine Industry & Management combines hands-on, equine-specific classes, such as teaching, training, and stable management, with business-related classes. This course of study is best suited for students who see themselves going into a traditional, hands-on job in the equine industry, such as stable management or riding instruction, or for students who are interested in the ever-expanding field of equine business. The latter includes competitions and event management, marketing, and farm business management.

Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT) is for students interested in the therapeutic horsemanship field. It combines equine classes with courses about non-profit management and disability services and classes specific to therapeutic riding, including classes where students prepare and test for their PATH Instructor Certification.

Equine Science combines equine-specific classes with more rigorous science courses, which prepare students for graduate school, including vet school, or a career in one of the equine industry's more technical sides, such as nutrition or research.

I want to have a career in veterinary technology. Do I need to get a degree?

It depends on the state in which you intend to work. Some states require a vet tech degree, while others require that you pass a licensing examination. Still, others have no specific requirements. Note that a B.S. in Equine Studies is not a vet tech degree. UNH does offer a two-year degree in veterinary technology. However, graduates in the Equine Science program also work in equine veterinary practices as techs and assistants.

If I want to be a Pre-Vet student, what should my major be?

You can major in any field of study at UNH but will want to complete a program of study that encompasses several specific requisite courses. Visit our Pre-Veterinary Program page for more information. The Equine Science program was specifically designed to allow students to fulfill the required classes for admission to veterinary school while also completing a degree in equine studies.

Where can I receive pre-veterinary medicine advising?

All UNH students interested in admission to veterinary school are encouraged to seek out curriculum planning and pre-veterinary advising through our Pre-Veterinary Program.

Do I need to send a video of my riding?

No, a riding video is not required for admissions or to try out for the riding teams.

Are there scholarships for riders?

No. However, several academic scholarships are available to equine studies students through the College of Life Sciences & Agriculture, and outside organizations such as the AQHA and IHSA.

Are there any online classes in the equine program?

ANSC419: Horse Power is offered online during the Summer session. This class, which satisfies the Humanities requirement of the discovery program, explores the horse's role in history, art and culture. For information on Summer Session, go to https://www.unh.edu/summersession/. UNH also offers a growing variety of online classes, some of which equine students can use to fulfill general requirements. Go to www.unh.edu/eunh/online-courses/ for more info.

Do I have to be an Equine Studies major to take classes in the equine program?

No, students of all majors may take classes in the equine program.

Do I have to be a full-time student to take classes in the equine program?

No, classes are open to non-degree candidates.

What if I only want to get my Path Instructor Certification, and I'm not interested in a 4-year degree?

Non-degree students can take ANSC 643 with instructor permission.

Can I ride at UNH?

Yes. Riding classes at UNH consist of two credit-bearing co-requisite courses, which must be taken simultaneously: ANSC 402 – Horsemanship Lab is a 1 credit, credit/fail class, which is the actual riding time. All students enrolled in ANSC 402 must be simultaneously enrolled in either ANSC 522 or ANSC 622, which are graded 2- or 3-credit courses covering horsemanship theory. Horsemanship classes are taught every semester. Students receive 3 hours of mounted instruction each week, in addition to lectures and academic assignments.

Is it possible to ride without taking a class? Or to take private lessons on the school horses?

No, the only riding opportunity on UNH horses that the equine program offers is through ANSC 402.

How do I sign-up for riding classes?

Priority is given to equine studies majors, but classes are open to students of all majors and, during a typical semester, most students can be accommodated. First-year equine majors will receive a survey to sign up for ANSC 402 in early May. First-year students who are not equine studies majors should email Sarah Rigg as soon as they have committed to UNH. A two-part preregistration and signup is held for continuing students each semester. Typically, this is held in April for the fall semester and November for the spring semester. Visit the equine website for dates.

How do I try out for the riding team?

UNH’s award-winning equestrian teams compete in both the IHSA (hunt seat) and the IDA (dressage). To try out for either of the riding team, students must be enrolled in ANSC 402 or have previously taken ANSC 402 for two semesters. Tryouts are held each fall. Each team will hold a mandatory informational meeting for interested students before tryouts take place. Dates for meetings and tryouts are announced and posted in the stables at the beginning of the fall semester.

Can I get a job at the Horse Barns?

The UNH Horse Barns does hire work-study students.

Can I work at the horse barns in exchange for board or lessons?

No, work-study is for pay only. We cannot barter work time for board or lab fees.

Why do I have to take Biology?

The equine industry is based mainly on the horse as an athlete. Understanding the horse’s body and how it works, as well as the horse’s health, is the foundation of managing and caring for that athlete and coaxing the best performance from him. Biology forms the building blocks of Anatomy and Physiology and all of the more specialized equine classes.

I'm a student in another major. Can I transfer to the Equine program, and will it affect my ability to graduate on time?

Students in good academic standing can transfer into the equine studies major. It is possible that transferring to any new major will affect a student’s graduation date. This will depend upon how long a student has been in another major, the type of degree they were pursuing, and the classes they have already taken.

I've heard that if you go abroad or on exchange for one semester, you can't graduate on time. Is this true?

Going abroad is an outstanding experience, but students do need to plan if this is something that they would like to do. Students interested in studying abroad should identify themselves to their academic advisors early in their college careers. Many of the equine-specific classes at UNH are offered only in the fall or spring semester, and there are more of them offered in the fall than in the spring, so many students find that it is easier to go abroad for a spring semester.

The spring semester of Junior year is the most popular time for equine students to study abroad. Students who choose to study abroad at a university with an equine major will take equine-specific courses to fulfill major requirements and/or major electives. However, all students need to plan out their schedules to take required courses on campus and then complete other courses – major courses, electives, discovery courses, etc. – while they are abroad. Some students who go abroad or on exchange take fewer credits than a normal UNH course load (16 credits).

To graduate on time, those students must make up for such a credit deficit, unless they had a credit excess before they left. If credits are a concern, it may be possible to take a 16-credit course load, even if the college has a three-credit system.

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