Equine Studies (Minor)

Equine Studies (Minor)

student and horse

What is equine studies?

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.

Why study equine studies at UNH?

The equine studies minor combines award-winning equestrian teams with strong academics and outstanding opportunities for hands-on learning.Program highlights include on-site USEF/USEA-recognized horse trials and a center accredited by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH), giving you real-world experience in the equine industry. You’ll have daily opportunities to work with horses on campus. Our facilities —all of which are located within a 10-minute walk from campus —include the 40-stall Tirrell Horse Barn, the W.C. Skoglund indoor riding arena, a lighted outdoor riding arena, a full cross-country course, three regulation-size dressage competition arenas and the Lou & Lutza Smith Equine Center.

Potential career areas

  • Breeding technician/manager
  • Business
  • Equine nutritional sales and marketing
  • Equine pharmaceutical sales
  • Equine physiotherapist
  • Equine rehabilitation
  • Therapeutic riding


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

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. See listing below for a list of courses approved for use towards the minor in equine studies. 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.

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

ANSC 437Equine Husbandry Techniques4
Select a minimum of 16 credits from the following electives:16
AAS 434
Equipment and Facilities Management
ANSC 402
Horsemanship Lab
ANSC 405
Theory of Horsemanship
ANSC 419
Horse Power
ANSC 422
Introduction to Horsemanship Theory
or ANSC 522
Intermediate Horsemanship Theory
ANSC 426
Equine Conformation and Lameness
ANSC 500
Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies
ANSC 504
Equine Physiology
ANSC 507
Survey of Equine Training Techniques
ANSC 536
Preparation and Competition Techniques for the Modern Sport Horse
ANSC 538
Equine Handling/Longeing
ANSC 546
Animal Business Applications
ANSC 547
Equine Stable Management
ANSC 548
Agricultural Business Management
or ANSC 635
Nonprofit Management for Agriculture Business
ANSC 640
Principles of Riding Instruction
ANSC 641
Principles of Dressage Instruction
ANSC 642
Principles of Jumping Instruction
ANSC 643
Principles of Therapeutic Riding Instruction
ANSC 665
Principles of Horse Trials Management
ANSC 695
Supervised Teaching Experience 1
ANSC 724
Reproductive Management and Artificial Insemination
ANSC 725
Equine Sports Medicine
ANSC 744
Advanced Concepts in Therapeutic Riding Instruction
ANSC 795
Investigations 1
Investigations 1
ANSC 799
Honors Senior Thesis 1
Total Credits20

 Subject to approval. Must be equine-related.

Explore Program Details

I want to major in Equine Studies, but my parents say I'll never get a job with that major. Is that true?

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, many career opportunities for motivated and skilled individuals.

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?

Upon informing the Equine Program or the Department of Biological Sciences of your interests in veterinary
You are assigned to an advisor who is experienced in advising pre-veterinary medicine students and knows current veterinary school admission requirements and procedures.

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 COLSA, the Department of Biological Sciences, 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/. Also, ANSC 405 – Horsemanship Theory is a 2-credit online course which is offered every spring. 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. Contact Cindy.Burke@unh.edu for more information.

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 422, 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 board my horse at UNH?

The UNH Equine Facility has space for a limited number of student boarders. Board is $650 per month. Priority is given to equine majors. Contact the stable manager, Brenda.Hess-McAskill, after being accepted to UNH to be put on the list. Brenda also has a list of other area boarding facilities.

If my horse is boarded at UNH, will it be ridden in the riding classes?

No, horses boarded at UNH are not used in riding classes.

Can I get a job at the Horse Barns?

The UNH Horse Barns does hire work-study students. Contact Brenda Hess-McAskill.

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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