Starkle Dream Up. Stephens College

Equine Studies for Prospective Students

All students interested in pursuing a B.S. in Equine Studies should do the following:

  1. Apply to Stephens College.
  2. Submit a resume and statement of purpose including goals within the industry to Program Coordinator Sara Linde Patel at slinde@stephens.edu.

 

Students wishing to enroll in a riding course in their first semester should complete two of the following:

  1. Visit campus and ride with the instructor in the student’s primary seat.
  2. Submit a riding video via YouTube link to Program Coordinator Sara Linde Patel at slinde@stephens.edu. Before making a video, students should request the required pattern of riding for the discipline they will be demonstrating.  
  3. Submit state or national show records demonstrating significant experience and success.

 

Tracks

Stephens College students wishing to pursue the Equine Studies B.S. may customize their experience with tracks, coursework and minors that align with their personal and professional goals. Students will choose between the following tracks: 

  • Equine Business
  • Equine Science
  • Teaching and Training (requires faculty permission)

The curriculum offers students of all levels the opportunity to have horse handling experience. Students who do not have a strong riding background can benefit from many of our equine behavior and handling classes in addition to our basic groundwork courses. These courses will count toward riding requirements for all tracks.

 

Policies

Students wishing to enroll in a riding course must demonstrate a base-level minimum of riding experience and horse handling. For our purposes, minimum riding experience is defined as competency in the following:

  • Haltering, leading, and handling a variety of horses in daily situations including, but not limited to: vet visits, farrier appointments, first aid and turn out
  • Grooming and tacking up
  • Mounting and dismounting
  • Walking, trotting and loping/cantering independently and in a group

The Equestrian Department observes a strict weight policy in which no student should weigh more than 20% of the horse’s weight. Student weight includes all horse tack. Any student entering the program with a physical requirement for a certain type or size of horse will be accommodated as much as possible. However, if the college is unable to find the appropriate horse to meet a student’s physical needs, the student may not be able to complete the program.

Students must be able to lift a minimum of 50 lbs. without assistance and work around 1000 lb. animals in small quarters. Therefore, students with limitations to movement, sight or hearing may find it difficult to meet all course requirements. A student must be able to gauge an animal’s body language and hear the animal coming up behind them. Students are advised to discuss their plans for entrance into this major with their family physician if they have severe allergies to hay, straw, shavings and/or other limitations or concern.

Since horses can be unpredictable in their behavior, a degree of risk is inherent in working with these animals. The student is required to sign a waiver of liability at the time of entrance into the program.

Students may need to consider cost of attire for all riding classes. They will need to supply their own helmet and attire for the discipline they ride.

Frequently Asked Questions

What job opportunities are available with an Equine Studies degree?

There is a very wide range of job opportunities available to the equestrian major. Our curriculum is designed to allow majors to pursue an emphasis in equine business, equine science, or teaching and training. This approach gives our students the opportunity to look at the wide range of employment opportunities available within the industry. The 2018 study by the American Horse Council found that the economic impact of the equestrian industry in the United States is $122 billion and supports 1.8 million full-time jobs. 

Stephens graduates have taken positions in the following areas within the industry: teaching at the college level, training horses, managing stables, show coaching and teaching private lessons, working for horse publications in journalism or advertising, equestrian photography and portraiture, horse show management, horse judging and management of equestrian clothing and tack to name a few.

Is there a special fee for riding classes?

Students pay a fee for each riding class they are enrolled in for each semester. Currently the riding fee is $850.00 per semester, per riding class.

Is financial aid available to Equestrian Studies students?

There is an Equestrian Science Scholarship based on riding skill awarded to qualified incoming first-year students. There are many types of financial aid available to qualified students ranging from scholarships to work-study programs.

Will I learn to start colts at Stephens?

Many of our donation horses are training projects that need re-schooling to correct resistances and build good habits. All of the seat instructors integrate a complex training program for green, sour, finished, lesson and show horses within the applied curriculum. The principles of training that we teach can be applied to horses of any age or stage in their education. Our applied courses represent an integrated approach to applied riding and training; they are not simply "riding lessons." Groundwork techniques such as leading, longeing and long-lining are included in all applied classes. Advanced riders are often paired with a training assignment for the duration of a "project" experience. The serious and committed equestrian student will find many opportunities to work with an instructor who will select an appropriate horse and appropriate times to engage in vigorous training with a project horse. Our approach to training allows us to tailor the EQS education to each student's ability level and interest.

How many times a week will I ride?

Riding classes are scheduled for twice per week—either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. The faculty set lab hours that allow students extra riding time outside of class. Extra riding lessons are set based on faculty availability. Our faculty often will work with students outside of class on Fridays and weekends.

What are my duties at the barn, and how much time will I spend there?

As a student, your main responsibility is the care of the horse you are to ride in class that day. The horse must be properly groomed and tacked before you mount, and thoroughly cooled out and groomed after the ride. Tack is cleaned after each class. In addition, all equine majors are assigned one keeper horse to care for each semester. This requires the student to be responsible for basic care such as daily grooming, clipping and exercise when pasture turn out is not permitted. This allows students to work hands-on the moment they step on campus. It allows students to begin to understand the time and dedication it takes to manage and care for horses. For equine majors, the desire and drive to be working with horses should make the opportunity to have one horse to care for a semester a privilege.

Do you hold clinics?

Absolutely! In the past years we've offered clinics and seminars by famous equestrian personalities such as David O’Connor, Melanie Smith Taylor, Smith Lilly, Kendra Weis, Christian and McKrell Baier, TJ Santaferra, Lacey Meester, Kim and Fran Crumpler, Brett and Susi Day, Bennie Sargent, Mari Jebens, Molly Hunt, Paul Cronin, Melissa Moore, Robert Gardiner and many more. Clinics are open to all interested students.

May I bring my own horse?

Bringing your own horse is not discouraged, but you may find that caring for your horse takes time away from your studies and campus activities. Boarding at Stephens is not guaranteed. Students interested in boarding should seek out local boarding stables around the Columbia area. Students interested in boarding may reach out to the department for a list of boarding facilities. There are many to choose from close to campus.

May I bring my own saddle?

Yes. Although each school horse has its own tack and grooming equipment, many students wish to ride in their own saddle. Student saddles may be used if they fit the horse being ridden. The faculty will determine if a personal saddle is permitted to be used.

Where do you show?

Stephens participates in a number of horse shows each year, from local schooling shows to "A" rated national shows. The saddle horses go to The American Royal in Kansas City, The St. Louis National Charity Horse Show and UPHA Chapter V. Western horses go to many Missouri Horse Shows Association shows and have shown at the All American Quarter Horse Congress and the Quarter Horse World Show. Hunters and jumpers go to many well-known shows in the Midwest such as The American Royal and the St. Louis National Charity Show, and have shown in Germantown, Tennessee and Des Moines, Iowa "A" shows. We host a variety of shows throughout the year, including schooling shows and Missouri Horse Shows Association recognized shows. All students are invited to participate in these events. Estimated costs of showing are listed in the Equestrian Handbook.

Will I have an opportunity to show as a freshman or transfer student?

Yes, if you show the interest and the ability and if horses are available. Anyone who desires to show will be given the opportunity.

Do I have to show?

No, showing is not a requirement. However, showing is recommended for students who plan on pursuing the teaching and training track of the major. Horse showing teaches poise, sportsmanship and responsibility, and allows students to come in contact with prospective employers. Students who want to come along to shows to groom and help out are always welcome.

Tell me more about the Columbia Community.

Ranked many times over as one of the best college towns in America, Columbia is home to 36,000+ college students and 118,000 residents. Columbia has it all: big-time college sports; film, music and arts festivals; a high energy arts community; amazing recreation; and a great downtown with lots of places to eat, shop and check out the latest bands. Our community offers outstanding healthcare options, as well as excellent educational opportunities for every level of student (including our own Children's School).

Downtown Columbia is called The District. Here you’ll find 20 square-blocks of shopping, dining, dancing and people-watching. Here there’s something for every interest and lifestyle. And it's all just steps from campus. See some of our festivals and music events: Roots N Blues N BBQ, True/False, 9th Street SummerFest and Unbound Book Festival (on the Stephens campus)

We’re known for our extensive system of parks and trails. Go for a hike at Rock Bridge State Park or on the award-winning MKT Trail, rent a kayak or canoe at Finger Lakes State Park, or toss a disc at Harmony Bends Disc Golf Course. Tennis courts, golf courses, lakes and pools give you lots of options for outdoor recreation. Bringing a pet to campus? Take the pup to one of our dog parks; Twin Lakes Dog Park is a favorite. Biking is popular here, and we offer a Bike Share program. Take advantage of Bike Boulevard, which runs through Stephens’ campus and includes nearby Stephens Lake Park and downtown access at Tenth Street.

We hear it all of the time. Columbia, Missouri, is a great place to live. But you don’t have to tell us twice. We’ve been named:

  • Top 100 Place to Live (six consecutive years) 
  • A Best City for Entrepreneurs 
  • The Best Place to Live in Missouri

And much more. From "Most Romantic" to "Least Stressed" to a "Best City for Working Women," the list goes on and on. Get the whole picture. Read what Livability.com says about Columbia, Missouri.

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