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Montana Universities Offer Unique Equine Programs  

By Dorinda Troutman, RMR Staff Writer

 

August 2008 Issue

 

     College students who wish to study in Montana have great choices if they wish to follow their equine dreams into real life vocations. Both Montana State University (MSU) in Bozeman , and University of Montana Western (UMW) in Dillon, present extensive equine studies programs.

 

     Under the Department of Animal and Range Sciences, MSU offers an Equine Science Program as an option of the four-year Animal Science degree. It emphasizes science and technology combined with practical aspects of management, horsemanship and training in both Western & English disciplines.

     Professor Sandy Gagnon, head of the MSU Equine Science program, explains, “We have a science-based program. For example, when our equine veterinarian teaches the lameness course, he teaches anatomy right down to tissues and cells, physiology, prognosis and the logical aspect of diagnosis.

     “Most students who are in our program wish to become equine vets or nutritionists, work in the pharmaceutical industry, or operate an equine breeding facility.”

     The equine program is designed to prepare these students for employment in breeding, nutrition, and management of facilities and land, as well as in the allied industries of sales, feed, tack and equipment. The program can be tailored to specific goals with internships, research, and special projects for more emphasis on science, business or range.

     Students have access to the University herd of 50 horses (and must take eight credits of horseback riding), heated indoor and outdoor riding arenas, a 400-acre research farm and a professional horseshoeing school. Gagnon said that about 5% of the students bring their own horses to college.

     UMW offers an Equine Studies Program with a goal of either a two- year Associate of Applied Science or four-year Bachelor’s degree in Natural Horsemanship or Equine Studies. The unique mission of UMW emphasizes experiential learning through projects and field experiences, with small classes all taught by professors.

     Founder of the Equine Studies Program, Dr. John Xanthopoulos, says that “Equine Studies students couldn’t go wrong going to either University. Both are wonderful programs. At UMW we emphasize Natural Horsemanship-based ideology over ag-based science, but we are always thinking ahead for positive change.”

     All students take the core equine classes that give a general knowledge of horses, health care, nutrition, conformation, training, anatomy and physiology, diseases and equine facility management. About 90% of students at UMW bring their own horses to college with them.

     Following core classes, students have several options toward a specific vocational goal:

The Business Management option prepares students to run their own horse business.

The Science option is for students who wish to continue in equine sciences or veterinary medicine.

The Psychology option is geared for students who have an interest in equine assisted learning and/or equine-assisted therapy.

The Natural Horsemanship option teaches horsemanship skills toward becoming a Natural Horsemanship trainer, or for use with a student’s own horses.

     In addition, an Equine Emphasis can be tied to many other degree programs, such as equine art, equine journalism or education. Short outreach courses are also offered in such varying topics as horseshoeing, horse packing, equine massage, equine law, driving and harness, psychotherapy, natural horsemanship, jumping, reining and dressage.

     To complement and enrich Equine Studies, both MSU and UMW have extracurricular Rodeo Teams that compete in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association; and Equestrian Teams that compete in English and Western disciplines under the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association rules and are members of the United States Equestrian Federation.

     MSU information:

http://animalrange.montana.edu/equine-sci.htm;

or contact MSU, Department of Animal & Range Sciences, PO Box 172900 , Bozeman MT 59717-2900 ; or call 406-994-3722.

     UMW information:

www.umwestern.edu/academics/departments/equine/. Contact UM Western, 710 South Atlantic Street , Dillon MT 59725; or call 866-UMW-MONT (toll free) or 406-683-7331.

 

Copyright 2008 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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