William Woods University Equestrian Studies: A Degree with Horsepower

Photo of a Saddle Seat, Dressage, Hunter, and Western rider

William Woods University (WWU) is home to the premiere equestrian degree program in U.S. higher education, holding the distinction of being the first university to offer a comprehensive four-year degree program for equestrian students. Offering instruction in all four seats, a WWU Equestrian education is more than just the riding of horses, but also includes the management, administration, and general science of these animals. This well-rounded degree program provides students with an ample opportunity to find a career tailored to their skill sets beyond just being in the saddle, and a greater chance of real world experiences. Students are encouraged to try multiple seats to find which discipline aligns most with their abilities and where their passions lie, allowing them to grow as trainers and keepers. 

To provide primary capabilities with their assigned horses, students are placed with the care and development of the 150 show-ready animals on campus, creating a unique relationship between students and horses. As riders, students will develop bonds with their partnered horse as well as the instructors who give them the best advice for showing and being in the work force. These relationships only deepen the meaning and learning for students as they prepare to join a culturally-rich industry. 

 “Working with the animals provides students with the experience in a million different situations,” said McKenzie Frantz, ’20. “Whether its riding techniques, dietary work, or health/medical concerns, a William Woods student will have seen it all.”

William Woods understands the importance of leadership opportunities, providing four clubs on campus for the involvement of students (equine affiliated or not) to share their knowledge and involvement in the riding community. All students work together to compete and present their skill level at frequent shows held right on campus, further extending their familiarity and drive within the world of equine studies. 

“My students will face obstacles and difficulties throughout their education,” said Jennie Petterson, professor of Equestrian Studies, Western at WWU. “My goal is to help them discover the abilities, talents, and grit that will allow them to be successful in school and throughout their career.”

For more information on this and the many other in-class or online degree programs offered by William Woods University, please visit: https://www.williamwoods.edu/academics/index.html