Equine Education Center
EQUINE TEACHING & EDUCATION CENTER
With a growing interest in equine sports, education and demand for equine professionals, universities are in a unique position to teach equine sciences and provide the infrastructure to foster equine-related professions. K-State has experienced marked growth in students with a primary interest in horses. traditionally, these students are enrolled in an agricultural curriculum. However, much of the new interest has come from students enrolled in non-agricultural curriculums who have an urban background and a strong companion animal interest.
From 2001 to 2006, K-State experienced a 208% increase in the number of enrollees in equine-related classes, ranging from horse evaluation and training to nutrition and reproduction management. In addition, the university’s horse judging team has won 10 national horse judging contests since 1998. The women’s equestrian team at K-State has earned nine national titles since 2000, when the program became a varsity sport on campus. K-State’s storied rodeo team continues its 60 plus years of strong competition.
K-State has accomplished these national successes with minimum equine-specific facilities. Each year, the bar is raised higher. State of the art facilities and top-notch faculty play a vital role in the recruitment and retention of the next generation of equine professionals. K-State’s judging teams, rodeo team and NCAA-sanctioned women’s equestrian team compete against other well-equipped universities on a daily basis. The time has come for K-State’s own equine education center.
Academics & Competitive Teams
K-State’s equine education center will house classrooms, hands-on laboratories and state of the art workout and performance arenas and stalls. These facilities will aid in teaching equine science courses. Many of these classes will be part of an equine science certificate that is offered to students, regardless of their major, and to non-traditional students not seeking a degree. The outdoor and indoor covered arenas will serve as workout locations for the university’s equestrian, rodeo, and judging teams and provide and opportunity to host competitions to boost the K-State equine program into the national spotlight. The covered arena will allow students to ride year round, regardless of the weather. Expanded outreach programs will be offered to individuals in the community and held at the equine center.
The modern structure will also house instruction and research in equine-assisted development and therapy for humans. The use of horses in the facilitation of human therapy for a wide number of physical, developmental and psychological problems growing rapidly. This type of therapy is being used for the treatment of childhood developmental diseases, adult neuromuscular and musculoskeletal diseases, trauma-induced disabilities and behavioral disorders. Evidence also suggests this type of therapy may be able to reduce or replace an individual’s medication needs. While there are numerous success stories of equine-assisted therapy, there is a small amount of controlled research data and qualified instructors with a substantial need to fill this void. Graduates of K-State’s equine-assisted therapy program will have conducted research to arrive at research-based, scientific evidence and have the understanding of both the equine and human aspects. This type of curriculum would be beneficial to a diverse field of health care professionals, including physical and occupational therapists, psychologists and general horse lovers.
Land grant universities like K-State, through academic programs, research and hands-on experience in competitive settings, have become natural development centers for educating young equine professionals most likely to return to rural America to pursue equine-related careers. While these professionals have varied backgrounds and interests, they all have a vested interest in the equine industry. K-State is seeking business partners, sponsorships and monetary and in-kind donations in an effort to raise the level of commitment necessary to build a versatile, state of the art equine education center. Such a center will also enhance recruitment and improve retention of young equine professionals. For further information or to make a pledge, please contact Emilie Fink.