Oklahoma ranks fourth in number of horses nationally and first in number of horses per capita.
According to a 2012 study by The Innovation Group, the equine industry has an economic impact of $3.6 billion on the state, while providing more than 25,000 full-time equivalent jobs.
“There is a high demand in this state and others across the country for people with advanced training and knowledge in the equine area and employers are specifically looking for students that have degrees where equine was their primary area of focus,” said Steven Cooper, associate professor in Oklahoma State University’s Department of Animal and Food Sciences.
With such a large number of horses and high demand for knowledgeable equine industry professionals, OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources is doing its part to fill the void. A first-of-its-kind program, the Equine Enterprise Management certificate program, will be offered to any undergraduate student at the university.
“The program will get students career-ready with an applicable skill set to allow them to integrate into the horse industry,” said Cynda Clary, CANSR associate dean. “The Equine Enterprise Management program will be of great value to our students and the equine industry as a whole.”
Students in the program must complete a required number of hours in equine courses while meeting specific core requirements. These courses will provide both scientific training as well as practical experience within the equine concentration regardless of the student’s major.
“This program also incorporates some business-related courses, which could prove to be beneficial to students wishing to own and operate their own equine enterprise,” Cooper said. “This certificate program will help us provide students with documentation that they have received this type of training while requiring a primary focus in the equine courses.”
Students will receive a certificate upon completion in Equine Enterprise Management that would be registered officially on their transcript.
Story by Sean Hubbard