Asbury University Launches New Major in Equine Assisted Services – Asbury University
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Asbury University Launches New Major in Equine Assisted Services

Program will offer opportunities for healing through horses

October 5, 2022

student with a horseWILMORE, Ky. — The Asbury University Equine Program is launching a new major this fall in Equine Assisted Services (EAS) which combines horse husbandry and human health services and therapies, putting students at the forefront of an innovative new field that addresses the unique needs humans are facing in a modern world.

“This major is for students who are interested in learning how to incorporate equines into services for humans, including healthcare services, education services, and adaptive riding services,” said Cathrin Wilbanks, assistant professor of Psychology and Equine Studies. “We are at a prime place to provide students a career route that makes sense and leads to a job in the equine industry.”

Courses within the EAS major include therapeutic riding instruction, equine facilitated mental health, and others relating to both equine management and psychology. With this major, students can prepare for community-level and clinical equine therapy job opportunities in fields relating to mental health and physical therapy. The major is one of several key areas in which Asbury’s Equine Program is seeing growth. In May, Asbury broke ground on a 29,000-square-foot facility to accommodate EAS in addition to a new Western Riding club and Police Service Mounts growth. The new Henry and Elsie Bayless Arena, includes 26 stalls and a Western Riding arena on Asbury’s 343-acre, riverfront Equine property. The new facility is scheduled to be complete by mid-fall 2022.

“Equine Assisted Services is a relatively new concept,” said Equine Program Director and founder Harold Rainwater. “We are exploring a new frontier by uniting horses and the needs of people with God.”

Wilbanks noted that Asbury students already volunteer at local rehabilitation facilities utilizing the tools of Equine Assisted Services, and that many new doors of opportunity in this field are opening. Wilbanks and Rainwater believe it’s not by accident that there is something special about the mutually beneficial horse-human relationship, and EAS provides more in-depth research and creates best practices surrounding the applications of that relationship.

“Rarely ever is that explored in the equine field,” Wilbanks said. “If we really believe that there is something healing to the horse-human relationship, that it’s not just accidental … we are just at the tip of the iceberg of really trying to figure out what does that actually look like?”

The new major will help put students on the forefront of a new field of research and clinical practice. Also, Equine students benefit from the +1 Master of Business Administration program. The Dayton School of Business offers an Equine Management concentration which contains a robust business management curriculum, supplemented by courses focused on success in equine management. This 36-credit program includes 15 credits in core M.B.A. courses and 21 credits in business management courses, including equine management courses covering topics such as equine legal issues and equine sales and marketing.

Visit the Equine Degree Programs page for more information.