William Woods University began offering equestrian classes in 1923. In 1972, it was the first university in the world to offer a four-year degree in equestrian science. Today, William Woods University is among the highest ranked for its equestrian programs, still known for its work at the forefront of meeting the demands of the $102 billion annual equestrian industry.
The Masters in Education in Equestrian Education was created to meet the needs of an underserved educational demand. The equestrian education market is growing, and it demands professionals who understand both a focused education in the equestrian field, as well as the instructional techniques, theories and strategies to succeed as an educator.
Because William Woods University has strong biology and equestrian programs, there are many pre-veterinarian majors on campus — particularly those who want to work with large animals, like horses. In the last year, the William Woods University pre-vet program has grown by 50 percent, and 41 of the 71 biology majors aspire to be veterinarians.
A new interdisciplinary initiative called the Center for Equine Medicine has been created, and property has been purchased to increase opportunity and experience for students in pre-veterinary, equestrian science and equine administration.
As is the hands-on nature of William Woods University Equestrian programs, the new 17-acre property will enable students with veterinary dreams to experience immersion learning — getting practice and observation of various equine health procedures, some otherwise they may not see until a year into veterinary school. Students will have the opportunity to assist with emergency care and treatment.
The property includes a large indoor riding facility, six horse stalls, an isolation area, and what will be converted into a clinical and experiential learning space. The property also includes a home for the new veterinarian, Dr. Paul Schlitz, who will remain on site full-time to care for the animals, assist with instruction and demonstration, and collaborate with faculty and staff.