What Can You Do with an Equine Degree? Just Ask a JWU Alum

September 2022 Update: Starting with the Fall 2023 semester, JWU’s current equine programs will be restructured into a single Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Studies with the option for students to specialize in Equine Business Management or the fast-growing area of Equine Assisted Services. In addition, the university will offer a new bachelor’s degree program in Animal Science with the option for students to specialize in Pre-Veterinary Studies or Equine Science.

Alongside this exciting new rollout, the university will deliver these new programs in Rhode Island, closer to our central campus. After the completion of the Spring 2025 semester, we plan to close the Center for Equine Studies in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

“Equine Business Management is not just a supplemental degree or concentration in which you just participate in equine activities,” says Tierney Boyd ’11, ’12 MBA. “It isn’t a club or extracurricular activity but a business degree with a focus on the equine industry. It turns what may have been a passionate hobby into a career path. The JWU Equine program is full of passionate students, professors and staff aimed at helping you find your niche in this big industry.”

For Boyd, her niche is being a business owner. She opened her own tack shop, Bits & Pieces, in 2016 with a brick-and-mortar location in Charleston S.C., a retail website, and a mobile tack unit that travels to horse shows. 

Tierney Boyd poses in front of her Bits & Pieces horse show trailer

Tierney Boyd's daughter sitting in front of a clothing display in the Bits & Pieces shop

Equine Career Opportunities

Our alumni have found their calling as veterinarian technicians, equine instructors, journalists, riding apparel vendors and so much more. The opportunities are endless in the Equine industry, so JWU has spent the last 40 years teaching an Equine program that reflects this.

JWU’s Equine Studies Program

“With classes like Intro to Horse Show Management and Equine Genetics, you’re able to dabble in so many aspects of the industry and even stumble upon what you’re truly passionate about,” says Boyd.

You also have the option to select from Equine Business Management/Riding* or Equine Business Management/Non-riding* to further customize your JWU experience. Both options provide a wide variety of elective choices, access to JWU’s state-of-the-art Equine Center,* and plenty of extracurricular activities including seminars, clinics and field trips.

If you love to ride, you can also join our nationally recognized Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) or Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) competitive teams — regardless of your major at JWU. 

Tierney Boyd and JWU students and faculty posing with 2012 IDA National Championship banner

Boyd’s Testimonial 

“As many wonderful JWU memories as I have, the one that sticks out most in my mind would have to be my experiences on the JWU IDA team,” Boyd shares. “I spent quality group and one-on-one time with like-minded horse people. I was able to travel around the country and experience what the ‘real world’ could look like if I worked hard enough. And, of course, there is Coach/Professor Crystal Taylor. To this day I can still call or text Crystal about anything. After three years on the team as an undergraduate and one more while getting my MBA at JWU, I had two titles: 2011 National Champion (Individual) & 2012 National Champion Team.”

If you still aren’t sure what path you want to pursue in life (is anybody ever sure?), take comfort in the fact that Boyd wasn’t sure either before she started at JWU. “I was able to dig down with each course to find out what my particular interests and strengths were,” she says. “Did I want to go into professional horse show management? Did I want to become a trainer? Breeder? Barn manager? Of course, when starting my JWU journey I had absolutely no idea what path I wanted to take. JWU’s Equine program allowed me to explore those options.”

This article was also featured in the December issue of The Plaid Horse.

*See headnote for changes to JWU’s Equine programs.