Animal science program brings horses to campus

Faith Auslund
Magazine assistant editor

NGU recently acquired four horses and 50 acres of land less than a mile off campus, and is using these resources to create an Animal Science program.

Thomas Allen, college of science professor, is designing the academic aspect of the new Animal Science program, which has a special focus on equestrian studies.

The program will start in the Fall 2014 semester and several veterinarians will be hired to teach classes.

Allen says, “There are two tracks [of the program]. One track is purely equestrian, and that is for the student who wants to know more about the horse: the physiology, the anatomy, nutrition, how to ride, and how to teach how to ride.”

He continued, “The second track is a pre-professional track. That is for the student who wants to go to vet school, or wants to go to grad school and do research.”

Allen said that this degree would resemble a biology degree. Students will be required to take five chemistry classes and many other science courses.

Current NGU science professors, including Allen, will help teach some of the classes.

Allen said, “Many of the courses are typically our biology classes, so they will be with the biology students. As they become solid juniors and seniors [students] will start specializing in equestrian classes.”

Vet Tech/Equestrian Degree

He added that there would be 25 classes specialized for the vet tech/equestrian degree. Some of these include: anatomy and physiology of a horse, techniques of teaching horse riding, horse health, careers in the equine industry, fundamentals of equine behavior and horse breeding and development to name a few.

The equestrian training center and accommodations will be located about a mile down highway 253, where the university has 50 acres of land. The facilities will include a covered riding arena and a large dressage contest area, a round pen for training, a large barn with a 30 stall capacity and a full feed and saddle room.

Allen believes the program will be instrumental in helping students get into vet school.

“Getting into vet school is harder than getting into med school. If [students] have a degree in animal science, and especially with horses, [the program] is going to help them significantly.”

Allen pointed out the hands-on advantages and benefits of an animal science degree,“Students that want to go to grad school, they don’t want just a biology degree, they want to be working with animals and studying animals, so this will be perfect.”

The new program will also bring recreational and athletic benefits to the school, “Once we get up and rolling, students will be able to take riding lessons. Some students will be able to bring their horses here and have a place to keep them,” according to Allen.

NGU hopes to add the sport of dressage (which tests a horse and riders’ ability to perform certain tricks and skills) to its athletic program and eventually be eligible to compete against other schools.

Allen explained that the school has decided to offer an Animal Science major first rather than a different medical science program such as nursing.  NGU’s administrators have decided not to offer a nursing program because, even though there is a high need for nursing students in Greenville, there is also a surplus of nursing schools. This surplus would make it difficult for NGU to get certified.

Since NGU is out in the country, the school has some expertise and the ability to fulfill the program’s requirements.