Animal Science Department

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

Equine Science

The Program

The Equine Science program offers students an extensive look into the science, research, management and training of horses. From lecture courses and enterprise classes to research and riding teams, students participating in this program have the opportunity for a comprehensive education in the area of equine sciences. Students can also tailor their curriculum to fit more specific equine-related careers such as studying nutrition or assisted reproductive therapies.

Whether students have a minimal background with horses or have grown up on a ranch, the Equine Science program gives exposure to a variety of different facets in the industry. Additionally, Cal Poly is unique in its ability to provide enough natural land resources to sustain a large herd of horses. The Equine Center houses approximately 100 horses of all ages, uses, and disciplines for students to utilize for classes, labs, and riding. Students have the opportunity to take many unique classes at Cal Poly, which follow our “Learn By Doing” philosophy. 

Below is a list of classes available to students. Complete class descriptions can be found in the Cal Poly Catalog. Animal Science majors can select Equine Science for their Career Elective Area, and non-majors can minor in Equine Science.

Equine Courses in the Animal Science Department
ASCI 214 Equine Management ASCI 333 Equine Reproduction
ASCI 224 Equine Science ASCI 344 Human and Equine Communication
ASCI 265 Equine Behavior and Training  ASCI 345 Equine Behavior Modification
ASCI 315 Equine Biomechanics ASCI 346 Equine Nutrition
ASCI 324 Advanced Equine Evaluation ASCI 347 Equine Exercise Physiology

In addition to lecture-based coursework, students have the opportunity to participate in equine enterprises. The enterprises provide experience in the management and training of horses from a hands-on industry perspective. Students typically are responsible for specific duties outside of their weekly scheduled class times, which helps them build self-confidence and independence. Below are the equine enterprises currently offered.

Mare Care Enterprise (ASCI 290)

The Mare Care Enterprise is designed to introduce students to all aspects of basic horse knowledge and horse care. The enterprise is open to students of all majors and experience levels but is primarily directed toward freshman and students with little to no horse experience. After being assigned to a team, students will be responsible for the care of Cal Poly broodmares and will learn about proper horse handling, grooming, and general management. Mare Care Enterprise is a great way to become involved at the Cal Poly Equine Center. This enterprise is offered during the Fall and Winter quarters.

Thoroughbred Enterprise (ASCI 290/490)

Students involved in the Thoroughbred Enterprise are exposed to all aspects of the racing industry. This group will attend select races in the fall, tour breeding and training farms during the winter quarter, and assist with ground training the Thoroughbred foals in the spring. Students also spend time grooming, bathing and clipping yearlings in preparation for upcoming sales. In addition to working with the horses, individuals will spend time researching stallion bloodlines to select appropriate studs to breed with the Cal Poly Thoroughbred mares.

Foaling Enterprise (ASCI 290/490)

The Foaling Enterprise is designed for students who are interested in learning about all aspects of foaling in the equine industry. This class is open for all majors, and freshman through seniors are encouraged to join. In the beginning, students are equipped with the basic knowledge necessary for caring for a pregnant mare. Then students are assigned to horses and assist with the final months of gestation, parturition, and postpartum care. Finally, students are trained to properly care for and handle a foal while assisting with its basic health and nutritional needs during the first few weeks of life. This enterprise is offered during the Winter and Spring quarters.

Equine Nutrition Enterprise (ASCI 490)

The Equine Nutrition Enterprise conducts research experiments on feedstuffs using the Cal Poly Equine Center research herd under the guidance of the enterprise advisor. Students have the opportunity to learn and participate in methods used to objectively evaluate diets, nutrition supplements and feeding strategies. They gain valuable experience working with horses under unique circumstances, including horse handling, ground work and proper care; proficiency using the metric system, and understanding of proper experimental design. This enterprise can take place during any time of the year, including Summer quarter and academic holidays.

Breeding Enterprise (ASCI 490)

Breeding Enterprise students manage the equine breeding programs under the guidance of the enterprise advisor. Their responsibilities include: mare, stallion, and foal management, assisted reproductive techniques, embryo and oocyte transfers and semen collection and analysis. Students work with both the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred broodmares, as well as outside horses. This enterprise is offered during the Winter and Spring quarters.

Quarter Horse Enterprise (ASCI 490)

Students in the Quarter Horse Enterprise are responsible for starting and training a Cal Poly raised Quarter horse. Each student is assigned to one horse for the duration of the enterprise. The horses are trained to work in the arena, on cattle, and are ridden in the hills. The enterprise is only offered during Spring quarter and the horses are sold at the annual Performance Horse Sale. More information about the sale horses can be found at this link.

Mustang Enterprise (ASCI 490)

The Mustang Enterprise oversees the care of the Cal Poly Mustang(s) as well as several other quarter horses. Each of these horses is unique in character and all require varying discipline and training. The primary job is to train and prepare the horses to participate in the showcase of the Mustangs during football games and other university events.

Packing Enterprise (ASCI 490)

This course gives a student the chance to learn better horsemanship by learning how to pack a load onto a horse or mule. Students have a chance, working as a team, to learn how to train an animal to accept a pack load, how to pony a packed animal and a pack string in varying terrains (depending on riding experience). This enterprise focuses on packing for competition at Bishop Mule Days. Not everyone can expect to make the team(s), but everyone is welcome to attend the competition and participate in parts of the show.

Ride at the Equine Center

Students have many opportunities to ride at the Equine Center. Three different riding classes (ASCI 214, ASCI 344, and ASCI 345) are available for all interested students, from beginning to advanced riders. Outside of class, the Cal Poly Equestrian Team (CPET) and the Cal Poly Dressage Team (CPDT) provide horses for team members to ride in preparation for intercollegiate competitions. Both teams compete very successfully at the regional and national levels. More specific information about the Cal Poly Equine Center facilities can be found here.

Equine Center Services

The Cal Poly Equine Center offers a number of services to the public. The Breeding Lab provides the latest in advanced reproductive technologies including embryo transfers, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), stallion collection, artificial insemination, and shipping of frozen and cooled semen. Owners also have the option to board their mares at our facility during foaling and postpartum care. Dr. Fernando Campos-Chillon, a top equine reproductive specialist from Colorado State University, presides over the lab and breeding operations. The CPEC also stands its own stallions.

Every year, the Equine Center offers Cal Poly raised two-year old Quarter Horses for sale. They are handled extensively by students in the Foaling Enterprise and Halter breaking (ASCI 265 Behavior and Training) classes. As yearlings, they live in the hills surrounding Cal Poly and during their two-year old year, the horses are started by students in the Quarter Horse Enterprise. They are trained in the arena to work cattle and are ridden in the hills. All are bred to be performance horses, but they make reliable recreational and ranch horses as well. For more information about our sale horses, please visit

The Equine Center also has colt starting available for outside horses. The horses are boarded at the Equine Center for Fall Quarter and are started under saddle by select students in the Equine Behavior Modification (ASCI 345) class. 

For information about pricing, please click here.


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