Why You Should Take Equestrian Studies College Courses Online This Summer

A Q&A with The Plaid Horse Publisher Piper Klemm

The Plaid Horse publisher Professor Piper Klemm, Ph.D., is offering her equestrian studies online courses for college credit again this summer. The courses run from May 24 – June 26, 2021, and are being offered through Clarkson University:

• Business and Bias in the Equestrian Industry

• Grit, Toughness, and Contemporary Equestrian Coaching

• English Riding: History, Culture, and Industry Evolution

The Grit, Toughness, and Contemporary Equestrian Coaching class will be offered a second time from July 6 – August 8, 2021.

Prof. Klemm earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012 and became publisher of The Plaid Horse in 2014. She has run her own pony-leasing business since 2011. In addition to teaching in grad school, she has been teaching university-level courses since 2018. Klemm is also the co-author of Show Strides, an equestrian middle grade novel series. 

Tianna Vestri, one of Klemm’s students last summer, said, “I am loving every book, article, lecture, podcast and more that we’re engaging with, and it’s really providing depth to my equestrian experiences and helping me make some great connections. I’m so glad I decided to take these three courses.”

Want more info on the classes? Read on for more in our Q+A with the professor herself and visit

What made you decide to teach equestrian courses in the first place?

I think our industry lacks a lot of structure on how to learn within it. Like most people in the horse business, I have learned much the hard way. Through these courses, we use traditional academic framework to approach the equestrian business and our own knowledge systemically, and using a building block approach. 

Who would benefit from taking these courses?

The great thing about these courses is that everyone can take responsibility for their own learning and equestrian experience, and take away valuable knowledge and data. Riders as young as middle school to parents of riders and excited amateurs all benefit from the courses while adding a great mosaic of experiences to class discussion. The class size is small enough that we can focus on specific situations and tailor the material to be of the most interest to each individual class. 

My child is horse-obsessed but college isn’t on our radar yet. Can I still enroll them? Can I enroll myself? 

Absolutely! Young riders can earn college credit to transfer to the eventual college of their choice while learning about their sport, strengthening their connections, and enhancing their resume. We welcome parents as well! 

I’m not majoring in anything equestrian-related. Is this course still for me? 

Yes! These courses are to expand your knowledge of the sport, yourself, and how to best manage hobbies, business and your approach to our sport. They are a great tool for all majors. They can be transferred per your college’s policies to use credit toward graduation or specific distribution requirement. 

I’ve already graduated from college! How would I benefit from these courses?

This sport is unique because it is a lifelong sport. Handling decision making, finances, emotions, and understanding the market forces can always be improved upon. This investment will benefit you for decades to come! 

What sort of feedback did you get from students last summer on how they were able to implement what they learned into their lives with horses?

Students were able to use decision-making processes to further their careers—including evaluating facility purchases, horse purchases, and investing further into our industry and using techniques learned in class.

Klemm also co-hosts the #Plaidcast and runs various entrepreneurial projects. Her mission is to educate young equestrians in every facet of our industry, and to empower young women in particular to find their voice and story and share them. She shows in the amateur hunter divisions with her horse of a lifetime, MTM Sandwich.

Want more info? Visit theplaidhorse.com/college

*This story was originally published in the April 2021 issue of The Plaid Horse. Click here to read it now and subscribe for issues delivered straight to your door!

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