Equestrian Studies with Dr. Piper Klemm

College with Dr. Piper Klemm


Join Prof. Klemm for college courses online, covering topics in equestrian coaching, business, and history.

Dr. Piper Klemm received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 2012 and became publisher of The Plaid Horse in 2014. Since 2018, she has taught university-level courses.

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  1. Business and Bias in the Equestrian Industry
  2. Grit, Toughness, and Contemporary Equestrian Coaching
  3. English Riding: History, Culture, and Industry Evolution


June 26 – August 5, 2023 — All Three Courses

Registration is open now!


Despite being ostensibly the sport with the greatest gender equality—men and women compete equally at all levels—the $112-billion equestrian industry of the twenty-first century struggles to address issues of economics, business, and gender. At the younger and lower levels, >90% of equestrians are women, while the sport’s leadership, champions, and Olympians are predominately (>70%) men. Using the interdisciplinary tools of economics, psychology, and gender studies, students in this course will learn how the status quo evolved and can be navigated through cultural norms, customs, and niche market biases. Issues of power and justice as they apply to the coach/rider experience and patterns of abuse within the industry will also be explored. Students will be equipped with an intellectual skillset to navigate through and flourish within the sport.

As the only sport where professional men and women compete equally in every class and Olympians span heights from 5’0” to 6’5”, English riding carries a futuristic mentality on many issues while clinging to customs and tradition in others. This course will present the history, culture, and industry that have led to the current state of hunter, jumper, and equitation competition in the equestrian community. From evolving equine physiology, the rise of horse importation, longer horse shows, and more divisions to shifting societal and economic pressures, we will explore the factors that have influenced this insular yet globe-spanning community. Governing bodies will be evaluated for influence and role of regulation in the current marketplace. Students will encounter English riding through readings and video interactions with professionals in the field.

The equestrian sport industry is changing rapidly due to shifts in social policy, parental involvement, expense, regulation, and mental skills. As a result, successfully coaching and teaching riders means running an equestrian business. This course will focus on identifying and resolving the education challenges facing young riders and how to critically and creatively substantiate which methodologies serve riders best. Given the historic nature of the sport and its traditions, studying the impacts of regulation on horse shows and points systems, micromarkets, and consumer behaviors will provide context for rider growth. Data and texts from sources in both the equine industry and the broader athletic community will support our study of long-standing and contemporary issues in modernizing education in the equestrian industry. 


BEA 110:

Required Reading: 

  • A Step By Step Guide To Starting and Running A Successful Horse Boarding Business: The Comprehensive Book Of Horse Boarding and Effective Barn Management https://amzn.to/3lntAPW, ISBN #978-1545355954
  • Running a Tack Shop as a Business (New Edition) https://bit.ly/3Pc52ap, ISBN #9.78E+12
  • Sport Horse Soundness and Performance https://bit.ly/3LcyB8Q, ISBN #9781570768378
  • How to Run a Profitable Horse Business https://amzn.to/3P3EKal, ISBN #979-8424783975
  • Horse Breeding Business 101: How to start horse breeding business and make huge cash from it https://amzn.to/3skIfPZ, ISBN #978-1708020378
  • Geoff Teall on Riding Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation https://bit.ly/3Ppmrg6, ISBN #978-1-57076-344-1

Recommended Reading: 

  • Essential Equine Studies Book 4- Equine Business Management https://bit.ly/3yvmS27, ISBN # 9.78E+12
  • The Athletic Equestrian https://bit.ly/3ypjm9I, ISBN #978-1-64601-051-6
  • Turning a Horse Trailer into a Mobile Business: What you need to know when repurposing a vintage horse trailer; how to make a horse trailer mobile. Vintage horse trailer mobile bar https://amzn.to/3yoV4N0, ISBN #979-8410396585
  • The Humble Hoof Rehab Guide: A Progress Journal https://bit.ly/3yuWeq9
  • Hoof Physics: How to Recognize the Signs of Hoof Distortion https://amzn.to/3L0kVgJ, ISBN #978-1088020326
  • Sport Horse Conformation: Evaluating Athletic Potential in Dressage, Jumping and Event Prospects https://amzn.to/3vU48aV, ISBN #978-1570765308
  • Physical Therapy for Horses: A Visual Course in Massage, Stretching, Rehabilitation, Anatomy, and Biomechanics https://amzn.to/37pDuxc, ISBN #978-1570769382
  • Eco-Horsekeeping https://bit.ly/3w4D1tW, ISBN #978-1-57076-416-5
  • Equine Law and Horse Sense https://amzn.to/3kWjAwQ, ISBN #978-1641054935
  • The Business of Coaching with Horses: How to Reach More Clients, Feed Your Horses, and Change the World https://amzn.to/3wgxIGu, ISBN #978-1683509936
  • Getting Grit: The Evidence-Based Approach to Cultivating Passion, Perseverance, and Purpose https://amzn.to/3PdC0am, ISBN #978-1622039203

BEA 114:

Required Reading: 

Recommended Reading: 

BEA 115:

Required Reading: 

Recommended Reading: 

  • Inside Your Ride: Mental Skills for Being Happy and Successful with Your Horse https://amzn.to/3lj5GoW, ISBN #978-1929164615
  • Trainer Training: 100 Tips for the Professional Horse Trainer https://amzn.to/3P4yXkW, ISBN #979-8746776334
  • A Man Walks into a Barn https://bit.ly/3FAOaWm, ISBN #978-1-64601-055-4
  • What it really takes to start and run a horse business: and how to do it right the first time https://amzn.to/3wektpP, ISBN #978-1502785107
  • Two Brains, One Aim: A Riding Coach’s Key Concepts for Bringing Horse and Rider Together https://amzn.to/388XMf0, ISBN #978-1570768927
  • Equestrian Rockstars: Solving Your Puzzle for Riding With Confidence and Joy, https://amzn.to/3LVORw5, ISBN #979-8985423303
  • From the Horse’s Point of View: A Guide to Understanding Horse Behavior and Language with Tips to Help You Communicate More Effectively with Your Horse https://amzn.to/3M8wpQE, ISBN #978-0578602462
  • Victory Favors the Fearless: How to Defeat the 7 Fears That Hold You Back https://amzn.to/3Fsj3MD, IBSN #978-0578512860
  • The Confident Rider Mindset: How to Hack Your Mind for Riding Success https://amzn.to/38bx1GE, ASIN #B07P73FSP6
  • Think Harmony With Horses: An In-Depth Study of Horse/Man Relationship https://amzn.to/3KWpJnB, ISBN #978-0914330158

Do you have questions:

  • How is price determined? 
  • Who is working for my best interests? 
  • Did you ever wonder about the inner workings of the equestrian community? 
  • What are my best choices with a limited budget? 
  • How do I expand my equestrian horizon?

You will find:

  • That the intuitive “right” decision can be totally wrong
  • Norms and customs can mask irrational decision making
  • Business as usual looks very different under an economic microscope
  • Understanding total costs will help you make money-saving decisions
  • The long way is the short way
  • Common “make-or-buy” mistakes

Gain these skills and insights: 

  • Learn to calculate the true value of an investment in the industry
  • Learn to “play” the game by making the most of your resources
  • Learn to think more productively, more creatively, more rationally
  • This is a master class in understanding incentives in the horse world.

Are you ready to understand the incentives of those around you, improve your performance outcomes, and make better decisions?


The Plaid Horse Publisher Dr. Piper Klemm
The Plaid Horse Publisher Dr. Piper Klemm with MTM Sandwich. Photo by Sara Shier Photography


Piper Klemm, Ph.D., is the Publisher of The Plaid Horse Magazine. She received her B.S. with Honors in Chemistry from Trinity College (Hartford, CT) and her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley in 2012 studying inorganic lanthanides for molecular imaging in the lab of Professor Kenneth N. Raymond.

She has been the Publisher of The Plaid Horse since 2014, co-authored the Show Strides series for young riders, is a co-host of the #Plaidcast, has a pony leasing business, and runs various entrepreneurial projects. Her mission is to educate young equestrians in every facet of our industry and empower in particular young women to find their voice and story and share them. She shows in the amateur hunter divisions with her horse of a lifetime, MTM Sandwich.

A note from Dr. Piper Klemm: In addition to specific course content, I am happy to discuss advising on barn, goals, sport, personal marketing and branding, as well as collegiate riding and any other topic The Plaid Horse regularly covers. I’m happy to talk about specific instances, tell stories, and candidly answer anything about my own experience and career – learning takes many forms. I will answer every question via email as rapidly as I can.

Listen to Piper chat about her courses and other topics on her podcast appearances.



  • Interest in a lucrative equestrian career
  • Networking and industry connections
  • Resume booster for pre-college or students planning to transfer
  • College credit to ease the load on busy semesters



  • You don’t miss any horse shows or days at the barn
  • Can travel freely
  • Interact with famous equestrians through Guest Lectures
  • Incredible peer group to form friendships and industry networking


Want to help out an aspiring career equestrian? You can donate to tuition here!


  1. US Equestrian Higher Education Scholarship —  US Equestrian awards five $1,000 scholarships to graduating high school seniors committed to continuing their involvement in equestrian sport while in college. Eligibility was expanded in 2021!
    Optimum Youth Equestrian Scholarship — This scholarship is designed to provide opportunities for youth aged 17-27 from marginalized communities to become involved or stay involved in horse sports through financial awards and mentorship.
  2. Don Diego Scholarship for Participants in the Del Mar National Horse Show
  3. SAHJA Scholarship Program
  4. Welsh Pony and Cob Foundation Scholarship
  5. Nation Media’s Annual Diversity Scholarship
  6. Optimum Youth Equestrian Scholarship
  7. SaddleBox Equestrian Studies Scholarship
  8. NSBA Scholarship
  9. Kentucky Horse Council Scholarships
  10. New York Farm Bureau Agricultural Youth Scholarship
  11. United States Polo Association Scholarships
  12. Helen Gurley Brown Foundation (HGB) Genius Grant
  13. Dianne Johnson Legacy Grant
  14. Fundraise your own! (Make sure your name is in the donor’s memo.)
Photo credit © Jodi Trebilcock


“I was able to obtain the knowledge of vast topics within the span of a month, that I can now apply to my future career. The course was very informative and engaging, while maintaining a self paced curriculum. With all the reading, quizzes and the interviews by Dr. Piper Klemm, I was afforded a quality virtual experience with an in person feel.”

“And I can at the very least speak for myself that 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 this summer.”

“This Class has helped me look deeper into what it takes to be in the business. I have consciously been more aware of my wording, as well as thinking deeper on an economic standpoint. With this, I have been more appreciative of my instructor, and my opportunities that I have gotten along the road. Financially, I have been thinking more in terms of long-term instead of just this year or at the show, and what the short-term things within my riding that I can achieve now to make the long-term more successful.”

This course has really pushed me to dig deeper into the economics of the horse business and more critically evaluate the different ventures a horse business may partake in (ex: boarding, training, breeding, sales, etc.). It has emphasized to me the importance of looking at the cold, hard figures and doing numerical analyses to ensure the decision is profitable, which in turn helps the business thrive for longer.”

“This class has helped me gain confidence in making decisions and voicing my opinions. In general, I avoided making any decisions at all for fear of disappointing others. Specifically, I am intimidated by horse people, and feel uncomfortable talking about horse stuff (except with my mom) for fear of being incompetent or telling people things they don’t agree with or don’t want to hear. This class has pushed me out of my comfort zone by allowing me to assert my point of view about horse-related topics, and educated me with information to do so. By practicing my decision-making the past few weeks, I hope to be more confident in making decisions about all aspects of my life.”

You’ve done such an amazing job with the flow of learning in this class and having material dovetail to the questions popping up for us.”


Current Certificate Holders:

  • Katherine Hess, 2021
  • Lindsay Anderson, 2020
  • Amber C. Broder, 2020
  • Alicia Timm, 2020


Kat Fuqua. Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography