Ohio Horse Park in Franklin Furnace set to close
OUS to shift Equine Studies Degree online
By Derrick C. Parker
Scioto Voice Writer
Ohio University Southern (OUS) started its equine studies program approximately 20 years ago. But now, the regional campus is planning on shifting its degree program online and closing its horse park located in Franklin Furnace, Ohio.
Equestrian studies is an associate degree program in which students currently learn about the care, feeding, handling, breeding, and anatomy of horses while also receiving instruction in the management of stables, stud farms, and riding schools. The program at OUS will be shifted online with a focus on equine management, according to OUS Dean Nicole Pennington. Current students in the program will be able to complete it at the horse park during the 2019-2020 school year, or, have the option of transitioning into the online course. New students will be enrolled directly online.
Ohio University Southern is only one of four colleges in the nation that certifies students to be horse riding instructors. The campus made the decision to close the park and transition online in response to higher costs, declining enrollment, and a dismal graduation rate in the degree field. The equine studies program has had just an average of 25 students over the last 7 years, which a graduation rate of less than 25%.
The Ohio Horse Park also has an internationally accredited therapeutic riding program. The program works with children and teens with varying degrees of disabilities, including autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy, PTSD, learning disabilities, and more.
The park is set to officially close its doors on June 30th, 2020. All horses owned by the park will be adopted out by that time.