Delaware Valley University, located in Doylestown Pennsylvania, offers a Bachelor of Science in Equine Management, which is an extensive program and extremely hands-on. Students learn every element of breeding, from learning to breed horses; to the care of foals; and the sales aspect.
“Right now, we have 11 standardbred mares“ explained Jenna Reigle, Breeding Center Manager. “They are DelVal owned, so we get them in foal, we foal them out, and then the yearlings go to the (Harrisburg) sale.”
DelVal Equine Science and Management
Delaware Valley University’s first foal of 2023, Gouda Photo Credit to Delaware Valley University

Jenna started at DelVal with her undergraduate degree, and it was a requirement to get 500 hours of industry experience. At first, she thought about a career in training, but she took an internship in Georgia at a breeding farm, and found she loved the breeding end. After graduation, she worked as a vet tech at Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center, and then that road led her to DelVal in 2017.

Everything with the mares runs with a course in the classroom. “In the spring is our Horse Breeding Management Class and Advanced Reproduction. Horse Breeding Management is a very basic level breeding class, where they learn the basics of breeding, and they get to observe a lot, but then, in the Advanced Reproduction class, they get to actually do more. They spend a lot of time with our vet, ultrasounding the mares; they get to inseminate the mares; and they’re also assigned a mare that they’re responsible for tracking her pregnancy. They’re responsible for her foal watch and for foaling her out, and then getting her bred back.”
In the fall, the studies switch to the yearlings. “We have a class called Yearling Horse Sale Management, and those students are assigned a yearling, and they are responsible for the grooming and the exercising, five days a week. The care of that yearling leads up to the sale.”
She emphasizes that the students get to meet the yearlings during the first week of classes. “If they don’t already know them, they get to meet them, then get to kind of give me a list of who (yearling) they would most like to work with. But I try really hard to kind of match the personality of that student with the personality of the yearling. Once they create a bond with the yearling, they’re really all in, and they, of course, want to see them do well at the sale.”
“Very often”, she adds,” they keep track of them after, and they want to go see them race, and they want to go see them in training. They are excited for them and want to see them do well in the careers that they were made to do!”
The students have many options to plan their future after college, with numerous career paths available. “The students get the opportunity to see what is available to them, because we do a Day of Scholarship at Parx Racetrack. We also experienced a day at Pocono Downs at Mohegan Pennsylvania. I think they (the students) really get to see what jobs are available, some of which are office jobs. It’s a horse-related job, but they may not be in the barn every day.”
Working the Harrisburg sale is always great experience and exposure for the students, and while it wasn’t always mandatory, Jenna feels that it’s an excellent opportunity to broaden their horizons and expand their learning. “It’s such a great networking opportunity for them. I’ve had people work for a private consignor year after year after year, and then they work for that consignor after they graduate! This year, they are required to work with either a private consignor at the sale, or for the sales company.”
Jenna emphasizes the ‘hands-on’ approach of the curriculum and the school. “That is DelVal’s motto, ‘Learning through hands-on experience’. That’s why we have those more basic level classes, to kind of get their feet wet, because then in the upper level classes, they are doing all of the things.”
The majority of the students do enter the program from a horse background. “It is varied, though. They’ve either been riding, or they’ve been in 4-H, or they’ve been in pony clubs. But we do get students that really don’t have an equine background, and they’ve decided that it’s something that they want to do. So they go all in, and they get their experience here at DelVal.”
Victoria is a student in the Yearling Horse Sale Management class, and is busy preparing for the Harrisburg sale. “We’ve learned the basics of how to care for our yearling, the basics, handling, the whole grooming. We just got done with our sale video, so that was also a really good experience.” She and her family own horses, and she originally planned on attending vet school, but her experience with the young horses, stallions and broodmares have led her to pursue something which will allow her to work with them.
A Zoo Science major, Lexus found her love for horses working at the breeding center. “I’m in the Yearling Horse Sales Management class, too, and we spend a lot of time exercising them, taking them to the walker at the Equestrian Center, and the round pen, and we do a lot of their treatments if anything does come up.”
Currently weighing her future, she is contemplating working in the breeding industry. “I really enjoy the breeding aspect, and looking at the pedigrees. The same thing happens with exotic animals or zoo animals, there’s the same kind of matching the sire and the dam to be able to breed to get the best possible outcome.”
Also in the same class, Calista points out the importance of the different aspects of the yearling care that they learn. “We’re responsible for their daily care and exercise, and trying to desensitize them and really get them a little bit better acting for the public.” Matching up the personality of the student with the yearling is key, and a patient student with a bolder yearling is necessary. “If the yearling does test your limits,” she adds, “that (patience) can bring you a lot of success and overcome a lot of mountains with your yearlings in that way.”
The Harrisburg Sale begins Monday, November 6th, and Jenna indicated that they have one yearling selling on Tuesday, four on Wednesday and two on Thursday morning.
Several of Jenna’s students have gone on to veterinarian school, manage breeding farms, or work at a racetrack. With a solid background from this prestigious program, the possibilities are endless for these bright young people, the future of the horse breeding industry.
Cover Photo Credit to Delaware Valley University
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.