Marie Suthers, DVM

All Conference Session: The Human-Horse Connection
as an Academic Discipline

Marie Suthers DVM of the Carroll College Anthrozoology program, Helena, Montana

Be part of the evolution of college equine studies programs to cultivate future practitioners and researchers for our field! In this facilitated interactive forum with live discussion from participants we will seek to identify key areas of interest the that define the academic study of the human-horse connection, and to stimulate further discussion, resulting in the development of more intensive levels of study in this field. Questions to consider include:

  • What are the critical things that people exploring this field should be aware of?
  • What are the components that make the most impact?
  • How can our work help facilitate healing for both humans AND horses?
  • What is the field going to need to address in the future?

As the field of Equine Assisted Services (EAS) has grown over time, it is important gather more information on what is needed to advance this field of study. Questioning current practitioners is a wonderful opportunity to gather this cutting-edge information.




For over thirty years Marie Suthers, DVM have enjoyed a career in veterinary medicine (Ohio State ‘82), from private practice to academia, the nonprofit sector, and back to academia. I have been integral to the field of Anthrozoology for most of my career. In the early 90’s while running a veterinary technology program at Columbus State Community College in Ohio, I developed and delivered an Animal-Assisted Education Certificate Program, one of the first of its kind. Publications included a book and leaders guide, 4-H PetPALS: People and Animals Linking Successfully. From there I was hired by Virginia Tech to develop and direct the Center for Human Animal Relationships at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. In that capacity, I served in leadership roles in the field including President of the American Association of Human-Animal Bond Veterinarians, Board of Directors of the International Society for Anthrozoology, and Board of Directors of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association. I served the country as a Veterinary Medical Officer for the Veterinary Medical Assistance Team of the National Disaster Medical System at the World Trade Center disaster caring for the search and rescue dogs. In 2005, I was awarded the Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year from the American Veterinary Medical Association and in 2006 the Commonwealth of Virginia Distinguished Veterinarian of the Year.

Following Virginia Tech, I decided to try nonprofit work and served as the Director of Community Education for Heifer International. In that capacity, I led Anthrozoology study tours to India, Honduras, Albania and Ukraine. I was then recruited by American Humane Association as a Vice President to develop and direct a brand-new Human-Animal Interaction Division to bridge the existing Animal Protection and Child Protection Divisions. Missing my true love, teaching undergraduate students, I came to Carroll College in 2012. Here I teach all the equine classes as well as the freshman series, canine science, and the senior capstone course, animal welfare. In addition, I lead a group of 15 students on a study abroad to South Africa to examine human-wildlife conflict and conservation.

Dr. Suthers has a son, Benjamin, and the rest of the family includes 4 horses, a Morab Mare, Buttercup; an Appaloosa Mare, Scarlet; a BLM Mustang Filly, River and a Morgan Gelding, Calypso; 2 Standard Poodles, Sunny and Satchmo; a cat, Django; 4 hens, Raven, Moccasin, Velveeta and Crow; and 2 parakeets, BB and Comet.

Dr. Suthers can be reached by email at Please check out the Anthrozoology Program at, .