Equine Faculty & Staff

Program Advisor is Karen Tolson. Contact her at tolsonk@cf.edu.

Dr. Judy Downer with her horseJudy Downer

Professor Equine Studies and Equine Program Manager

Ph.D. Animal Nutrition, University of Delaware

M.S. Animal Nutrition, University of Kentucky

B.S. Animal Science, Rutgers University

Judy joined the College of Central Florida in 2005 as Faculty to develop the new Equine Studies program. Prior to joining CF, Judy was Director of Clinical Development at Nutramax Laboratories and Manager of Clinical Development at Fort Dodge Laboratories. She brings 18 years of pharmaceutical and nutritional research to her role at CF. Judy is also a lifetime equestrian, competing as a junior rider in the Quarter Horse breed shows and 4-H back in her home state of New Jersey. Judy began to focus on dressage in the late 1980’s and completed her USDF rider medals (Bronze, Silver and Gold) in 2004 on Dux, a Danish warmblood gelding, and currently competes at Grand Prix on Wunderbar. In 2016 she completed the requirements to become a USEF “R” dressage judge, as well as earning Level 4 Equine Facility Manager through the Certified Horsemanship Association. She is an active competitor, trainer and coach in the dressage discipline. In 2013 she coached the CF Intercollegiate Dressage Team to a 4th place finish at the IDA National Championships and in 2014 coached a CF rider to the national championship in the Upper Training Division of IDA. She is passionate about equine education, focusing on exercise physiology and nutrition. She also teaches business skills for the equine industry.

Dr. Marsha Pidherney and her horseDr. Marsha Pidherney

B.S. in Biology, North Texas

M.S. in Neuroscience, Texas Women’s University

D.V.M. Oklahoma State University

Dr. Pidherney teaches Equine Reproduction, Equine Medicine, and Equine Anatomy and Physiology courses at College of Central Florida. Involved with horses since the time she could walk, Dr. Pidherney has been fortunate to have many good teachers. Her Uncle George taught her that dogs eat the hoof trimmings not the actual shoes and she learned how to groom, saddle and exercise horses at Bethpage and Stoneyhill Stables. Upon graduating with degrees in both biology and neuroscience Dr. Pidherney taught college biology courses and later conducted research in biology, authoring over 15 publications. Dr. Pidherney then entered the veterinary college at Oklahoma State University. During her senior year she served on the vet school’s foaling team and was president of the Stillwater Kennel Club. She has worked with equine practitioners in New York, Oklahoma and Florida as well as the Reproduction Unit at Colorado State University.

When away from the classroom, Dr. Pidherney is busy running Sumter County Equine Service, a full-time equine veterinary service. She enjoys trail rides and dressage and also loves training border collies, gardening, swimming and spending time with friends and family.

Marie Davidson jumping on her horseMarie Davidson

M.Ed. in Equestrian Education, William Woods University

M.Ed. in Bilingual/Multicultural Education, Northern Arizona University

B.A. in Liberal Arts & Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University

Marie currently works as an Adjunct Professor and as Staff Assistant for the Equine Studies Department in addition to managing her own part-time instruction and training business now based in northwest Ocala. She has been a career horsewoman for over 30 years with experience in eventing, hunters, equitation, dressage, reining, racing, and endurance. She is a Graduate A of the United States Pony Club, and a two time long listed rider for the United States Olympic Three-Day Event Team in 1984 and 1988. She was chosen to train with the United States Equestrian Team as USCTA Leading Junior Rider of the Year in 1981 and has been operating a successful training and instruction business since then. She has also managed Wooden Place Farm, an equine rehabilitation and training operation, Triangle Farm, a Hannoverian breeding business and has served as Office Manager for the Cave Creek Equine Surgical and Diagnostic Imaging Center. 

Classes taught: Introduction to Equine Science, Co-op Internship, Equine Tack and Equipment, Equine Sport and Competition, Handling and Safety.

Portrait of Kathryn BiggeKatie Bigge

M. Ed in Equestrian Education, William Woods University

B.S. in Equine Business Administration, William Woods University

A.S. in Equine Studies, College of Central Florida

Katie currently works as an Adjunct Professor and as a Staff Assistant for the Equine Studies Department. She has a background in showing American Paint Horses in events including western pleasure, hunter under saddle, horsemanship and equitation. She is a member of the American Paint Horse Association, as well as the Pinto Horse Association of America and is a two time Pinto World Champion. She also enjoys trail riding and camping with her horses.

Classes taught: Handling and Safety, Equine Sport and Competition, Equine Behavior and Psychology, Equine Co-op Internship, Equine Business Management.

Equine Studies

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