Houghton College’s equestrian center has been named one of the “20 Most Amazing College Equestrian Centers” by Best Value Schools, alongside major universities such as Michigan State, Penn State, Stanford, and Kentucky. To be considered in this list, a college must provide a variety of courses in any style of riding discipline, state-of-the-art equipment, and be known and well-regarded in the equine industry.
Houghton College’s Equestrian Center totals 386 acres and is home to five barns, one indoor arena with a classroom attached, and three outdoor arenas, including an outdoor jumping ring. There is also a dressage arena with a permanent judge’s stand, multiple pastures, and cross-country trails that enable riders of any skill level to witness the beauty of the Genesee River valley.
“The Houghton College Equestrian Center is a place where each student and each horse is regarded as one of God’s treasures to be taught, developed and encouraged in a way that fulfills the talents and passions of each one,” stated Professor Jo-Anne Young, director of the equestrian program.
The idyllic rural setting provides an ideal training ground for students who learn and train under Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) professors and/or Olympic and Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI)-certified clinicians. Graduates go on to careers as coaches (up to international level), trainers (both in the U.S. and abroad), equestrian facility managers, college/university equine studies professors, directors of year-round riding programs at lesson barns and camp/conference centers, equine sales, and other related occupations.
Professor Young and the equestrian staff members have played pivotal roles in providing safe, correct training to students and community members, dedicating countless hours to the development of curriculum which, along with the above, focuses on humane treatment, safety, and promoting good business practices.
Along with training, students have the ability to instruct at a popular equestrian summer camp hosted by the college. The camp is comprised of six week-long sessions with a maximum of 20 campers each week, offering a close-knit communal atmosphere. Students are also encouraged to manage shows and clinics and teach riding lessons to community members once they have received their CHA certification.