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Riding/Equestrian Program at Sweet Briar College, Sweet Briar, VA

This blog contains direct quotes from websites as of 2023. Programs and policies do change, at colleges, from time to time, so please check with the colleges directly to receive any updates. These are not, necessarily, the biggest, best, or most popular programs at the college, but they are the ones that just “caught my eye” as unique, special, interesting, or just plain awesome. They are randomly listed in the blog section of this website. Enjoy!

From the Sweet Briar College website, 2023: “Renowned for Excellence. Welcome to the best equestrian program of any liberal arts college in the country. We offer exceptional indoor and outdoor riding facilities and quality horses that partner with riders at every level.

“We value each rider equally—from novice to advanced. Students develop into competent and well-rounded horsewomen who are skilled and knowledgeable in the hunter/jumper discipline.

“At Sweet Briar, you’ll share a love for horses that unites you in ways you never thought possible, whether it’s something you’ve always wanted to try or you’ve been riding all your life. We believe equestrians become exemplary leaders, in any field. They have remarkable tenacity and discipline, they understand what great teamwork demands, and they’re passionate about empowering and mentoring others.

“It’s the kind of community that’s hard to keep to yourself. In fact, it’s not unusual for the roommates of riders to tag along on a practice day — and end up on one of our riding teams.

“Our program focuses on the hunter/jumper discipline, heavily influenced by the modern forward system of riding. More than 20 different courses of instruction are offered, with three to six riders per class. Small classes allow for personalized instruction that fosters partnership between rider and mount.

“Competition: Our equestrian athletes continue to develop their mental focus and refine and strengthen their position, all while setting and achieving goals. Whether competing in a collegiate setting, where the horse is unknown, or on a familiar mount, students learn to assess the situation and use their aids to create a winning performance from each horse they ride.

“Recreation: Sweet Briar has much to offer students who wish to ride primarily for enjoyment, recreation or fitness. Riders can improve their partnership with the horse by refining their aids in the ring, enjoying a quiet hack across campus or donning a costume for a Halloween-themed show of fun and games.

“Training/Schooling Horses: We offer schooling-oriented classes for riders interested in training concepts. Classes start with groundwork and natural horsemanship, then progress using a systematic approach to developing skills applicable to a range of horses and specialties.

“Field Riding: From relaxing walk-and-talks to exhilarating fox hunting, field riding has always been integral to Sweet Briar’s program. Riders develop confidence as they explore Sweet Briar’s campus and trails, which provide ample opportunities to hack out. Advanced riders may have the chance to experience an actual hunt with a local club.

“Equine Studies Certificate: The certificate program requires 22 to 24 credits of course work. It offers concentrations in management and teaching and schooling. The program combines a strong liberal arts foundation with preparation for a potential career in equine-related enterprises.”

Sweet Briar is one of the 31 colleges featured in my new book (click image for additional information):

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