Riding at Mount Holyoke College

Riding at Mount Holyoke College

Riding at Mount Holyoke College Flynn Vickowski ’14: When I was looking for
a college, I was looking for good academics and a varsity riding team. And that’s very
difficult to find. And Mount Holyoke literally fit it perfectly. The amazing academics,
particularly the amazing science department, and then this nationally ranked team, really draws
in those students that are very high up there academically and also have the caliber of riding
that can just continue the success of this team. Carey Lang ’14: I think that the facilities
are incredible and the instruction is incredible. And just, like, the resources that we have
to use–not only the amazing school horses, but the trainers. There’s really nothing
that this barn is missing, in terms of trainers, and horses, and facilities, and
just friendly people in general. Paula Pierce ’94, Equestrian Center director:
We have three teams here at the Equestrian Center. We have our hunter seat equitation team, which
is a varsity team, and we have our dressage team, which is a club sport, and our western team,
which is a club sport. On all of our teams, there are classes in which riders compete at
the lowest level and at the highest level. C. J. Law is our hunter seat team coach.
Law (to rider): She’ll ride right through that. Rider: Kind of like, ride on straight and ask.
Law: And just keep trusting your eye on what you see. Vickowski: You really see differences in people
who come here. She’s like, “Oh, you’ve got that wrong with you, I can fix that in two seconds.”
And you see a brand-new rider. She’s amazing. Pierce: Dee Loveless coaches our dressage team,
and Dee is a competitive FEI-level rider herself. And Kelli Wainscott coaches our western
team. Kelly is an active western competitor in the New England area.
Lang: We practice once a week, on Fridays, so that’s my only team practice during the
week. But I’m also enrolled in dressage PE classes, so that I can still be riding even
when I’m not practicing with the team. Pierce: Each team practices once a week, usually
on a Friday. In addition to that, our PE classes run Monday through Thursday. So a rider that
is on the varsity team is required to be in a PE class. None of our students on our club
teams are required to be in a PE class, but many of them avail themselves of the
opportunity. A student may be riding with her coach in her PE classes or she may be
riding with a different instructor. Lang: The great thing about the Mount Holyoke
riding program is that you ride a bunch of different horses every time. So I can ride a
different horse every day and it really helps to improve my catch riding. So now I feel
totally comfortable getting on an unknown horse, whether it’s at a competition or a
friend’s horse, or anything like that. Becky Hicks ’12: I’ve boarded a horse here, a
few different horses, actually, over the course of my four years. The barn staff here is
wonderful. They take such good care of the horses. They always have an eye out for you and
what’s in your horse’s best interest. They really do the best they can with the facility
they have here, which is absolutely beautiful. Pierce: While we do ask students to take an
active role in taking care of their horses at the Equestrian Center, we offer full-service boarding
with daily turnout. We have a 65-stall barn with heated wash stalls and heated tack rooms.
Many students feel that they need to pursue an equine management degree in order to have
a career with horses. You’re going to come out of Mount Holyoke with a liberal arts degree,
which is going to give you the opportunity to go and do anything you want with that degree,
whether you want to pursue equine law, whether you want to pursue veterinary science, or
whether you want to run your own barn. Hicks: Everyone here is going to work so hard
to develop you as a rider and develop your skills. And also give you an opportunity to meet a wide
variety of equine professionals. You meet many, many people when you’re a part of a facility this
large that also is this serious about its riding and this nationally renowned.
Vickowski: You can really feel the support of the entire team, and especially when we do well
consistently, you can really feel it just building and building and building until the end
of the year. And just, like, our most important events–like today, we have zones–and we’re
just gunning to go to Nationals again. And just, every show we go to, like even Nationals,
we have an adventure every time. Student: Over my course of time here at
Mount Holyoke, I’ve really, I think, learned a lot about myself through riding and through
the relationships we have with the horses here. Pierce: If I want a student to take anything away
from her experience with the Mount Holyoke College Equestrian Center, it’s how to put
her horse first while pursuing her sport at the highest level.

3 thoughts on “Riding at Mount Holyoke College

  1. One of the other great things that the members of this video fail to mention that is really important is the community within the barn and the riders. It's great watching this video and being able to say that you know all of the people riding or speaking in the video because we are all that close with each other. When you go to the barn, you see the same people and make friends with them even if you never see them outside of the barn. I <3 this school and am so happy I chose to go there!

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