By BVS Staff
For horse lovers and dedicated horse owners, the search for the perfect college often necessitates a search for the most amazing college equestrian centers. Arenas, box stalls, jumping courses, and show facilities — horse owners want only the best for their four-legged partners. To make it easier for the rider heading off to college, we went on a search for the 20 most amazing college equestrian centers and found these. Each facility on this list is well-regarded in the industry (meaning they are known for taking great care of their equine tenants), offer state-of-the-art equipment, and include a variety of courses for any riding discipline.
Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center
Albion College’s Held Equestrian Center is as functional as it is amazing. The facility’s website accurately boasts that they are a “340-acre classroom experience….with leather seats.” Indeed, the state-of-the-art center includes some of the finest barns of any college in the Midwest, stalls for 79 horses, locker room space for riders, an indoor arena with heated viewing areas, and two outdoor arenas, including a 250’ x 300’ grass jumping arena. Thirty-seven manicured pastures are perfect for warm-weather turnout, while on colder days, horses can be exercised with the top-of-the-line European-style horse walkers.
Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center
Horse lovers at Alfred University will love the school’s 400-acre equestrian center. In addition to offices and classrooms, the state-of-the-art facility includes a mirrored indoor arena, two lighted outdoor arenas, 40 acres of turnout fields, and enough stalls for 40 university-owned horses and 14 student-owned horses. When student equestrians aren’t taking lessons or competing on any one of the four equestrian teams, they can enjoy hacking along the five miles of trails that wind through the woods and around Foster Lake.
Gunby Equine Center
Berry College in Georgia has repeatedly been named one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States, and its equestrian center is definitely consistent with that honor. The 185-acre facility includes five buildings, 64 stalls, multiple tack rooms and wash stalls, an outdoor arena, two round pens for lunging or light training work, 180 acres of pasture, and miles of mountain trails to enjoy a hack. Recently, the Center added a state-of-the-art covered arena complete with attached classrooms, a concession stand, judges stands, and seating for 400 spectators. In addition to programs in equine management and various riding disciplines, the Center also maintains an active breeding program.
Equine Education Center
Cazenovia College has a long tradition as one of the premiere equestrian programs in the nation. Its 240-acre Equine Education Center has a large indoor arena, multiple outdoor rings, and a number of turn-out paddocks. The school owns more than 70 horses, including Thoroughbreds, Warmbloods, and Quarter Horses, breeds that have traditionally proven the most successful in equestrian competition. Students have access to top-of-the-line jumps and other equipment, while lessons that don’t take place on horseback occur in network wired classrooms with views of the arena.
Centenary College Equestrian Center
A tree-lined drive and picturesque white fencing greet visitors to the equestrian center at Centenary College. The facility boasts three large arenas, including the impressive USET Building, a show-ready indoor arena complete with a heating system, elevated judge’s booth, attached classrooms, a concession stand, and a public address system. The facility even caters to cross-country riders by offering a natural-terrain hunt field. But the most impressive feature of all may just be the main barn. In addition to the usual tack and grain rooms, the heated barn includes 60 stalls for student- and college-owned horses, a veterinary pharmacy, a fully stocked supply room, and an IHSA Team Room. Two additional barns and 12 turnout paddocks complete this state-of-the-art college equestrian center.
Suzanne Hoerner Equestrian Center
Earlham College hosts the only entirely student-run cooperative collegiate equestrian program in the country. The program is at The Suzanne Hoerner Equestrian Center, where riders can enjoy two arenas (an indoor and an outdoor) and miles of back campus trails. Student and college-owned horses graze in four pastures, while the heated 25-stall barn is designed to keep both riders and horses comfortable. Students can sign up for lessons, board their own horses, or compete on Earlham’s competitive equestrian team.
Ellsworth Equestrian Center
Ellsworth Community College
Very few community colleges have an equestrian team or an equestrian facility. Of the few that do, there may be none more impressive than the Ellsworth Equestrian Center. The 72,000-square foot facility includes more than 100 stalls, a 300-seat show arena, a smaller warm-up arena, and a full heating system for those rainy winter show days. The Center is a hub of activity year-round, and hosts everything from horsemanship clinics to horse shows and breeder expositions.
Emory & Henry Intermont Equine Center
Emory & Henry College
With 14 national championships since 2001, the equestrian program at Emory & Henry College is one of the most accomplished in the country. So perhaps it’s not surprising that the school would have an equestrian center as impressive as its riding team. The 120-acre facility has two indoor arenas and an outdoor arena, nine large paddocks for turnout, and more than 120 stalls for both student- and college-owned horses. The facility is especially well equipped for those who jump. USA Equestrian regulation jumps can be found in the arena, while a full cross-country course is also set up on the property.
Houghton College Equestrian Center
Houghton College students majoring in Equestrian Management or Equestrian Recreation have a fantastic facility at which to work on their craft. The beautiful 386-acre equestrian center includes five barns, pastures ranging in size from three to seven acres, a large indoor arena with a heated classroom attached, an outdoor stadium jumping ring, and a dressage arena complete with a permanent judge’s stand. A complete cross country course — with jumps appropriate for introductory, beginner-novice, novice, and training levels — meanders through woods and hayfields overlooking the gorgeous Genesee River Valley.
Meredith Manor International Equestrian Center
Meredith Manor International Equestrian College
As its name suggests, Meredith Manor International Equestrian College is the only school in the world dedicated entirely to equine-themed studies. Thus, the 130-acre campus absolutely caters to riders and horses. Tucked into a gorgeous valley, the campus includes nine barns, a farrier and equine massage therapy shop, feed sheds, classrooms, laboratories, and a whopping seven indoor riding arenas. While the college doesn’t place a huge emphasis on showing, the indoor Randolph Arena hosts a number of schooling shows each year, while a dressage team competes in the Intercollegiate Dressage Association.
Horse Teaching and Research Center
Michigan State University
The Horse Teaching and Research Center at Michigan State University offers its students far more than the usual riding lessons and a spot on a competitive equestrian team. Since the 1940s, MSU’s Animal Science Equine Program has been one of the top breeding programs in the country, and the school has bred countless world-caliber Belgians, Percherons, Quarter Horses, and Arabians. For those more interested in riding horses than breeding them, the 100-acre Center boasts a show/training barn, a large indoor arena, classrooms, and plenty of pastures for turnout.
Murray State University Equine Center
Murray State University
The Equine Center at Murray State University plays host to the Equine Instructional Facility of the Equine Science department, as well as four intercollegiate horse show teams: hunt seat, stock seat, the Rodeo Team, and the Dressage Club. Facilities include the University Barn (for University-owned horses), several barns for student-owned horses, a lighted outdoor arena, a dressage arena, several round pens, and numerous turnouts and pasture spaces. For those studying in the Equine Program, the Center includes both traditional classroom spaces as well as hands-on areas for the study of equine management, reproduction, exercise physiology, and nutrition.
Pennsylvania State University
Penn State students studying in the Department of Animal Science have access to the university’s Equine Facilities. The center includes two horse barns, an indoor arena, a round pen, and multiple paddocks and pastures for the school’s more than 60 registered Quarter Horses. The research program maintains mares, stallions, and foals, and therefore even has a breeding shed and laboratory for semen collection and artificial insemination. Each year, the Equine Facilities hosts the Penn State Equine Science Showcase and Registered Quarter Horse Sale, one of the premiere Quarter Horse shows in the region.
Intermountain Equestrian Center
Rocky Mountain College
There is a distinct “cowboy” feel at the Intermountain Equestrian Center, the primary equestrian facility for students at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. The Center consists of two indoor riding arenas, an outdoor arena, four barns with a total of 70 stalls, indoor and outdoor wash racks, a whopping 10 round pens, and a multitude of trail riding opportunities throughout adjacent public lands. And while most college equestrian centers have waiting lists or limited spots for personal horses, Rocky students who wish to bring their own horses to college with them can board them in a specially designated boarding area specifically for that purpose.
Stanford Red Barn
Stanford University’s historic Red Barn goes back all the way to the time when what is now the university was a world-class horse racing facility. Stanford, aptly nicknamed “The Farm,” is home to one of the West Coast’s most dominant equestrian teams, as well as a number of top-notch trainers. Thus, the facility is state-of-the-art, and includes such features as nearly 100 stalls in the freshly restored Red Barn (the horses in which all receive a daily turnout), two covered lighted arenas with the best available footing, an oversized dressage arena, two lunging areas, and a Eurociser. When student riders aren’t on horseback, locker rooms, showers, a clubhouse, and a picnic area all cater to their enjoyment.
Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center
Sweet Briar College
Located a mere mile from Sweet Briar College’s main quad, the Harriet Howell Rogers Riding Center consistently ranks among the very best college equestrian facilities. The incredible 120’ x 300’ Robin S. Cramer Hall is one of the largest indoor college arenas in the nation, and comes complete with a heated viewing area and a sound system. On the rare occasion the arena is too busy, students also have access to three outdoor rings, a covered lunging area, several schooling fields that include natural obstacles, and a large collection of USEF-approved hunter/jumper fences. When an easy hack is needed, students and horses alike are sure to enjoy the more than 18 miles of serene trails. A large barn houses 80 big box stalls, while five tack rooms, 20 individual paddocks, and 10 large turnout pastures provide for the best possible quality of life for both students and horses.
James L. Child Jr. Equestrian Complex
University of Findlay
The James L. Child Jr. Equestrian Complex is home to the English Equestrian Program at the University of Findlay in Ohio (the Western Equestrian Program is housed in a separate facility). Conveniently located four miles from the main campus, the 32-acre facility offers students access to two indoor arenas, an outdoor arena, a grass jumping field, large classrooms, individual tack lockers, and enough stalls and paddocks for 130 horses. Uniquely, the Complex is also home to the University Equine Veterinary Services, Inc., a veterinary clinic offering emergency and routine services for the general public.
Maine Chance Equine Campus
University of Kentucky
The Maine Chance Equine Campus at University of Kentucky is used almost exclusively for teaching and research. Located six miles from the main campus, on the grounds of the former Maine Chance Farm, the facility includes several barns and more than 25 pastures and paddocks to house the more than 100 horses that reside there. Each state-of-the-art barn is comprehensively designed for a specific aspect of equine science. For example, The Nutrition Barn’s 12 large pens are specifically designed to study the effects of dietary changes on growing horses, exercising horses, and broodmares, while a laboratory facility handles everything from in vitro incubators to equipment necessary for studying atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
Equine Education Center
Utah State University
Utah State University’s Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Science Department has dedicated itself to educating those interested in working in Utah’s 700 million dollar equine industry. Its Equine Education Center sits on more than 26 acres, and includes a state-of-the-art indoor arena, a 2400-square foot barn, and a classroom complex that can host 100 students at a time. Because of its top-of-the-line facilities, the Center hosts 10-15 equine-related events per year.
William Woods University Equestrian Complex
William Woods University
The Equestrian Complex at Williams Woods University is undoubtedly one of the most amazing of its kind. The Complex is as much about the study of horses as it is the riding. Classrooms include state-of-the-art viewing equipment, while an on-site library holds more than 1,000 books on all aspects of the equine industry. More than 150 show-quality horses are housed on site in four turnout paddocks and four heated barns. Students have the option of riding in two heated indoor arenas, a lighted outdoor arena, a USEF regulation Dressage arena, a USEF regulation jumping arena, or a 40-acre cross-country course.