Equestrian Club Returns to Ferrum Campus
A new partnership with Healing Strides of Virginia, a therapeutic riding facility in Boones Mill, brings students riding, learning, and service opportunities. In addition to weekly riding lessons and horsemanship clinics to improve their skills, student club members will volunteer five hours each week at the facility in Boones Mill.
College President Jennifer Braaten is enthusiastic about the new club, which already has 14 students as active members. “When the opportunity came our way to collaborate with Healing Strides and bring equestrian back as a club sport, we realized it could be a win-win for both the College and for our students,” she said. “An equestrian club is a perfect fit for Ferrum. Many of our students are horse enthusiasts and have expressed a desire for this type of activity. With this partnership, the time was right.” Dr. Braaten also noted that the Ferrum College motto, “Not Self, But Others,” complements the mission of Healing Strides.
Equestrian club coach Margaret Johnson Cornwell ’02, who competed on the College’s former equestrian team, is equally excited. “The goals for this riding program are to promote safety and develop good horsemanship skills for all levels of riders as well as develop the horses and riders as athletes,” she said. “The great thing about a collegiate riding club such as Ferrum’s is that we can offer riding lessons for all levels of riders from beginners to the most advanced.”
Cornwell also noted that as a club team, Ferrum students will be able to compete in Intercollegiate Horse Show Association shows starting in fall 2014. “We are using this current school year to develop the program and prepare the riders to begin competing next fall,” she said.
Growing interest among students and faculty prompted the College to form the club. Ferrum’s former equestrian activities included an equestrian academic minor and an equestrian program in intercollegiate sports. Gail Summer, vice president for academic affairs, noted that with the formation of the new club, “Some faculty have expressed interest in exploring the potential of bringing back the equestrian academic program after an absence of nearly 14 years,” leading to the possibility that Ferrum’s equestrian offerings may be expanded in the future.