Sweet Briar College boasts a herd of 55 well mannered school horses for students to lesson on.
In and out of the ring students learn the value of partnership with the horses.
The competitive IHSA and NCEA teams are supported at the varsity level.
Our program has field riding for both novice riders and more advanced riders.
Our team of instructors work closely with the students to help the reach their individual goals.
Field Riding opportunities for students who would like to ride outside of the ring.
Our equestrian athletes continually develop their mental focus, refine their skills and broaden their experience all while setting and achieving goals. Whether riding different horses in collegiate competitions through the IHSA and NCEA, or competing in local shows on your own or on one of Sweet Briar’s horses, our equestrians learn to quickly and confidently assess various situations and use their knowledge to put in a top performance each time.
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, enjoy a quiet hack across campus, or participate in a number of activities like schooling shows, gymkhanas and fun events hosted by the student Riding Council.
Training & Schooling Horses
For riders interested in training concepts, this program emphasizes schooling and re-schooling horses. Schooling classes start with groundwork and natural horsemanship, then progress from there using a systematic approach to both flatwork and jumping to develop skills that are applicable to a range of horses and specialties.
From relaxing walk-and-talks to exhilarating foxhunting, field riding has always been integral to Sweet Briar’s program — and to the foundation of modern-day hunter/jumper riding. Field riding builds partnership and trust between horse and rider, appreciation for the environment and the natural beauty that surrounds us, and fellowship between people from various backgrounds who enjoy the freedom of riding across the countryside.
Riders develop confidence as they explore Sweet Briar’s campus and spectacular trails — our outdoor classroom. For all riders, there are ample opportunities to hack out and participate in hunter paces and hunter trials. Advanced field riders may have the chance to experience an actual hunt with a local club and can become certified by our Riding Council to lead group hacks.
Equine Facilitated Leadership
Sweet Briar Riding has incorporated Equine Facilitated Leadership (EFL) into its curriculum. Instructors follow the Epala® Model of Equine Facilitated Coaching. EFL is primarily non-mounted work that relies on the horses’ instantaneous response to humans’ physiology and body language in order to teach awareness. This work requires no previous experience with horses.
Equine Studies Certificate
The certificate program is similar to a minor degree. It offers two separate concentrations: one in management and another in teaching and schooling. The program requires 22 to 24 credits of course work and combines a strong liberal arts foundation with preparation for a potential career in equine-related enterprises.
Many riders deepen their knowledge through pre-veterinary courses, internships and independent projects. Students can choose an on-campus position such as teaching assistant or trail guide to gain leadership experience.