The Sweet Briar College Riding Program is focused on the development of active and responsible women utilizing interactions with horses and horse sports and recreational activities in a strong instructional program as the medium. (See Course Descriptions)
This is accomplished by providing students opportunities to:
a) develop skills in self-expression, self-discipline, and the self-confidence necessary to assume leadership roles
b) interact with and learn from humans and equines of diverse backgrounds and abilities, thus encouraging a sensitivity to others
c) understand their responsibility for their own learning which will enable them to be successful learners long after leaving Sweet Briar.
d) increase their skill, understanding, and fitness for equestrian pursuits, and ultimately, their own physical well-being
e) gain a sense of perspective regarding competition and understand the many definitions of “winning”
f) explore and gain an appreciation of the historical development of equestrian sport and its impact on art, literature, and society through the years
g) apply their accomplishments and experiences to a variety of outcomes including obtaining a job, gaining acceptance into a postgraduate program, competitive success as an exhibitor, development of a lifetime recreational activity, and appreciation of horses and horse sports from the perspective of an educated audience.
The depth of the program’s impact on an individual is somewhat a reflection of her degree of involvement with the program. There is an additional horse use fee for the mounted courses (see College Fees). There is no additional charge for coaching at competitions/activities or the lecture courses.
There are three riding team opportunities: Spring Hunter Show Team which focuses on state and AHSA competitions as well as ANRC Intercollegiate Championships; fall and spring term Club IHSA Team; and Fall Field Riding Team which focuses on Hunter Trials, Hunter Pace events, and riding to hounds. In addition, a fall and spring term independent competitor’s calendar in hunter/jumper and equitation divisions as well as Fall Hunter Paces and Hunter Trials is available to those students whose other responsibilities do not allow a team commitment or to those students not selected for a team. The College Riding Program is a member of the Virginia Horse Show Association (VHSA), the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA), the Affiliated National Riding Committee (ANRC, and the American Horse Show Association (AHSA). The Riding Program sponsors a number of competitive opportunities for riders of all levels such as “Fun Shows,” intercollegiate competitions, and AHSA competitions in the hunter/jumper and equitation divisions, including the United States Equestrian Team Talent Search Medal Class.
The instructional program offers a management concentration and a teaching and schooling concentration for students interested in a career in the equine industry and for the student/amateur who would enjoy expanding her knowledge and experience in these areas. In conjunction with the concentrations, a range of potential internships have been developed including veterinary medicine in clinical and research settings, manufacturing, marketing, and museum curating, as well as others within the diverse aspects of the horse industry.
The College does not offer a major or minor in equestrian studies, but it does offer a certificate in Equine Studies. The vast majority of courses offered by the Riding Program, other than those taken to fulfill the physical activity requirement, will not count toward graduation requirements. However, all courses taken will be recorded on the transcript and will indicate the development of a good general background, as well as some specialization on an advanced level. If you are considering pursuing employment in this field, a Sweet Briar College liberal arts degree, an official transcript listing courses and internships successfully completed in the Riding Program, and a personal letter from the Director of the Riding Program will be most valuable in securing a good employment opportunity.
The program sponsors informal, organized, and educational recreational activities throughout the year. These opportunities include trail riding independently seven days a week, guided trail rides at least several times a week, independent riding seven days a week in outdoor rings or indoors with music. Field trips, Fun Shows and organized games such as an Easter egg hunt are also offered.
The program has a range of leadership opportunities that include the Riding Program Advisory Committee, the Student Riding Council, student teacher program, trail guides, and activity management positions such as horse show coordinator. There are also internships, externships, and other employment opportunities such as weekend stable worker, head of tack, and office assistants.
Riding Program Courses
There is an additional fee for riding (see College Fees).
Instruction is provided for the beginning level through advanced levels, including schooling and AHSA hunter, jumper and equitation levels to accommodate students of varying abilities and experience. These courses are offered to fulfill the General Education Physical Activity requirement (IV.3) and a maximum of five credits in physical education activity courses and/or Riding Program activity courses may be applied toward the degree. Beyond this, students who elect to continue a riding education should register each semester for a course which meets their interests and goals. A minimum of two instructional sessions per week, as well as theory/written work, is required for the successful completion of a course. Credit is given at the rate of 0.5 credits per quarter or 1 credit per semester. In addition, several special courses are offered for full academic credit. Courses are offered on a rotating basis. Please consult the Riding Program Handbook for descriptions of current courses, the five-year schedule of course offerings, and for other information about the program.
Activity courses are graded on a P/CR/NC grading option only.
RDPR 162 Pre-position
RDPR 163 Position
RDPR 164 Advanced Position
RDPR 167 Independent Riders w/Hacking I
RDPR 171 Position and Control I
RDPR 172 Position with Hacking
RDPR 173 Competitive Trail Riding
RDPR 175 Position with Introduction to Jumping
RDPR 181 Position and Control II
RDPR 185 Jumping Fundamentals I
RDPR 186 Jumping Fundamentals II
RDPR 188 Riding Problems
RDPR 190 Introduction to Field Riding and Hacking
RDPR 196 Introduction to Riding Courses I
RDPR 197 Introduction to Riding Courses II
RDPR 198 Introduction to Natural Horsemanship
RDPR 281 Introduction to Showing Hunters I
RDPR 285 Introduction to Field Riding and Jumping
RDPR 286 Riding Courses I
RDPR 288 Dressage Sportif
RDPR 290 Prix Caprilli
RDPR 291 Introduction to Schooling Horses
RDPR 294 Introduction to Schooling and Competing with Jumpers
RDPR 296 Introduction to Competing Jumpers
RDPR 365 Field Riding and Jumping
RDPR 371 ANRC Levels Prep and Performance
RDPR 381 Showing Hunters I
RDPR 382 Showing Hunters II
RDPR 385 Fall Field Riding Team
RDPR 391 Schooling Young and Problem Horses I
RDPR 393 Schooling Young and Problem Horses II
RDPR 394 Schooling and Competing with Jumpers I
RDPR 395 Schooling and Competing with Jumpers II
RDPR 398 Show Team
The department offers non-activity courses and seminars in special topics relating to the Riding Program. These courses meet once per week and, in addition, include readings, laboratory assignments, and a field trip or special project. These courses will be listed on the transcript but will not be counted for credit or toward satisfying the General
Education Physical Activity Requirement.
RDPR 169 (0) Basic Horse Care
RDPR 184 (0) Principles and Methods of Judging Hunters
RDPR 192 (0) Form to Function
These courses are graded and count toward the hours required for graduation, but as non-activity courses, they do not satisfy the General Education Physical Activity Requirement.
RDPR 161 (1, 2, or 3)–Special Study
RDPR 295 (1)–Teaching Techniques for Student Teachers
RDPR 361 (1, 2, or 3)–Special Study
RDPR 377 (1, 2, or 3)–Internship
RDPR 390 (2)–Farm and Stable Management
RDPR 392 (3)–Theory and Practice of Schooling Horses
RDPR 396 (3)–Contemporary Riding and Teaching
RDPR 461 (1, 2, or 3)–Independent Study
Prerequisite: Satisfactory completion of one course in the riding program. A student may propose a project for a term to be supervised by a member of the riding program with the approval of the director.
Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. This course is designed to develop an understanding of the safety issues, horse selection requirements, lesson planning skills, and riding theory necessary to become a successful teacher of riding. Topics include: assessing the riding environment, goal setting, active listening, effective communication, and developing observation skills. Students will work with a supervising instructor to gain practical teaching experience in addition to the lecture/discussion portion of the course.
Prerequisites: 100-level RDPR course and permission of the instructor. The study of an intermediate level topic by an individual student or by a small group of students under the immediate supervision of a faculty member.
Prerequisites: Three credits in RDPR and permission of the instructor, department chair, and dean. This course is graded P/CR/NC only.
Prerequisites: BUSN 127, BUSN 131, BUSN 150, ECON 101, and RDPR 169. An analysis of the management components of operating a successful for-profit equine operation. Areas to be studied: employee/independent contractors laws and taxation, risk management, equine health care, marketing, budgeting, and long-range financial planning. Each student will develop a detailed plan for the staffing, management, equine health care, and budgeting of a specific facility. Professionals in the equine industry will be brought in to discuss specific aspects of farm and stable management.
Prerequisites: Completion on at least one 200-level riding course and permission of the instructor. A survey of the development of major riding and schooling theories in Western civilization from the Renaissance to the present and an actual schooling experience. Three hours lecture and discussion, three hours mounted instruction, and at least four hours independent mounted work with a schooling project. Offered alternate years.
Prerequisites: Completion of at least one 200-level riding course and permission of the instructor. The study and practice of riding and teaching within a modern system of riding. Mounted instruction, lectures, and practice teaching. Offered alternate years.
Prerequisites: One 100-level RDPR course, one 200-level RDPR course, and permission of the instructor. Pursuit of an upper level research project determined in advance by the student in consultation with a faculty member who will act as the sponsor.