A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my horse to school with me? What are the boarding policies?

Any student may bring their horse to Houghton, regardless of their involvement in the equestrian program. Per our boarding policy, student’s horses are never required to be used for lessons, but students may ride their own horse for college riding classes if suitable. The price students pay to board reflects the exact amount it costs the college to keep horses; when expenses go up, board increases. Contact equestrian@houghton.edu for current boarding terms and rates. 

What if I don’t have my own horse?

No problem! The college has its own herd of talented lesson horses specifically for lessons. Students have a variety of horses to ride, from quiet, beginner-safe mounts to dressage schoolmasters. After taking one equestrian program class, these horses are available for students to ride in an instructor supervised setting 6 days a week.

Do I need to bring my own tack or equipment? What sort of tack does the school have?

All students in the program need to bring their own riding attire, including an ASTM helmet, gloves, breeches and tall boots for English riders, stretch jeans and western boots for western riders. For professional appearance and safety purposes, no sandals, sleeveless shirts, tank tops, or dangly jewelry are permitted at the barn. Boarders will need to bring tack and equipment for their own horse.

College tack for the lesson horses is top quality for both english and western disciplines, including the brands County, Passier, Albion, and western brands Circle Y, Simco, and Circle A.

What are the facilities like?

Our facilities include 5 barns with 50 matted stalls, 3 outdoor arenas for jumping and dressage, an indoor arena with PA system and attached viewing room, a full cross country course, and wooded trails.

When’s the center open, and when can I ride?

“Club times” or open riding times, are Monday to Thursday from 7 to 9 pm, Friday 3:30:-5:30 pm, and Saturday 9-11 am. Boarders may ride anytime the arena is available during daylight hours or during club time after dark. Sunday is the lesson horse’s day off, but boarders are still welcome to ride.

How much one-on-one instruction do students get?

Mounted classes generally consist of 3-4 riders; the maximum size of a mounted class is 8 students. Individual help is available during individual riding times (club times) 6 day a week at no additional cost.

What are the riding opportunities for beginners?

Beginning riders can participate in Horsemanship 1 (basic horsemanship, learning walk and trot), horsemanship 2 (work at the trot and possibly canter), community lessons taught by a CHA trainer, and may ride club times Monday, Thursday, and Friday upon completing horsemanship (or with professor approval).

What are the fees associated with riding?

While there is a lab fee connected with taking an equestrian class, there is none directly connected to program. After taking one equestrian course, students ride for free during club time, which is always supervised by a professor or a professor-appointed, CHA certified student.

Can I compete? What do I pay for during competition?

Students compete both in Houghton College competitions and outside Saturday competitions within a 2 hour range of the college. Students compete on a college lesson horse with whom they have been partnering, or if suitable, their own horse. Students pay their own entry fees; the college provides hauling and coaching at no additional cost. We attend local and USEF licensed shows so that students may compete in the real horse show world and be seen by potential employers who will be looking for trainers, instructors, and managers.

What kind of events, clinics, and shows does the school host?

Every year, Houghton hosts a Western New York Dressage Association (WYNDA) dressage show, a hunter jumper show, a horse trial, a Christmas fun show, and a senior exhibition, as well as frequent clinics with Walter Zettl and Eddo Hoekstra. Houghton also hosts CHA clinics.

What is CHA and why is certification important?

The Certified Horsemanship Association certifies instructors and accredits equine facilities to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the equine industry. Houghton requires students in the equestrian major to become certified to enhance student knowledge as well as marketability upon graduation.

What are the college’s horses like? How often are they ridden?

The lesson horses are a group of talented, versatile horses donated to the college to meet the needs of beginners as well as advanced riders.  The use of lesson horses is monitored carefully; horses are generally used once or twice a day, but not every horse gets ridden every day. No horse is ever used more than three times in one day.

Can community members (non-students) take lessons?

Students who are CHA certified offer lessons to community members. For rates and more information, contact equestrian@houghton.edu

Are there opportunities to diversify my riding?

Houghton offers courses in five disciplines: western, hunter/jumper, eventing, dressage, and trail riding. Some of the most popular classes include musical freestyle dressage, western, mini-prix, 12 horse quadrille, eventing, and adventure trails.

What are the student employment opportunities?

A variety of employment is available, including horse and barn care as part of the chore crew, repair and farm work as maintenance, teaching as a community instructor, in a summer camp position, or as an equestrian TA .

What types of career prep is available to students interested in the equine industry?

After Houghton, students are prepared to be a horse trainer, riding instructor, and barn manager. Equestrian Alumni go on to train internationally, own and manage successful barns, and become veterinarians.

What’s the Equestrian Society, and how can I get involved?

The Equestrian Society is the voice of equestrian program on campus. The society hosts social events, occasionally sponsor trips or service days, helps run and organize volunteers for on-campus shows. Currently, 5 leadership positions are available within the society each year.