0 Larissa Ries

Larissa Ries

Larissa Ries

Equestrian Program Director and Assistant Professor of Equestrian Studies

Why I Teach at Houghton/Teaching Philosophy

I am passionate about helping each student discern where God wants them to be in the equestrian world.  Every student comes with a unique background and there are so many different avenues that one can pursue with an equestrian career, whether barn management, training, competing, teaching, breeding, event planning, marketing, equine journalism, or veterinary services. My goal is to help them grow spiritually, mentally and physically within the skill set they need for their desired career path. The dressage training scale is the basis for all my classes. I feel that both the theory and practical riding principles of dressage apply to all riding disciplines.

My desire is to help each student be ready to step into a field that can be stressful, demanding and difficult where they live out their faith.  When I am working with horses, it causes me to think about the Lord and the trust relationship that I have with Him. This trust relationship is very similar to the relationship a horse develops with their rider. Working in the equestrian field reminds me daily that I need to be dedicated and consistent in my handling of each horse, the same way I want to be dedicated and consistent in my relationship with the Lord. My hope is that my students can learn these lessons from the horses they work with as well!


  • M.Ed. | William Woods University
  • B.S. | Houghton College

Courses Taught

  • Dressage
  • Eventing
  • Equestrian Pedagogy Methods
  • Basic Western
  • Equine Facility Management
  • Mini Prix Jumping
  • Introduction to Equestrian Studies
  • CHA Riding Instructor Certification
  • Horsemanship II

 Professional Memberships/Associations 

  • Certified Horsemanship Association
  • Western New York Dressage Association
  • United States Dressage Association
  • United States Equestrian Federation

Professional Experience/Achievements

  • Instructor and Equestrian Program Director
    Houghton University, Houghton NY (2017-present)
  • Received 2016 Western New York Dressage Association’s Volunteer of the Year Award.
  • Returned to Houghton University to work in the recreation and leisure department for the outdoor and equestrian programs.
  • Certified Horsemanship Association Master Instructor and Assistant Clinic Instructor for Standard English/Western clinics and Equine Facility Management Clinics.
  • Worked at eventing barns of Stuart Pittman and Jane Sleeper.
  • Assisted with equestrian program at Lakes Ranch in Rotorua, New Zealand.
  • Director of equestrian program at Camp Berachah (Auburn, Washington).
    • Led staff members to provide Christ-centered English and Western riding lesson program
    • Ran 10-week summer equestrian camp.
  • Has studied with and continues to train in dressage and jumping under renowned clinicians, such as Anne Gribbons, Stephen Hayes, Eddo Hoekstra, Wilma Vanburgen, Bo Yena, Janet Youse, and Walter Zettl.
  • USDF Bronze Medalist


  • Presented a workshop on dressage training for all levels of riders at the Certified Horsemanship Associations International Conference in 2017.
  • Was a demonstration rider for the USDF “L” judge program in 2017.
  • Was a demonstration rider for EquiFest in Hamburg, NY in 2015 and 2016.
  • Has presented equine workshops at the Certified Horsemanship Association’s Region 5 conferences on numerous occasions.
  • Has presented alongside colleagues to local equine businesses and clinics in order to promote learning opportunities in the equine industry.

 Other Interests/Hobbies/Enjoyments

  • In addition to my passion for horses, I love doing outdoor sports with my husband, such as trail running, mountain biking, backpacking, hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and canoeing.  I enjoy traveling, experiencing different cultures and seeing new sights.  I also love a rainy day when I can enjoy a good book while drinking a cup of tea.

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