Wesleyan competes in the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) in both hunt seat and western against schools that include: Clemson University, College of Charleston, Georgia Southern University, University of South Carolina, Lander University, and Converse College. Wesleyan equestrian team members have competed in post-season competitions including Regional Finals, Western Semi Finals, and Nationals. Team members have been recognized with awards including being named to IHSA All Academic Team, receiving the Jon Conyers Scholarship, and the USHJA/IHSA Sportsmanship Award for Zone 5.
Wesleyan recently joined the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) and added dressage to its team competition. With just three team riders at their first IDA Show, Wesleyan was the third place team and the Reserve Champion High Point Team, putting the Wolves in the running to earn regional standings and to compete at IDA Nationals. Wesleyan is the only school in Georgia competing in IDA competitions.
As defined by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), dressage is “the highest expression of horse training” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.” Dressage competitions consist of a series of individual tests with an increasing level of difficulty. Beginning levels ask horses for basic gaits. Movements such as lateral, the leg yield, shoulder-in, or haunches-in are gradually introduced as the horse progresses, until the point at which the horse can compete in the FEI levels.
Wesleyan’s Nancy Ellis Knox Equestrian Center is conveniently located on campus just a short walk from residence halls. The facility includes a 24-stall open-air barn for both lesson horses and student horses, six turnout paddocks, three hot/cold water washracks, climate-controlled tack room, separate boarder tack room, student lounge, classroom, private lockers for team riders, a dressage arena, and a large jumping arena with lights. Students may board their horses on campus.
Wesleyan will welcome a new major in equine studies fall semester 2020, joining The University of Georgia and Savannah College of Art and Design as the only three Georgia institutions to offer this program. Equine studies at Wesleyan combines the scientific study of horses with practical aspects such as business models, herd management, equine nutrition, equine anatomy, physiology and first aid, and the fundamentals of riding. Two tracks available: equine assisted therapy and management.
Along with an Equestrian team, Wesleyan offers a unique opportunity to minor in Equine-Assisted Therapy which allows students to explore a growing field in which mental health professionals utilize horses in a therapy setting. Equine-assisted therapies differ from therapeutic riding in that the therapy setting is conducted on the ground rather than in the saddle, and the horse is part of a three-pronged therapy team (mental health specialist, equine specialist, and the horse). Students will have the option to become EAGALA certified through the program. Read more about the requirements.
Bringing more than twenty years of professional and equestrian experience to Wesleyan, Baker serves as head coach for the equestrian team, director for the Nancy Ellis Knox Equestrian Center, adjunct professor, senior associate athletic director, and community lessons instructor. Baker’s goal is for students to learn lessons and skills from working with horses that they can use in every aspect of their lives. "Horses are very special creatures that teach us responsibility, courage, empathy, and humbleness. There is so much potential for this program to provide amazing opportunities to students and the community."
Baker earned her bachelor of science degree in biology from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, and master's degrees from Texas A&M University (educational administration) and The University of Arkansas (business administration). Her certifications include Licensed Official FEI Federation - Equestrian International and IEA Steward.
Wesleyan College is privileged to steward many arts and cultural events and share them with the community. Most are free and open to the public. Wesleyan art galleries are open M-F 1:30 – 5:00 PM and on Wesleyan Market Saturdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM.View More
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Wesleyan College is home to five NCAA Division III sports: soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and softball. In addition, we offer an award-winning Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Equestrian program.Learn More