Opportunities abound for equestrians at Centre
September 15, 2011 By Elizabeth Trollinger
in the horses at Long Run Farm before taking a beginner lesson
in horseback riding. Students of all equestrian skill levels can
join the Equestrian Club.
Diane Begemann '14 and her horse Abe compete in an
equestrian event. “I have always enjoyed horses — they’re my
relief from school stress,” she says.
Located in the heart of horse country, Centre College offers a variety of opportunities for students interested in equestrian activities. And for some Centre students, access to equestrian facilities was a key consideration in their college decisions.
Some students who are serious equestrians choose to board their horses nearby at Centre View Farm, owned and operated by Cindy Lacy ’79.
“For the last 11 years, I have boarded horses for students at Centre View. For students who bring their horse to college, it gives them a chance to take a break from their studies and get some fresh air and exercise,” Lacy says. “Some of the students who board with us have competed at the national and regional levels, and by bringing their horse to college, it gives them the opportunity to continue to train and keep their horse fit. For others, it has given them a ‘home away from home.’”
For Diane Begemann ’14, the availability of places to board a horse was a deciding factor in her coming to Centre.
“I chose Centre because it has the academics and atmosphere I wanted as well as excellent places for my horses. All the other schools I looked at and applied to had either great academics or a good place for horses, but only Centre had both,” Begemann says. “Cindy's farm, Centre View, is an excellent place for horses. I love spending time there, tucked away from the road in picturesque Kentucky rolling hills.”
Begemann has found having horses nearby to be essential.
“I have always enjoyed horses — they’re my relief from school stress, and riding is what motivates me to manage my time,” she says. “While most students spend their free time relaxing, partying or sleeping, I choose to spend mine with my horses.”
Boarding horses near Centre, however, is no requirement for those who want to participate in equestrian activities.
“I am not boarding a horse in Danville — however, Julie Levandoski at Meadow Lake Equestrian Center was kind enough to offer me a horse to train without any costs,” says Johanna Thalmann ’12, secretary of Centre’s Equestrian Club. “The opportunities to be around horses are endless here in Kentucky — students just need to make an effort to become involved. Many of my friends are either in Equestrian Club, own their own horses or work at equestrian hospitals or at local barns.”
Students interested in horses don’t even have to look off-campus to find ways to become involved. Centre’s Equestrian Club is open to all students, regardless of their level of experience with horses.
“The Equestrian Club offers several opportunities to those interested in horses, who have never ridden or who have ridden for years,” says Kelsey Nelson ’14, the club’s activities coordinator. “This year's agenda includes trips to Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Park Museum, as well as an auction for thoroughbred horses. We also plan on volunteering at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center at least a couple times each month. We offer group rides about twice a month to anyone in the club, including members who have never been on a horse.”
With Lexington, the Horse Capital of the World, just 35 miles from Centre’s campus, there are numerous ways for Centre students to get involved in the equestrian world. And in addition to well-known attractions such as Keeneland and the Kentucky Horse Park, which hosted the World Equestrian Games last year, there are many other options for horse enthusiasts.
“There are opportunities for equestrian activities covering a wide variety of interests within a short distance,” says Deb Jones, director of Centre Career Services and staff advisor for the Equestrian Club. “Students can take their first riding lesson ever and experience equestrian events with other students, and more experienced riders can continue to train in his or her discipline.”
Centre View Farm's Lacy agrees that these opportunities abound.
“For riders of all disciplines there are numerous opportunities in and around Danville and central Kentucky. Many weekends throughout the year, there are nationally recognized instructors offering clinics in most disciplines. In addition, one of the largest equine rescue centers in the United States is located less than 30 minutes from Centre and loves to have volunteers come assist in the care of the horses,” Lacy says.
Centre’s rigorous academics and its location in the heart of horse country makes it an ideal college choice for equestrians, says Equestrian Club secretary Thalmann.
“Kentucky is a great place to be, especially if you love horses, and with the combination of the great education Centre offers, it’s a sure bet that you will have a great experience,” Thalmann says.
For a complete list of equestrian opportunities for Centre students, click here.
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and has named Centre No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South for two years in a row. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, click here.