The equestrian program is an integral part of Goucher College’s comprehensive physical education department. The equestrian facilities, which include both indoor and outdoor arenas and outside course and wooded trails, are located on the college’s 287-acre campus. Goucher’s instructional program offers a contemporary approach to hunt seat equitation for riders of all levels based on the riding system promoted by the American National Riding Commission (ANRC).
The overall goal is to teach riders the principles of good horsemanship whether their interest is recreational, educational or competitive. For the more advanced rider, emphasis is placed on schooling hunters and working to develop a high-quality performance between horse and rider. Goucher offers highly-schooled performance horses to challenge the advanced rider, as well as wonderful school horses for students at the beginning and intermediate levels. Meet some of the Goucher Horses.
Courses in horseback riding offered by the equestrian program fulfill the activity requirement for Physical Education. Approximately 60 students participate in the equestrian program each semester. On average, students ride one or two times per week in a class structured according to the rider’s level of skill. Students selected for the varsity team are required to ride a minimum of three times per week and have the opportunity to ride up to five times per week. The semester fee is based on the student’s level of participation. Although Goucher’s school horses are fully equipped, riders may use their own saddle, provided the staff approves it for proper fit. All riders must wear an ASTM/SEI approved riding helmet. Storage is provided at the stables for personal equipment.
The intercollegiate riding team is considered one of Goucher’s 21 varsity sports and competes in IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) Zone IV, Region I competition. During the year-long intercollegiate season, the riding team and individual members accumulate points by competing at the Regional Level, with opportunities to advance to the Zone and National Levels. Interested students may try-out for the varsity riding team initially as freshman, but may be considered for the riding team at any time during their college career. The first stage of the recruiting process begins when the prospective athlete contacts the Goucher College Office of Admissions or the Equestrian Director and expresses interest in being evaluated for the team. The varsity riding team is competitive and the coaches are highly selective in choosing which students will best represent Goucher. Being a member of the team is an honor. Students are expected to adhere to the team philosophy and work diligently to master the riding skills and techniques necessary to achieve success.
To further enhance their riding education, Goucher riders have the opportunity to grow by participating in clinics with noteworthy professionals. In additional to the IHSA season that runs from September to May, Goucher competes annually in the ANRC (American National Riding Commission) National Equitation Championship in April. This four-phase competition, featuring an outside hunter course, is perhaps the most challenging and educational experience for the students selected to participate. Goucher students may also be invited to participate in rated and local horse shows.