The Stephens College Equestrian program is known for hands-on, immersive learning, a small class environment, and faculty, advisers, and mentors dedicated to your success.
Our women’s college environment provides unprecedented opportunities to get involved, be a leader and challenge yourself to chase down your dreams. With a 100% career placement rate and an extensive alumnae network, equestrian studies students are ready for success.
Small class sizes and individualized instruction
Extensive opportunities to ride with instruction
Hands-on interaction and responsibilities from day one
Opportunities to compete and participate in national, regional and community horse shows
Visiting industry professionals and experts who present clinics on campus and network with students
Prince of Wales Club, the country’s oldest continuously active riding club, as well as Stephens Equine Therapeutic Association
Extensive career services and a network of alumnae dedicated to helping students connect in the industry
100% job placement rate for five years in a row
The Stephens College Equestrian Center
It’s all about location — and the Stephens Equestrian program couldn’t ask for a better one. An easy walk from campus, our Equestrian Center is a vital part of the Stephens College footprint, nestled between campus and downtown on one side and a beautiful park on the other. Our Equestrian Center is also proud to be one of Columbia’s “Most Notable Properties.” For generations, the center has been home to a special group of horses including Quarter Horses, Saddlebreds, Paints and Pintos, and Warmbloods.
Our center is also the center of our commitment to mid-Missouri and the community we call home. Various public events and summer camps invite the community to enjoy the experience of riding as well.
Tailor your program to your goals.
Customize your experience to the track, coursework, and minors that align with your personal and professional goals.
We also offer an equestrian studies minor and courses for the non-rider.
Four Disciplines, One Family
No matter your focus, you’ll find a caring faculty who help you find your path, a sense of community and commitment, and a supportive culture. We offer four riding disciplines: Huntseat, Western, Saddle Seat, and Driving.
Equestrian Studies FAQ
Is there a special fee for riding classes?
Students pay a fee for each riding class they are enrolled in for each semester. Currently, the riding fee is $850.00 per semester, per riding class.
Is financial aid available to Equestrian Studies students?
There is an Equestrian Science Scholarship based on riding skills awarded to qualified incoming first-year students. There are many types of financial aid available to qualified students ranging from scholarships to work-study programs.
Will I learn to start colts at Stephens?
Many of our donation horses are training projects that need re-schooling to correct resistances and build good habits. All of the seat instructors integrate a complex training program for green, sour, finished, lessons and show horses within the applied curriculum. The principles of training that we teach can be applied to horses of any age or stage in their education. Our applied courses represent an integrated approach to applied riding and training; they are not simply "riding lessons." Groundwork techniques such as leading, longing, and long-lining are included in all applied classes. Advanced riders are often paired with a training assignment for the duration of a "project" experience. The serious and committed equestrian student will find many opportunities to work with an instructor who will select an appropriate horse and appropriate times to engage in vigorous training with a project horse. Our approach to training allows us to tailor the EQS education to each student's ability level and interest.
How many times a week will I ride?
Riding classes are scheduled twice per week — either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday. The faculty set lab hours that allow students extra riding time outside of class. Extra riding lessons are set based on faculty availability. Our faculty often will work with students outside of class on Fridays and weekends.
What are my duties at the barn, and how much time will I spend there?
As a student, your main responsibility is the care of the horse you are to ride in class that day. The horse must be properly groomed and tacked before you mount, and thoroughly cooled out and groomed after the ride. Tack is cleaned after each class. In addition, all equine majors are assigned one keeper horse to care for each semester. This requires the student to be responsible for basic care such as daily grooming, clipping, and exercise when the pasture turns out is not permitted. This allows students to work hands-on the moment they step on campus. It allows students to begin to understand the time and dedication it takes to manage and care for horses. For equine majors, the desire and drive to be working with horses should make the opportunity to have one horse to care for a semester a privilege.
Do you hold clinics?
Absolutely! In the past years, we’ve offered clinics and seminars by famous equestrian personalities such as David O’Connor, Melanie Smith Taylor, Smith Lilly, Kendra Weis, Christian, and McKrell Baier, TJ Santaferra, Lacey Meester, Kim and Fran Crumpler, Brett and Susi Day, Bennie Sargent, Mari Jebens, Molly Hunt, Paul Cronin, Melissa Moore, Robert Gardiner and many more. Clinics are open to all interested students.
May I bring my own horse?
Bringing your own horse is not discouraged, but you may find that caring for your horse takes time away from your studies and campus activities. Boarding at Stephens is not guaranteed. Students interested in boarding should seek out local boarding stables around the Columbia area. Students interested in boarding may reach out to the program for a list of boarding facilities. There are many to choose from close to campus.
May I bring my own saddle?
Yes. Although each school horse has its own tack and grooming equipment, many students wish to ride in their own saddle. Student saddles may be used if they fit the horse being ridden. The faculty will determine if a personal saddle is permitted to be used.
Where do you show?
Stephens participates in a number of horse shows each year, from local schooling shows to “A”-rated national shows. The saddle horses go to The American Royal in Kansas City, The St. Louis National Charity Horse Show and UPHA Chapter V. Western horses go to many Missouri Horse Shows Association shows and have shown at the All American Quarter Horse Congress and the Quarter Horse World Show. Hunters and jumpers go to many well-known shows in the Midwest such as The American Royal and the St. Louis National Charity Show and have shown in Germantown, Tennessee, and Des Moines, Iowa “A” shows. We host a variety of shows throughout the year, including schooling shows and Missouri Horse Shows Association recognized shows. All students are invited to participate in these events.
Will I have an opportunity to show as a freshman or transfer student?
Yes, if you show the interest and the ability and if horses are available. Anyone who desires to show will be given the opportunity.
Do I have to show?
No, showing is not a requirement. However, horse showing teaches poise, sportsmanship, and responsibility, and allows students to come in contact with prospective employers. Students who want to come along to shows to groom and help out are always welcome.
Tell me more about the Columbia community.
Ranked many times over as one of the best college towns in America, Columbia is home to 36,000+ college students and 118,000 residents. Columbia has it all: big-time college sports; film, music, and arts festivals; a high-energy arts community; amazing recreation; and a great downtown with lots of places to eat, shop and check out the latest bands. Our community offers outstanding health care options, as well as excellent educational opportunities for every level of student (including our own Children’s School).
Downtown Columbia is called The District. Here you’ll find 20 square blocks of shopping, dining, dancing, and people-watching. Here there’s something for every interest and lifestyle. And it’s all just steps from campus. See some of our festivals and music events: Roots N Blues N BBQ, True/False, 9th Street SummerFest, and Unbound Book Festival (on the Stephens campus)
We’re known for our extensive system of parks and trails. Go for a hike at Rock Bridge State Park or on the award-winning MKT Trail, rent a kayak or canoe at Finger Lakes State Park, or toss a disc at Harmony Bends Disc Golf Course. Tennis courts, golf courses, lakes, and pools give you lots of options for outdoor recreation. Bringing a pet to campus? Take the pup to one of our dog parks; Twin Lakes Dog Park is a favorite. Biking is popular here, and we offer a Bike Share program. Take advantage of Bike Boulevard, which runs through Stephens’ campus and includes nearby Stephens Lake Park and downtown access at Tenth Street.
We hear it all of the time. Columbia, Missouri, is a great place to live. But you don’t have to tell us twice. We’ve been named:
Top 100 Place to Live (six consecutive years)
The Best City for Entrepreneurs
The Best Place to Live in Missouri
And much more. From "Most Romantic" to "Least Stressed" to a "Best City for Working Women," the list goes on and on. Get the whole picture.