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Averett University to Partner with Sandy River Equestrian Center to Expand Student Training Opportunities

Posted on February 1st, 2017 by Cassie Jones

SREC LogoThe Equestrian Studies Department at Averett University is entering into a partnership with the Sandy River Equestrian Center (SREC) in Axton, Va., to offer extended eventing training to its students.

Equestrian majors at Averett pursing a concentration in eventing – an equestrian discipline where riders do dressage, stadium jumping and cross-country riding – will complete their two final capstone eventing courses at SREC, while still completing other coursework on Averett’s Main Campus and its comprehensive equestrian center in Caswell County, N.C. The courses at SREC will begin in the fall 2017 semester.

“I could not be happier to partner with one of the finest eventing barns on the East Coast,” said Ginger Henderson, assistant professor and chair of the Averett Equestrian Studies Department. “Providing exceptional equestrian education and training to our students is always our focus, and we have recently found that we are not able to provide the eventing part of the program at the level at which we wanted, so we’ve been researching new ways to improve our offerings. This partnership will provide our students a wealth of opportunities and instruction in this discipline, and help strengthen what has been one of the pillars of our department.”

The Averett equestrian program was founded in the 1970s, and although it has grown and diversified into five different concentrations, eventing has been a part of the program since its inception. It is one of two teaching and instruction concentrations, in addition to dressage, along with the others including equine management, equine-assisted psychotherapy and equine science.

Averett’s Equestrian Studies Department is ranked among the best in the nation, and provides an award-winning educational program leading to a bachelor’s degree. Acclaimed faculty and instructors offer innovative courses and internship opportunities that foster horsemanship skills and professional competencies, preparing students to fill a variety of positions within the equestrian fields, including equine marketing, equine journalism, training, tourism, veterinary medicine, teaching and much more. In addition, it is home to three intercollegiate competition teams: the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) team, the American National Riding Commission (the ANRC) team, and the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) team, led by Henderson, who was selected as a national IDA Hall of Fame recipient in 2016.

This partnership between the University and SREC is the first of its kind for both organizations.

“The partnership between SREC and Averett University will benefit both facilities by allowing the equestrian students under the eventing concentration to fulfill the requirements for all phases of eventing,” said Suzanne Lacy, owner of SREC, and Samantha Burton Henley, program administrator at the Equine Management Training Center at SREC. “We will be providing the horses, facilities and expertise for these eventing students, and are excited about this opportunity to partner with the Averett equestrian program.”

SREC was established in 1990 as a boarding, training and lesson facility with an emphasis on eventing.

Students are prepared for the appropriate level of competition by competing at various disciplines: dressage, show jumping and cross country. In addition to being a competition barn, it accommodates those who want to just learn to ride, trail ride or be in a lesson program. The staff at Sandy River has an excellent reputation in the eventing world and continues to be active in the horse community and in local associations, working to provide a safe and fun environment for all of its clients and students.