Written by: The Carolinas Equestrian Published: 21 September 2018
SCAD is the first art and design university in the U.S. to offer a comprehensive intercollegiate equestrian environment, with both a national championship winning competitive equestrian team, and an equestrian studies academic program. SCAD provides students a lively, well-rounded environment that fosters camaraderie, team spirit and healthy competition. SCAD equestrian epitomizes these principles.
In addition to a national championship winning competitive equestrian team, SCAD Savannah offers a B.A. degree in equestrian studies, and an equestrian studies minor.
The equestrian magic happens just over the Savannah River, in Hardeeville, South Carolina, where the 180-acre Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center was constructed expressly to support SCAD’s national caliber equestrian program. A Lowcountry gem tucked amid live oaks and loblolly pines, the center features two magnificent barns, where horses are cared for by both students and professional grooms. SCAD hosts prestigious tournaments at the Equestrian Center throughout the year.
The SCAD equestrian team has the benefit of learning, practicing and competing at the facility, providing ideal conditions for the riders and horses alike. The center features 84 stalls and automatic fly-spray system. Rubber tiles topped with dust-free shavings form the floor. A staff veterinarian provides the latest diagnostic treatments and therapies. The center features three large competition rings and a fully-fenced turf derby field, 13 turnout paddocks and a European walker. The all-weather riding arena features state-of-the-art footing (a mixture of diatomaceous earth, fiber, and spandex) and industrial fans for ventilation. In fall 2015, a new barn was completed, including meeting and office space, a new veterinary clinic, two tack rooms, and lockers. The trophy room is adorned with blue ribbons drape and gold trophies, testaments to the collective excellence of SCAD artist-athletes, coaches, and staff.
The equestrian center’s preeminence reflects the sustained success of the team. Currently, the SCAD equestrian team has grown to over sixty members. A program at the pinnacle of its powers, the SCAD equestrian team is a modern sports dynasty.
Under the leadership of Coach Ashely Henry, the SCAD Equestrian team has won 3 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships, 5 Overall Tournament of Champions (TOC) National Championships and 15 American National Riding Commission (ANRC) National Championships in the Novice and National divisions. In the last five years, SCAD as secured 15 national team championships and reserve championships.
In 2017, the Bees won their third IHSA National Championship title in as many years. In January 2018 the team won its fifth consecutive Tournament of Champions title.
SCAD has a history of standout equestrian competitors. In the past 16 years (2002-2018), SCAD has won 41 individual IHSA national titles, and 22 individual National titles. These titles are the manifestation of commitment and discipline Coach Henry requires of her riders.
SCAD equestrian student-artist-athletes are continuously involved in serving the local community, leading charity events, including the Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and The Buddy Walk for Down syndrome awareness. SCAD equestrian team members also host a high school talent search at the equestrian center, which shows local high-schoolers what it’s like to compete on a collegiate equestrian team. In addition, SCAD participates in Heroes on Horseback, a local program that helps physically, mentally, and emotionally disabled students learn how to ride.
The SCAD undergraduate program of equestrian studies covers equine law and principles, rules and regulations of various equestrian governing bodies, and effective communication with a wide range of equestrian professionals. The comprehensive curriculum is supplemented by lectures from visiting professionals, including trainers, Olympic-caliber riders, judges, veterinarians and horse-show managers.
Through the equestrian studies program, students gain an understanding of equine psychology, body language and social behavior that they apply to the care, training and riding of horses. Knowledge of equine anatomy, conformation, conditioning, health and nutrition provides the basis from which students develop competency in the safe handling, proper care, evaluation and selection of the sport horse.
Lowcountry locals, tourists, prospective students and their families are all encouraged to visit SCAD’s Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center. SCAD delights in sharing these world-class facilities with everyone.
Photos courtesy of SCAD