Equestrian students at William Woods University are rejoicing over the opening of a new arena, named the Rowland Applied Riding Arena in honor of the major donors.
The arena was dedicated during a ceremony Oct. 13, the same day university officials dedicated a new 62-student residence hall.
The need for additional facilities is the result of increased enrollment at William Woods University, both in overall student population and especially in the equestrian studies division.
The arena was made possible through a lead gift from Sarah and Landon H. Rowland of Kansas City, Mo., and other WWU supporters.
“It is only through the support of individuals who are such strong advocates for William Woods that we are able to celebrate these new additions,” said William Woods University President Jahnae H. Barnett. “The Rowlands are relatively ‘new’ to William Woods, and are interested in assisting the quality of the academic programs WWU offers.”
Sarah and Landon Rowland were both on hand to cut the ribbon and make remarks at the arena dedication.
The Rowland Applied Riding Arena is a 103 ft. by 220 ft. building. It is a heated teaching facility with viewing space. The new arena is rectangular, which is the ideal design for instructing hunter jumpers and dressage horses. It benefits all four of the seats the WWU equestrian division offers, however, by providing more space overall. The project also included the conversion of a small back arena into an area with 22 additional stalls, a wash rack and tack room.
William Woods University is recognized as one of the finest equestrian studies programs in the country—filling a national, regional and local demand for graduates holding a four-year equestrian science degree. WWU, in 1972, was the first school in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in equestrian science. A degree in equine administration was added in 1992.
Sarah Rowland breeds and raises American Saddlebred horses, which she has ridden since growing up in Moberly, Mo. This is not the first time she and her husband have made contributions to the WWU equestrian program. Together they created an endowed scholarship called the Gayle S. Lampe Equestrian Achievement Award. Landon Rowland is chairman emeritus of Janus Capital Group.
The university’s equestrian facilities encompass more than a city block, with 150 large box stalls in four stables, two heated indoor arenas, a lighted outdoor ring and a 40-acre cross-country riding course.
The equestrian studies program is the most popular at William Woods, with 180 students majoring in equestrian science or equine administration. The placement rate for WWU equestrian graduates is nearly 100 percent.
Breeds represented in the William Woods stable include American Saddlebreds, Appaloosas, Arabians, Morgans, National Show Horses, Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Friesians and Warmbloods. The university provides instruction in saddle seat, hunt seat, dressage and western.
Landon Rowland, Professor Gayle Lampe, Sarah Rowland and Equestrian Studies Division Chair Gary Mullen pose in front of the new Rowland Applied Riding Arena.