Citing an increasing enrollment in equestrian programs, William Woods University is adding additional horse stalls to its existing barn facilities.
More than 20 students were placed on the waiting list for admission to WWU’s world-renowned equestrian studies program this summer, making the expansion necessary.
“To accommodate these students, more spaces in the riding classes needed to be created,” Laura Ward, chair of the equestrian studies division, said. “These spaces cannot occur without the addition of more horses, and more horses could not be accommodated without the construction of additional stalls.”
To meet the need, the university has contracted with HLW Builders to construct 14 stalls (each 12-foot by 12-foot) and a tack room as additions to the dressage barn. As a result, all freshmen should be able to have an applied riding class, Ward said.
In 1972, William Woods University was the first school in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in equestrian science. The university has a reputation for providing 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.
This demand is heightened by a thriving equine industry that contributes about $112 billion to the U.S. Gross Domestic Product each year.
The university’s equestrian facilities encompass a city block, with 128 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 an average of 102 students majoring in equestrian science and 14 students majoring in equine administration each year for the past 10 years. The placement rate for WWU equestrian graduates is nearly 100 percent.
The equestrian science major is demanding, requiring more than 50 credits; all but three of these are acquired in the university’s equestrian facilities. More than 200 students enroll each semester in riding classes in the four seats of dressage, hunter/jumper, saddle seat and western.
“Consequently, our equestrian facilities are used seven days a week from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. to support student learning,” Ward said.
“By adding 14 additional stalls to our existing barn facilities, William Woods will be able to increase our enrollment in the equestrian studies program,” she said. “The additional horses will allow us to continue to supply top quality graduates from our program—graduates who are sought after by the equine industry.”