WWU Rider Takes High Honors in Dressage Championships

William Woods University senior Erin Meyer and Marvin, a 15-year-old Trakehner gelding owned by WWU, won high honors in the Great American/United States Dressage Federation Region 4 Championships, Sept. 9-11 in Mason City, Iowa.

Meyer, of Seneca, S.C., and Marvin placed third at Second Level Adult Amateur in both the Midwest Championships and the GAIG/USDF Regional Championships. Both championship divisions brought together the top dressage horses and riders from the Midwest states (including Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Dakota) in head-to-head year-end competition.

“Erin brought out the best in Marvin in both his championship classes, and held her own against the best horses in the Midwest,” said Karen Pautz, WWU dressage instructor. “The Second Level test, which she rode both days, is very exacting and quite difficult, and Erin was able outride all but the fanciest horses. I’m very proud of them both.”

Often referred to as equine ballet because of its beauty and elegance, dressage represents the highest level of training a horse can achieve. According to the USDF, the fundamental purpose of dressage is to develop, through standardized progressive training methods, the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to perform, thereby maximizing its potential as a riding horse. At its highest level, dressage is an Olympic sport.

In addition to dressage, William Woods University offers riding classes in hunter/jumper, saddle seat and western. More than 200 students enroll each semester in classes in the four seats.

William Woods University in 1972 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.

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 equestrian science major is demanding, requiring more than 50 credits; all but three of these are acquired in the university’s equestrian facilities.

The placement rate for WWU equestrian graduates is nearly 100 percent.