group at ground-breaking event

University breaks ground on new Equestrian Trail, benefitting both EQS students and horses

President Moreland joined students and faculty from the William Woods (WWU) School of Equestrian, plus members of the wider campus community on November 27 to break ground on a new Equestrian Trail that will allow students and their horses to more safely traverse the campus during rides. The new 2,000 foot gravel trail, which will begin at the parking lot west of Dulany Library and end at the University’s cross-country trail, is being made possible by a generous gift from alumnus Joanna “Jojo” Levy Kyger ’07 and ’11.

The new trail is the latest milestone in what has been a banner year for the WWU Equestrian Department, including the dedication of the Center for Equine Medicine in April and 50th anniversary of the establishment of the nation’s first-ever bachelor’s degree in Equestrian Science (EQS) at William Woods, in October. The project is expected to be completed after the first of the new year.

President Moreland with shovel in dirt

“Our institution and campus continues to grow in a variety of new ways, which includes adding new resources for some of our most successful, long-time programs like EQS,” said President Moreland. “Our new Equestrian Trail will substantially add to the student experience for our equestrian students, and we are humbled by the generous support of Jojo Kyger in making this possible.”

Kyger graduated from WWU with a bachelor’s in Equestrian Science in 2007 and a master’s in Education-Curriculum Instruction in 2011. She and her husband Joe live in Columbia, Mo., where she operates the Just Cruising Equestrian Center. She holds PATH certification as a therapeutic riding instructor and as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Deeply devoted to the equestrian industry, Kyger was the inaugural winner in the professional category of the Missouri Hunter Jumper Organization’s Sportsmanship Award in 2018.

The trail will consist of four inches of base rock and two inches of low-volume seed, and will enhance the safety of the student riders and horses as they cross campus from the EQS barns to the University cross-country course. “With the increasing enrollment and activity on campus, this trail will provide a safer way for our equestrian students and horses to traverse the campus and to get to the cross-country field,” said Erin Cardea, Dean of the School of Equestrian Studies. “For the horses, working on variable terrain improves their conditioning and working outside of the arena provides mental and physical stimulation that the arena cannot. For students, it allows the opportunity to put skills learned in the arena to practice and to gain vital experience riding in the open. The completed trail will provide safe access for all riding disciplines to work outside of the arenas – something that has historically been missing from our program. It is a most welcome addition and all of the applied riding instructors are eager to begin using it!”