Where is the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center?
We are located south of the main campus on 29 Mile Road South, behind Bellemont Manor. For exact directions, see Maps and Directions page.
Can I visit the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center?
To schedule a visit to campus and the equestrian center, please call 800/858-6770 (Office of Admission) or the Held Center office at 517/629-0838.
Can I walk to the center from main campus?
It is possible to walk from main campus, but most students bicycle or carpool with other riders. Students who participate in group riding lessons are encouraged to share rides to and from the barn. Albion College's Office of Campus Safety also acts as a shuttle service for students who need rides to and from the barn.
Can I get a job at the barn?
We hire students to assist with turn-in and other tasks, but our riders' primary jobs at Albion are to be students. Work hours must be scheduled around class hours.
Does Albion offer equine degrees?
We are committed to our students' equine education, however the majority of our graduates go on to careers in professional fields. We offer regular lectures, clinics, and symposia from noted veterinarians, trainers, and other equine professionals to give students frequent opportunities to expand their equine knowledge.
Does Albion offer degrees in veterinary medicine?
As an undergraduate institution, Albion has a number of academic programs that give students excellent preparation for success in health-related and animal-related fields. The College's biology and chemistry departments, neuroscience concentration and the Institute for Healthcare Professions provide excellent classroom, internship and research opportunities. Both the biology and psychology departments offer animal behavior classes, and the faculty conducts research and may direct independent study in this field.
Moreover, Albion counts thousands of successful veterinarians, physicians, dentists and other health-care professionals among its alumni. More than 90 percent of Albion students who meet GPA requirements for graduate school admission are accepted each year to veterinary, medical, and dental schools. Visit the Health Care Institute to learn more.
Does Albion offer scholarships for riders?
Albion College athletics are played at the NCAA Division III level, which prohibits any student-athlete from receiving scholarship money for an athletic endeavor, including equestrian sports. However, 97% of Albion students are awarded some form of financial aid based on their academic performance in high school, demonstrated financial need, or both.
Academic scholarships begin at $12,500 for students who meet the academic criteria. Visit the Financial Aid section of our site to learn more.
How much does it cost to board a horse at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center?
Board is $625 per month for students and $650 per month for community members. Each student who brings a horse is required to sign a boarding contract in order to secure a stall; year- round board is also available.
How do I reserve a stall for my horse?
After student horse owners are accepted to the college by the Office of Admission, he or she must submit an application form detailing the horse's history, the rider's goals, as well as a video of the horse under saddle. Stalls are limited and not guaranteed; students must also re-apply for boarding each year they are enrolled at Albion.
Please note that stallions are not allowed to board at the Held Equestrian Center.
If I bring my horse to Albion, will he/she become a part of the college riding program?
Student horses are the responsibility of their owners. Only our College-owned school horses are used in the riding program. Students may volunteer their horses to be placed in the draw for College-hosted meets if they choose.
How often are stalls cleaned and horses fed?
Our stalls are cleaned once per day and the horses are fed at 7:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. each day with three feedings of hay in between for stabled horses. (Additional feedings can be arranged with the stable manager as needed.)
Are horses turned out at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center?
Horses are turned out in the spring, summer, and fall and the equestrian center has 48 private/semi-private turnout areas and 2 large (group) pastures for student boarders and our own school horses to utilize. During the winter months, turnout is extremely limited. (See next question and response for additional details.)
What if horses are not able to be turned out, due to weather or another reason?
Two covered, European-style horse walkers allow horses to be exercised daily, even in inclement weather. The walkers can be programmed to work horses at the walk, trot, and canter and workout programs can be customized.
Horses at the Held Center are turned out on a limited basis in winter months. The walkers are used to supplement when turnout lacks, and they are exercised for 30-45 minutes each morning.
Are there required items that my horse will need if we board at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center?
We require that each horse have the necessary and up-to-date vaccinations, including a Coggins test for the current year and rhino/flu vaccination within 6 months. They also must have an appropriately fitted halter and lead rope.
How often does the vet/farrier come? Can I bring my own vet/farrier in to treat my horse?
The farrier visits Albion once every week and can be called in for special cases when necessary. Outside farriers may be brought in with permission from the stable manager.
The vet visits Albion on a regular basis. Most simple daily tasks (including administration of medications) are handled by the equestrian center staff, however. Students are always notified when the vet will be coming in case he needs to see an additional case. Outside vets may be brought in with permission from the stable manager. The vet handles horses' chiropractic needs as well and the equine dentist visits the Held Center twice annually.
Can I work off some/all of my board?
Student barn workers are paid monthly by a pay check from the campus accounting office. Students may apply these funds to their board bills, but labor does not off-set boarding or lesson costs.
Do I have to own a horse to ride at Albion?
No. The Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center owns lesson horses for student use.
I don't want to ride on the team but I'd like to ride. Is that okay?
Lesson preference at the equestrian center is given to members of the varsity equestrian team and those students who board their horses at the Held Equestrian Center. Other lessons are offered on a space available basis and students are encouraged to inquire directly to the equestrian center about these opportunities.
What types of horses are the school horses at Albion?
Our school horses are all types and vary for the discipline used. They range from Warmbloods to Thoroughbreds to stock horse crosses. We have horses capable of basic dressage, work on the flat, some jumping, and others trained for western equitation and horsemanship. However we do have some who specialize in one particular area, including schoolmasters for dressage and reiners.
Learn more about guidelines for donating a horse to the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center.
Meet our coaches by checking out the Staff Page.
Can I bring in an outside instructor to work with me?
The Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center is for the sole use of those who participate in the Albion College riding program. We do not allow outside instructors to come in.
Can I take lessons if I'm a beginner?
The equestrian team is always in need of beginner riders to fill the roster in the walk-trot division so we encourage beginner riders to contact our coaches and inquire about taking up the sport.
If you've never ridden or handled horses before, expect to spend your first few lessons on the ground learning how to handle a horse on a lead rope, saddle and bridle it, and other necessary skills before you take to the saddle.
What clothing is required for riders?
All riders must wear an ASTM/SEI approved helmet when mounted. There are no exceptions. Students who do not own a helmet may borrow one of the helmets stocked by the center. Women must contain their hair under their helmets.
Students must wear appropriate hard-soled footwear when working around the horses. When riding, jeans or breeches with half-chaps or tall boots are recommended for English riders; western riders may wear jeans with appropriate boots.
What times are lessons scheduled?
For the most part, team lessons and practices are scheduled around the times our students are in class in order to prioritize academics. Group lessons are the norm but semi-private and individual lessons are also available with coaches.
What are the competitive equestrian teams at Albion College?
Albion College equestrians compete as one varsity team in the disciplines of hunt seat and western (through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association). The dressage team is currently a club sport and competes through the Intercollegiate Dressage Association.
I've never shown before; should I try out?
We seek riders of all levels for the equestrian team. Both the IHSA and the IDA have levels that range from introductory walk-trot through open division and Albion College riders from all divisions have competed successfully at national levels.
Where are meets held? Does Albion host any meets?
Albion hosts approximately three intercollegiate meets per year - one per discipline. Other meets take place (with some variation depending on team) at Lake Erie College (OH), Grand Valley State University (MI), Michigan State University (MI), Oakland University (MI), Oberlin College (OH), the University of Michigan (MI), Western Michigan University (MI), and Saginaw Valley State University (MI).
How long is the show season?
Meets are held year-round, beginning at the end of September and going through the beginning of April. For the IHSA, Regionals, Zones/Semi-Finals and Nationals extend to April and May. In the IDA, Regionals and Nationals go through the end of April.
Can anyone go watch a meet?
Meets are open to the public. Check the GoBrits.com for dates or visit the IHSA or IDA online (at www.ihsainc.com or www.teamdressage.com).
How much does it cost to be on a team?
Costs for varsity riders is minimal. Varsity riders are not charged for their required two lessons per week, though they may pay to sign up for extra lessons if they choose. The varsity athletic budget covers all other costs, including travel, entry fees, food and hotels, as well as some parts of the riding uniform.
The dressage team expenses are budgeted through the sports club association on campus.
I also play a varsity sport (i.e. basketball, volleyball, etc.). Can I do that and be on the equestrian team?
Because varsity equestrian is a year-round sport (September-April), students may not participate in two varsity sports at the same time without the consent of the coaches of both sports and the athletic director.