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Wesleyan adds equine studies major and welcomes dressage to equestrian competition

Under the direction of Head Equestrian Coach Catherine Baker, Wesleyan recently joined the Intercollegiate Dressage Association (IDA) and added dressage to its team competition. With just three team riders at their first IDA Show in November, Wesleyan was the third place team on the first day of competition and the Reserve Champion High Point Team on the second day, putting the Wolves in the running to earn regional standings and to compete at IDA Nationals in the spring. Wesleyan is the only school in Georgia competing in IDA competitions.

Several beginner team riders will compete for the first time at the Wesleyan College Schooling Show on Saturday, January 25. The first weekend in February starts our spring intercollegiate season and every team rider will be competing.

As defined by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI), dressage is “the highest expression of horse training” where “horse and rider are expected to perform from memory a series of predetermined movements.” Dressage competitions consist of a series of individual tests with an increasing level of difficulty. Beginning levels ask horses for basic gaits. Movements such as lateral, the leg yield, shoulder-in, or haunches-in are gradually introduced as the horse progresses, until the point at which the horse can compete in the FEI levels.

Wesleyan competes in the IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Show Association) in both hunt seat and western and is among eleven schools in Georgia and only seven women’s colleges competing at the IHSA level. Wesleyan team riders are encouraged to compete in multiple disciplines.

Fall semester 2020, the College will offer a new major in equine studies, joining The University of Georgia and Savannah College of Art and Design as the only three Georgia institutions to offer this program. Equine studies at Wesleyan combines the scientific study of horses with practical aspects such as business models, herd management, equine nutrition, equine anatomy, physiology and first aid, and the fundamentals of riding. Two tracks are available: equine-assisted therapy and equine business management. For more information visit

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