Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

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.

Boarding

How much does it cost to board a horse at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center?

Board is $575 per month, although there is a $100 discount per month per horse for boarding more than one horse. Each student who brings a horse is required to 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, as well as a video of the horse under saddle.

Video footage helps the barn staff to ensure the horse looks well mannered enough to be safely handled by our staff and safely ridden in our environment.

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 3:30 p.m. each day. (Additional feedings can be arranged with the stable manager as needed.)

Are horses turned out at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center?

Yes. The equestrian center has 37 half-acre grass turnout pastures for student boarders and our own school horses. When weather permits, all horses are turned out in their own individual paddocks to graze.

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. 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 Held Center works with outside specialists for more serious injury and rehabilitation cases.

An equine dentist visits the Held Center twice annually and other specialists (including a chiropractor) are brought in when needed.

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 the labor does not off-set boarding or lesson costs.

Riding Program

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?

Anyone can take lessons at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center, whether they ride for the Albion College team or not. The only requirement for riding at Albion is to pass a basic fitness test, which includes a one mile run, a one minute wall sit, a series of sit-ups, and a sit and reach for flexibilty.

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 pleasure. However we do have some who specialize in one particular area, including schoolmasters for FEI dressage and show jumpers capable of doing 4’ courses.

Learn more about guidelines for donating a horse to the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center.

Meet our instructors 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?

Yes. Lessons at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center are open to everyone, regardless of previous experience with horses. If you've never ridden or been around horses before, expect to spend your first few lessons on the ground learning how to handle a horse on a lead rope, tack up, 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. 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?

Lessons are scheduled around the times our students are in class. Group lessons are the norm to accommodate team practices; individual lessons are available and can be scheduled whenever the student has a break period. Lessons are held Monday through Friday.

Equestrian Teams

What are the competitive equestrian teams at Albion College?

Albion College equestrians compete in hunt seat and western through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Associationand in dressage through the Intercollegiate Dressage Association

I've never shown before; should I try out?

We seek riders of all levels on our teams. 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), the University of Michigan (MI), Western Michigan University (MI), Saginaw Valley State University (MI), and the University of Findlay (OH).

How long is the show season?

Meets are held year-round, beginning at the end of September and going through the beginning of April. IHSA, Regionals, Zones/Semi-Finals and Nationals extend to April and May. IDA, Regionals and Nationals go through the end of April. 

Can anyone go watch a meet?

Meets are open to the public. Check the Held Center events page for dates or visit the IHSA online at www.ihsainc.com or visit the IDA online at www.teamdressage.com.

How much does it cost to be on a team?

Costs for riders is minimal. Each team member must pay for two lessons per week with one of our team coaches. (The majority of lessons are group; semi-private and private are available.) For hunt seat team members, the varsity athletic budget covers all other costs, including travel, entry fees, food and hotels.

Riders on the club dressage or club western teams must pay for two lessons per week with one of our team coaches, as well as all of their food while traveling to meets and the travel expenses for our coach. Other costs, including hotels, travel, and entry fees, are covered by a budget from the Albion College student senate as well as through club fundraising efforts.

I also play a varsity sport (i.e. basketball, volleyball, etc.). Can I do that and be on the equestrian team?

Because of the time commitment required with a varsity sport (including training times and traveling to away meets and competitions), we discourage riders from attempting to participate in equestrian and another varsity sport at Albion.