Now SMITH COLLEGE wants to shut down their equestrian facility & demote varsity team

If I were a donor and the university shut down the rising center and either sold it or let it fall into disrepair I’d be very unhappy. At the least I’d want a very good explanation for why.

If I were a donor and the university shut down the rising center and either sold it or let it fall into disrepair I’d be very unhappy. At the least I’d want a very good explanation for why.[/QUOTE]

Follow the Money!..

Based on prior postings, the equestrian center was build with alumnae donations. So what’s happened since then? What is the rationale for getting rid of the horses?

Questions, Questions, Questions.

My whole concept of the Smith “brand” is of an Ivy League college with a great horse program. Take away the horses and what is to distinguish Smith from any other East Coast Ivy?

If the idea is that the place was maintained with “significant” funds from alumni, then that should be fact checked because it was run down the last time I was in there which was a loooong time ago. I don’t see any photos that indicate it’s had any substantial improvement since then, either.

The community program provided a lot of support for the program and the horses in recent years. It wasn’t solely funded by Smith.

This is a shame. I looked at both Smith and Mt. Holyoke because they had barns and I could keep my horse on campus – ended up at Mt. Holyoke. From my 18-year old perspective, that more than made up for any deficits they had in being single-sex institutions. When people ask me why I went to a women’s college, I say it was because the horse could live on campus.

The barns and equestrian programs are draws for both colleges. There were a lot of people at MHC who were there because of the equestrian program, which was much bigger than just the competitions. It had student and staff boarders, weekend lessons for kids from South Hadley, lessons for MHC students who were not on the teams, and employment for both students and locals working at the barn.

Smith will become a totally different program if they have to bus students to another equestrian facility, not offering anything that Amherst, Wellesley, and other small liberal arts colleges don’t. As a high school senior I visited Amherst (along with Smith and MHC), then looked at boarding barns in the Pioneer Valley area, should I have applied to it – and the best ones we found were at Smith and MHC!

Does the equestrian program bring in enough students, donations, money from lessons, etc. to make it worth running? Being a women’s college, and based on my anecdotal experience at MHC, I’d suggest, probably, but who knows. I wonder how much the Smith Board of Trustees factored that into their decision. I do know that if I were a current student who chose that college because of the barn, I’d be raging.

The fabulous Denny Emerson writes about this. Please consider signing the petition.

Chronicle just did a story:

My IHSA team was dismantled my sophomore year in college. My best friend and I campaigned to the sports director to make it a club. Of course, we had to pay and manage the whole thingout of pocket, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. There were only 4 of us, so we carpooled to shows and my bf and I “coached”. My bf even went to national finals her senior year.

Please rally to help us send a message to the college that we love the riding program and want to save the farm. Today, please post a photo of you with a horse or with boots on of any kind with the hashtags #savesmithequestrian and #breechesandboots Please make it public so it can be seen by all and collected by our group. I have great faith in my fellow COTH people, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

The story was on the front page of yesterday’s Daily Collegian at UMass/Amherst.