Current Views


What's behind each medal - "It's a matter of balance. Me. The horse. The two of us becoming one. Head up. Breathe. No tension. What I feel, he feels. Steady. Perfect poise. And don't forget to enjoy yourself. This is serious fun."

Riding High

Mount Holyoke's outstanding equestrian facilities and strong riding program, under the leadership of coach C. J. Law, brought the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association's (IHSA) national competition to campus in May. The two-day event drew almost 2,000 equestrian enthusiasts, including 101 college teams and the best college riders in the country. Here's a look at nationals, and the riding program that led MHC to be chosen as the only college to host the prestigious event four times.

Photos by Jim Gipe and Ann Jones. Captions by Sarah Grolnic-McClurg and Emily Weir

Paula Fackelman with The Fridge

More than just horse sense - Students find they can combine athletics and academics at MHC; as a senior, Paula Fackelman ’94 received the College's top scholar-athlete award. As an alum, she remains active with the equestrian program, assisting with the riding team, being acting coach of the dressage club team, and (shown here, with The Fridge) teaching the ballet-like art of dressage.

CJ Law and Jen Webb

Holding the reins - Coach C.J. Law (left) and Jen Webb ’98 at the opening ceremony of IHSA nationals, which Law organized. She not only coached the riding team to nationals this year, but has done so regularly during her fourteen years building the equestrian program at MHC to its current position of strength.

MHC equestrian center

Spring riding team
Ribbons galore - Riding coach C. J. Law (upper left) and the MHC spring riding team display the many ribbons captured by riders at nationals and other competitions. MHC riders finished fourth as a team, with individual winners including Wynatte Chu ’99 (second in the open fences competition), Amber Summers ’00 (won the walk/trot/canter national title), Ali Feinberg ’00 (took the novice flat championship), and Lessa Millard ’99 (first in the walk/trot category).

Head over heels about horses - Riding opportunities at MHC include hunt seat, combined training, vaulting, and dressage. Here Sharon King ’97 (upside down) and Jessica Nordstrom ’99 demonstrate a difficult vaulting formation on Lucy, a Percheron draft horse.

The best in the east - During warmups for national competition before a gathering crowd, horses canter in the College's outdoor show ring. The MHC equestrian center (seen in the background) was rated the best east coast facility, "hands down," by Town & Country magazine.
Using the third largest equestrian center in the country, MHC riders enjoy two indoor arenas, a sand dressage area, and three cross-country courses that cut through 120 acres of woods, fields, and streams. Mounts enjoy expert care and the comforts of the College's fifty-eight-stall barn.

Temporary stalls Seventy stalls, no waiting - Even MHC's outstanding facilities couldn't house all the horses taking part in nationals, so seventy temporary stalls were erected for the event. Caring for a donated mount (foreground) is riding team and dressage team member Jessica Dryden ’99, one of many students who tended steeds in the canvas "stable."

Sharon King and Jessica Nordstrom on Lucy

Sharon King with horse No easy rider - Even a national horse show isn't all glory: Sharon King ’97 towels off a gray's leg in one of the equestrian facility's two heated wash stalls. Paid staff at the barn help with the feeding, watering, daily turnout (outdoor exercise), blanketing, and booting of the horses lucky enough to live at MHC. King won the IHSA's academic achievement award and aims for a PhD in geophysics.

What Do You Want?


Judging from your overwhelming positive letters and email, as well as from the national awards we've won this year, Vista must be doing something right.

But we want to know what you want to read. So please take a few minutes to let us know what you'd like to see in future issues of Vista.

You can write us a letter and mail it to:

Emily Weir
Office of Communications
Mount Holyoke College
South Hadley, MA 01075-1459

or respond by fax to 413-538-2691

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