Rendering of proposed indoor arena
Rendering of proposed indoor arena
Categories: Academics|Advancement|Equestrian

A $2.4 million anonymous lead gift will enable Houghton College to construct a 36,400 square foot building which will house a 100’ x 240’ indoor riding arena. In addition to the arena, the project will feature 12 horse stalls, a welcome center, classroom, and concessions stand, as well as bleachers and viewing areas.

“We are grateful for this transformational gift to Houghton’s equestrian program,” said President Shirley A. Mullen. “It is a tribute to the vision of both the donor and to those in our own community, like Professor Jo-Anne Young, who imagined Houghton could be a leader in this area of study.”

In conjunction with the public launch on October 7, 2017, of its $70 million comprehensive campaign titled “IMPACT: The Campaign for Greater Houghton,” Houghton College will unveil the details of a $3.5 million Equestrian Center campaign. In addition to the construction of the new arena, the campaign will seek to fund upgrades to existing facilities, provide ample event parking, and establish an endowment fund for ongoing maintenance and operational costs for the facility.

The Kinley Corporation (Allegany, NY), in conjunction with project architects Clark Patterson Lee (Olean, NY), is slated to break ground during Houghton’s Homecoming festivities on Saturday, October 7 at 9:00 a.m., with completion anticipated prior to the 2018-2019 academic year.

“The gift will expand our capacity to accommodate the growing number of students from across the nation who come to the college specifically for this program, as well as to serve more extensively the equestrian community of Western New York,” said Larissa (Strappello ’08) Ries, instructor and equestrian program director.

This expansion will further enhance the Houghton College Equestrian Center (HCEC), which was listed as one of the 20 Most Amazing College Equestrian Centers in the country by Best Value Schools this year, alongside major universities such as Michigan State, Penn State, Stanford, and Kentucky. Nearly 100 students and approximately 400 visitors used the center in the past year. With the addition of the new indoor arena, that number is expected to increase. While continuing partnerships with the United States Equestrian Foundation (USEF) and the Western New York Dressage Association, the HCEC looks forward to building new partnerships and expanding its services to a greater number of students and visitors.

Houghton’s equestrian studies program is known for academic excellence, professionalism, and experiential learning. The idyllic rural setting provides an ideal training ground for students to learn and train under Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA)certified professors and Fédération Équestre Internationale (FEI) level clinicians. Graduates go on to careers as coaches, trainers, equestrian facility managers, college and university professors, directors of year-round riding programs at lesson barns and camp/conference centers, equine entrepreneurs, and other related occupations.

Students from all across the country – as far as California, Texas, Washington, and Colorado – come to Houghton to pursue equine studies. Each year, Houghton hosts 10-12 public events at the equestrian center, including classes, competitions, and clinics. During the summer months, the equestrian center conducts a regularly sold-out, multi-week equestrian summer camp and also hosts a number of USEF recognized dressage competitions. Additionally, multiple schooling shows, CHA clinics, and other equestrian-related events and clinics are offered.

To learn more about the Houghton College Equestrian Center campaign, please contact the Houghton College Office of Advancement at 585.567.9640, or visit