Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bethany College's Equestrian Center: Riding Through College

I participate in Bethlink, a listserv for alumni of Bethany College. Last Friday there was a post about a West Virginia Public Radio news feature about Bethany College's new Equine Studies major, the development and construction of the Peace Point Equestrian Center, the future of the program and other spin off developments (including, the development of fox hunting and a large animal veterinarian school).

You can listen to the WVPR broadcast by going to the West Virginia Morning News section of WVPR. The feature is titled "Riding Through College" - 6/02 By Keri Brown and contains the following summary:
"YouĂ‚’re supposed to develop a little horse sense when you go to school, but at Bethany College the term has a literal meaning. The school not only has an equestrian team, but also offers a major in Equine Management with a 3,000-acre classroom.

The radio piece mentions that Bethany's Equestrian Team finished 8th out of 22 colleges in its division this year and the college plans to have about double the number of Equinemanagementt majors next year. Also the Equestrian Center has developed a strategic alliance with the United States Pony Club.

The Equestrian Center is the brainchild of a 1972 graduate of Bethany College, Gene Valentine. Mr. Valentine background includes being the Chief Executive Officer of Financial West Investment Group, Inc. Mr. Valentine is the founder and benefactor of the project and has donated up to $10M as seed money to start the equestrian program and strategically move it forward to help Bethany College and the Bethany Community. In conjunction with the Equestrian Center, he has the vision of creating a retirement community including an assisted living facility.

Personally, I can't wait to retire and return to Bethany to float down the old Buffalo in my tube starting with a quart at the "new" Em's, eat chicken hoagies and go to Beat the Clock night at Bubba's Bison Inn, play golf at nearby Oglebay Park, walk to the falls, write and blog from Peace Point, and otherwise enjoy life with short weekend trips into Pittsburgh, Wheeling, New Martinsville, etc.

Since we are on "horse" topics I thought I would mention the horse boarding and training offered by the daughter of two other Bethanians, Terry Coffield and Pamela Gray Coffield. Terry is my cousin who now lives in Bennington, Vermont. His daughter, Jessica Coffield, is the head instructor and trainer, at Northshire Farm in Winhall, Vermont.

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