College rescues Virginia Intermont riding program

AFP Correspondent

EMORY, Va. (July 8, 2014) — Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College is a new name in Virginia’s horse industry but a continuation of one of its most prestigious equestrian programs.
Virginia Intermont College is closing and the nationally recognized equestrian program that attracted riders and future industry leaders from across the nation appeared to be in danger of extinction.
On June 17, the horse industry learned the program would continue with new life. That was the day Dr. Jake Schrum, president of Emory and Henry College, announced that Emory and Henry is taking over the Virginia Intermont equestrian program.
“The college is proud to be able to carry on the 40-year tradition established by the nationally celebrated equestrian program,” Schrum said at a ceremony in the state-of-the art riding center previously used by Virginia Intermont, according to an Emory and Henry College news release.
Virginia Intermont is the holder of 17 national championship titles. Some of these were earned this spring, Lisa Moosmueller-Terry, a Virginia Intermont faculty member and dressage coach, said. Moosmueller-Terry was hired by Emory and Henry along with Dr. Patty Graham-Thiers and Heather McCloud to continue the program.
“While the loss of such a respected school as Virginia Intermont is disappointing, the fact that a new equestrian program has evolved is exciting,” Andrea Heid, program manager and equine marketing specialist for the Virginia Horse Industry Board, said upon hearing of the change. “Intermont Equestrian at Emory & Henry College offers expanded opportunities for students pursuing competitive riding skills together with academic interests in the equine field.”
“The Virginia Horse Industry Board supports efforts that develop future leaders of the industry in the Commonwealth,” Heid continued in her e-mail. “And this new program offers students from across the United States the opportunity to enrich their equine studies and abilities here in Virginia.”
“We’re very excited to continue the nationally recognized competitive and academic programs,” Moosmueller-Terry said in a telephone interview.
She explained that the program not only produces outstanding competitive riders but professionals who find work throughout the industry.
These range from show grooms in international competitions to trainers to riding coaches. Some graduates have coached in the International Scholastic Association.
Moosmueller-Terry noted that most of the riders who enter the program have competed as individuals. She said being a member of a team broadens their outlook, having the impact of producing well-rounded professionals.
The students working as a team have more comradery, working together rather than individually, and learn character, which carries over into life, she said.
Emory and Henry is currently recruiting both current Virginia Intermont students and new students to the competitive riding program, Schrum reported.
Moosmueller-Terry also expressed delight that her program will be associated with Emory and Henry, listed in Washington Monthly, as one of the 50 top liberal arts colleges in the nation.
Moosmueller-Terry, a Virginia Intermont graduate and longtime associate professor and assistant, will continue as head riding coach.
She will also continue to oversee the Intercollegiate Dressage Association team. Graham-Thiers will oversee the academic program.
She also will continue her research in equine nutrition, an on-going effort for her since coming to VI.
McCloud will be a teacher and coach of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association.
Emory and Henry will be keeping the riding center facilities that include 129 acres of rolling pasture land north of Bristol, Va.