Morning skies were overcast and temperatures were in the mid-30s, but the cold did not chill the enthusiasm displayed at the Jan. 26 dedication ceremonies for the newly covered arena at Lander University’s Equestrian Center.
Spectators included Lander students, faculty, staff and administrators, and riders from Lander’s equestrian team. Also present were teams and their supporters from three other colleges who competed along with Lander in an International Horse Show Association Western (IHSA) event later in the morning and the next day.
University president Daniel Ball thanked Equestrian Center director Nancy Poston; equestrian coach Mary Weaver; and Beth Wood, coordinator of the university’s Bearcat Therapeutic Horsemanship program for their commitment to the center. He said, “Without their determination and can-do attitudes, this facility would not exist.”
Jimmy Burton, executive director of Burton Center, on whose grounds the Equestrian Center is located, said the facility was a vision of Burton Center and Lander. He added, “The boards of both institutions made a dream come true.”
Nancy Poston said having the covered arena means that therapeutic horsemanship clients will not have their sessions interrupted by bad weather. “And horse show events and training for riders can take place rain or shine,” she added.
The dedication included singing of the national anthem by Dr. Charles Neufeld, associate professor music at Lander, and Bearcat therapeutic rider John Mark McQuown. Cadets from Lander’s ROTC program presented the colors, followed by the unveiling of an American flag that was flown in Iraq in honor of the Equestrian Center in 2011, by SPC Matt Culbertson, of Bravo Company, 151st ESB of the South Carolina National Guard.
His wife, Ashley, is a volunteer in the equestrian program, and their son, Benjie, receives services provided by the therapeutic riding program.
The IHSA event that followed was the first show held under the covered arena.