Be an equestrian and a scholar at Otterbein University. Otterbein boasts one of the oldest standing eventing teams at the collegiate level. For 18+ years the nationally recognized equestrian program has been supporting collegiate level eventing. USEA’s own CEO, Rob Burk was an active member of the event team at its inception. His passion for collegiate eventing translated to his time at the USEA where he helped introduce and secure Intercollegiate Eventing as an official USEA program in 2014.
Otterbein is a place where you can meet both your academic and equestrian goals. But beware you may find yourself never wanting to leave. Otterbein is unique in its ability to support all types of eventing enthusiast, horse owners and non-horse owners alike. Kailey Giancola, a senior Biology major at Otterbein, summarizes her experiences. “Over four years I've grown further as a rider than I would've ever thought possible and I couldn't have done it without the amazing instructors and horses that Otterbein provides. The eventing team is truly family. I've won my first blue ribbons, spent countless hours with best friends and have many memories I can cherish forever. But the most important thing anyone should know is you will never want to leave. You've been warned!”
Otterbein is located in central Ohio in a small Columbus suburb called Westerville. While central Ohio may not seem like a hot bed of eventing, Otterbein’s Austin E. Knowlton Center for Equine Science provides everything an eventing enthusiast needs. Centrally located to many Area VIII events, Otterbein can be found competing across the mid-west and east coast. The 70 acre facility is only 3 short miles from campus and ideal for the busy college student. Indoor and outdoor arenas, hacking space, and a schooling cross country course, including a newly built water jump, allows riders to continue to train at the highest levels. Students with their own horses have the opportunity to board at the Knowlton Center and expand their college experience to include continuing to personally train their competition partners.
Otterbein prides itself on the quality of instruction offered. The Equine Science Department at Otterbein offers students countless experiential learning opportunities and individualized attention. Students are immersed in their own living laboratory and have the opportunity to expand their passion for horses into a competitive career path. Otterbein offers three highly marketable equine degrees: Equine Business Management, Equine Preveterinary Medicine/ Pregraduate Studies, and Equine Veterinary Technology. In addition, an Equine-Assisted Activities and Therapies Minor and an Equine Business Management Minor allow students to explore several different avenues within the unique equine industry.
Representing Otterbein at the Hagyard Team Challenge Training 3 day: Otterbein Student, Michael Willham and his own Fernhill Cayenne, Otterbein alum; Sarah Choate and her own Appalachian Trail, and Otterbein Student Kailey Giancola with Otterbein’s Cellar Door.
The eventing team and the equestrian program welcomes all majors. When asked what drew him to Otterbein, Michael Willham, a junior Business major, highlights the quality of instruction. “The people are great. You can have your pick of instructors / trainers: top tier hunter/jumper trainers, a Grand Prix dressage trainer, as well as a 2* and a 4*/Olympic eventer. From flatting to jumping from theoretical to practical, the availability of so many well –vested instructors allows you to experience a variety of viewpoints that give you the best of all worlds."
The event team is coached by Kari Briggs. Kari is an active competitor and most recently had her personal horse competing at the CCI** level. Bruce Mandeville, a two time Canadian Olympian and CCI**** rider, is a faculty member of the university. Through the combined efforts of both Kari and Bruce, riders have access to coaching at home and at competitions, trailering, and the support of a team atmosphere.
Lisa Adams riding Otterbein owned Grace Under Pressure.
Senior Communication major, Lisa Adams, has been able to experience collegiate eventing despite not owning her own horse. Otterbein truly allows all riders to experience the sport. Lisa explains, "When it was time for me to look at colleges, one of the most important issues for me was finding a school with an Eventing team and having the opportunity to continue competing. These were concerns because I love Eventing but I don’t own a horse - so it’s difficult…At Otterbein we’re so fortunate to have horses at all levels, so during my sophomore year, when it was time for me to move up, there was a horse capable of doing it with me. I’m currently leasing an Irish Sport Horse named Jerry who’s my partner, best friend, and is teaching me so much more than I ever expected."