Empowering Women Through Equestrian Excellence: Inside Wesleyan College’s Unique Program

Macon, GA |

Here in Macon at Wesleyan College, these girls can often be found at the equestrian center, prepping, training, and working with their horses. The program, which has seen great success over the years, is one that continues to grow in popularity and stand out as Wesleyan is one of ten all women’s colleges in the nation to have an equestrian program.

“The equestrian program is something that makes us very, very distinct. Young girls can come to Wesleyan, can they bring their horses and board them here, and it’s a program that if you’ve never been on a horse or you’re quite serious about, equestrian, we’ve got something for everybody. We’ve had a lot of good success, including last year, we sent two individuals to Nationals in North Carolina, and I’m thrilled to announce that this year, we’re sending 3, to North Carolina and will be competing in the nationals. So, we’ve had great placements, great standing, and we’re going to continue that tradition,” says Meaghan Blight, President of Wesleyan College.

What’s unique about their program, is that regardless of experience or background, any student at Wesleyan is welcome to become an equestrian rider and competitor.

“We’re really proud that no matter what your experience level is with horses, you’re welcomed into this program. You hear about teaching hospitals in schools. This is a teaching equestrian center, so you can learn how to groom a horse. You can learn how to walk with a horse, and then, in fact, get up and jump on a horse. We have that progression all the way along. So, whether it’s your very first time or you’re a seasoned expert, and you’ve been riding your whole life. There’s something for everybody here,” says Blight.

“Horses are expensive; very expensive, and the cheapest part is buying the horse. So there’s a lot of girls, myself included, that whenever we were younger, we didn’t have the horses, we didn’t have the experience, we didn’t have the money. So, now when you come to college, you can say, ‘hey, I now can be a part of this. I want to do something with horses.’ Now I can take these girls and they can come from no experience at all, and they can say, ‘hey, we want to show’. So, I can take them from absolutely nothing and build them into something spectacular,” says Taylor Kankowski, Director of the Wesleyan Equestrian Center.

Of course, with a program like this one, it no doubt takes a lot of hard work to get the girls saddle and season ready, which is why Kankowski gives lessons, schedules practices, and even makes them strength train each week to make sure they’re prepared in the arena.

“Usually whenever we start back up, we start with at least once a week lessons, bare minimum. Then, I’m starting in the Fall doing at least once a week. So, we’re doing once a week riding lessons and once a week gym sessions, so that way we’re all held accountable for our horses,” says Kankowski.

According to Blight, the most important aspect of the program is the impact, as she believes their equestrian program helps build character and responsibly.

“It builds certain discipline and responsibilities. I mean, there’s so, so many proven, important opportunities for young women to engage with animals that create stress relief, bonding, and just that responsibility of taking care of something beyond yourself,” says Blight.

By: John Holcomb