The Sacred Heart Equestrian Center gives students the opportunity to learn the art of horsemanship in the quiet and reflective atmosphere of our 250 acre campus. Horseback riding lessons can be taken as part of our academic curriculum or as an after-school or weekend activity. Students may chose from 3 different disciplines, Hunter/Jumper, Dressage, and Western and may ride recreationally or competitively. Horse boarding and after-school and weekend lessons are available to non-Sacred Heart students by arrangement.
Our facilities include a fourteen stall barn with two wash-racks and a locking tack room as well as a unique six stall barn that was built in 1856 and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The barns are cool, well ventilated, and equipped with insecticide misters for fly control. Thirty acres of fenced pastures are available for daily turnout and a lighted sand arena, a round pen, and several fields and wooded areas offer a multitude of riding options.
Boarded horses are turned out for a minimum of six hours per day, though turn-out times rotate with the seasons. In the summer, horses stay in under fans during the day and go out at night. In the winter, they stay in overnight and go out during the day.
In addition to the privately owned boarded horses that live at Sacred Heart, the Equestrian Center keeps and maintains a select group of horses that are used specifically for Sacred Heart Equestrian students. These horses are suitable for a wide range of riders, many of them able to carry beginners as well as advanced students, and are used both for lessons and for horse shows. Students are encouraged to come out and visit their favorite school horses, and even “adopt” a school horse that might need some extra TLC.
Showing is not a required or necessary part of the SSH Equestrian curriculum, however, students and boarders who are interested are welcome to join the SSH show team. Students who choose to join our team must keep in mind that they are representatives of our barn and our school and are expected to give one-hundred percent to the development of their riding skills and equestrian knowledge.
The Sacred Heart Equestrian Center hosts a variety of Equestrian productions throughout the year. These may include Hunter/Jumper and Dressage schooling shows, combined training events, Equestrian fairs, educational seminars, and play days. These productions are open to the public and SSH students and families are highly encouraged to help with planning and participation.
Jolene Laughlin – Director of the Schools of the Sacred Heart Equestrian Center
Jolene Laughlin is a 2001 graduate of William Woods University and holds a bachelors degree in Equestrian Science with a proficiency and special interest in Dressage. She was the Tri-State Horseman’s Association’s “Dressage and Two-Phase Trainer of the Year” in 2002 and the “TSHA Reserve Trainer of the Year” in 2003. In addition to her degree in horse science, she draws from a lifetime of experience with horses, having studied, ridden, trained, or competed in the dressage, combined training, vaulting, western, and hunter/jumper disciplines.
Aubrey Fait – Assistant Director of the Schools of the Sacred Heart Equestrian Center
Aubrey Fait joins us all the way from Wisconsin. She has been riding since she was six years old and horse showing since she was nine years old. She had the opportunity to qualify for the National Pony Finals three years in a row. As she got older she was able to move up to higher divisions in the hunter discipline. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Training and Instructor at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana. There she rode in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association for four years and qualified for Nationals two years in a row. At school, she was the Hunt Seat team captain for two years and the school’s first high point rider in hunt seat for the region. After completing college, she began working at a sales farm where she gained further experience in her field.
If the Sacred Heart Equestrian program interests you, please contact Jolene Laughlin at (337) 662-3920 or D’Lane Wimberley Thomas at (337) 662-5275.