Horse Riding at The Hadley Farm
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Horse Riding at The Hadley Farm

August 25, 2019

UMass Hadley Farm
Equestrian Center is located just
about a mile away from the campus in Amherst. We have over 100 acres here. We have three large barns. We have an indoor riding
arena, an outdoor riding arena that’s 100 by 200, and
then a full-sized dressage arena. And then my favorite
part is our track. So we have a 7/8 mile
cross country track. The Equine Management
Program is housed here in the Stockbridge
School of Agriculture. It’s an associate’s
degree program. For those that choose to go
right into the workforce, we have 100 % job placement. Hopefully in the
next year or two also be able to offer students
not only an associate’s degree in equine but a bachelor’s
degree in equine as well. During the school year, most
of the riding that gets done is through the
college students who take riding for academic
credit, but during the summer, we open the riding
up to the public, and this is the first year we
reinvigorated our adult riding program. It’s such a great
outreach, and we’re so happy to have
adults basically keeping our horses fit and
keeping the community involved with the farm. I love teaching people. I love seeing the
smiles on their faces, the incremental
improvements that they make, and people are so happy. They’re not out to go
to the Olympics in 2024, but they’re just happy that they
can make slow, steady progress and enjoy the
company of a horse. It eases your mind. You forget all your
troubles with a horse. You have nothing
but good thoughts, because you’ve got to
concentrate on riding, and they’re great. Right? And just fold at the hip. Riding instructors are fabulous. They take you step by step, and
if you goof up on something, they make you do it again,
which is a great thing, so you really learn
how to ride a horse. This is Bay State Zephyr, and
he is an 11-year-old Morgan gelding that was born
here at the Hadley Farm and was raised here and is
used in the riding program. The Bay State Morgans are really
a core part of our program. They’re just the most
forgiving and gentle, so they’re great
teaching horses. A lot of people think
that the first Morgan horse was from Vermont,
but it’s actually– Justin Morgan was the
owner, and he was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. In the 1950s, the
cavalry disbanded, and a couple of the
state universities, including UConn
and UMass, got some of the breeding stock that were
used at the cavalry remount station. So we got several brood mares
and some stallions, and that started our Morgan herd here. So any of the
Morgans born at UMass are called Bay State Morgans,
and they can trace their lines back to the US Cavalry horses. And then we also started several
years ago a Hanoverian breeding program, which is really
good for the students because they have two very
different breeds to work with and learn by. We always have students here. We like to say every day is a
field day here at Hadley Farm, because every day there’s
something going on, and we are teaching every day. The facilities are second
to none in the area, and the instruction is right
up to par also, not to mention the fabulous Bay
State Morgan horses. Riding here, you’re doing
everything the right way. Take two lessons and see if
you like it, and I tell you, you’re going fall in
love with the horses.

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