1. School of Equine Studies
  2. Winter at the Equestrian Center

Winter at the Equestrian Center at Lake Erie College| Painesville, OH

The George M. Humphrey Equestrian Center is Busy as Ever This Holiday Break

Final exam grades are in the books and the residence halls are quiet. Dark classrooms sit along empty hallways and the parking lots are devoid of cars. It’s winter break at Lake Erie College!

While science laboratory equipment, musical instruments, graphic design computers and all the other academic resources that support the College's 33 majors and 29 minors require little upkeep during the break, the same cannot be said for the college’s teaching herd of 50 plus horses. It is business as usual at the George M. Humphrey Equestrian Center.

horses pass the new Inspiration riding arena on their way to turnout

Who takes care of the horses when the students are away? Currently, the college employs five full-time stable attendants responsible for feeding, watering, cleaning stalls and turning the horses in and out in all-weather paddocks.

But, not all of the horses stay at school for the break.

Leased horses go back to their home farms for vacation. Plus, many students opt to lease a school horse to take home with them. This year, almost 15 horses left the property with students, leaving fewer than 40 horses at the EQ Center.

Stable Supervisor Xander Hull loads a tractor during stall cleaning

Sophomore Haven Thompson, a double major in Equine Facility Management and Equine Therapeutic Horsemanship, works part-time at the Center.

“I like working with the barn staff and I get extra riding opportunities when all the other students are gone,” she said.

Haven Thompson cleans a stall at the equestrian Center

The horses still need exercise and care during the long vacation. Faculty and LEC students who live close by work together to keep the horses ridden and groomed. Debby Savage, adjunct faculty member and retired intercollegiate dressage coach rides every day during the week:

“I love riding the horses over the break. It’s like they’re all my own horses! Plus it’s a good way for the horses to get additional schooling,” said Savage.

Debby Savage grooms Simba, a third level dressage horse owned by lake erie college

Adjunct hunter/jumper instructor Heidi D’Angelo agrees.

“I like to ride the horses I teach on during the semester so I get a better idea of what the students are feeling during their lessons and how I can help them improve their skills,” she said.

D’Angelo on Ouzo, a 6-year-old Belgian warmblood donated to lake erie college by a farm in Kentucky

Whether it’s cleaning stalls, turning out horses or riding, winter can be a challenging time in a barn. “The early morning commute can be tough if the roads are bad. But it’s important to get to work to feed the horses,” said Hull. “It’s always fun to turn them out and watch them play in the snow!”

Lake Erie College is currently hiring Stable Assistants. Full-time employees receive an excellent benefits package including health insurance, 401(k) retirement contributions, paid vacation and sick days — plus free undergraduate tuition for immediate family members!

To apply, contact Dr. Pam Hess

Pam Hess, DVM

Dean of the School of Equine Studies

1 (440) 375-8005


School of Equine Studies

Equestrian Center - 205