The Riding Center at UCA

Holly Haeger

Director of Equestrian Programs for Upper Columbia Conference, Holly splits her time between UCA and Camp MiVoden and oversees both programs. Currently she manages a herd of over 30, a summer staff of over 15, an academy staff of 2, and all the programming, equipment, and tack that goes with it.

Undergraduate degree in English and Music earned from Walla Walla University; Graduate degree earned from Whitworth College with a Master’s in teaching. Holly has earned 21 years of experience in high school public education and over 30 years as a professional coach, instructor, clinician, judge, and rater in the equine industry.

Holly has a lot of experience in both the art of teaching and specifically in instructing both horses and riders as they grow to meet their goals. As a rider Holly has experience in lessons/competition in reining, cutting, working cow horse, working equitation (western, English, and Australian stock seats), dressage, jumping, and eventing or horse trials. She is currently between horses as she retires her Percheron/TB cross eventer and starts her 3 yr old Australian Stockhorse. Holly loves sharing her love of riding and horses with others more than anything else.

Luke Torquato

Laurel Siapco

Basic Course Outline

Horsemanship I (Horsemanship II & III are specialized and catered to individual rider goals)

First Semester

First Quarter Second Quarter
  • UCA facility methods & procedures for catching, haltering, leading, tieing, stall tieing, grooming, & tacking
  • UCA facility/program expectations for horse riding prep, warm up, cool down, and post ride care
  • UCA facility program expectations for facility upkeep daily: ie, manure management, tack management, product usage, tool usage, tidying up practices.
  • Mounting and dismounting procedures and practices – emergency dismounts
  • Rider position while riding
  • Basic “riding in a group” riding terms and execution: ability to change rein numerous ways while riding in a group in a small space, ability to ride complete circles in a group at the same time, in a small space, how to pass both in the same direction and opposing
  • Introduction to Western & English styles
    Introduction to equestrian sports & disciplines
  • Halt, Back up, Walk, Trot transitions with skill, correct hind end activity and control in a group
  • Group & Individual discussions about goals
  • Introduction to Pony Club extra curricular option


  • Thorough expectations of previous quarter skills maintained
  • Introduction to outdoor riding in the open
  • Pattern riding
  • Introduction to canter/lope
  • Understanding rider position in motion with absorbing seat & quiet hands in all gaits
  • Seamless seat transitions between rising trot, sitting trot, half seat (eng and western)
  • Goal setting and progress assessments
  • TPR & Blanket fitting and procedures for managing blankets during classes
  • Learning to “ride every stride”
  • Introduction to lateral aids and movement: ie side passing and leg yielding

PRIMARY GOAL: TAKING OWNERSHIP OF EACH RIDE. (Whenever we’re not practicing the correct aids or habits, we’re reinforcing the incorrect aids or habits)

Second Semester

Third Quarter Fourth Quarter
  • All skills from 1st and 2nd quarter expected and refined
  • Cantering with control
  • Working Equitation obstacle training and negotiating
  • Pattern riding with canter/lope and obstacles
  • Beginning jumping for Eng riders
  • Skills tests
  • Riding with control in the open at all gaits

PRIMARY GOAL: Riding with precision to complete tasks as rider/horse partners and implementing those aids on multiple horses.

  • All skills from 1st-3rd quarters expected and refined
  • Working Equitation obstacle training in the open
  • Pattern riding with canter/lope and obstacles and/or jumps in the open (outside the arena)
  • Skills tests
  • Beginning drill team exercises

PRIMARY GOAL: Testing and demonstrating control, partnership, and good riding in non-enclosed settings and working in rider groups for common goals.

Note: All procedures, methods, and practices are taught using the Certified Horsemanship Association and the United States Pony Club curriculums and rules. These nationally recognized programs set industry standards for youth and adults and adequately prepare riders to operate with confidence in private, public, and commercial barns and compete and show within the basic rules as set forth by United States Equine Federation and other equestrian governing bodies.

This program is multi-disciplined and invites riders of all styles and disciplines to participate. We do not commit ourselves to any specific “method” of training or trainer. We do not promote one style of riding over another and hope to lift up and affirm individual rider’s goals and dreams. We focus on all around, safe, basic through intermediate horsemanship skills that serve any discipline, and then encourage students individually through focused riding instruction both privately and in classes in the discipline and skills of their choice.

We are a riding school. We teach riders to ride, train, and function as horse men and women in the larger equine industry with confidence and skill. We are not “free-time” recreational riding, liberty training, or a boarding facility with optional lessons. Though these programs exist elsewhere, what we are is an academic riding school program for riders who want to learn and grow their riding and horsemanship skills and pursue goals on that journey. We do allow students to bring their own horses to board at the school for this program, or students may use one of the schooling horses that we winter lease from Camp MiVoden.


Riding is unique. Horses are sensitive to a rider/handler’s moods and feelings and REFLECT those moods and feelings back, often amplified. Horse brains have a high number of “mirror neurons” specifically for the purpose of reflecting back another’s energy, mood, etc… Because of this, it is our policy that when a student is not in a frame of mind to ride fairly, clearly, and in a caring and empathetic manner, that he or she should NOT ride. Instead we encourage grooming, handling, and using their barn time to decompress. Horse/rider progression cannot occur when a rider is not mentally ready to be present, engaged, and able to learn and adapt. We encourage open communication about “frame of mind” and being “ready to ride”. Students are NOT discouraged from taking mental health time, and no “discount” is taken from their grade.

Pony Club - The Riding Center at UCA

Here at UCA we are a national Riding Center for USPC, The United States Pony Club. Pony Club is an international organization in 30 countries. It originated in the UK, but has strong youth riding organizations all over the world. In the United States Pony Club is the leading youth education organization with a detailed curriculum that allows students to earn riding certifications at a minimum of 9 levels in various disciplines and seats. Disciplines refers to a riding sport, ie jumping, dressage, western dressage, vaulting and more. Seats refers to the type of saddle a rider uses for their sport ie English jumping, dressage, hunter etc… western, Australian stock and even Spanish.

Our national status as a Riding Center for USPC was hard earned and only comes because of the experienced leadership and the certified instructors we currently have employed at UCA.

Membership is individual and entirely separate from any class or boarding fees for riders at UCA. Being a member gives access to curriculum, programming, learning and fun meetings almost weekly (home leave and vacation weeks excluded), opportunities to join certification tests and get rated as a rider, field trips, and more.

Our existing membership is strong and filled with motivated kids who love learning, growing, and earning their Pony Club ratings, and they are an important part of the positive, supportive culture we’ve built at the barn.

  • Want to learn more? Follow this link to learn more about Pony Club: Pony Club
  • What does it cost? Total will vary, but the upfront cost is $180 plus the purchase of
    this medical armband: Tough 1 Emergency Medical Arm Band. This band is required at every mounted meeting or one that involves horses. Other fees will be based on individual activities. Field trips and ratings for example have a charge per activity or test.
  • What do they get? Access to the curriculum is worth it, but we’re also paying for liability insurance, administration of all our records, and the club/center meetings and materials.
  • What are the benefits? Parents who have invested in this organization for their children have been shocked at the benefits. Students become more focused in their riding, more responsible, more aware of both their horsemanship and social responsibilities, and their confidence increases in every area of their lives. Sounds like a lot of promise; it’s actually just the reality of what this program does. *Note – we encourage, support and actively put ACADEMICS 1st. Pony Club is about a whole person – not just his/her riding. Long term, Pony Club will make a rider better equipped for ANY of the following without question: 1) horse ownership, 2) equestrian jobs or business owners, 3) competitive rider in ANY discipline, 4) good citizenship as an employee, community member, etc…
  • Anything else I need to know? Sometimes the skiing trips at UCA in the winter conflict with PonyClub and progress towards certifications. We totally support every student’s right to choose their activities, but he/she may not be able to do both fully if he/she is signed up for both. PonyClub is a very involved extracurricular.
  • When do you meet? Tuesday nights during rec period – last year 6pm, every week except home leave weeks and vacations unless otherwise stated, some Sundays scheduled for riding practice, testing, or preps for certifications, and the occasional other day of the week for field trips.

Interested in joining? You are always welcome to visit one or more of our meetings to see what it entails, but as a non-member, you will be unable to participate in any horse related PonyClub activities. Mounted and hands on horse work is limited to members due to liability and membership restrictions.

Ready to join now? Memberships are by Riding Center invitation. Send an email to Holly Haeger requesting an invitation. I’ll need a parent email, student’s age, and first and last legal name of both the prospective member and the responsible guardian/parent in order to set up the invitation and get it sent out.


Needs List

Future Plans – Details Coming Soon

How to Donate – It is essential that WHEN you donate you specifically indicate for what your donation is given, otherwise your donations go into the general funds for the school. Please indicate your specific desire for your donation. Some suggestions: Equestrian Student Scholarship Fund, Equestrian Feed and Supplies, Equestrian Facility Development, etc…

Follow this link to donate now:  Donate Now

Holly Haeger