Over a 25-year career as a professional equestrian, Ahna Phelps has built a reputation as an exceptional educator, talented trainer, and champion rider. Last year, Phelps made the transition from running her own 15-acre training and breeding ground in Allison Park, PA, to becoming associate chair and professor of equestrian studies at SCAD.
“I came to SCAD because I love teaching horsemanship,” says Phelps, who holds her master’s degree in equestrian education. “SCAD has the best equestrian program and facilities in the nation. Our equestrian center is absolutely top notch and operates at the same level of professionalism and care as a private farm.”
The Ronald C. Waranch Equestrian Center, home of SCAD’s equestrian studies program, is a 180-acre facility that houses over fifty-five horses and is designed to hold major equestrian events. The grounds include barns, paddocks, pastures, and arenas for competitions. It is also home to the multiple national championship-winning SCAD equestrian team, led by Coach Ashley Henry.
SCAD students working towards a B.A. in equestrian studies explore career paths amid a climate perfectly suited for year-round riding and stable-side education. Through a comprehensive academic program, students are prepared for careers across the spectrum in a $300-billion-a-year global equestrian industry.
“SCAD isn’t your traditional equestrian program,” Phelps says. “SCAD Bees have so many opportunities to follow their creative dreams. Our students are preparing themselves to be entrepreneurs in the equestrian industry at large. From photographers to marketers to horse clothing designers, SCAD students can choose any number of professional paths.”
SCAD Equestrian Programs Eddie Federwisch believes Phelps’ presence strengthens an already peerless program: “Ahna brings great enthusiasm and industry experience to us. I’m extremely pleased she’s here at SCAD as we continue to grow the best program in the nation.”
Phelps is looking forward to welcoming students and faculty back to the grounds this fall quarter. She will teach Riding Fundamentals: Stabilization (RIDE 102), Forward Seat Riding Methods (RIDE 201), and Equine Care, Behavior, and Handling (EQST 110). “My years of riding and showing experience are front and center in my teaching,” Phelps says. “SCAD students are open, eager, and want to learn. These students are why I made the switch from industry to university.”
Phelps’ plans for the future of the growing program include adding horses to the stable and strengthening student’s connections to the equestrian industry nationally. “I want to help students build connections to the industry,” Phelps says. “Professionals from high-end competition stables on up to the World Equestrian Center are all going to want to hire SCAD grads.”
Learn about earning a degree in equestrian studies at SCAD.
Written by Robert Almand.