Susan H. Sjolund

Biography 

 

A Rhode Island native, Susan was privileged to train as a junior and young amateur with some of the country's top equitation professionals.  Her successful equitation career included qualifying multiple times for the New England Equitation Finals, competing in Medal/ Maclay classes and being named the 1981 New England Equitation Champion. In 1980 she rode Spread The News to the RIHA Reserve Championship Working Hunter year-end award and in 1981 the pair earned the RIHA Children's Hunter year-end Championship.  Susan also successfully competed in PHA, junior jumper and USET classes.

 

After Susan's formal undergraduate education at Boston University, she moved to France to further her studies at L'universite de Grenoble, where she continued to ride and train.  Upon her return to the States, she declared her professional status. Following graduate school at Middlebury College, she worked and rode for Jay Sargent at Sandy Point Stables.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1988, Susan moved to Virginia, where she began to work with Kit Sydnor, former "R" judge and 2014  recipient Jane Marshall Dillon. Susan credits Kit with teaching her how to "think like a horse". Living in Virginia and learning from"the best hunter people in the country", Susan's riding education became well rounded.

 

In the early 1990's Susan was appointed to the Riding Faculty at Sweet Briar College by Paul Cronin. Her experience at SBC was a turning point in her riding education. It was during this time that she was introduced to the American National Riding Commission (ANRC), where she earned the organizations highest rider rating.  She was invited to join the ANRC Board of Directors. She currently serves as co-chair to the organization. 

Marriage and twin daughters sidelined her for a short time from riding and teaching. However, in 1999, she was named the founding Director of Riding at Virginia Episcopal School; a highly successful hunter seat program. Her students competed in the inaugural  interscholastic invitational in Ohio. That organization would grow to become the"IEA". The VES Riding Program was also home to a community riding program and summer camp.  

 

 

Under Susan's leadership, the program was sponsored and recognized.  Ford Motor Company donated an F-350 Crew Cab Dually Truck. This donation was a partnership with Sundowner Trailers of Lexington, Virginia which provided a 6-horse slant load aluminum gooseneck with dressing room .  

 

 

 

A life member of the USEF, and USHJA she holds  "R" for Hunters and  "R" for Hunter/Jumping Seat Equitation and is a recorded judge for the ANRC.  Additionally, her roles for ANRC have included; steward, clinician, trainer, and judge.

She is a past president of the Southwest Virginia Hunter Jumper Association (SWVHJA), as well as board member, secretary, clinic co-chair, and co-chair of SWVHJA Annual Show and Medal  Finals. 

 

Susan was the recipient of the 2014 USHJA/ANRC Professional Service award and the 2015 recipient of the USHJA/ANRC Riding Instructor Award. In 2016-2017, she was invited to serve as Head Coach of Varsity Equestrian Team at The University of the South.

Susan receiving the 2015 USHJA/ANRC Riding Instructor of the Year Award