Owned & Operated by
Suzanne and Rusty Lacy

Sandy River Equestrian Center
PO Box 37
Axton, VA 24054

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A New Venture!

Please join Suzanne Lacy and Sam Henley as they present a new venture for Sandy River Equestrian Center, the Equine Management Training Program! The proposed program has received widespread support and the curriculum is being developed with the oversight of many professionals. Once approved by the USEA and USEF, Sandy River Equestrian Center is poised to take the next step that will bring this training opportunity to life for the inaugural class beginning in September of 2015.

Mission Statement

The Equine Management Training Center offers a comprehensive certification program sharing the knowledge and skills necessary to become a professional groom and manage all aspects of equestrian life.

"Sam and Suzanne have developed a thorough and challenging classroom and practical curriculum for their Professional Equine Groom School. This program will provide an outstanding service to the sport of eventing by developing individuals with profound horsemanship skills."
- - Dianne Pitts, USEA President
"One of the hardest positions to fill in the equestrian world is that of a top-class groom. The array of equine management skills, horsemanship, and leadership required is extraordinary. It is also remarkably rare because most of it is truly only gained from the experience of working with horses under the watchful eye of someone very educated in that role. As a result, we are an industry of mostly "on-the-job" training, which is both time consuming, wasteful and inefficient, and contributes to the devaluation of the "groom" position as an occupation. What the training center for Grooms could do for the professional horse industry, by providing an educated, certified, ready-to-hire equine management practitioner, cannot be understated. It would allow countless people who dream of a job working with horses to learn and acquire the skills necessary to do so, all the while providing horse business owners or hobbyists with a steady supply of reliable candidates for grooming positions in their barns. It would satisfy an enormous need in our growing industry."
- - Will Coleman
"As a professional, the most important part of my program are the grooms. No matter how well you ride or train, the horses can't perform their best without the never ending care and attention they receive from our grooms. Every tiny detail matters and the best grooms in the business have spent years and decades mastering the craft. The Professional Equine Groom School is a fantastic program and necessary for anyone aspiring to be a top groom or wanting to learn as much as possible about caring for an equine athlete."
- - Lauren Kieffer
"The key to any professional competitor's program is their relationship with the person helping to take care of the horses. The relationship between their horses and a groom is as important as any in the team. Samantha Henley has the experience of being on international teams and has put together a program that is vital to all professional horsemen no matter the discipline. There is no other program like this in the country. All professionals will be better off knowing that their employees have been taught by the best. The program is comprehensive between classroom and hands on experience. Sam was with me during some of my most successful campaigns. Those successes were in large part because Sam was part of my team. Learn from the best."
- - David O'Connor

Sandy River Equestrian Center was established in 1990 as a boarding, training, and lesson facility with an emphasis on eventing. In our program, we emphasize safety, soundness, and responsibility.

All students are required not only to groom and care for their horses, but are responsible for the conditioning and maintenance of their horse. Students are prepared for the appropriate level of competition by competing at various disciplines: dressage, show jumping, and cross country. Not only are we a competition barn but we also have a facility to accommodate those who want to just learn to ride, trail ride, or be in a lesson program.

Our training program has various levels, fitting the needs of the horse, be it ground work, tuning-up, or polishing for a competition. The program is designed to create happy and confident horses.

Our facility provides full care board. We are very aware that each horse has individual needs regarding their diet, be it water and hay, special feed, and/or special supplements.

Our farrier has many years of expertise in shoeing horses with problem feet and unusual settings. We also have two equine vets within 45 minutes of our facility, and are within 2.5 hours of two major teaching facilities: North Carolina State University and Virginia Tech.

The staff at Sandy River has an excellent reputation in the eventing world and continues to be active in the horse community and in local associations. The staff has a goal of working to provide a safe and fun environment for all of our clients and students.

Click for Curriculum

Standing Ovation

6 year old 16.2 hh off-the-track bay thoroughbred gelding who shows great potential as an event horse.

6/22-6/27: O'Connor Equestrian Eventing Camp
7/6-8/28: Equine Management Training Center Session 1
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