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Olympian David O'Connor Hosts Stephens College Clinic

David O’Connor observes as Stephens student Rachel McLeod

approaches a jump on Platinum Investment, donated by

Sallie Cheatham Cutler, a 1976 graduate of the College.

Earlier this fall, the Stephens College Equestrian Studies department in Columbia, Mo., hosted a clinic led by David O'Connor, an internationally recognized and award-winning Olympic equestrian and current president of the United States Equestrian Federation. During the two-day clinic in late October, O'Connor worked with 36 riders including Stephens students and alumnae and other interested equestrians in Missouri. He held a Q&A and instructional sessions in dressage, stadium jumping and cross country. A reception also was held in his honor.


In his career, O'Connor won a total of three Olympic medals, two Pan American Games medals and two World Championships. He brought home the first Eventing gold medal for the United States in more than a quarter century when he clinched the individual Eventing championship with the best score in Olympic history at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. In 2004, he officially retired from international competition to focus on the training of riders and horses. O'Connor and his wife and former Olympic medalist teammate, Karen O'Connor, operate a successful teaching and training business in The Plains, Va.


The Stephens College riding program began in 1925 and occupies 16 acres on the College's campus, offering an indoor arena, a lighted outdoor arena, seven turn-out paddocks, stables and a cross-country course. The program boards approximately 40 horses.


Equestrian students and faculty participate in horse shows in the five-state area and host the Prince of Wales Charity Horse Show each year. Stephens' Prince of Wales Club was established in 1926 and is one of the oldest continually active riding clubs in the nation.


Stephens College, a private women's college in Columbia, Mo., offers a B.S. in Equestrian Business Management for students who want to work in a horse-related business professionally, as well as a B.S. in Equestrian Science for those interested in becoming horse trainers, riders and teachers. For students who wish to work with a variety of farm animals, Stephens offers a B.S. in Equestrian Science and Animal Science. Through the dual-degree program, students at either school may earn an equestrian science degree from Stephens and an animal science degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. In cooperation with Washington University in St. Louis, Stephens offers a "3-2" partnership that allows students to earn a B.A. in Equestrian Science from Stephens in just three years followed by a master's degree from Washington University in occupational therapy in two additional years. In addition, Stephens offers minors in equestrian science and animal science for students wanting to strengthen their equestrian skills or combine their equine study with training in another discipline, such as biology.

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