Located along the U.S. Highway 14 Bypass north and east of the SDSU campus, the Nathelle and Lawrence DeHaan Equestrian Center became the new home for Jackrabbit Equestrian at South Dakota State University when it opened in the fall of 2008.
Dedicated on Oct. 15, 2008, project benefactor Nathelle DeHaan's avid support of South Dakota State University and love for horses grew to make the SDSU Equestrian program and the Nathelle and Lawrence DeHaan Equestrian Center a reality.
A 1937 graduate of South Dakota State, Nathelle DeHaan provided the initial gift to build the facility. For nearly five decades, she and her late husband, Lawrence played an active role in the local horse community, traveling to judge and show quarter horses.
She always dreamed of the day when young women could attend college, compete at the highest level and create experiences and memories that last a lifetime.
"The Equestrian program provides a wonderful opportunity for young women," she says. "I'm excited about the future of the SDSU Equestrian team."
Completion of the building in the spring of 2008 more than tripled the team's previous training facilities. At nearly 26,000 square feet, the $3.6 million climate-controlled facility features an indoor riding arena, 42 stalls with additional areas for grooming, washing and preparing the horses, as well as separate on-site work areas for veterinarians and farriers. In addition to the area for the horses, the building houses a team locker room equipped with a study area.
"Being able to move to this expanded facility enables us to enhance the practices and increase the student-athletes' preparedness," head coach Megan McGee said. "It makes the flow of operation much, much smoother."
The additional space allows the team's roster to eventually grow to 60 riders, while continuing to offer the NCAA-maximum 15 full scholarships.
The proximity of the Nathelle and Lawrence DeHaan Equestrian Center to the main SDSU campus makes it unique in the collegiate equestrian ranks and should allow for the equestrian program to become further ingrained in the SDSU Athletic Department as it continues to mature.
Once the SDSU Foundation completes fund-raising for Phase I, planning begins for the second phase of the project. Phase II includes the addition of a stall barn, a large outdoor riding arena, viewing rooms, coaching offices, a meeting room and trophy room.
"That next component will be necessary in order to maintain a competitive squad," McGee said.For more information on the SDSU Equestrian team, or to make a donation for scholarship support or facilities, contact Associate Athletic Director for Development Mike Burgers at the SDSU Foundation by phone at (605) 697-7475 or by email at Mike.Burgers@sdsufoundation.org