About The Riding School
Chan Carman, Owner and Instructor
My first love in life was horses. I started taking riding lessons as a child and was fortunate enough to immediately get involved in the United States Pony Club. I went on to earn my HA rating and served on the first USPC Youth Board for the Board of Governors. As an adult I have have stayed involved with the organization teaching and coaching USPC members. My early instructors instilled in me a strong value for rider education and the process of riding and training correctly. From the beginning, I learned to care for my horse as a partner and to put their needs first. I have prepped and trained with multiple Pony Club National Examiners, including the late Jill Hassler-Scoop, and Cathy Frederickson. These instructors encouraged the character traits that would allow me to be successful in and out of the saddle.
In my riding career I have had many unique experiences that have fostered my passion for high-quality education. I have lived all over the country and have experience in multiple disciplines. I started with a focus on Dressage and transitioned to Eventing, eventually schooling through Intermediate. When I was not competing, I learned to groom for friends through the Eventing 1* level. In high school, I had the opportunity to ride in Germany and train briefly at the International Equestrian Academy in Dressage. In college, I was introduced to Hunter/Jumpers and rode on my Intercollegiate Horse Show Association team, qualifying for Regionals my junior year. I also brought along a young horse in college, who after completing my B Pony Club rating, went on to compete in Hunter Derbies. While studying psychology in college I was one of the first people to complete Daniel Stewart’s Sports Psychology for Equestrians Certification through the Advanced Level. Along the way, I have taught beginner through intermediate riders, both children and adults, in multiple barns. Throughout all those experiences, I have been grateful for the solid foundation and commitment to horse welfare that was instilled in me from the beginning. It was that foundation that made all of those experiences possible.
Outside of the traditional equestrian arena, I have a BA in Psychology and a MA in Mental Health Counseling. I have worked primarily as a therapist for children and adolescents, and have also trained in Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy. I am certified in Experiential Learning with Horses through Spirit of Leadership and Lake Erie College. Through that unique experience, I had the opportunity to learn from pioneers in the field including Jackie Stevenson, Barbara Rector, and Linda Kohonav. I have also trained through both the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International (PATH) and the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA). These experiences have allowed me a unique window into the lessons we learn through partnering with horses, and the broader impact that learning has on all aspects of our lives.
The mission of The Riding School is to create an accessible equestrian program that develops the talents and enhances the knowledge of all students in a safe and fun environment. The program will create riders who are also competent in all aspects of responsible horse care.
The Riding School focuses on building confident equestrians who are able to transition their critical thinking, empathy, and leadership skills to all aspects of their life.
The facility is located within the city limits of Aiken, South Carolina. Situated near multiple housing developments and schools, the facility is convenient for busy families. The peaceful six acres boasts a 20 stall barn with plenty of room to groom, tack-up, and learn, plus a comfortable lounge area for parents and siblings. Even with our close proximity to town, we have miles of trail access right out the back gate in the Freeman Preserve.
None of the magic that happens at The Riding School would happen without our school horses. We have a variety of horses from different backgrounds to be able to provide safe experiences for all of our students. Each of our horses has an individually tailored diet, exercise, and health regimen to ensure that they are always comfortable and happy in their jobs.