Students at the Savannah College of Art and Design are making a difference for one therapeutic riding program
BY Kendall Westgate
In the fall of 2023, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) announced a collaboration between the college’s Design for Good Initiative and the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center to create a master plan for the center. This included drawings of a new barn, designing a new logo, and creating wayfinding signs accessible to riders with disabilities.
This project began when Faith Equestrian, a non-profit therapeutic riding organization, voiced the need for a larger, safer barn. Fifteen students from SCAD were selected for this course, which included equestrian studies, graphic design, illustration, industrial design and architecture majors; the students created different teams for the different tasks.
“Since my major is in illustration, I was placed on a team that focused on designing a new logo for the center,” says senior illustration major and equestrian minor Alexandria Hurd. “My primary challenge centered around creating a design that was not only unique but also accurately portrayed the essence of Faith Equestrian. This meant creating a design that catered to diverse age groups and all who benefit from therapeutic riding.”
Hurd also works at Faith Equestrian, where she obtained her certifications through PATH Intl. as a therapeutic riding instructor and assistant barn manager. She works under Faith Equestrian program director Elizabeth Todd.
“Something that truly impacted me was the final night, where we presented all of the final deliverables of the project. Our client and my boss, Elizabeth Todd, thought that we were just creating a barn design and a new logo,” Hurd says. “Little did she know we also designed, and SCAD provided, a full year’s worth of newly branded stationery materials, volunteer t-shirts, staff polos, hats, volunteer appreciation materials, as well as accessible pasture signage, wayfinding signs, stall signs, and an Instagram-able wall banner. We wanted to keep it a surprise and working with Elizabeth everyday made it a difficult secret to keep.”
The course allowed students to gain hands-on experience relating to their major.
“The knowledge from the curriculum of the equestrian studies program at SCAD equipped me with the skills and tools needed when thinking critically and making decisions,” senior industrial design major and equestrian studies and service design minor Sophia Valle sats. “For example, having had an equine health-based class I was able to make decisions that benefited the horses, plus having had a facility design class I had the knowledge needed to make important decisions when designing the barn. The depth of the understanding these classes provided helped me be effective in my decisions and design.”
The collaboration also allowed Faith Equestrian to expand their business. Students worked to provide them with a brand that embraces their welcoming and safe place.
“My favorite part about this project was being able to use all my knowledge and passion in order to create something that can truly change lives,” Valle says. “Seeing the details we placed, imagining what it could be like, and delivering something I was proud of meant the world to me. There was nothing like seeing the smiles of all those involved and the happiness our client showed at our delivery.”