Senior Irene B. Signs on to the Equestrian Team at Sewanee

We are delighted to recognize and celebrate Irene B. ’24 on her decision to ride for the equestrian team at Division III Sewanee: The University of the South next year as she joins a growing group of Foxcroft graduates playing NCAA sports.
From Director of Riding Kate Worsham

Irene’s journey as a rider started as a horse-crazy six-year-old girl who began taking lessons and learning how to connect with horses on the ground and in the saddle. By the age of eight, she was starting to compete. Her first rated horse show was under the famous oak trees at the Upperville Colt & Horse Show in a walk, trot, canter class on a pint-sized horse named Darwin. Here a love of competitive riding was fueled, which led to her owning her first horse, Chris. Chris gave Irene confidence from the smaller hunter classes up through courses at 3’ with a collection of tri-color ribbons earned along the way. 

Irene was ready to move up from Chris when she arrived at Foxcroft. She began her journey here with a lovely jumper mare named Lilly B who introduced her to the excitement of riding more complicated courses and jumping with more pace and power. Irene learned to walk courses, analyze tracks, and develop strategies to succeed in the jumper ring. She also learned to appreciate the relationship between having a correct position and being able to use her aids to communicate effectively with her horse.

By the time she was partnered with her next horse, Pablo, she was focused on the jumpers, earning several accolades including qualifying for and winning the United States Hunter Jumper Association Zone 3 Low Children’s Jumper Finals in 2021. In addition, she was named the Morven Park Summer Series Low Children’s Jumper Circuit Champion. Irene then moved up on Pablo to contest the High Children’s Jumper division, gaining valuable experience jumping bigger fences over more demanding courses at several shows including the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, FL. She qualified for and competed in the USHJA Zone 3 High Children’s Jumper Championships in 2022, winning ribbons at that show. She qualified again for this Championship in the fall of 2023 but opted to forgo this event to pursue other riding opportunities.

During this journey through the jumper ring, Irene began to set her sights on riding for a college team. This led her to investigate the equitation classes and formulate a plan to be recruited for a National Collegiate Equestrian Association team. In the spring of 2023, while increasing her focus on equitation classes, Irene began riding under the tutelage of Brett Shear-Heyman of Penny Leigh, LLC. I would like to recognize Brett for taking the reins of Irene’s training process and providing guidance and competitive opportunities to help her continue to achieve her riding goals.

Along with the transition to Penny Leigh came a move away from Pablo to a dedicated equitation horse named Sven. With Sven, Irene pursued the necessary qualification classes to help her gain the mileage and results to develop into a viable NCEA recruit for Sewanee: The University of the South. Some highlights of Irene’s equitation classes include: winning the Bronze medal at the Northeastern Hamel Championship, finishing 12th out of more than 30 riders at the NCEA Medal Finals at Harrisburg, achieving a top ten finish at the Virginia Horse Shows Association 3’6” Hunt Seat Medal Finals and earning championships in the age group equitation as well as numerous top three class finishes in the 3’6” equitation at venues such as Upperville, the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, Princeton, and the Maryland Horse & Pony Show.

Irene’s riding journey has also included service to the equine industry. She has volunteered as a member of the inaugural Upperville Colt & Horse Show Junior Committee, of which she is the 2024 President, and she also spent two years assisting with the Foxcroft summer riding camps and helping to introduce new riders to the campus and the riding program.

Irene’s riding accomplishments earned her a spot as one of eight riders on Sewanee’s NCEA roster for their Varsity Equestrian Team. While at Sewanee, she will also represent the School in the Open flat and fences on their Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association team. We are very proud of Irene and excited to follow her as she embarks on this next phase in her riding career. Congratulations, Irene!
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.