Foxcroft Riding: The Ring and Beyond

From Director of Riding Kate Worsham

Over the course of the past five years, the riding program at Foxcroft School has offered riders the opportunity to travel with the director of riding to train in Wellington, Florida and compete on the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) circuit for a portion of the season. This WEF Program is designed to enhance the riders' skills in the tack and around the stable while also providing them with a residential program that encourages them to develop practical life skills, such as grocery shopping and meal preparation, scheduling weekly tutoring sessions as needed, and managing their time in order to ride, study and audit horse show events throughout the week. It is the opportunity for personal growth both on and off the horse that is a motivating factor for girls to participate in the program.
This year, the group of seven riders training with Foxcroft — Anna N. ’18, Grace C. ’19, Mackenzie H. ’19, Elena B. ’20, Emma D. ’20, Marina V. ’20, and Siena W. ’21 — had horses that ranged in age from 5-20 years old. It was rewarding for the riders to see and feel the progress in their own skills as well as in their ability to communicate effectively with their horses as the season progressed. 

Since its inception during the 2013-2014 school year, there have been 17 riders who have utilized this program in conjunction with our Exceptional Proficiency Program to compete at WEF, accompanied by Foxcroft trainers, while maintaining their academics.
 
Some highlights of the season include Grace C. ’19 and her seasoned show pony, High Hopes, earning ribbons in the .80m Low Child/Adult Training Jumpers classes during the five weeks that she showed. In addition to gaining valuable mileage in the show ring this season, Grace has also developed a sense for the questions that are asked with regard to tracking and pace in the jumper classes.

Also in the jumper ring, Mackenzie H. ’19 built on her one-year partnership with Fun Maker to earn ribbons in multiple Low Children's Classics including a third-place finish out of a huge field of competitors during Week 5. With her eye on moving up to the High Children’s division this coming season, Mackenzie’s time in Wellington gave her the opportunity to ride some challenging courses and then work on the questions posed on course during her lessons the following week.

Although a change of horse mid-season meant the partnership between Anna N. ’18 and Hope Town was brand new, they earned clear round blues in the 1.10m classes and ribboned in the 15-17 Children’s Jumpers along the way.

While the jumpers were aiming for clear and fast rounds, the hunters were practicing being zen-like in divisions ranging from the Low Children's to the Older Large Juniors. Elena B. ’20 and her mares, Socialite and (Hazel) Silvermoon 36, were solid competitors in the Junior Hunters this season. Having recently transitioned (Hazel) Silvermoon 36 from the jumpers to the hunters, the final week of showing at WEF was especially rewarding as Hazel jogged for ribbons in the Older Large Juniors at 3'6" right alongside Elena’s more experienced hunter.

Emma D. ’20 was able to meet our group of riders for two weeks and lease Dapper Dan in Wellington to compete in the Older Children’s hunters, as well as the THIS Medal classes. Condor, from Firefly Farm in New York, was a fun ride and a capable partner for Emma who enjoyed having the opportunity to compete while also spending time trying horses during her visit. Emma’s trip was a success on many fronts — ribbons at WEF and finding a new horse.

Having had the opportunity to participate as a rider in past years, this season Kayla L. ’19 engaged in WEF through a Wintermission internship with Ms. Kate and Ms. Casey. She was able to further her horsemanship skills by helping with the daily horse care in addition to learning more about preparing hunters and jumpers for the show ring by assisting the trainers at home and on the show grounds. Kayla took away some pearls of wisdom from her experience and applied these skills at IEA Zone Finals, where she bested the competition and earned a spot to compete at Nationals this year.

While the WEF season has wrapped up for 2017-2018, the adventures and learning continue as Foxcroft riders and trainers plan the spring lesson schedule, the horse show calendar, a trip to IEA Nationals, and FoxHound riding activities. There is always something to look forward to and work toward whether on campus or on the road!
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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.