This week, Foxcroft is excited to welcome eight girls for a week-long residential horse riding camp, each one looking to improve their skills and techniques in the riding disciplines of hunters, jumpers, equitation, or foxhunting. After arriving on campus and settling into their dorm, the girls have been busy learning from Foxcroft trainers as well as the horses they have been paired with each day.
The size of the camp allows Foxcroft trainers to create small lessons which closely mimic the lesson structure that a Foxcroft student experiences in the riding program. A key requirement to attend the camp is previous riding experience, so that the riders can take full advantage of Foxcroft’s highly qualified trainers and the multiple spaces in which to ride on campus. Ella-Rose, a jumper in the eighth grader who traveled from Dallas, TX, to attend the camp, is having a great time and is learning plenty of new techniques to improve her riding performance. “I am working on my timing and found that if I adjust my two-point position slightly, I avoid falling forward against my horse’s neck when I land,” she said.
Each day, campers are introduced to a number of activities and situations that give them an idea of what it’s like to be a Foxcroft rider, from team-building exercises while living in the dorm with a chaperone to the importance of making good food choices that help support a healthy lifestyle and provide good fuel for the body of an athlete. Additionally, the girls are learning important horse care techniques, such as bandaging, body clipping, and braiding. “The comprehensive experience that comes from combining time in the saddle with activities designed to promote horsemanship is one that is central to a Foxcroft riding education. Helping riders develop into horsewomen who understand and enjoy many facets of the sport from riding to horse care and management is a rewarding endeavor. It is always enjoyable to encourage riders to immerse themselves in all things horsey and this enthusiastic and curious group of girls has done just that!” said Foxcroft Director of Riding Kate Worsham.
One of the major benefits of having a small group of campers is that each girl gets to ride a different horse each day and sometimes rides twice in one day. For camper Anya, a ninth grader who lives in Hong Kong, attending the camp is helping her prepare for competing in equitation for an AA show in Vermont next month. “I am really surprised by how quickly I am learning to adjust my speed and put what I am learning into action. I love it here!” she said.
Another important aspect of the riding camp is that the girls can enjoy the beautiful setting in the arenas, on the trails, and on the campus outdoor riding arena, Big Track. “This group of riders embraces their lessons in the arena, which focus on riding a specific path with accurate placement of the horse, appropriate pace, and proper rider technique. They also really enjoy the camaraderie and just plain fun that comes from riding out in the grassy expanse of Big Track. As an instructor, I enjoy watching happy girls and happy horses riding out on this beautiful campus,” said Foxcroft trainer Allie Pelz.
The campers are working on exercises on the flat, navigating poles, jumping courses of fences, working on position and balance, and learning techniques for riding in open spaces. Kate says the levels of instruction, combined with the convenience of riding on campus, make the program unique and attract girls from all over the country and various corners of the globe. “In addition to gathering some words of wisdom about riding techniques and training tools, it is exciting that the girls have this opportunity to forge friendships with peers who share a common passion for riding and horses. Many of the girls attending the camp make long-term friendships and continue to stay connected after the week is concluded. Between the learning that is done with the horses and the shared community experience, the camp provides a unique away from home adventure for the girls,” she said.
Foxcroft trainer Kendall Bear believes the residential camp experience makes the camp unique and memorable for the campers. “Having the opportunity to live on campus and experience a dorm setting, and to enjoy the activities planned for them on campus and in the town of Middleburg, all while being fully immersed in the riding program, gives the campers a good idea of what life is like as a student at Foxcroft School. It is a great way to get a feel for all that the area and the School have to offer,” she said.
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.