Our Riding Program offers forward seat fundamentals woven with modern hunter and equitation styles in accordance with horsemanship. Chatham Hall Riding strives to create the multitasking riding of today making us one of the top equestrian boarding schools. Our students participate in local and “A” rated horse shows within a two-hour radius of school. Our lessons consist of mounted and un-mounted instruction, and focus on horsemanship as well as riding. Students learn the method behind the instruction and how to handle a variety of horses.
The Interscholastic Equestrian Team (IEA) is made up of riders from varying levels. This team travels and competes at different venues locally and nationally following the same format as the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Riders only need to own show clothes to compete in the IEA—no horses are needed, as the host team will provide them. IEA is a great opportunity to “catch ride,” learn how to work as a team, and prepare one for riding in college.
How many horses do you have? How big is the barn?
We have 40 stalls and 40-45 horses on the property at any given time. There are 25–30 equestrian boarding school-owned horses of all levels available for students to use in lessons and on independent rides.
Do the girls take care of the horses?
We have a professional staff that cares for the horses’ basic needs (stall cleaning, feeding, and medical care). The girls are expected to groom and tack their horses before riding and care for them after their lessons. This may include turn out in the evenings.
Where would I be riding?
Chatham Hall equestrian boarding school has three riding arenas: two outdoor arenas and the Mars Indoor Arena. We also have a permanent Hunter Trials course and many trails on campus. Often lessons are held in one of our many fields to make use of the uneven terrain to help develop riders’ position and controls.
How often can I ride?
Riding is part of the Chatham Hall Athletic Program. Each team meets daily Monday – Friday. Students may also ride independently on Saturdays with permission from their instructor. All school-owned horses have Sunday off each week.
Is there financial aid available to cover riding costs?
There is no direct aid, but we do offer the girls a work/study program in which they assist the stable manager in return for credit toward their riding fees. Interested students should speak with the stable manager at the beginning of the school year.
What teams are available? Do I have to try out to be on a team?
Riding is part of the Athletic Department, and students receive credit for their team participation each semester. All riders are members of the riding team which consists of three levels: Varsity (chosen by tryouts each semester), Junior Varsity A, and Junior Varsity B. Along with daily lessons, each team member is required to participate in a number of activities each semester based on her riding level. Typically these include on-campus horse shows, off-campus horse shows, trips to other riding facilities in the area, and other weekend activities.
What are the fees for riding, showing, and how do the girls pay for the shows?
Riding fees are billed home on a monthly basis. The current fee schedule for our equestrian boarding school can be found on the Admissions page. When we participate in a show off campus, all show related fees are paid up front by the school and then billed to the student’s account. Typical fees include entry fees, shipping fees, hotel, braiding, medications, and training. For more information, please contact the director of riding.
Who cares for the horses at shows?
Each student is expected to care for her own horse when we are off campus at a show or other activity. We make sure every girl knows how to care for her horse properly before the first show of the year. The instructors at the show assist with care as needed.
How many students are in each lesson? Will I be riding with girls my level?
Lessons are grouped according to what team a student is on. Within that team, lessons are scheduled in small groups for personalized instruction. Typical lessons are 2-3 students.
What kind of turn out is available for privately owned horses? How often will my horse be turned out?
We have 4 large fields (20+ acres) and 7 smaller paddocks available for turn out. When a horse arrives, we ascertain its previous turn out history and work with the owner to decide which turn out situation will be the best for that individual horse. Most privately owned horses are turned out in the smaller paddocks alone or with one companion. Most horses are turned out every night, weather permitting. If there is an unusual turn out need, we will work with the owner to do what is best for the individual horse.
What are the veterinarian and farrier arrangements for the horses?
The Chatham Animal Clinic, home to Drs. Paul Erwin and Melissa Smith, is located on Pruden Street about a quarter mile from campus. Doctors Erwin and Smith are available 24 hours a day for emergencies, and are frequently on campus for routine care. We employ two farriers, both Certified Journeymen. One farrier is here each week and one is always on call for emergencies.
What health records do I need before I bring my horse to school?
The boarding contract goes into detail about the vaccinations needed before bringing a horse onto campus. (The horse will need a current negative Coggins Test.) Once here, all horses are vaccinated for Flu/Rhino and de-wormed every three months.