Equestrian boarding schools in America have long educated some of the country’s richest and brightest with an interest in horseback riding. Here’s a look at some of the boarding schools across America that combine great equestrian and academic programs.
- Vermont Academy: Going to a Vermont boarding school that has an equestrian program in the fall means that students are awarded with gorgeous views of fall foliage. Vermont Academy, a co-ed college prep school for ninth-grade and up, has a fall equestrian program. Students enrolled in the program learn everything about riding and caring for horses, including horse nutrition, anatomy and handling and schooling young horses. While the boarding school does not have its own stable, students ride at Winchester Stables, about 40 minutes away. The students go to the stables four times a week and compete on the weekends. Students with their own horse can board it at Winchester Stables, which offers 24-hour on-site staffing to make sure that the horses are well taken care of. When they’re not riding, students have a 515-acre campus, which includes six tennis courts, 12 1/2 miles of trails, 350-seat theater and numerous practice fields, to enjoy. With a seven to one student-teacher ratio, advisers that meet with them four times a week and Advanced Placement classes, students have a good chance of getting into a top college. Vermont Academy: 10 Long Walk, Saxtons River, VT 05154.
- The Thacher School: While going to an equestrian boarding school in the east coast has a certain cachet to it, The Thacher School has the benefit of being located in beautiful Ojai, California, which boasts great weather year-round. The Los Padres National Forest is right behind campus. If students get bored of Ojai, Los Angeles is 85 miles away. The co-ed high school has stables on-site and puts every freshman through its horse program to learn the basics. Students who ride beyond their freshman year can join their Afternoon Program and compete in teams. Academically, they have a six to one student-teacher ratio, with 74% of the faculty possessing advanced degrees. The Thacher School: 5025 Thacher Road, Ojai, CA 93023.
- Miss Porter’s School: Miss Porter’s School is an all-girls boarding school for students ninth-grade and up. Their equestrian program is available for the entire school year: fall, winter and spring. Students ride off-site at the Avon Valley Show Stables and compete in competitions around the country. Their student-teacher ratio, at eight to one, is higher than other schools but 53% of their faculty live on-site, ensuring that the girls keep up the school’s good SAT scores. Miss Porter’s School: 60 Main Street, Farmington, CT 06032.
- Asheville School: Asheville School is a co-ed boarding school for grades nine and up that has an afternoon equestrian program. Students ride on-site and are provided with a horse if they don’t have their own. Those that do have their own horses can board them at the Asheville School stables. Their equestrian program has Diane Wilson, a graduate of the Talland School of Equitation in Great Britain, as its director. It’s a small and old-fashioned boarding school, with a student-teacher ratio of only four to one and a strict dress code. 83 percent of the students receive a score of “3” or better on their Advanced Placement exams. Asheville School: 360 Asheville School Road, Asheville, NC 28806.
- Kent School: Students at Kent School, a co-ed boarding school for grades nine and up, are educated in a sprawling 1,200-acre campus between the Housatonic River and Pond Mountain Natural Area. Imagine horse-riding on a piece of the Appalachian Trail. They have stables on-site and their equestrian program has events in the fall, winter and spring months. The head trainer, Michael O. Page, competed with the Olympic team in Rome, Mexico and Tokyo.
The boarding school offers classes rarely seen in high school, such as Constitutional Law and Meteorology. Kent School: 1 Macedonia Road, Kent, CT 06757.