Riding at Oldfields
The Oldfields Riding Program has maintained a tradition of excellence since its inception more than 100 years ago. Today, the program provides comprehensive instruction for both the girl who wishes to compete as well as the girl who simply rides for pleasure. Each year approximately one-quarter of the girls at Oldfields ride.
Although many students bring their own horses and board them at the Oldfields stable, approximately 25 school horses are available to students enrolled in the equestrian program. The riding facilities at Oldfields include thirty stalls, an indoor riding arena with state-of-the-art footing, two outdoor rings with sand or sand and rubber footing, a comprehensive cross-country course, and miles of trails in the heart of Maryland's fox-hunting country.
The program is designed to create a well-rounded rider by providing both mounted lessons as well as instruction in stable management. Mounted lessons are tailored to different levels of riders and include a choice of hunter-jumper or combined training. Regardless of discipline, all of the classes place a great deal of emphasis on basic hunter seat equitation in order to achieve a correct riding position. The lessons are conducted in the rings, on the cross country course, and on the trails. Each term lessons are scheduled based on the students' riding abilities and their individual academic schedules.
At the beginning level, students are grouped into classes of three or fewer while at the intermediate and advanced levels, students are placed according to ability into groups of four or fewer. The beginner classes focus on establishing a correct basic position, learning elementary rein and leg aids, and then applying these techniques on the flat and over small fences. The beginner riders are given the opportunity to show once they have achieved a solid understanding and application of the basic principles of riding and can control the horse effectively in a group setting.
The curriculum for the intermediate and advanced classes focuses on refining the riders’ positions while learning more intricate flatwork and then applying this flatwork to their technique over fences. All of the intermediate and advanced riders are given the option to compete in their chosen discipline. The show riders train for equitation, hunter, and jumper competitions in the Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania areas. Depending on skill level, these riders have the opportunity to show from the local level through the "A" rated shows. The riders focusing on combined training work in the disciplines of dressage, cross-country, and show jumping. These riders are offered opportunities to compete at local and rated jumper shows, events, and hunter trials.
In addition to regular horse showing, riders of all levels are encouraged to try out for the Oldfields riding team that competes in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), a national league of independent and public secondary schools, as well as private stables. Members of the riding team travel to different shows throughout the year to represent Oldfields at IEA competitions. Oldfields has a long-standing record of success among the IEA competitors: Since Oldfields began competing in the IEA in 2005, the team has qualified each year for zone finals and, from there, twice for national finals.
Oldfields welcomes riders of all levels from a variety of backgrounds and strives to help each rider develop into a true horsewoman who rides well, appreciates each horse as an individual, and understands the fundamentals of the sport.