When we ask our international families and consultants what’s one of the most attractive reasons to study at VVVS, they often respond that the equestrian program is a big draw, and IB+Equestrian an even bigger appeal! Twenty seven horse live at VVS – a mix of Arabian, quarter horses and some gaited horses. Our riders learn daily horse care, stable management, are responsible for morning and evening feeding, and participate in all facets of the barn operation.
VVS offers one of the most diverse recreational riding programs at the high school level. At the heart of our equestrian program is the belief that horses are amazing teachers and master communicators, and that riders learn invaluable skills from them. Our goals are to create a strong connection between horse and rider, and to expose our students to a variety of riding disciplines, events and terrain. Ours is a “liberal arts” rather than a specialty or trade school type of program with an emphasis on natural horsemanship.
Caroline Diehl, our Director of Equestrian Programs, shares a few stories about recent activities with our riders.
Bob Grant, a World Champion Versatility competitor, offered to put on a clinic for the VVS equestrians on a recent Saturday. The event was held at Anchor Cross Ranch which Bob owns and it is also where we pasture our horses during the VVS breaks. Bob shared so much information and gave students the opportunity to see a professional horseman at work. He entertained us with incredible riding on amazingly trained horses and demonstrated reining and cutting cows and even worked a buffalo. It was a true experiential-learning opportunity for our students!
Last fall, The Orme School invited VVS equestrians to a Team Sorting event. In Team Sorting, two riders have two minutes to sort the most cows they can in a specific order through a gate into another pen, which is a skill that is prized on working cattle ranches. It takes great agility and skillful riding, and it is also just plain fun. VVS riders (Sky, Alex, Brynn, Amaya, Alexe, Haley, Anne, Nona, Alsace, Amelie, and Hanna) had a fabulous time working with the cows and their horses.
To enjoy the amazing triple phenomenon of the Blue Moon, Blood Moon and full eclipse during the pre-dawn hours of January 31st, a group of day students and I decided to take it all in from horseback. We met at the barn at 4:15am with a moon so bright is was like daylight. As we rode around the soccer field and then Cowpie we watched the eclipse unfold. We met up with Stefanie and James (Nona’s parents) in the meadow adjacent to VVS Road where they treated us to hot chocolate and cookies as we watched them moon glow red and darkness take over. What an amazing thing to witness! Riders: Nona Schmid, Alex Gilbert, Nat Montgomery, Sky Diehl, Riley Diehl, Juniper Gill, and me.
Check out the EQUESTRIAN HIGHLIGHTS PHOTO GALLERY