6 best equestrian high schools

6 best equestrian high schools

Yes, you can pair horses with a world-class education!

High school can bring a lot of uncertainty and anxiety to both students and their parents. Most of the riding high schools are boarding schools, which can complicate matters further. If you are considering starting a high school that offers horseback riding as part of the curriculum, read on for a review of six of the best programs for an unparalleled high school experience!

At these premium high schools, you can learn from certified trainers and expert doctors. Majors include dressage, competition, hunter/jump, Foxhunting, Extreme Western Cowboy and beyond.

SchoollocationRiding Method
Asheville SchoolAsheville, North CarolinaThe hunter, the crossing and the path
Foxcroft SchoolMiddleburg, VirginiaEquestrian Seat Hunt
Thasher SchoolOjai, CaliforniaExtreme Rodeo
Oldfields SchoolSparks Glencoe, MarylandThree days event / fox hunting
Madeira SchoolMcLean, VirginiaInterscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA)
Stoneleigh-Burnham SchoolGreenfield, MassachusettsBritish Horse Association Certificate

Asheville School

Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville School is a co-educational preparatory boarding school for students in grades nine through twelve. It is located on 300 acres surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains and is considered one of the leading boarding schools in the country with an equestrian program. at

Asheville School gets the most from the best academics; You learn life lessons in one of the most beautiful private high schools, through the ears of a horse.

You will love it if:

  • You want to wake up every morning overlooking the mountains full of fresh air and wonder.
  • You are looking for opportunities to ride in the ring, on the tracks, in hunter’s team competitions, and/or take jumping lessons. From beginner to advanced, Asheville School has the facilities and instructors to achieve your goals.
  • She loves history and art as well as horses. The Asheville School is known for its vibrant art scene and historic architecture. The
  • The downtown arts district is filled with museums and artwork featuring masters like Renoir.

What to know before you go:

  • You’ll want to think about either
  • 1) Bring your own horse and ride at Asheville School Stables
  • or 2) take private lessons on one of the school’s owned lesson horses.
  • Asheville School is one of the few remaining small boarding schools in America.

Related academic programs:

  • I know we all love horses, but at Asheville you can also join a culinary club, a photography club, or a robotics program.

Learn more:


Foxcroft School

Middleburg, Virginia

Foxcroft School is a girls’ boarding and day school designed to be interdisciplinary, collaborative and experiential. Set on 500 acres in rural Virginia just west of DC, Foxcroft’s premier equestrian program has been recognized nationally with great facilities indoors and out.

Foxcroft offers many opportunities to compete, and the success of its riders is what sets them apart, attracting riders and students from all over the world.

You will love it if:

  • You have the desire to compete at the highest levels, or just to have fun.
  • You are looking for an equestrian program based on the principles of Seat Hunter Equitation.
  • Want a state-of-the-art base, an outdoor grass yard, a large outdoor sand yard, two rooms… need I say more?!

What to know before you go:

  • You will live in and around the Land of Horses. Middleburg is known as the “Horse of the Nation and Hunting Capital” due to its fox hunts and stages.

Related academic programs:

  • You may be an equestrian at heart, but Foxcroft School also offers Advanced Placement (AP) classes and an innovative STEM program. So it looks like you have to be a good rider and a good student to get in here!

Learn more:


Thasher School

Ojai, California

The dressage program at Thacher School is a program that combines English-style equivalency with Western dressage. It is one of the elite college preparatory co-educational boarding schools in California for grades nine through twelve. So if you’re looking for a weekend horse packing trip in the Los Padres National Forest or an extreme rodeo, this is your school!

There will be a lot of dust behind you as you hit the riding field in this first class school.

You will love it if:

  • You are looking for more options for western riding lessons.
  • Enjoy Gymkhana’s fast pace or mountain pass ride.
  • Or perhaps you’d like to trade your western trail to join the equestrian team in the Hunting Seat Equivalency Program. The equestrian team travels to compete against other IEA schools across California.

What to know before you go:

  • The charming town of Ojai is about a 30-minute drive from the coast, which means you’ll want to bring your riding boots, as well as swimwear and flip-flops.

Related academic programs:

  • Thacher School places a deep respect for sustainability education through programs in beekeeping, water conservation, and the composting of horse manure. Amazing!
  • Visual arts include film, digital photography, and graphic design.
  • The dance program combines ballet, modern and jazz.

Learn more:


Oldfields School

Sparks Glencoe, Maryland

Old Fields School is an independent boarding school and day school for girls for grades 8-12. The dressage program is “where learning moves from the classroom to the barn”. The program teaches values ​​and lessons learned from relationships with horses, while maintaining the integrity of the equestrian sport.

Whether you are looking to dance in the sandbox for a dressage lesson, or compete in Hunter/Jumper competitions, Eventing or Fox Hunting, Oldfields School is where you can find your authentic self.

You will love it if:

  • You look forward to learning from our certified trainers and expert guest doctors.
  • You want to compete on the IEA team.
  • Are you a tame singer, or just want to be.

What to know before you go:

  • Oldfields School is known as a small school with “big opportunities”. Most classes consist of less than ten students at a ratio of five to one for each teacher.

Related academic programs:

  • A strong arts program includes dance, theater and music. Visual arts enhance student creativity through courses in drawing, painting, ceramics, photography, and digital arts.
  • Academics feature mathematics and sciences from elements of algebra and basic physical sciences to calculus and physics with honors.

Learn more:


Madeira School

McLean, Virginia

Madeira School is a 376-acre campus just ten miles from Washington, DC, overlooking the Potomac River. The school provides a curriculum with an emphasis on real-world experiences and applied learning.

Recognized by the prestigious National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Madeira school and its equestrian program is sure to top your list.

You will love it if:

  • You are looking for on-campus horse clinics and shows throughout the year.
  • You want to join a riding team and compete in Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) competitions and USEF-ranked local shows.
  • You look forward to having a great time with a vibrant mix of students and residents of the stables from all over the world.

What to know before you go:

  • Madeira School offers riding competitively in all seasons, so dress appropriately for East Coast winters.
  • Take your climbing skills to new heights with the Calleva Rope Challenge course from Madeira. Now that sounds like fun!

Related academic programs:

  • Academic subjects include science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and humanities courses.
  • Madeira’s co-curricular internship program distinguishes them from other independent schools.

Learn more:


Stoneleigh-Burnham School

Greenfield, Massachusetts

Stoneleigh-Burnham School is the first and only girls’ boarding school in New England to offer the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. With classes averaging just twelve students, every view and idea of ​​the world is heard.

Stoneleigh-Burnham is the only high school in the US to offer the British Horse Society certification, and its graduates are “as passionate about horses as they are about school”.

You will love it if:

  • You are looking for a girls’ school with small classes where you really feel heard.
  • You are looking for a sense of community. It’s easy to thrive and feel connected when you know that more than half of the faculty live on campus and work as parents and coaches at home.
  • You are looking forward to becoming your best self!

What to know before you go:

  • You will work closely with your college advisor to ensure that you are well prepared for your college applications.
  • Equestrian facilities include indoor and outdoor riding rings, a European-style derby and a cross-country ski course.

Related academic programs:

  • Nationally recognized debate and performing arts programs where students participate in public speaking tournaments, planned interrogation, Lincoln Douglas, and parliamentary debates.
  • The arts curriculum at Stoneleigh-Burnham School fosters success in student creativity including music composition, dance and theatre.

Learn more:

Should you bring your horse or ride the school horse?

This might be an entire blog article in itself, as there are many things to think about here. Be sure to consider the stress of adapting yourself and your horse to a new environment and/or climate, the cost of your riding, the current level of riding and safety of your horse, and the facilities at the school.

But the bigger question is commitment. Although you will likely be required to care for a school horse as if it were your own, there will be additional responsibilities that come with bringing your childhood heart.

How much do equestrian high schools cost?

Annual tuition fees for boarding students roughly range from $55,000 to $60,000. Costs vary greatly depending on whether you are bringing your own horse, and whether you are applying for financial aid.

What other options are there for high school riding?

There are many local high schools that offer equestrian team events and competitions to students off-campus. This is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded friends at your local school. For example, La Jolla Country Day School, an independent day school in San Diego, California, has an equestrian team.

There are many stables across the country that offer riding lessons. You can usually find a local stable that offers horse lessons and school teachers for you to learn from while you attend your current high school.

Participating in 4-H can be a great riding and show option for middle and high school age kids. You don’t need a registered horse, you can experience a variety of equestrian events and make friends outside of your own school.

Can you get a scholarship for equestrian boarding schools?

Most high school boarding schools offer some level of financial assistance. Thirty-nine percent of students at a Madeira school, for example, receive financial aid with a total available aid amount of $3.53 million and an average scholarship size of $39,572. Contact the financial aid department of the school of your choice for further assistance.

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