An Update from the Barn

Things have been quite busy the last few months. On top of hosting the normal array of horse shows at home, we also held a big Wall of Fame Induction ceremony in February and hosted the Interscholastic Equestrian Association Zone 1 Region 3 Regional Finals in March.

The Wall of Fame ceremony was a very special occasion for us. Five SBS equestrian alums (Joannah Glass ‘59, Abby Fuller ‘77, Libby Cowperthwaite Schmittdiel ‘84, Kimberly Cartier Dome ‘94, and our own Mina Payne Williams ‘78) were inducted to the Wall of Fame. To celebrate the event we organized a full day of activities around both the Equestrian Center and the School. The morning started out with a clinic for the girls held by Kim Cartier Dome which focused on improving riders’ eye and ride to the jumps. Following this clinic there was an informal Q&A session with the inductees that was open to all students, faculty and any others who wished to meet them. Inductees were formally honored at an elegant dinner that evening, where they, their guests, parents and faculty enjoyed the company of one another. From someone so new to SBS, it was gratifying to see how the School comes together to honor the accomplishments of alumnae riders.

Hosting IEA Regionals was another event that the SBS riding community put together, and like the Wall of Fame, it was another successful day! Almost a hundred high school and middle school riders attended the event to compete for their chance to move onto Zones. Only the top two riders in each class and the top two out of five competing teams qualified to move on from Regionals. Our girls worked hard to help host the show, and they rode fabulously. We placed a respectable third, which was unfortunately not enough to place SBS onto Zones. However, one of our riders, Hannah, was able to qualify for Zones as an individual rider where she placed 10th in Intermediate Individual Fences.  We are extremely proud of our riders – how they rode and came together as a team this past season.

Among the many amazing things that have happened during the last several months there is one experience in particular that I’d like to mention: During the Q&A session at the Wall of Fame ceremony, Mina discussed how her role in the SBS equestrian community had changed over the years. She described how the program and her involvement in the horse industry in general had shifted from being about the horses and her own personal riding to the girls she teaches. She explained that the bond she creates with the girls as an instructor and seeing her students’ progression and growth is more important than her bond with the horse itself. While horses are and will always be important to her, it’s the girls and teaching that provide her with the most pride and joy. As Mina discussed her feelings I realized that I feel the same shift happening for me. While I love horses and riding, being an instructor is becoming less and less about the horse and more about the girls. The joy of teaching and watching my students learn is a very unique and special thing.

~Stef, Stoneleigh-Burnham School Riding Instructor

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