Our program is one that is pedagogically-based — where you are “taught” to ride, not “trained,” where the riding facilities are viewed as outdoor classrooms, where emphasis is placed on horsewomanship, and where mission-driven social and emotional learning is nurtured.
On the competitive end, our program has, at its core, an exceptional interscholastic team and a sought-after program for the A-level competitor. The skills you bring with you, along with the training you receive from our exceptional staff, will help determine your appropriate level of competitive riding.
At Walker’s, riders of all levels are supported, and the local community feels welcome and served.
Walker’s equestrian program offers three lesson packages that cater to the individual needs of our students. Every student will participate in our weekly Ground School which focuses on helping our girls to become complete horsewomen while also learning about equine care. Students are also encouraged to do a free ride (hack) on the days they are not lessoning.
At the beginning of each season, Walker’s equestrian trainers will conduct evaluation rides for all incoming students. Evaluation rides are not team tryouts but rather an opportunity for the trainers to assess the needs and experience level of each new student and horse.
Walker’s Equestrian Team travels to a variety of shows recognized by local, regional, national, and international equestrian associations.
The School hosts fall and spring USEF-rated competitions as well as a series of evening shows. Walker's team members both compete and help at their home shows. Upon their return to school in the fall, competitors participate in the Medal, Maclay, and USEF Finals as well as the New England Equitation Finals. In the winter, Walker's equestrians head south to participate in the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Florida. This gives the riders the opportunity to ride and compete consistently with the finest riders in the country. After Wellington, The Devon Horse Show, Saratoga and local competitions fill up the calendar. Riders can continue to compete throughout the summer at Lake Placid, Vermont and the Hamptons along with local shows.
The Ethel Walker School participates in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA), a national organization created to introduce students in private and public middle and secondary schools to the equestrian sport.The IEA program is offered as an optional addition to Walker’s Riding team program. Walker’s hosts two IEA horse shows per year and will compete in additional IEA horse shows within our region. Entries for IEA horse shows are only open to riders who are members of the IEA riding program. Learn more about IEA by visiting IEA Fast Facts.
Introduced to Walker's science curriculum in 2008, Equine Science, taught by licensed veterinarian Dr. Suzanne Piela, is a yearlong science elective. The intense equine biology class encompasses the anatomy and physiology of all the systems of the horse, nutrition, toxicology, parasitology, health management, neonatology, epidemiology, and sports medicine. While the curriculum is of special interest to Walker's riders, it is also beneficial to students interested in veterinary science, or careers in medicine and biology.
The course features guest speakers, current events, journal articles, field trips, case studies, and weekly labs. Walker's barn lends itself as a natural classroom, and allows students to gain hands-on experience and apply what they have learned in class to real life experiences.
Students gain a strong foundation in most of the systems in the equine body, and use this knowledge to work up different cases during the second semester. Students also learn how to ask the right questions to obtain a medical history, interpret physical exam and diagnostic test findings, and recognize signs of injury and disease in their own horses.