Walker’s Dedicates the Lorinda Payson de Roulet ’47, P’70 Show Ring

Lorinda Payson de Roulet Show Ring

Fueled by a love of sport and a drive for riders and horses to train and compete at their best levels, donors rallied to address a longstanding need to renovate Walker’s outdoor show ring, an essential venue for the equestrian program. More than 30 donors raised over $440,000 to meet project costs to create a new ring. The funds allowed Walker’s to address engineering issues; solve chronic drainage problems; install a watering system, new posts, rails, and jumps; and most importantly install new, high-quality footing to ensure a top-level practice and competition setting for Walker’s equestrians, trainers, and horses. 

The effort to renovate the project was led by Walker’s Head of Riding Linda Langmeier as well as a former parent and trustee, who chaired the equestrian committee. Another Linda came forward to join the effort: Walker’s outdoor show ring is named for Lorinda “Linda” Payson de Roulet, ’47, P’70, an alumna and former trustee who made the generous lead gift to the project. In Spanish, the name Linda means beautiful, and for Walker’s equestrian program, things have come together in beautiful ways. 

Interest in the project was met with enthusiasm, and Walker’s families and alumnae gave generously to move the project forward. Among them was alumna Jeanette Pelizzon ’07, who offered a $50,000 matching gift, which was bolstered by the collective philanthropy of alumnae and parents who raised the funds necessary for the project. With an eye on the future, classmates Jean Moore Edwards ’69 and Barbara Thomas Kennedy ’69 made gifts to establish an endowment of $100,000 for the show ring facility. 

Complementing newer paddocks and turnout spaces completed several years ago, the setting is spectacular for instruction and competition, and the large ring accommodates several trainers and up to 40 riders. Lessons start at 6:30 a.m. and run well into the late afternoon hours, and students are allowed to utilize the ring even on days they do not have lessons. Access to both the outdoor and indoor riding rings is essential to maintaining a healthy environment for students, staff, and horses, especially given the growth in the number of students with horses as well as the number of students new to riding. 

A proposed second fundraising project includes hillside seating overlooking the ring and Walker’s campus, which will provide horse-friendly pathways to and from the turnout paddocks to the show ring, and includes naturalized landscaping, new lighting, and a shade structure for trainers and judges. These enhancements will also allow the show ring to be used as an outdoor performance-art space. 

The new ring has brought prospective riders and competitors to campus and is a frequent venue for weekend IEA shows, clinics, and eventing trials. The new Lorinda Payson de Roulet ’47, P’70 Show Ring further cements Walker’s Equestrian Program as an elite riding and training program with state-of-the-art facilities in a most remarkable and beautiful setting.