Stoneleigh-Burnham School (SBS) and the Greenfield Public Schools have begun a partnership in equestrian studies that gives Greenfield middle school students an incredible opportunity to learn about horses and riding from seasoned SBS equestrian faculty and staff and talented student riders.
The partnership was developed by SBS Equestrian Director George Halkett and Greenfield Middle School (GMS) Associate Principal Angela Ruggeri with the encouragement of Greenfield School Superintendent Jordana Harper.
Under the partnership, 21 sixth-grade girls and boys from Greenfield Middle School visit the SBS equestrian center on Stoneleigh-Burnham’s campus each school day for an hour and a half and work with at least one SBS student rider, along with Halkett and other equestrian staff.
Harper said, “We wanted to fully explore a partnership with the local experts at Stoneleigh-Burnham that could provide training in equestrian studies for our students. We are delighted that students will have such a memorable, unique opportunity, and very grateful to Stoneleigh-Burnham for their willingness to make this happen.”
Ruggeri and Halkett explained that SBS has offered this opportunity to GMS at a greatly reduced rate. The program is funded in large part by an Expanded Learning Time grant for student enrichment awarded to GMS.
“Stoneleigh-Burnham has given to our community in a tremendous way by providing this opportunity to our students at a very low cost, about what it would cost one student to do the program,” Ruggeri said
Halkett said GMS students will earn certificates in Horse Knowledge and Riding at the end of the school year. SBS student and rider Linda Limeri ’16 works with the middle school students each day.
“Students are learning how to handle, groom, feed, tack and care for horses and ponies,” Halkett said. “When they are efficient in those areas, they will be taught to lead the animals, as well as learn equitation (the art or practice of horse riding) theory. Finally, students will ride, walk, trot and canter, and show a strong understanding of stable management.”
Limeri is earning practical training hours toward her British Horse Society (BHS) Certification. SBS is the first and only U.S. secondary school to teach the BHS and with an equestrian center that has been certified as a BHS-approved facility. Long recognized internationally for setting the highest standards for riding instruction, stable management, and horse training, the system set forth by the BHS complements Stoneleigh-Burnham’s dedication to providing students who aspire to careers in horsemanship with a firm academic footing at the high school level.
For more information on equestrian offerings at SBS, click here.