Horses have been a part of Congressional School since its founding in 1939. The Devers Family, our founders, always had a passion for horses and offered several of their own for student lessons. In fact, their love of horses inspired our athletics teams to be "The Colts" and our mascot to be a horse as well.
Today, our herd of horses resides on our campus during the warm months of the year, allowing us to use them for learning opportunities as well as a part of our Congressional Riding Academy offered as an after-school activity. Congressional Camp also uses the herd for riding lesson supplementals, Pony Adventures Camp, and other riding opportunities throughout the day camp.
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Registration is directly connected with our After School Activities calendar and is only available during open registration for Fall and Spring After School Activities (2 times per year).
Our goal is to grow confident equestrians in a safe, fun, rider‐centered environment. The Congressional Riding Academy helps students grow riding skills from beginner through intermediate levels, gain horsemanship knowledge, and develop friendships with two and four‐legged friends. We believe working with horses builds on the school’s core values of integrity, kindness, perseverance, respect, and responsibility.
CONGRESSIONAL RIDING ACADEMY
(FOR RIDERS IN KINDERGARTEN-GRADE 2)
(FOR RIDERS IN GRADES 2 AND UP)
30-minute lessons that focus on building confidence and comfort around equine friends. Strong focus on age‐appropriate games and activities that are fun and dismantle the “fear” of horses and riding. Foals can expect to spend about half of the lesson working on the ground (learning to handle, groom, and tack their horse) and half of the lesson in the saddle (practicing riding skills). As riders master ground skills, they’ll spend more and more time in the saddle.
- Private lessons: $320/ 8 30-minute lessons (1 per week for 8 weeks)
- Semi-private lessons (2 riders max): $240/ 8 30-minute lessons (1 per week for 8 weeks)
45-minute lessons to build confidence and skill in the saddle. Riders progress through skill levels from I’ve‐never‐touched‐a‐horse to I’m‐preparing‐to‐compete. Riders that can groom and tack their horse independently may arrive early to prepare their horse before the
lesson and may stay late to untack and put away their horse. Otherwise, riders will prepare their horse and untack their horse during the lesson. Private lessons include customized instruction and skill progression. In group lessons, students may choose to ride with another student in their level. If students are not yet assigned a level, they must be evaluated for placement (in the fall) or must sign up for private lessons (in spring or fall).
- Private lessons: $600/ 8 45-minute lessons (1 per week for 8 weeks)
- Group lessons (3 riders max): $440/ 8 45-minute lessons (1 per week for 8 weeks)
LESSON PROGRAM RIDER LEVELS
These riders may have no experience, or they may have limited experience with horses. They may know some basic commands like walk and whoa, but do not have significant recent experience riding on their own. This rider is learning to groom their horse and correctly put on the saddle and bridle. They are improving their control at a walk on easy horses. This rider will also be starting to trot with instructor assistance. They are learning to be in control of their horse on the ground and walking their horse in and out of stalls and arenas.
Our Welsh riders are confident beginner riders. They can groom and saddle their horse with a little assistance. They can lead their horse around, mount on and off with assistance, and can control their horse while walking. The Welsh riders are learning to control more difficult horses at a walk. These riders can also trot on their own on well‐behaved horses and are learning to rise (posting) and 2‐point positions. They may be practicing trot poles and small, beginner jumps. Shetlands will have lost their“fear” of horses, can confidently lead a horse around and tie them up.
Our Gotlands are confident riders with significant prior horse experiences. These riders can catch their horse, lead them into the barn, and groom and saddle them up without assistance. They can mount up and ride off by themselves. A Gotland may or may not be able to rise (post), but they can trot without bouncing and may be able to canter on gentle, well‐behaved horses. These riders are learning how to use their seat, legs, and reins independently to maneuver their horse. They are learning about diagonals, different riding seats, and they are starting to jump. Gotlands also know a good amount about horses, like how to bathe a horse, how to tell if a horse is lame, and how to feed their horse.
Our Mustang riders are accomplished riders. They have a confident and quiet seat and hands. They can easily transition from a walk, through a trot, to a canter. These riders are practicing jumping and dressage courses including multi‐fence jumping patterns and flatwork routines. They can ride more challenging horses at a walk, trot, and canter. They can also help “tune‐up” beginner lesson horses by retraining less desirable habits.
Quarter Horse riders can help teach younger riders barn basics like grooming, tacking, leading, and mounting up. They are capable of riding most, if not all, of the horses in our barn. Quarter horses are learning about the uses for advanced tack and training aids. They are fine‐tuning their balance and their horse’s balance and learning advanced dressage skills. They are capable of trotting jump courses and riding bareback (no saddle) at a trot and canter.