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Alumnae Memories from the Madeira Barn

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The first thing that visitors see when arriving at Madeira is the white fences. Commuters who zip by on Georgetown Pike may know it only as “the school with the horses,” as a number of them can be seen grazing in the paddocks on any given morning prior to the start of the school day. Enter the stables yard and it’s another world, full of horse stalls, tack, hay bales, and adults and girls who are very knowledgeable about horses—or learning to be so. The setting has remained much the same over the past 85 years, with improvements such as the indoor riding ring, and upgrades as needed. We got to wondering what stories could be told about those many years, many horses, and many girls who rode at Madeira. We asked our alumnae to share their experiences about riding at Madeira: what they learned that carried into their adult life, what memories they have from their time here (whether fun, challenging, or simply nostalgic), and if they are still riding. Here are their stories, in their own words.

April 20, 2016

Mary Watson Misek '63

A city girl in the winter, a farm girl riding draft horses in the summer and then a Madeira girl thrown into the challenging Virginia equestrian scene...

April 19, 2016

Maggie Pendleton Silverstein '72

When I was a junior day student at Madeira, my father died unexpectedly. My mother couldn’t keep both our horses, so we brought darling Red to Greenway...

April 19, 2016

Joyce Kelley Constantine '47

My father sent me to Madeira partly because they offered riding. Mildred Gaines was the teacher at the time and brought her own horses to the stables (which...

April 19, 2016

Jackie Geewax Vincent '04

Horses teach you responsibility, and Madeira made that lesson accessible to us every day. Rather than sulk on the weekends because I could not go out like...

April 19, 2016

Enid Ford Jones '58

I had four years riding at Madeira, 1954-1958, under instructors Gaines and Barclay. They gave me the basis for a love of equestrian activities that I...

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