FAQs about Madeira's riding program

Here are some common frequently asked questions about Madeira's riding program. If you don't see your question answered, please contact Ian McCartney, Director of Equestrian Programs at imccartney@madeira.org or 703-556-8276. 

Do I need to leave campus to get to the barn?

No! Madeira's barn, horse paddocks, and indoor riding ring are all located on campus, just a short walk from the classrooms and dormitories. 

If I don't own a horse, can I lease a horse while at Madeira?

Yes! We are happy to help you find a horse to lease. Contact Mr. McCartney at imccartney@madeira.org for more information or to get started on the leasing process.

Can I bring my horse to Madeira?

Yes! We have 30 stalls, about half of which are available for student’s horses. Board for Madeira students is $1125 a month which includes all basic care of the horse (see below for details). Stall space is limited, so boarding applications are due by July 1. Please contact Mr. McCartney at imccartney@madeira.org for a boarding application or more information about bringing a horse to Madeira.

How does the riding activity work?

Students enrolled in Madeira’s Riding Activity get two mounted lessons a week. Lessons consist of small groups for advanced and intermediate riders and private or semi-private lessons for beginner riders. Most of the time one lesson each week focuses on flat work and the other on jumping. Students riding their own horse will often jump in both lessons.

When will I ride?

Students who are signed up for riding as their D Block activity will have their lessons scheduled after school sometime between 2:45–6:00 p.m. Scheduling of Riding activity lessons will not just be confined to the D Block. Lessons are assigned based on the level of the rider, horse availability, as well as student and instructor schedules. 

Additional times for lessons may be available before school, on the weekends and after 6:00 p.m. Riding activity lessons may be scheduled during these times if requested by the students and demand warrants it.

Are school horses available to ride outside of lessons?

Students are able to free ride additional days of the week if horses are available and their instructor feels that they can tack, un-tack and ride safely without direct supervision.

Will I be able to ride and participate in another sport or activity at the same time?

Possibly. This is handled on an individual basis and depends on whether there is time and space available, and if the student has time for two activities without negatively impacting her academic standing.

In theory, a student should be able to ride after their D Block sport or activity is over. There may also be additional lesson times before school, on the weekends and after 6:00 p.m. if demand warrants it and space allows it. Students signed up for riding as their only activity will take precedence in terms of scheduling.

What equipment do I need in order to ride at Madeira?

Students riding school horses only need to provide riding equipment for themselves: helmet, gloves, breeches, belt, and either paddock boots and half chaps or tall riding boots. Riders should come to the barn dressed neatly with a closely fitting shirt. Additional layers are needed for winter riding. For riders wishing to compete, a show helmet, boots, show shirt, and show coat are also needed. Madeira has a more detailed equipment guide for those who need to purchase equipment. We can also help students go shopping for equipment once they are at school.

School horses each have their own saddle, bridle, and other equipment, so it is not necessary to bring any tack with you.

If I'm only riding school horses, are there limitations to what I will be able to do in lessons or at horse shows?

Madeira’s school horses can jump up to 2’6” in lessons and at horse shows. In our experience, this height helps to maintain the horse’s soundness and longevity, while still providing ample opportunity for riders to progress in their skills. We have school horses available to compete locally, but since their job is to teach many different riders at home they are often not good candidates to compete at USEF rated horse shows. Riders wishing to jump above 2’6” or compete at a higher level should consider leasing or buying a suitable mount. For more information, please contact Mr. McCartney at imccartney@madeira.org to discuss potential options.

Is there an additional cost for taking riding at Madeira?

Yes, students pay a fee for each module that they ride. The fee varies depending on how long the module is and whether they are riding school horses or boarding their own horse. 

How many days a week can I ride my horse?

Students that board or lease a horse at Madeira will be able to ride as much as their schedule allows. Horse boarders take two lessons a week and can ride independently after school the rest of the week. In inclement weather there is often a specific time set aside each afternoon for independent riding in the indoor ring. Depending on scheduling and instructor availability, additional lesson times may also be available.

What care does board include?

Feed, hay, water, turnout, stall cleaning, blanketing, scheduling of farrier and vet appointments, and daily feet picking. Madeira has staff available to provide extra services at an additional cost. 

If I am boarding a horse at Madeira, what care am I responsible for?

Students are responsible for keeping their horse groomed and exercised, and caring for their equipment. Riders are expected to thoroughly groom and care for their horse both before and after lessons. Our friendly barn staff is on hand to help supervise students in the barn and help teach them new horsemanship skills.

Does Madeira offer full service board (i.e. grooming and tacking)?

In general, no. Horsemanship is an important part of our program, so students are taught how to care for their own horses. However, during times when students are unable to come to the barn (vacations, internships, etc.), Madeira offers grooming and riding packages to help keep your horse ready for your return.

What equipment do I need to bring for my horse?

Boarders are responsible for supplying all of their own equipment for their horse. A detailed list of supplies that each horse needs will be sent with boarding contracts, but include all riding equipment, brushes, blankets, and tack box. If you are interested in purchasing Madeira monogrammed tack trunks, coolers, or other custom items we can connect you with the vendors that we use to purchase these items.

If I board my horse at Madeira, will I be the only one riding it?

Yes, you will be the only student riding your horse unless you give permission for a fellow student to ride your horse (and both of your instructors agree that it’s safe for everyone involved). Our trainers are also available to ride your horse for training and exercise.

What kind of competitions does Madeira attend?

Madeira attends both regular horse shows and Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) team shows.

Tell me more about the regular horse shows Madeira attends.

Madeira competes in hunter, equitation, and jumper shows at a wide range of schooling and USEF rated horse shows. See our show calendar for examples of the types of shows we attend.

Do students need to own a horse to compete at horse shows?

Madeira school horses are available to go to some local schooling shows, but if you want to compete regularly at USEF horse shows you’ll need to lease or have your own horse. Madeira staff can help find you an appropriate horse to meet your individual showing goals.

Does it cost extra to go to horse shows?

Yes. Riders are responsible for training, trailering, and show fees just like they would be at a private barn.

Who takes care of the horses at horse shows?

Students are responsible for caring for their own horse at horse shows. Madeira staff is always there to supervise and help teach proper show prep techniques.

Do students have to miss school for horse shows?

Academics are the priority at Madeira, so we try to have students miss as little school as possible. Generally we are able to leave for horse shows after the last class is over on Friday afternoons. Occasionally we will need to leave earlier, in which case those absences are considered excused.

Tell me more about Madeira's IEA team.

IEA is a national interscholastic equestrian organization where riders travel as a team to other barns and compete on unfamiliar horses. It is modeled after the college organization IHSA, and is open to riders of all abilities – from those who can safely canter in a group up to those competing over 3’6” jumps and higher. The level you compete at in IEA is determined by what classes you have shown in at regular horse shows. For more information on the IEA organization see their website www.rideiea.org.

How do you sign up to be on the IEA tea,? Are there tryouts?

If you are interested in being on the IEA team please contact Ms. Leonardi at jleonardi@madeira.org. She will send you a placement form to fill out, and qualified riders will then be invited to preseason riding. Tryouts will be held during preseason riding. (If you need to know if you’re invited to preseason in order to make travel arrangements, please let us know and we will let you know as early as possible!)

When does the IEA team practice?

The IEA team will come to the barn after school five days a week. In addition to your two regular riding lessons, each week you will have a mounted team practice and two un-mounted practices. Un-mounted practices include a wide range of activities from team workouts, group bonding, brain storming upcoming team spirit days, and preparing horses for upcoming horse show.

Does it cost anything to be on the IEA team?

Compared to regular horse shows, IEA team expenses are relatively low. There is an organization registration fee, and then class and coaching fees at each horse show which are approximately $120 per show. Occasionally there will be additional travel expenses when we go to overnight horse shows.

How many IEA shows can an individual go to?

In accordance with IEA rules, each rider can compete at a maximum of five regular season IEA shows per school year. Since most show hosts limit the number of riders that can be entered at each show, not all riders on the Madeira IEA team are able to attend each horse show. Team riders fill out a team contact with their IEA show availability at the beginning of each school year, and based on that and other factors, will be chosen to go to five horse shows. All riders are also welcome to attend the horse shows where they aren’t competing to cheer on their teammates!

Besides horse shows, does the riding program attend other horse-related events? Do you host clinics?

Yes. The riding program attends and hosts a variety of clinics. Past Clinicians have included Glenn Moody, Paul Cronin and Joe Fargis to name a few. The program also organizes various other events both on and off campus including Barn BBQs, shopping trips to area tack stores and Barn Night at the Washington International Horse Show.