Athletics & Riding
Riding Program

Facilities & FAQs

Our Facilities

    • School Horses

      Chatham Hall owns more than 30 school horses of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds that are available to our riders within the lesson program. Our school horses are donated from a variety of professionals. They are all schooled in the forward system of riding and range in ability from the beginner school string to advanced-level show horses. In addition, horses are available for lease to students.

    • Mars Arena

      The Mars Riding Arena is the centerpiece of Chatham Hall's extensive equestrian facilities. Measuring 125 by 250 feet in size, the Mars Riding Arena allows for year-long riding, regardless of weather conditions. Its facilities include eight indoor stalls, offices, two wash bays and a common room for riders. The arena was opened in 1998 and is named for the Mars family, whose daughter is an alumna.

    • Boarding

      Students are welcome to bring their own horse after conversation with the Director of Riding. Boarding is only offered to the Chatham Hall community to ensure focus on our riders. Questions about boarding should be directed to the Stable Manager.

    • Hunter Trial Field

      The permanent hunter trial field sits just below the soccer field and is used by the riding department for a variety of lessons.

Riding Program FAQs

List of 6 items.

  • Do the girls take care of the horses?

    We have a professional staff that cares for the horses’ basic needs (stall cleaning, feeding, and medical care). The girls are expected to groom and tack their horses before riding and care for them after their lessons. This may include turn out in the evenings.
  • How big is the barn?

    We have 40 stalls and there are approximately 40 horses on the property at any given time. Generally, Chatham Hall offers 25–30 school-owned horses of all levels available for students to use in lessons and on independent rides.
  • How many students are in each lesson?

    Lessons are grouped according to what team a student is on. Within that team, lessons are scheduled in small groups for personalized instruction.
  • How often can I ride?

    Riding is part of the Chatham Hall Athletic Program. Each team meets daily Monday – Friday. Our school riding program offers 4 mounted lessons and one horsemanship/workout a day.
  • Is there financial aid available to cover riding costs?

    There is no direct aid, but we do offer the girls a work/study program in which they assist the stable manager in return for credit toward their riding fees. Interested students should speak with the stable manager at the beginning of the school year.
  • What are the fees for riding and showing?

    Riding fees are billed home on a monthly basis. When we participate in a show off campus, all show related fees are paid up front by the school and then billed to the student’s account. Typical fees include entry fees, shipping fees, hotel, braiding, medications, and training. For more information, please contact the director of riding.

List of 6 items.

  • What are the veterinarian and farrier arrangements for the horses?

    The Chatham Animal Clinic, home to Dr. Paul Erwin, is located on Pruden Street about a quarter mile from campus. Doctor Erwin is available 24 hours a day for emergencies, and is frequently on campus for routine care. We employ two farriers, both Certified Journeymen. One farrier is here each week and one is always on call for emergencies.
  • What Equipment do I need?

    All horses come equipped with their own tack. Riders need to only own an ASTM approved helmet, paddock boots & half chaps, and breeches. Riders who board their own horses must supply all equipment needed for their care. If you are uncertain as to what to bring please contact the Riding Faculty. 
  • What health records do I need before I bring my horse to school?

    The boarding contract goes into detail about the vaccinations needed before bringing a horse onto campus. Please contact the stable manager, Emma Lane Poole for further information.
  • What kind of turn out is available for privately owned horses?

    We have 4 large fields (20+ acres) and 7 smaller paddocks available for turn out. When a horse arrives, we ascertain its previous turn out history and work with the owner to decide which turn out situation will be the best for that individual horse. Most privately owned horses are turned out in the smaller paddocks alone or with one companion. Most horses are turned out every night, weather permitting. If there is an unusual turn out need, we will work with the owner to do what is best for the individual horse.
  • Where would I be riding?

    Chatham Hall has three riding arenas: two outdoor arenas and the Mars Indoor Arena. We also have a permanent Hunter Trials course and many trails on campus. Often lessons are held in one of our many fields to make use of the uneven terrain to help develop riders’ position and controls. As an equestrian boarding school, our riding program is woven in to every aspect of school life and that includes making use of our campus! 
  • Who cares for the horses at shows?

    Each student is expected to care for her own horse when we are off campus at a show or other activity. We make sure every girl knows how to care for her horse properly before the first show of the year. The instructors at the show assist with care as needed.
A girls' boarding and day school in southern Virginia, Chatham Hall prepares girls for college and for productive lives. Our innovative academic program offers advanced courses, global study and travel, as well as project-based learning. We foster the intellect and character of each student and, through our Honor Code, live in a community of trust. Grounded in its Episcopal heritage, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.
800 Chatham Hall Circle | Chatham, VA 24531 | 434.432.2941 |