Each spring, the Barn sees an influx of new instructors when the senior riders each take over a lesson.
This tradition allows seniors to reflect on all that they have learned during their time at Chatham Hall, and share these important lessons with their teammates. This year, senior lessons touched on a variety of topics including leg yielding, balance, pole work, and shortening and lengthening of stride.
“While we are not sure how far back the tradition goes, it continues to allow our seniors to showcase what they have learned during their time in the program,” explained Director of Riding Ally Doyon. “It also allows our riders to better understand what they have learned by having to explain it and successfully teach it to someone else. We ask them to create their own lesson plans, and even encourage them to use exercises that we may have done that were especially difficult or rewarding for them.”
For younger riders, the weeks during which a senior gives a lesson are both fun and bittersweet.
“In past years I’ve loved being in senior lessons,” said Sophie Croker Poole ‘23. “It’s really fun to have your friends teach you just before they go.”
Seniors themselves begin to think about their lessons from their first year at the barn.
“I was nervous before my lesson, I wanted everything to go perfectly,” said Carolyn Whatley ‘23. “But that’s not something that can always happen. I had to adapt mine not only because there were so many riders at different levels in my lesson, but also because a couple of the horses didn’t love doing pole work. I really had to think about how to change some things, and what to do, and I’m glad I did. We ended on a really positive note.”