Our Twin Lakes Farm Riding Academy is the largest academy in the area and is based on a Traditional Riding School curriculum. We are committed to creating good horse-people as well as good riders. We offer “horsemanship” lessons in the barn as well as riding lessons, in an effort to give students a comprehensive learning experience. Students who are new to our program are given an evaluation private lesson in order to determine the riding level and class in which they should be placed.
Our purpose as a riding academy is to expose children and adults to English riding in a safe, fun and welcoming environment. We maintain a fleet of lesson horses of varying levels that are truly the stars of our riding academy! Students can learn all of the basics- from posting to jumping courses of fences, right here on the backs of our “professors.” Beginner students are taught in private lessons until they can post their trot and steer safely and independently- after which they can move into an hour-long group lesson with their friends. We try to keep a healthy balance of education and socialization in our lessons so that students feel encouraged when they ride together.
Our Riding Academy Staff is made up of career-riding teachers who teach a curriculum set by our Riding Director- who personally oversees the academy and principles our school. Classes are evaluated and monitored by our senior riding staff and our teachers are constantly adding to their knowledge base with clinics, workshops and other educational experiences that we are always so excited to bring back to class! Our curriculum is based the fundamentals of Hunt Seat Equitation; with special emphasis on safety and instruction at the proper pace for each individual rider.
Each academic year, we offer four schooling shows that are only open to our riding academy students. Each show has a special fun theme (such as “On Luau!” or “Happy Halloween!”) and we expose students to their first taste of friendly competition in a relaxed and low-key environment. We hire a USEF rated judge and we always encourage the judge to talk to the kids about their riding and what judges like to look for at horse shows. We can never resist a learning opportunity!
In addition to our traditional prize list, we like to remember to add some fun to the mix! Past riding academy shows have boasted: the “something fun mystery class”- where students have raced to scoop up tropical fish from a pool and leg each other up to rely-race to the ingate, the “gambler’s choice” class- where students race to jump a series of silly-looking jumps with a point-value assigned to each one and (of course) our “costume class”- where students dress ponies and themselves up to reflect our show’s individual theme! We know that all competition needs to have a healthy dose of humor in order to make it fun for EVERYONE!
At the end of the school year, we host our Twin Lakes Farm High Point BBQ and Awards Ceremony- where the points accrued at each show are tallied up and we pin out places one through ten for series champion of each division- as well as our coveted “Sportsmanship” award! Every year, Scotty burns the burgers while we clap for our winners and enjoy everyone’s company in a family-style picnic- complete with ice cream and games!
Our camp program is the BEST part of being a young rider at Twin Lakes Farm. Because we all went to summer camps as kids (and are extremely immature!) we have a great time coming up with new and crazy ideas to keep our campers coming back to us year after year! In addition to their daily riding lessons and horsemanship classes, our campers have amazed us with their creativity and enthusiasm in our “ Camp Weddings ” (where two horses are married in a lavish ceremony planned and officiated by our camp! Move over “Platinum Weddings!” This is “Platinum PONY Weddings!” J) “Paint the Pony Game” (washable paint and a grey pony- eat your heart out Jackson Pollack!) and (of course!) our water-slide and water-balloon extravaganza! We end each day tired, dirty (often wet!) and beaming from ear to ear! See our special “Summer Camp” tab for dates and prices for each year! Hurry! Camp enrollment fills FAST
Almost as popular as our summer camp is our School Break Leasing Program! Each year, during the winter, summer and spring vacations from school, our qualified riding academy students have the opportunity to lease their favorite school horses and enjoy the fun of horse “ownership”- without the responsibilities or long-term commitment! The program comes with two lessons per week and (of course) a special hack time for each child to enjoy riding her pony independently! (Don’t worry Moms and Dads! All hack times are closely supervised by our staff!) Each rider gets exclusive use of her leased pony during the designated leasing hours and can tack, untack, ride, bathe, brush and generally fuss over her pony and call it her own. Of course, we would never want to leave our “overgrown kids” out of the fun! We welcome adult “break” leasers- as well as children!
Each weekday evening, we offer our "Adults Only" group classes- both on the flat and over fences. We know that adults need their riding and social time in the barn just as much as the kids do. That is why we host our 8pm "Fossils on the Flat" and "Fossils over Fences" lessons- which might be our favorite time of night in the barn! Our adult lessons are fun and non-competitive- all levels are welcome! We have a ball with our "mature" crowd! Don't be shy! Come see how much fun in can be to share your love of horses and riding with others who feel the same way.
We are committed to teaching good horsemanship- both in and out of the tack. Our riders are encouraged to take "Horsemanship" classes- lessons in the barn about proper horse care and handling. Riders who have demonstrated that they have the skills in order to be safe and independent in the barn are issued a "Barn Badge"- which gives access to the stable area and clears them to groom, tack and untack their assigned horse.
Interested in potentially becoming a rider or a parent of a rider on an IEA Team? The following information has been compiled to give everyone a better understanding of the opportunities and responsibilities available to IEA Team Members!
The IEA was founded on the principle that any middle school or high school student should be able to participate in horse shows, regardless of their financial status or riding level. The IEA attempts to help eliminate some expenses associated with horse showing and allows more students to compete. Students ride horses that are furnished by the host barn and chosen by drawing lots, thus also helping to level the playing field. There are no private horses, we all ride academy or school horses.
RIDER REQUIREMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS :Team Practices/Riding Lessons
All team members are required to participate in one team practice per week. Team Practices will run in a format similar to what can be expected at a Show, and therefore is not to take the place of a regularly scheduled lesson. All team members are required to take at least one additional regular riding lesson per week.
At the beginning of the school year, each team starts with a goal of accumulating enough team points to make their regional finals. Winning teams and riders at Regions then move on to the Zone Finals. Winning teams and riders at Zones get to move on to the National Final.
Teams consist of riders in four different high school levels and three different middle school levels. These range from Beginner (walk, trot, canter) to the Open division for the most advanced. Teams take turns hosting horse shows throughout the season. The show season starts September 15 and ends in April at the National Finals. Horse shows are one day shows that generally involve day travel only with some exceptions (including potentially Regional, Zone and National Finals). Each horse show also offers individual classes so that students may compete as a team member and individually. A rider may make it all the way to the National Finals as an individual even if their team does not.
Riders who wish to participate in IEA should contact the barn to find out more about this exiciting opportunity!
One of our most popular programs for Riding Academy students is our TLF DRILL TEAM! Twice a year, Our Esteemed Drill Sergeant choreographs and teaches a patterned ride to music that involves a lucky team of twelve academy riders. The team practices together for 12 weeks and then performs their drill to a packed house of spectators. We always have to offer several seatings to get everyone in!
By far the best part of Drill Team is the camaraderie built between the team members as they learn to maneuver together and enjoy working as a team to make a difficult pattern a reality on horseback.
Drill Team has gotten so popular that we have started offering TWO teams each semester- one for older riders and one for younger riders. The kids wear special jackets to distinguish themselves as valued team members and we always videotape each drill to post on the internet for everyone to admire!
Twin Lakes Farm is currently looking to partner with a new organization to provide riding programs for riders with disabilities.