What’s “the Winch Way?” It’s a way for students to have a voice in their education, like Iliana.
At the Winchendon School, just like other independent schools, students are asked to participate in after-school activities, helping to provide the rounded education independent schools are known and sought for, and in most cases, students are expected to include an athletic offering in their afternoon activities.
At The Winchendon School, we give students the time and space to pursue their passions, which recently have included, fencing, gymnastics at the national competition level, figure skating, dance (now offered on campus), and previous equestrians.
Here, Iliana B. ’25 thanks the School for providing her the time and space to pursue her emerging passion in horseback riding.
“I wanted to give you all a special thank you for allowing me to do what I love to do: Riding and working with horses. I am ever so grateful that you were able to put things together…to allow me to ride horses and count it as my after-school sport credit.
Before school started I was given the opportunity to assist in the training of a horse with a bad attitude. Her name is Liberty and she is a 14-year-old mare who was bought by a nice man named Paul. Unfortunately, Paul is a beginner in riding, and because Liberty was still new to having a human on her back, she instantly became a danger to Paul and herself. Anytime Paul would mount or ask her to do something such as move backward or go up into a trot, she would buck, rear, and throw her head until he came off her back. On several occasions, he was kicked, bitten, and she nearly flipped over entirely on him. But you see, Liberty doesn’t just act this way for fun. Before Liberty was bought by Paul, she suffered from neglect for the last 7 years. After Paul rescued her, he spent some time riding her and realized he needed help. She was then brought to board at a nearby stable where I was given the opportunity to train her.
Let’s just say the first days were complicated. Keeping her moving, lateral movement, and lots of leading around were required groundwork to get her to trust me. When I finally mounted, the slightest feel of my foot on her side would make her kick out sharply at me or anyone around us. After 2 weeks of my collaboration with Liberty and guidance from my riding teacher, she has had major improvements. When school started I was afraid that everything I had worked on with her would waste away if she was left out to sit in a field without being ridden and worked. Fortunately, because of your actions to let me go back and work with her again, I was able to ride Liberty on Thursday and yesterday afternoon. She has improved dramatically: Younger kids are allowed to mount and walk with her, Paul, her owner, has started taking her out on fast-paced rides, and even I have raced her through the trails in the woods myself.
Have a passion you want to pursue? We get that. Call us to begin a conversation about how we can help you reach your goals. 978-297-4476.