Western riding at Fountain Valley School of Colorado is the oldest athletic program on campus, and it originated from the School's ranch. When FVS was founded in 1930, the School still had a working cattle ranch, and the riding program helped with daily chores, focusing on ranch horses and teaching the students to work with a horse to complete ranch jobs.
True to its roots, the program is about building character and learning responsibility. The goal of the program is to develop overall skills and knowledge of horsemanship and riding. Western Riding Director Beth Hiatt expects her riders to learn both horse and ranch management, and she calls on experts in the field to supplement the work that the students do every day.The fall and winter seasons are used for education in the following areas: basic horsemanship, conformation, first aid, colors/markings, equipment, leads, farrier, nutrition, lameness, body position, herd behavior, equine anatomy, framing a horse, and proper communication with the horse. The spring season is a combination of continued education with competition training for riders ready for the gymkhana experience.
Each of the three seasons, riders will set individual goals for themselves in conjunction with their level and horse. Each rider will have to complete the various levels of training to reach the top level of a gymkhana competitor and/or coaches assistant.
Students in the program have to opportunity to experience clinicians, pack trips, state fair and stock show observation trips and trail rides.