"Whether you have a disability or you do not, here at Wheatland Farm, we believe that you should have the same access to excellent coaching as anyone."
For all riders
Wheatland Farm is a USEF Para-dressage Center of Excellence -- just the fourth center to have been awarded this designation nationwide. Honored to host the USEF 2018 Para Dressage Team Observation Event for the World Equestrian Games, Wheatland Farm's facility includes an FEI-quality outdoor competition arena, an ADA-compliant indoor arena, a fully-accessible 18-stall barn with auto mounting lift for wheelchair-dependent athletes, and miles of outdoor trails where athletes and their families can stroll and enjoy time together outdoors.
Serving more than 100 riders each week in para-dressage, adapted riding, US Pony Club, and dressage, Wheatland Farm is pioneering the concept of equestrian programs for both able-bodied and disabled riders in a wholly inclusive equestrian center.
Wheatland Farm's programs are designed to include the whole family - riders with disabilities, their siblings, and their friends in the community. This pioneering approach to equestrian sport provides the support that riders with disabilities require to learn and compete on equal footing with their able-bodied peers. It brings the community together and fosters greater awareness of the challenges facing individuals with disabilities.
Wheatland Farm has 16 horses in its program, from Grand Prix to first level, along with nine staff members and over 75 trained volunteers.
In addition to riding lessons, Wheatland Farm offers dressage shows for both able-bodied and para-dressage riders, monthly jumper shows, quarterly clinics with five-star event riders and dressage riders, and family events.
Adapted / Therapeutic Riding Lessons
"Creating equal opportunities for riders with special needs in a loving, first-class, family-centric environment'
At Wheatland Farm, our equestrian program is designed to bring ALL riders from the beginning stages of their riding education to the highest levels of competition in the sport. Our rider demographics reflect a very inclusive student body: 58% are traditional, non-disabled athletes; 32% have varying developmental delays in adapted riding lessons, and 10% are para-equestrian riders. That means almost half of our students require adaptive programming, and half are fully able-bodied. 66% of our students are female, while 34% are male. Of that student body, 45% are children, 27% are teenagers, and 28% are adults! A great mix all around.
Riders with disabilities can begin riding for therapeutic benefit in our adapted riding lesson program, supported by an adapted riding instructor, and volunteers. Many riders start with us as therapy students, aiming to improve physical and cognitive skills. Over time, they may develop independence and skill to become competitive / sport riders.
There are several avenues for riders with disabilities, including pure therapy, therapy progressing to adaptive sport, and competition. Para-Dressage is the pinnacle of competitive sport riding for individuals with a 15% or greater permanent, measurable disability. Though not all riders with disabilities will qualify for or wish to compete at this level of equestrian sport, many do.
A video about para-dressage is available on our enrollment page and will help you understand the relationship between the journey from therapy to sport and features Wheatland Farm's Executive Director Muriel Forrest and our USEF head Coach for Para Equestrian Dressage, Michel Assouline. Further information is also provided below.
Traditional Riding Lessons
Wheatland Farm offers traditional riding lessons for children beginning at the age of 5, through adults.
Lessons are offered to beginners in dressage and flatwork and to advanced riders who wish to trailer in their horses for jumping lessons. Lessons offered include dressage through first level on our school horses, dressage through fourth level on student's own horses, and show jumping and dressage through preliminary level eventing on student-owned or lease horses. Rides are welcome to trailer in their own horses for lessons or to inquire about lease options on our horses for the jumping and advanced dressage work.
For more information, visit our enrollment page.
"Competitive international dressage for riders with disabilities"
What is Para-dressage? A great video introduction to the sport is available here, with our US Head Coach, Michel Assouline: Introduction to Para Dressage
Wheatland Farm is a United States Equestrian Federation Center of Excellence for international para dressage training and development, one of just seven in the United States. Watch our video to learn more: Centers of Excellence for Para Dressage.
Our Para-dressage instructional program is designed to bring athletes from introduction to dressage through classification, show preparation and competition, and eventual purchase or lease of their competition horse.
USEF-certified para dressage coaches conduct lessons on Wheatland Farm's FEI and upper-level dressage horses. A training board is also available for para-dressage athletes wishing to compete and train with Wheatland Farm.
Enrollment begins with a free riding assessment. Links for an assessment are on our enrollment page.
For more inspiration from some of our top US para-dressage riders, enjoy this video, "Taking on the World" and contact us to get your para-dressage journey started!
US Pony Club
A leading source worldwide for youth education in horse care, safety, and equestrian pursuits.
Wheatland Farm is proud to be recognized as the country's first inclusive USPC Riding Center. USPC is an educational organization for youth and adults that teaches riding, mounted sports, and the care of horses and ponies, thereby developing responsibility, sportsmanship, moral judgment, leadership, and self-confidence.
The Wheatland Farm USPC Riding Center program runs throughout the year. Weekly riding lessons are taught from the USPC curriculum, preparing members to take their mounted ratings. Unmounted classes are offered twice yearly to prepare members for Horse Management ratings. A four-week series of horse management lessons are held in spring and fall. Members may participate in as many of the series as they wish. You do not need your pony or horse to join a riding center. You may borrow one of our lesson horses; however, we require a riding assessment before joining the lesson series to match you with the appropriate lesson horse.
USPC utilizes a certification program to reflect riders' equine knowledge and riding abilities. All new members begin with a D-1 rating (lowest) and have the opportunity to ascend through the program to the highest level of "A." An "A" certified Pony Club member is recognized internationally as an expert in horse knowledge and riding ability. The D-1 rating presumes no horse experience. As such, ALL LEVELS of riders may participate. USPC members can expect their USPC instructors to help prepare them for the next level. Riders can progress through the rating system at their own pace! Ratings are not a race!
The USPC program has three organizational tiers: National, Regional, and Club levels. Members must join all three groups to participate in USPC-sanctioned events. First, members join their local Riding Center ($25 annual fee), check payable to Wheatland Farm. Members must be currently enrolled students of Wheatland Farm. Upon enrollment in Wheatland Farm's Pony Club, members will receive an email from joining the National USPC. To participate in events within our Virginia region, members must join Virginia Region Pony Clubs. Links to join Wheatland Farm Pony Club are on our enrollment page.
Dressage and jumper schooling shows occur at Wheatland Farm each month from September to July.
Dressage schooling shows are held for enrolled students, opening to the general public in May, June, and July and again in September and October. Dressage shows open to the public are advertised and available for registration through STRIIDER.
Jumper shows are open to the public and to Wheatland Farm students with their own horses or a leased program horse. Registration for jumper schooling shows is available through STRIDER.