Autumn Olive Farm is located on almost 50 acres. We have a creek dividing our 12 acre pasture. There are wooded trails for an easy ride, or a ride with creek crossings. Our barn currently has twelve 10 x 12 stalls. The barn is close to the 120′ x 240′ ring which has nice sand/bluestone footing and inviting jumps. We have an enclosed toilet built onto the barn and alot of parking area. There is a covered platform for shaded seating. We now have a fenced schooling ring and a round pen.
“Knowledge With a Sense of Humor”. Private 1 hour lessons with experienced Certified Instructor (hunter/western). All ages – all levels. We do not do group lessons, but will do 2 at a time if family. The hour consists of 30-45 minutes of saddle time with the remaining hour for grooming, tacking, untacking and instructional conversation. If more saddle time is wanted, the fee will increase, and this must be set up in advance. Instructor will travel to your farm for a higher fee or you can bring your horse to AOF at the on-farm fee (U-T-D shots/negative coggins). Contact AOF for availability and prices. No lessons on Sundays. Students shall pay a fee of $30 to show one of the AOF horses at a farm show and $75 to show at an ‘away’ show.
Comments from some students:
“I have been taking riding lessons in France and jumping a lot. Thanks to Syndi my confidence is restored and instead of being afraid, flying over jumps has become a great joy.”-Tara O. (One lesson in 2013)
“Syndi has spent much time with me and my three young daughters fine tuning our skills and matching our skills with her horses both at her barn and at various local shows. Being a very sensitive person, I like how she uses her humor instead of being harsh like my former instructor.”– Karen G. (Student since 2005)
“My daughter Anna took riding lessons with Syndi for 10 years, ages 5 to 15. At age 16 she received an apprenticeship at the Mustang Training Academy in Orange County, VA. When she went to try out, the owner watched her ride for 10 minutes and said, ‘I don’t usually do this, but I’m going to give this apprenticeship to Anna on the spot. She has a way with horses that is hard to teach.’ In addition to helping her become a great rider, Syndi helped Anna develop confidence in herself, an ability to meet and overcome her fears, compassion for animals and people, and a life-long friendship with a great teacher. We are forever grateful to Syndi for all she’s taught our daughter. Anna told me that one of the things she appreciated most about Syndi was that Syndi never let her give up or succumb to her fears. ‘She never let me use the word ‘can’t’ and always found a way to teach me what I needed to know,’ says Anna.”-Sue F. (10 years of lessons)
“I became a student at age 11 in December of 2001 and continued through November of 2005 (plus sporadic lessons in the following years). I quit because I was needed at home to help with the family. During that time Ms. Syndi became one of the most influential people in my life. It was never even apparent to me that she was doing her job! She was simply sharing the joys of riding with her students, in a very mild-mannered but yet instructive way. During my time under her careful yet enjoyable lessons I learned a correct hunt-seat, I discovered my love in the show-jumping ring, I learned the importance of proper riding for both rider and horse and we also enjoyed the relaxation of trail riding. One thing I hold dear is that I got to ride all her horses, different breeds, sizes and styles. She was always sure to give me a very wide ranged variety as to not ‘shoe-box’ me into a type, but always encouraged me to follow my heart in jumping. I went to many shows with Ms. Syndi, I learned how to bathe, wrap and load her horses. She schooled with me in the mornings and was always on the sidelines to cheer me on when it was my turn to show. Win or lose, I could always count on a smile and a cheer from my instructor. To this day she has – and always will have – a very special place in my heart.”– Lila G. (4+ years lessons)
“My experience with Syndi is that she is an amazing instructor. As a child/teen I rode whenever I could, but didn’t begin to take formal lessons until an adult. She has an amazing ability to know when to coddle away nerves and when to push. But she never pushed beyond what she knew I could do, even when I doubted I could do it. Syndi has a way of teaching that breaks it down into manageable steps. She has a fabulous sense of humor, which certainly helps when teaching stubborn students (like me). Though I am not currently riding, I often go to various horse shows with Syndi and I learn something new every time. I would recommend her to any of my family or friends who want to learn how to be around horses.”– Monica H. (2+ years of lessons)
“I chose Syndi as a riding instructor based on a referral from a friend. I had never been on a horse before and had never really been around them at all. In the two years I had regular weekly lessons I not only learned to ride, but I also learned proper care for horses, proper care for tack, and also the differences in many breeds. Now I have a horse of my own and Syndi has continued to guide me in the proper care and training for him. She relates well to each student, learns what drives them to do their very best and pushes them to that level. I have recommended her to others and will continue to do so.”– Stephanie D. (2+ years of lessons)
“At 30 years old I decided to take riding lessons to be able to communicate better with my own horses. After some personal trepidation about taking lessons, I found and contacted Syndi and haven’t looked back. Within a fairly short period of time taking weekly lessons I re-found my confidence on horseback, and the ability to communicate on horseback with my own horses. With no real interest in showing in the beginning, Syndi offered an experience just to come and watch some shows. I love horses so enjoyed it more than I expected. It wasn’t hard to get me to try it out for myself after that. Showing has been as relaxed and fun as starting to show can ever be. Each experience we learn something new about ourselves, our riding, and horses. Its been a great experience all the way around. Thank you so much Syndi, you have helped me with more than just riding. The confidence there overflows into other aspects of my life to make me feel a more centered person.”-Erica K. (1+ year of lessons)
More references upon request.
We no longer offer boarding.
AOF offers a Partial On-Farm Lease. $500/month plus full farrier and half vet fees. Your may ride as often as you like, yet AOF is able to use the horse for lessons or shows if you are not using it. Contact Syndi for more information and available horses.
VHSA associate hunter horse show series with AOF Year End Awards. We have decided to longer sanction BHSA shows. See our SHOW page for more information.
Farrier has over 25 years experience and travels within a two hour radius of AOF. Contact AOF for current prices and to see if your home is in his travel area.
Syndi is available to judge Open shows on Saturdays and during the week when a show is not being held at AOF.
Autumn Olive Farm offers day camps for riders of all ages and skills. Come one day or many, an entire week or here and there. Available any day schools are not in session. Contact AOF for more information.
*** HORSE DAY CAMP ***
Held any days when school is out or someone wants to do it. Cost: $120/day or $80/half day morning (may stay for lunch if you like)
Time: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm or 8:30 am – 12:00 pm (may stay until 1:00 if joining for lunch)
Arrival: begins at 8:30 a.m. (flexible on this per parents work schedule)
Departure: by 4:30 p.m. (flexible on this per parents work schedule)
Ages: ALL AGES AND SKILL LEVELS WELCOME (Rider must be able to at least walk and do a sitting trot alone.)
Capacity: THERE IS A LIMIT OF RIDERS PER DAY (depending on available horses)
Camp consists of lots of riding and swapping horses, barn work, horse care, and more.
Campers are welcome to bring their own horse with up-to-date shots and negative Coggins.
($30/night if boarded – owner brings grain)
Campers can come on sporadic days or come for an entire week. Weeks before horse shows will be aimed at the competitive rider, but all campers are welcome.
Horse shows held on some Saturdays.
If campers wish to compete, they need to pay a $30 show fee plus pay for their classes. (Proper attire required for most Hunter Shows except Leadline and Eq Preview)
2024 Show Dates