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The Blue & Gray Press | December 18, 2017

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Riding program to stay at Hazelwild Farms after negotiation troubles emerge

Riding program to stay at Hazelwild Farms after negotiation troubles emerge

By TAYLOR OSTROM  

The University of Mary Washington’s equestrian team has enjoyed riding horses at Hazelwild Farm for 40 years now. After initial talk of the Hazelwild program no longer being a part of UMW, it was made public that this relationship will continue in the future. Until recently, financial problems threatened to eliminate Hazelwild Farm as UMW’s riding location. However, through communication and compromise, UMW’s athletic department and Hazelwild were able to come to an agreement.

“Primarily, [UMW] adjusted the PE course offerings and the cost of lessons. It was a good outcome for everyone involved,” said UMW’s director of athletics Ken Tyler.

UMW’s equestrian team consists of 25 riders and throughout the year, they compete in eight shows along with a regional, zone and national championship. The team has been going strong this year with five first and second place wins at the regional show. They will make their next appearance at the zone championship on April 8, at St. Andrew’s College. Now that it has been determined that the team will remain at Hazelwild, they have more opportunities in the future to advance their skills and take home more wins.   

The equestrian team is relieved that Hazelwild will remain their riding location, since it has been their sole riding location for close to two decades. Junior member of the equestrian team Katherine Lambert talked about what Hazelwild has to offer UMW students, as well as the public of Fredericksburg. “The accessibility it gives to the students of UMW is something that will not be found anywhere else,” said Lambert, a biology member. “The amount of land and amenities Hazelwild Farm offers to riders is also something that will not be found anywhere else in a four mile radius of the school.”

The farm has two outdoor rings and one indoor ring, shows on the weekends and two barns fully stocked with horses, one for UMW students and another for boarders.

 The farm sits on the Anna Elizabeth Morrison Estate, 600 acres worth of land. It is located on Harrison Road in Fredericksburg, 10 minutes from the University of Mary Washington. The farm offers lessons ranging from beginner to advanced, as well as pony rides for children parties. Hazelwild is not only a place for riders, but for children looking to attend summer and day camp. Morrison, the original owner of the land and amenities was a strong believer of learning. She dedicated her life to teaching various skills to children whether it was learning to ride a horse, or memorizing the alphabet. 

Morrison founded Hazelwild in 1951. At the time, she was a high school gym teacher at Spotsylvania County High School. Her first summer camp accommodated a mere 10 campers, who bunked in her own home on the estate. These children became family to Morrison, and addressed her as “Aunt Sissy,” and the name has stuck ever since. Morrison passed in 1997 at the age of 95, but her legacy still resonates throughout the Hazelwild community. 

Students are encouraged to seek employment and volunteering opportunities at Hazelwild and help others create a lifetime of memories as well. UMW hopes to remain at Hazelwild for many years to come.