Riding school instructors are chosen for their equestrian training, their ability to impart knowledge and level of professionalism. The instructors will work with students to achieve their individual goals as riders and determine the best course of lessons for student progress.
Rick Harris, IndependentTrainer, has been an equestrian professional for over 20 years. Rick grew up riding ponies in Richmond, Virginia, and has worked as a trainer for 10 years in Saint Louis and 8 years in New Orleans in addition to freelancing in Middleburg. Rick has competed successfully in hunterís circuit championships in Gulfport, Ocala and Indio, as well as numerous grand prix competitions. Rickís students have competed successfully in divisions from ponies to junior/amateur owner jumpers in addition to competing in Medal and Maclay Finals, Pony Finals and Young Riders Championships and several have ranked in the top 10 nationally. Rick enjoys bringing along young horses and preparing horses for their junior and amateur riders to show.
Kristen Swope, Riding School Director, is a dedicated hunter/jumper professional with a variety of exceptional experiences. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Equine Science with concentration in equestrian instruction and training from Lake Erie College, where she competed successfully in IHSA, IDA, and ICTA. Kristen also studied abroad at England’s Hartpury College, completing coursework in Equine Veterinary Science, Equine Anatomy, and Equine Psychology and training in classical dressage and stadium jumping. Kristen also trained with three day eventer Julie Randall in Aukland, New Zealand. Before coming to Equest Farm, Kristen worked as an instructor, trainer, camp and horse show organizer as assistant to Susan Horn at Prospering Farm in Prosper, Texas. Previously, Kristen was a private trainer at Echo Hill Farm in Rhinebeck, New York,
a trail guide in West Virginia’s New River Gorge, and was an assistant instructor under Bernie Villeneuve at Andrews School Equestrian Center in Mentor, Ohio.
Kristen has developed students through beginning lessons to showing successfully, with students consistently in the ribbons and most in the top five for the year end. Kristen Swope has been Equest Farm’s Riding School Director since February of 2010. She has restructured the riding school while teaching lessons from beginner level to 4’9”, designing a consistent lesson program, overseeing high quality instruction from four assistant instructors, maintenance of stables and horses with the barn manager, and scheduling and organizing the lesson program with the secretary. In addition, Kristen is the coach for the Tulane University Equestrian Team.
Emma Levenson has been riding hunter-jumpers since the age of 9, showing extensively in low and high schooling jumpers on the LHJA circuit.After Hurricane Katrina forced her relocation (and the sale of her horse!) from Slidell, LA to New Orleans, she began riding at Equest Farm.Emma has worked for Equest since 2009 as an instructor and camp counselor.She is a graduate student at Tulane University and is the outgoing captain of Tulane Equestrian Team, which practices at Equest Farm.She is a two-time regional qualifier and competes in the Open division at intercollegiate horse shows.Her favorite school horse is Trigger.
Crystal Grayson is a native of the New Orleans area and has been riding in a hunter/jumper setting since she was 10. She has been riding at Equest Farm for seven years, and has been teaching lessons here since June 2009, including as a camp counselor during the summers. Crystal is currently a senior at Tulane University as an English major, and shows for the Tulane Equestrian Team. Crystal was recently named Regional Champion in Intermediate Flat and Regional Reserve Champion in Intermediate Fences, as well as receiving 5th place in IHSA Zone 2 for Intermediate Flat. Her favorite school horses are Sig and Dewey.
Lily Preston is from New Orleans and is currently Psychology Major at Loyola. She has been at Equest since she was six and started working there in November 2011. Her favorite school horse is Oscar.
Megan Conke is from Jacksonville, FL. and has been riding since the age of 7. Megan is a junior at Tulane University and is a member of the Tulane Equestrian Team. She started working at Equest farm in 2012 as a camp counselor and is now an Instructor with the riding school. Megan has showed in the hunter/jumper circuit in Florida for the past 7 years. Her favorite horses are Echo, Trigger and Sig.