Horseback Riding Hits A High At Hill School

Updated: Feb 4

Hill School students Julia Campbell, Mallory Austin, Taylor Ward, Olivia Reeser, and Wiley Durkin LOVE to go horseback riding! For a few of these students, riding is a competitive sport, but for others, it's simply a favorite hobby. Read on to learn more about their equestrian passion.


Julia Campbell is in 8th grade and has enjoyed horseback riding for about 4 years. She started out in the CTRP, Coastal Therapeutic Riding Program, at Russell's Reach. She has advanced rather quickly on the local horse scene and has won several ribbons at local shows, just having won a 1st place ribbon and two second place this past fall. Julia loves riding and caring for the horses and helps her coach every Wednesday morning. She is at the barn at 7:00 am to assist with feeding, mucking stalls and riding. She takes two lessons a week and would certainly take more if possible! Julia hopes to continue riding, improving her technique and loving horses for many years to come.


Mallory Austin, age 11, was 4 1/2 when she started riding and has been riding for 7 years. She was 5 when she competed in her first horse show. She continued to show locally until 2019 when she made the move to compete at the ‘C’ rated shows with her own pony, Remy. She is a member of the NCHJA. Mallory and Remy have won several ribbons and was also Reserve Champion at the Fall Camden Classic held in Camden, SC. In 2020, she plans to compete to earn points toward the end of year NCHJA banquet and one day maybe even compete at the US Pony Finals. Riding is Mallory’s one true passion. The sport has helped to sustain her confidence and continues to remind her how brave she really is in everything she does.



Taylor Ward is in the 2nd grade and takes lessons at 1 Oak Equestrian Club in Pender County. She has taken lessons off and on for about a year and a half and pretty consistently since mid-Summer of 2019. Taylor gained interest at a young age while attending camps at Old McFaye’s Farm in Castle Hayne. Taylor really likes the animals and her instructors. She goes at her own pace and while wanting to get better has no pressure to perform at shows or anything like that. Taylor also likes riding horses because it is something that no one in her family does and this is her special activity.


Olivia Reeser started horseback riding at Coastal Therapeutic Riding Program (CTRP) in January 2019. She has been riding the same horse now for a year - Lady. Olivia loves grooming Lady, bringing her treats every week, trail riding and treating Lady as her own. She has really advanced in her ability to get her horse ready to ride (i.e. carrying all her equipment, putting on her saddle, reigns, etc.). This is not a competitive hobby for Olivia, but with her love of all kinds of animals, she might certainly maintain this sport and maybe even work or volunteer to serve other young children like herself someday.




Wiley Durkin, age 8 is in the second grade and says she loves riding because it makes her happy and she loves tacking the horse. She started riding last summer when she attended camp at Hanover Stables. She aspires to be in a horse show.