Mikey was originally a show horse in Maryland.  He originally came to Briarwood as a privately owned horse.  His show name is Three’s a Charm, as he was his former owner’s third horse.  Mikey showed in many divisions from the 3' Equitation to the Pre-schooling Hunter Champion, even having brought an adult back to the show ring after a tragic car accident.  Mikey has always been a confidence booster for many riders and has taught many about the show ring and now loves to teach beginners to canter with his super smooth gait.

“Air-Bud” has bouncy personality has delighted riders for many years at Briarwood.  Did you know that Buddy is a quarter horse—thoroughbred cross?  Some of Buddy’s career highlights included winning horse of the show at IEA regional finals in 2019.  Buddy also had a successful 3’ equitation career with BWF kids who are now grownups!

Merlin is one of our newer additions to the lesson horse family.  He has transitioned nicely from his rather unknown former life to his second career of being a school horse friend.  Merlin is a big horse with a big personality and we love having him with us, he has found a happy home with Briarwood!


Red came to us from Centenary College many years ago.  We understand he will be about 29 years young this year.  He truly has been the best lesson horse with positively the best canter in the barn.  He is Mr. Steady Eddy and has taught so many so much.  He shows us all to “find the itchy spot” when grooming a horse!





Val’s show name is Valentina.  She was an adult-amateur hunter before she belonged to Elizabeth Benson.   Her former owner thought that Val might have a better career as  jumper, and was very excited to have Elizabeth own and show her.   She has done many different levels of jumpers from the Level Zero to Low Child Adult ,to High Child Adult, to the Low Junior Jumpers.  She is known for being The Best Beggar of Treats in the barn.


Willie’s show name is “I’m a Roan”.  Fun Fact:  Willie was champion in Small-Medium Ponies at Marshall & Sterling Finals the same year Kelpy was champion in the Large Ponies (before Willie came to BWF)!   He is on permanent loan to Briarwood because his rider continued to show with Elizabeth Benson and they became great friends.  We found out recently that Willie will be turning 20 this year.





A message to our students from your Briarwood coaches.

   We love our horses, we know you do, too.  We could not have our amazing lesson, camp, IEA and IHSA programs without them.  We are merely the instructors, they are your teachers!  We coach you to learn to ride them all to the best of your ability, but of course we know you have your favorites.  Horses sneak  into our hearts in many ways:



  These are just a few of the ways that horses get under our skin and into our hearts, and we can’t imagine being without these horses in our lives.  We have taken a moment to highlight our current “staff” at Briarwood— our professors, our partners, our friends.  Each horse is highlighted below, along with some fun facts about each one.   Enjoy reading about the horses, and perhaps you will learn something you didn’t know about your friend.  

    We certainly miss teaching, and we know the horses really miss their routine.   Their work is our pleasure, but their work is what keeps them healthy and well cared for.  The daily care for these horses is busy, but not insurmountable.  The financial ramifications of being without their program is going to be a more serious challenge.   The lesson program, the IEA Team and the IHSA program all allow for riders to enjoy a horse for a ride, a lesson, even a show without the expense of time and finances involved in owning a horse.   Now as we travel these unchartered waters, our lesson horses and need us to step up and support them in a way that we can.   Might we suggest that those who can make a donation to keep the care of our horses top notch until we can return to them?

  “When you can’t do what you do, do what you can.”

Would you like to purchase a bag of feed? 

Drop off carrots & apples? 

Pay for spring vaccines for your “bestie”?  

Sponsor a horse for a month? 

We know not everyone is in a situation to be able to make a financial contribution, but we can brainstorm together

on how you can contribute and we will make this work.  

"The Covid19 virus is not sustainable outside the human body,

but your love of your horses is!"

     Click on the heart next to your horse’s name...and find a way that you can

“show the love”!   Or click on the Briarwood logo to support us any way you can!

Martel has had an amazing show career, both before he joined us and since being a member of the BWF family.  He has been there and done that– having been to most major show in the East, including doing the Medium Jumpers (4’) in Ocala, FL.  He has taught many a rider the ropes in the jumper ring.  Martel has transitioned very nicely into his role as IEA horse and was given the honor of being Horse of the Show at two IEA shows in 2019/2020.


Lily is on permanent loan to Briarwood from a friend of the Benson family.  Lily was the Mid-Summer Circuit Champion in .90m jumpers at HITS Saugerties, and she was also Horse of the show at the Palermo IEA show in 2020.  Those of you that know her know she is not the most comfortable horse in the barn, but she is a terrific partner and has so much to teach riders about doing things the correct way.


Kelpy’s show name is “Shoot the Moon”.  This amazing pony had a very special show career including being Marshall & Sterling League Finals Champion in both 2006 and 2009.  He also scored a pair of 84’s at Garden State horse show to win a Classic out of 60 ponies.  He was USEF Zone 2 Horse of the Year 2006.  He now loves to teach little people all about the basics of being a good rider, happy to do Mini Stirrup!



Tigger is another farm favorite with his puppy dog personality.  He is the epitome of patience and has taught countless riders to trot, canter and jump.  Fun fact: Tigger originally came to us from same eventing barn as Boston.  Tigger has also been to both IHSA and IEA nations at Harrisburg arena.  He has also done the Briarwood Hunter Derby whenever called on!


Classy is an absolute favorite lesson friend with her sassy attitude and her zippy step.  Classy is the one everyone fights over to school at the college shows :)  When Class first came to us, she had never even gone over a cavaletti but just a year later she did the Itty-Bitty jumpers and introduced many a rider to the Jumper Divisions.





Hayley is another favorite friend.  She may come off as being aloof, but she secretly loves kisses and scratches (in the right places).  Hayley won her Maiden race in Maryland as a racehorse and she came to us knowing not much more than how to do just that.  If you knew her when she first came, you know just how far she has come to be a peach!

Rex truly is the best gentle dinosaur, a T-Rex.  We love that Rex’s favorite thing is his power naps anytime he has the opportunity to do so.  He is currently our walk-trot horse extraordinaire!



Ice’s show name is Godiva.  Did you know that she is very well traveled?  She went to college in Arizona with “her girl”, Carla before she joined the BWF Team.  She is truly a “three- ring” horse, successfully doing hunters, jumpers and equitation.  She also happens to be as comfortable as a cloud :) !


Boston is a long-time favorite friend. He originally came from the race track, then landed in the eventing world and then on to us.  Some of the highlights of Boston’s career include doing the Briarwood Hunter Derby at 3’; competing at both IHSA and IEA National Finals at Harrisburg arena.  He was both Champion and Reserve Champion in two of his classes at IEA National Finals in 2019.



Turtle gets his fun barn name because his show name is Donatello (a Ninja turtle!).  Fun Fact:   The young lady who sold Turtle to us came to an intercollegiate show at Briarwood, drew Turtle, and won her class on him that day :)


Splendid VDL is an equitation champ – having competed in Medal and Maclay Finals with Elizabeth Benson.  He also has shown great talent in the jumper ring, showing in the High Junior Jumpers.   He was an Auburn Tiger with Elizabeth for several years and is back to live with us as a super-great draw for our Open riders.



Chance’s show name is Catch a Star because his rider at the time wanted to name him something that sounded nice with Shoot the Moon (his fellow pony Kelpy).  Chance was both a Children’s and Pre-Children’s pony extraordinaire!


Shady has been an absolute favorite for a lot of riders.  He is a ball of energy in the jumper ring and just a ton of fun to ride.  He as been the Schooling Jumper (3’) champion.  He currently is enjoying his retirement and is oh so handsome with his very long, Fabio-style mane.



Monte will forever be known as the “Energizer Bunny”.  He too has been there and done that.  He was a very successful 3’ equitation horse and he also qualified for the Jack Fritz Jumper Challenge at Garden State Horse Show.  Monte too has transitioned nicely into his role as IEA horse, winning  Horse of the show (over fences) at IEA Nationals at Harrisburg arena in 2019.  He has taught so many riders to not cut the corners! 





  • Sometimes it is “love at first ride”, and you know it is going to be a match even the first time you swing your leg over the saddle.
  • Sometimes it is “persistence overcomes resistance” and you work, work, work your way through figuring outhow a horse goes best.
  • Sometimes it is a “love-hate” relationship that a horse pushes your buttons and you push his until you are a team.
  • Sometimes it is an “envy ride”, that you want to ride a horse as well as someone else and you are so excited to  get to try.
  • Sometimes we “buy some real estate” together in the investment of a partnership—even repeatedly!
  • Sometimes it is the “trust in a partner” when you are asked to jump higher, go faster or to be excellent.
  • Sometimes it is being on the “pursuit of perfection” with a partner that would rather be “grazing in Montana”!

Russell is a Welsh-Quarter Horse cross and was discovered by BWF student, Tara K. while she was at college.  He is a super fun, and sometimes sassy medium pony that has won both the Middlesex and Briarwood Pony Derbies.  He now zips around with the lesson riders with the best lead change in the barn.