Campus News

Senior School Student is “Fearless” in Equestrian Competition

When Bridget Hickton is accused of horsing around, she takes it as a compliment. She and her horses, known affectionately around the barn as Russell and Yogi, but professionally as Fearless and Serenade, respectively, have been taking the equestrian circuit by storm. 
In elementary school, like most young girls, Bridget had a fascination with horses and, of course, asked her parents for a pony. To appease her and potentially sway her from this obsession, they arranged for her to ride with a family friend, at which point she begged to make it a regular activity. Shortly before her eighth birthday, Bridget began working with the Classic Equestrian Riding School in Sewickley. By ninth grade, she was ready to expand her horizons and traveled south where the major competitions are held and Olympians show their horses during their off-season. 

Meeting and eventually buying Russell, Bridget and her horse practiced, learned, and advanced as a pair. When talking with Bridget, she doesn’t refer to “her” accomplishments but “theirs” or even “his.” Last November, the pair took top honors at the 2021 National Horse Show (NHS) in Kentucky, earning the title Junior 3’3” Grand Hunter Champion (the measurement refers to the height of the fences they jump). Bridget is proud to share that Russell, aka Fearless, was named Horse of the Year last year making him the number one horse in the country in their Division. Currently Bridget and Russell are taking part in 13 straight weeks of competition in the Palm Beach area of Florida where she is now competing at 3’6”.

Bridget is the youngest of six and third in her family to attend Sewickley Academy; she began as a sixth grade student. Though she’s yet to complete a year of high school fully in-person, she is a fan of the way the curriculum mimics that of a college, allowing her independence and the opportunity to improve her time management skills. While competing, she meets weekly with Jessica Peluso, Dean of Student Experience, and works with the Academy at Laurel Springs for a customized online curriculum that fits her competition schedule. Though she misses her friends at Sewickley Academy, there are so many kids at the horse shows, she finds plenty of opportunities to socialize. 

We’ll look forward to seeing Bridget back on campus, but in the meantime, wish her and her horses the very best in their competitions.