Growing up, I would have loved to have attended a high school that also had horsemanship classes. Granted I grew up on a horse farm and had my own horses that I could ride everyday, but I know how much I enjoyed breaking up my regular classes with a couple of rides on team horses during my college years.
The Orme School in Mayer, Arizona, does just that. Started in 1929 as a college preparatory school for the children of Charles and Minna Orme, the Orme School is located on the Quarter Circle V Bar Ranch and serves around 100 students. On top of world class education, students are invited to enroll into the Intensified Horsemanship Program, which is open to riders of all levels.
I wrote about the Orme School for Western Shooting Horse Magazine:
What young boy or girl doesn’t dream about being a cowboy at some point in their childhood? Wouldn’t it be perfect if you were able to attend a school based on a ranch, where part of your curriculum could include something with horses? That’s what is unique and special about one school based on 26,000 acres outside of Phoenix.
Close to 100 teenagers attend the Orme School in Mayer, Arizona. The school, located on the Quarter Circle V Bar Ranch, offers students the chance to get a world-class college-preparatory education, while competing on one of the top high school rodeo teams in the Southwest.
Founded by Charles and Minna Orme in 1929, the school was originally designed to provide a solid, college-preparatory education for the Orme’s three children, as well as the children of the ranch hands working at the Quarter Circle V Bar. As news of the school’s unique ranch setting and academic reputation spread, it wasn’t long before neighboring ranchers and some of the Orme’s fellow Stanford classmates started inquiring about sending their children to the school.
Today, Orme still holds true to the very values on which the school was founded. The academic program emphasizes mastery in all subjects, offering advanced placement courses in all major subject areas, along with instruction in the fine arts to balance out the rigors of the academics. However, it is the Intensified Horsemanship Program that has set the school apart.
Led by world champions in mounted shooting, Brian and Paula Bausch, the horsemanship program of the Orme School is rooted in tradition. No strangers to the Mounted Shooting world, both Brian and Paula bring years of expertise to Orme’s program. Originally established as a means for teaching children the basics of riding skills needed for cattle drives, today the program aims to develop young riders into tomorrow’s rodeo stars.
“I personally get great satisfaction in seeing the students be able to come outside with the horses and just see the release of the pressure from the academic day just melt away,” says Brian. “But while you see that release, you also get to see these kids learn a great work ethic and really enjoy the Western heritage that Orme offers.”
This year Orme has several students working on refining their riding and rodeo skills, including Leone Mayer, an avid barrel racer and member of the Orme High School Rodeo Team.
“I am so excited about this rodeo season,” says Leone, a junior from Germany. “I love getting to work on a daily basis with my fellow teammates and getting to travel around to the different rodeos and barrel races. The talent of the other competitors is amazing. They make me want to be a better rider. It’s great living at a school where I can practice every day.”
What makes the program unique, as well, is the first-class equestrian facility that Orme has. “Up-Top”, as attendees call it, boasts a full rodeo arena, capacity to house 80 horses, and several warm-up pens. “It is such an advantage to be able to provide our high school rodeo team members with the opportunity to work, on a daily basis, in a full rodeo arena,” explains Paula. “It gives them a level of comfort when they step into a competition arena where they truly feel at home and confident in. Not many high schools around this area have such a great facility to train in. We are truly blessed.”
Read more on WesternShootingHorseMagazine.com: Orme School: Academic Exellence