2023 Newsletter

Hi Friend,

         Work to Ride is a sanctuary, where Philadelphia youth can come to be safe and begin building their lives based on their own choices instead of their circumstances. Students develop discipline, responsibility, life skills, and build community.  Participation teaches youth that combining hard work and supportive relationships leads to success. Here is a more in depth look at the exciting year we have had thanks to your continued support.


Capital Campaign

Since 1994, Work to Ride (WTR) has created a haven away from the poverty inflicted on much of Philadelphia’s youth. Chamounix Equestrian Center is the home away from home for our youth and alumni.  Even with limited resources, hundreds of kids from the surrounding communities have grown up at Chamounix, learning lasting life skills and creating a better future, using horses as a vehicle to get there. Our goal is to make room for thousands more of these life-changing stories.

For the past three years, WTR has been campaigning to raise funds to make long overdue updates to the existing barn and build a brand new, state-of-the-art indoor riding arena. With these upgrades to the current facility, we will be able to sustain programming throughout the year, even during the coldest winter days. The new indoor arena will be one of the largest indoor arenas in the tri-state area enabling us to host a multitude of events and a true diamond in our community.  Not only will WTR increase the quality of existing programming, but these funds will also ensure Work to Ride’s longevity, making it possible to expand, hire more staff, and improve operations across the board.

At the start of the capital campaign in 2020, WTR leaders had a target of 10 million dollars to raise. The good news is that we have raised 10.2 million dollars thanks to your significant contributions. This is no small feat. Due to the financial impact of COVID and supply chain issues, construction costs now total up to 13 million dollars. We need your help now to close the 2.8 million dollar gap so that we may open our doors to a wonderful new facility in 2024!

To contribute, please visit www.worktoride.net.


Construction at Chamounix Equestrian Center

Anticipating construction to begin in mid-2023, we moved all of our horses offsite at the start of summer. Five of our polo ponies were sent to Garrison Forest School to be cared for and utilized in their programs. Nine horses found their way to Virginia for a relaxing vacation on field board. Our five older horses are enjoying full care board in Bucks County, and the remaining eleven horses are housed at Northwestern Stables in Fairmount Park so that we can continue operating our Saturday, Sunday and after school program for Work to Ride youth as well as continue seasonal riding lessons and a pared down summer camp. Our barn feels very empty without the horses, the paddocks are overgrown and a look a bit desolate. Construction delays are inevitable but we can see a light, a new beginning is on the horizon! Our facility is in for a significant transformation!  

Please contact Lezlie Hiner at wtr@worktoride.net if you would like information on how you can help.






 The St. James Philadelphia Polo Classic        

This year, tropical Storm Ophelia had other plans for the second inaugural Philadelphia Polo Classic (PPC) that was set to take place September 23rd on Fairmount Park’s Edgley field. Parks and Recreation deemed the day’s conditions unsafe to host a polo match and its thousands of spectators. Letting down the public who had purchased tickets, traveled far and wide, vendors, and sponsors was a huge weight to carry. The greatest disappointment came from WTR’s students, who worked tirelessly to show off their polo skills in front of thousands.  Fortunately, the celebrations were not wholly lost. We rallied for an intimate gathering at Front & Palmer to honor the incredible work of the Work to Ride program! We are grateful to our sponsors, dedicated players, and their families who joined us under the shelter of rain to celebrate.

The PPC is an annual fundraiser to support Work to Ride operations that also serves as a bridge between the public and the greater polo world to create accessibility, support diversity, and create community awareness. It is a day where people from all walks of life can come together to experience the sport of polo and create community. Save the date and plan early for next year. We are coming back on Saturday, September 21st, 2024. If you or your company would like to explore partnership opportunities for 2024, contact phillypoloclassic@worktoride.net

Left to Right: Lezlie Hiner, Kareem Rosser, Marc Anthony, Jordyn F, Tajee, Nacho Figueras, Jordyn W

Lezlie Hiner with current WTR Students and Alumni 

Left to Right: Lisa Little, Shariah Harris(WTR), Kevin Jones (WTR), Daymar Rosser (WTR), Kenzie Brinkley (WTR), Richard Prather (WTR), Floydd

Left to Right: Julien, Jordyn F, Jordyn W, Marc H, Esteban, Mo, Shariah, Marc Anthony


Work to Ride Programming

Despite all the changes at the barn this year, Work to Ride (WTR) programming has been action-packed. The Work to Ride Interscholastic Polo team won the United States Polo Association Regional Polo Tournament, advancing to the National Tournament in Houston, TX. Mosiah Gravesande earned a spot on the National All-Star Team as well as a much-deserved Sportsmanship  Award. The team ended up 4th in the Nation. Several of the WTR kids got their first taste of pony racing this spring, starting with the Cheshire Point to Point through the inaugural pony races at the Radnor Hunt Point to Point. We had two graduating High School seniors this year. Mosiah Gravesande is a freshman at the University of North Texas studying media arts and plays on the UNT polo team. Alyssa Perren is our 2nd Ivy League freshman attending Harvard University, studying molecular and cellular biology and playing on the Harvard Crimson polo team. We couldn't be more proud of them. Summer polo at Lancaster Polo Club was a little different this year without a full string of polo ponies, but it made traveling a little more streamlined, and kids were able to play grass polo for the first time. Brandywine Polo Club hosted a fundraiser for us, showcasing our beginner players in a fun arena match and a more competitive 2nd match with WTR alumni. A big thanks to our friends Wendy Powell for lending Tajee her pony, Fabulous, for the week of Cheshire Pony Hunt Camp and Celia Goodall for hosting him during his time away from home. The Work to Ride players held a polo demonstration at the Radnor Hunt Trials and the Maryland 5* in huge arenas, introducing polo to a wide array of spectators! 

One of our most exciting announcements is our partnership with Mars Equestrian™ and our new feed sponsor, Buckeye Feed. Our horses are looking and feeling great. We are so very fortunate and look forward to the future with them for other partnership opportunities. Another highlight this year was forming a partnership with a non-profit called Saddle Up Scholars, significantly increasing our student's access to consistent academic support with virtual learning. Together, we are now able to provide each student with an individualized learning program and guidance throughout the week, even when they are not at the barn with us. By joining forces with a like-minded organization, we are able to create even more opportunities for success.

 We relaunched the Sunday Program in April for the first time since COVID-19, welcoming seven new riders into the barn. Here, they have been learning the foundations of horse care, barn chores, and riding,  attended a clinic with world-class groom Emma Ford, and competed in their first schooling show. After they complete their first year, they will be prepared for core programming, where they will begin to take on more of the farm experiences and learn how to play polo!

WTR was showcased in publications like the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Mag, and CBS, and highlighted on HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ with Bryan Gumbal. All stories are highlighted on the Media + News page of our website, www.worktoride.net.

Photo by Philadelphia Inquirer - Jordyn F. and Jordyn W.


New WTR Student Christian performing barn chores


Interscholastic Polo

In the spring of 2023 Work to Ride interscholastic polo teams completed a very successful United States Polo Association arena polo season. The Girls' Team won their very first game in the consolation finals at the preliminary tournament at Garrison Forrest. WTR’s Alyssa Perren won the Sportsmanship Award, and teammate Sage Lax was selected for the All-Star Award. One week later, the Open Polo Team played like a well-oiled machine to win S.E Regional Open Polo Tournament defeating a tough Aiken team to advance to the United States Polo Association National Tournament in Houston, Texas. WTR’s Mosiah Gravesande was awarded the Sportsmanship Award after a selfless play during a heated game against the team from Lakeside, CA. Mo was also selected by his peers to the National All Star Team. Make sure to follow us on Social Media for updates!   

Mo recieving the Sportsmanship Award at Nationals

Alyssa recieving the Sportsmanship Award at GFS

Open Team at Nationals Left-Right: Josie, Marc-Anthony (WTR), Mo (WTR)

Girls Team Left-Right: Sage, Alyssa (WTR), & Jackie

Open Team Left-Right: Josie, Yash, Marc-Anthony (WTR), Mo (WTR)


Chamounix Lessons and Summer Camp

Pending construction created many changes for all of us at Chamounix Equestrian Center this year. Thanks to the support of Work to Ride’s vast equine community, we have been able to keep 11 of our horses fit and continue limited programming out of our neighboring Fairmount Barn, Northwestern Stables (NWS).

Thankfully, with the support of NWS, we can continue offering our clients their favorite programming, like monthly horseback riding lessons,  summer camp, and seasonal schooling shows. 

Initially, we were unsure if summer camp would be possible, having fewer horses than ever before and less space than we are accustomed to having at Chamounix. However, NWS welcomed us into their regularly scheduled camp, making room to include 15 of our young riders per week. Camp ended up being a blast, and we can not wait to do it again together this year!

Over the course of this transitional year, NWS has made us feel at home and included our community in some of their events, like Haunted Horses and the upcoming Holiday Bizarre on December  2nd. It’s clear that by deepening our relationships with our fellow Fairmount Park barns, we can better serve the Philadelphia equestrian community.

Currently, programming is set to continue at Northwestern Sables throughout construction. Spring horseback riding lessons and summer camp registration will be available in February 2024. Visit our website www.worktoride.net for more information.


Discovery Days

Discovery Days are field trips where guests tour our working stable, learn about horse care/nature, and receive an interactive lesson on grooming horses. This year, we hosted groups like the 5th-grade class at Hope Partnership for Education and the interns at Philly Goat Project. Discovery Days are perfect for schools, after-school programs, company team building, and church groups alike.

We also welcome new after-school partnerships for the 2024-25 school year. Please contact WTR Director of Outreach & After-School Programming at irene@worktoride.net to discuss programming opportunities.

Have a group interested in coming to learn more about our barn and horses? Work to Ride would love to host you.

Photo by Leah McDonald

Photo by Leah McDonald


In Loving Memory

Karusel 2004-2022

Jeannie 1994-2023

Ila 1999-2023

Pancho 2000-2023

Trooper 2001-2023

Yoda 2006-2023


 Thank you for being an integral part of the Work to Ride family and for believing in the potential of our youth. No donation is too large or too small; every dollar plays a vital role in turning our dreams, as well as the dreams of our students, into reality.

Let's make the next year even more incredible, together.

Work to Ride
98 Chamounix Drive,  | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19131
Question? Email us at wtr@worktoride.net or call (215) 877-4419

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