The James River Equestrian Center is located on the historical Keswick Plantation in Powhatan County. Located near the Chesterfield County line, the property dates back to the early 1700’s. Keswick is a registered Virginia Historic Landmark, and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
JREC consists of approximately 75 acres and three barns on the plantation. The Riding School is run at the first two barns as you enter the plantation.
Vicki Phillips has owned The James River Equestrian Center since 1996. Vicki’s passion for teaching began as a Riding Instructor in 1991. Over the years, Vicki has enjoyed her various equestrian roles, from competing herself, seeing her students and her own children grow through their experiences with horses, to owning her own animals and learning the business of running an Equestrian Center. Vicki is most proud of the unique family environment that has developed at the James River Equestrian Center.
Meredith Porter started taking riding lessons at the Riding School at JREC when she was 6 years old. When she was finally lucky enough to have her own horse she moved to the Boarding Barn at JREC and competed in the Hunter/Jumper circuit until she went away to college. Meredith was on the riding team at the University of Vermont where she studied Ecological Agriculture and Sustainable Landscape Horticulture. Meredith especially loves working with younger beginner to intermediate students and helping them achieve their goals in horseback riding and horsemanship.
Katia grew up riding at JREC, starting at age 6. In college she competed in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association for Oberlin College, where her experience at the riding school gave her the skills to show on unfamiliar horses. Katia moved back to Richmond to pursue a master’s degree in early elementary education at VCU. She returned to JREC to ride and soon began teaching as a way to combine her two passions: education and ponies. When Katia isn’t at the barn she works as the Director of Training and Development at Mango Salon. She also enjoys cooking, reading, and never outgrew day-dreaming about horses.
Nikki began riding when she was ten years old at Hazelwild Farm in Fredericksburg, VA. Her favorite mount was a stubborn pony named Barney who was known for escaping from his field and going to the mall. She had to stop riding when she went to college and began her teaching career. Once she was settled as a high school teacher, she realized how much she missed riding. That’s when she discovered JREC and became an “adult re-rider.” She’ll tell anyone who asks that getting back into riding has changed her life for the better and that JREC is her favorite place! When she’s not at the barn, you’ll find her teaching Latin at Trinity Episcopal School or hanging out with her dog, Pot Roast.
Meredith L. grew up in Chesterfield and started riding at the Riding School at JREC when she was 7. She moved to the boarding barn a few years later with her first pony, Miss B. Meredith showed in the Hunter/Jumper circuit all throughout middle and high school with her horse Avalon, or 'As We Speak', who Meredith bought as a 3 year old and trained all the way up to a show horse. Meredith still has Avalon today and even took her back and forth to college in Georgia. Meredith attended Savannah College of Art and Design and majored in painting. She currently lives in Forest Hill with her fiancé Marc and her dog Henry. She loves walking on the trails near the river with Henry, and making art whenever she has time.
Bio coming soon!
Hannah began riding horses at 7 years old at Tinkerbell Farm in Powhatan, VA. Her love for horses and riding was immediate. She competed in local hunter shows and eventually was given her first horse, Sail on Rachel.
Hannah and Rachel are a well known pair throughout Virginia and as far as Monroe, Louisiana. They competed in the VHSA associate program to become Grand Champion of the Novice Children/Adult Jumper division and Reserve Grand Champion of the Low Jumper division. Hannah and Rachel also participated in Virginia 4-H competitions and qualified with a first place in the Equitation division to represent Virginia in the Southeast Regional 4-H Horse Show in Monroe, Louisiana.
Hannah and Jimmy are known throughout the east coast as they were the VHSA Regular Grand Champion of the Children's Jumper division and the Grand Champion of the Atlantic Coast League for Children's Jumper division also. They placed 1st in the Virginia 4-H Equitation over fences class and represented Virginia in the Southeast Regional 4-H Horse Show in Memphis, Tennessee. There they placed 3rd in another huge jumper class.
Hannah and Jimmy have competed in eventing over the past few years at both local and rated events. They have worked together to have finished 11th in the Training Division of the Wardeca 3day Event in Maryland, and finished one preliminary event in Lexington, VA. Last year the pair was chosen to participate in a clinic in Aiken, South Carolina with William Fox-Pitt in a very select group. Presently they have completed the requirements for the First Level as Hannah works to obtain her bronze medal in dressage.
Hannah has another horse, Just A Flirt, who has been a partner of hers in the eventing competitions also.
Hannah continues to work with horses and students, both young, old, and challenging to utilize all of her past experience to help the horse and rider find their partnership and the discipline for which they are best suited. Her present goal is to achieve her bronze medal, and then the silver, etc. Hannah enjoys teaching, riding, and competing. She participates in clinics, lessons, and is always watching other top competitors compete to learn how to improve her skills.