Horsepen Hill Farm, LLC, is a premier dressage facility located in Prince Georges County within 30 minutes of Baltimore, MD, Annapolis, MD, and Washington, DC.
This small, private equestrian facility offers the finest in horse care and amenities for the serious dressage rider.
Owner/manager Aviva Nebesky, a graduate with distinction of the USDF "L" program, actively rides and competes in dressage while maintaining a busy teaching schedule.
The modern and spacious stable with attached lighted indoor riding arena accommodates both horse and rider, even in the most inhospitable weather. Riding in the outdoor, lighted arena is the obvious choice for those “perfect” days or evenings.
The farm is 16+ acres and is surrounded by an additional 60+ acres of horse farms and hay fields. The Washington, Baltimore and Annapolis Trail (WB&A) meanders adjacent to the farm and provides well-maintained trails.
Horsepen Hill Farm, LLC, was built in 1999 and opened its doors to boarders on Memorial Day weekend of that year.
Aviva Nebesky is unique in the horse world in that she began riding as an adult. She specializes in teaching dressage to adult amateurs and to individuals who have fear issues. Aviva has the capability to encourage riders to challenge themselves without over facing them.
Before becoming a full-time horse person, Aviva was a social worker working extensively in physical rehabilitation. Her 25+ years in the helping profession have made Aviva aware of the individual needs of students and reinforced for her that being a good rider is not necessarily what makes a good teacher.
Aviva has competed successfully through Fourth Level and has achieved her USDF Bronze Medal. She graduated from the USDF “L” program with distinction.
Aviva currently trains with Cheryl Loane and Linda Zang. She has been fortunate to work with some fabulous dressage trainers over the years including:
The 6-stall barn has 3-12’ x12’ stalls and 3-12’ x 14’ stalls. Outdoor sliding windows on each stall allow for cross ventilation on warm days and are easily closed in the cold. All stalls are rubber-matted and have an individual fly spray system. The barn has a heated tack room, heated and air-conditioned lounge, heated bathroom, and a wash stall with hot and cold water.
The fenced outdoor arena is lighted and footed with a combination of sand, rubber, and fiber designed to hold moisture so it remains relatively dust-free in the hot summer months. The dimensions are approximately 85’ x 180’ (25m x 55m).
The indoor arena is connected to the barn so there is no need to brave the elements on inclement days. It was re-footed in 2010 with a dust-free, state of the art footing that horses love! Additional footing added and treated for dust control again in 2015. One short side wall is mirrored and there are multiple mirrors positioned in other startegic places.The arena is lighted and has multiple sliding windows which give it an airy and open feel. The indoor is 70’ x 140’ (20m x 40m).
Pantaleone FLF (aka Leo) was bred by Juliana Whittenburg of Flying Lion Farm in Florida. Aviva's dear friend, Phoebe DeVoe-Moore purchased this 2011 Oldenburg gelding by Pablito.
When Aviva realized that she needed a new horse, Phoebe encouraged her to come meet this special guy. Can you say love at first sight?! Leo moved to Horsepen Hill Farm in late September, 2015. He settled in beautifully and is working like star.
Aviva began showing Leo in the Spring of 2016. She competed only 4 times placing in every class and winning one. Leo was the Zone 2 Silver Stirrup Award Sixth place horse at Training Level. The future is bright for this young horse. Aviva says that if he was a human, he would be in a boy band he is so pretty and talented!
Fandango HHF (aka “Fang”) is a 1995 imported Hanoverian gelding by Fein Brand.
Aviva purchased him in late 2003 and began showing him at Third Level in 2004. They quickly earned the scores needed for Aviva to earn her USDF Bronze Medal.
Unfortunately, Fang developed severe arthritis in his right front fetlock and was retired in 2006.
Aviva was able to show him a bit at Fourth Level and was able to school the Grand Prix movements but Fang’s soundness was the priority and he is now a pasture ornament and runs the farm.
He is affectionately known as "The Emperor."
Waterford SE (aka “Fredi”) is a Virginia-bred 2003 DWB gelding by OO7 o/o a Wanroij mare.
Aviva purchased him as a 2 year old and has taken her time with his training allowing him time to mature.
Although Fredi earned Aviva her Fourth Level scores towards her Silver Medal, Aviva noticed increasing issues in his performance and comfort under saddle. After 2 years of multiple diagnostics, treatments, and frustration, Fredi was diagnosed with a severe metabolic problem. He has been retired from riding.
Continuum HHF (aka “Q”) is a homebred 2006 Hanoverian gelding by Contucci o/o Aviva’s retired Bordeaux mare, Bit Of Gold (“Gracie”).
Aviva bred Q hoping for a filly standing about 16.2hh. Instead she got a colt who has matured to 18.3hh!
He is the gentle giant of the farm. Because he is so big, he wasn’t backed and started until he was 4 years old.
After a few months under saddle, Q made his debut in the show ring at Training Level and scored a 68%.
Q started the 2012 show season with a couple of schooling shows winning all of his First level classes with scores from 69%- 75% and getting High Scores for both shows. He then moved on to licensed competition where he won his Training Level 2 test at the PVDA Spring Show to qualify for the BLM Championships with a 67.5%.
He continued his winning ways at the PVDA Summer Showdown with a whopping 79.4% at Training Level test 3 to win the Training Level High Score Championship and Overall High Score for the show. He also scored over 67% at First Level test 2 to qualify for the BLMs at First Level.
Q ended the show season by qualifying for both the BLM and GAIG Championships at Training and First Levels. He was 8th at Training Level B at BLMs with a score of 69+% in a field of more than 40 horses and was 11th at First Level B with another 69+%in an even larger class. Although qualified, Q and Aviva did not compete at the GAIGs.
Additionally, Q and Aviva were the PVDA First Level Professional Champions with a median score of almost 72.5%.
Q was a star in 2014 ending his show season with a Fifth place at the BLM Championships at Second Level. At 18.3hh, Q has a lot of physical challenges to his soundness. The degree of collection required at Third Level seems to be more than his back and hips can handle.
Bit Of Gold
Aviva purchased Pennsylvania-bred Gracie the same year she built the farm. Nineteen ninety-nine was a very good year!
She was the horse of a lifetime for Aviva earning all of Aviva’s scores at First and Second Level for her Bronze in a single show season.
Although they were only able to show during the 2001 season, Aviva and Gracie won the PVDA High Score Award at both First and Second Levels. Gracie sustained a navicular injury and was retired after only one show season.
After producing 3 lovely babies- the first of whom is Continuum HHF ("Q")- Gracie has retired.
Some people like to thank their coaches after they have performed well, and rightfully so. But for me, I want to thank you before I ride because win, lose, or draw- I appreciate you and all that you do. Now the reins are in my hands, although I know you will be riding along with me from the sidelines.
Whatever my scores are, whatever the judge’s opinions, whatever happens when my nerves set in; you have helped me grow as a rider, you have prepared me well, you have gone above and beyond to foster this dream that I have and, more importantly, you never give up on me even when I am ready to give up on myself. You have supported me from the very beginning. In fact, you were there as I rode my first dressage test ever. I was shaking and nervous as could be and without a real clue about the road I had started down. Ever since that day, you have been one of my biggest supporters and you mean more to me than you can possibly know.
I watch you with all levels of riders, both as a judge and as an instructor, and you are always positive, insightful, and encouraging. Without judgement, you care both for the rider and the horse, no matter their struggles or skill sets. You are understanding of the fears, demands, and expectations of this sport. With compassion you go out of your way to help people! I hope that you know what a gift that is, what a gift you are and how fortunate I feel to have you in my corner. So, before I enter the ring today or tomorrow, please know that I am very thankful for you! I hope to keep my nerves together and keep my nerves at bay so that I may be able to fully use the skills I have gained to perform to the best of my ability. Today is today and I will ride the horse that I have today. This is one day on our journey. I am hopeful to do so in a manner that makes you proud! I am so proud and grateful to have you with me. And I know that no matter what happens in that sandbox, you will be there waiting at the gate with an encouraging word or a pep talk or whatever I need! And that is why I call you friend, because you are so much more than a coach.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart!
This was written before the PVDA Ride For Life. Karen went on to win one of her classes and to be awarded High Score QH of the show!!
I met Aviva at a fix-a-test clinic where my gelding was WAY less then stellar. After 15 min of working with her in our “fix” session I knew I needed to take lessons with her. I contacted her a few days later and had my lesson scheduled shortly thereafter.
From the first lesson there has been constant improvement from both my gelding and myself. Aviva pushes us to be our best in every lesson, and encourages us along the way. She nudged us to do our first rated show and was such an awesome support system. I never thought that I would get back into the show ring, but she made the experience so wonderful that I can’t wait to do it again.
I acquired another gelding directly off the track and Aviva has been with us throughout almost all the retraining. With her, I KNOW we are getting the best foundation we could possibly have.
To say I am grateful would be the understatement of the year. I will forever be indebted to her for all that she has helped us achieve. She has such a great teaching style and always make me feel like I can achieve what I want! She has renewed my love for riding and is worth EVERY mile I haul to get to her.
"Aviva has a way with teaching that I had never experienced before. I came to her as a timid adult, after taking a several year break from riding, on a green OTTB named Mouse who had not been ridden in several years either. Aviva not only helped me to regain my own confidence but she taught me to remain in control of Mouse using my body, even when I am still cautious in my mind. This helped me to develop into a more effective rider by becoming clearer with my aids, and as a result developed Mouse’s confidence as well. I truly think he loves his job now that he understands what we are asking from him.
Aviva is passionate when things are going well, and encouraging when they are not. Every lesson with Aviva is challenging and rewarding for both horse and rider. Aviva recognizes the smallest imperfections in a rider’s position and balance that when corrected make the biggest differences. She sets her riders up to succeed in the saddle. I have felt things with Aviva that I had only heard about with other instructors i.e. control of the outside shoulder, balanced transitions, and straightness. She has not only helped me to become more effective as a rider but more effective as a teacher as well.
I have sent several of my own students to her for help with various challenges and they all come back excited to practice what Aviva has taught them and anxious to learn more from her. I feel that my horses, my students, and I have all learned valuable lessons from Aviva and we are so lucky to have her guidance and support!"
I have known Aviva for 15 years and our relationship extends far beyond the many facets of the dressage community.
It should be of no great surprise that Aviva and I first met at a horse show, stabled next to each other. She and her husband were immediately warm and made the very unnecessary effort to watch all of my rides that weekend. Her immediate enthusiasm in our first encounter set the stage for a lifelong friendship to ensue. Since our initial meeting, I have had the pleasure to watch Aviva mature as a dressage competitor, trainer and judge. Aviva has the very rare gift for identifying talent in young horses; her ability to hand pick and bring along both Fredi and Q are an example of her innate skill. As a fellow judge, I have always been impressed by Aviva’s vocabulary. She has an amazing way of clearly and eloquently describing what she sees. I enjoy, and I learn from, listening to Aviva while she judges; I admirably call her a mirror in words. It is my hope that Aviva continues to move thru the levels of judging as she is a true asset to the competitors. BUT, I have to wonder if Aviva missed her calling as she would be a best-selling novelist if she chose?!!?
I have been to Aviva’s farm many times over the course of our friendship. The sheer beauty of her personally developed facility is a masterpiece. I often tell her how much I covet her Antique-Annabel-Hydrangea trees; they alone emanate perfection!! But beyond its idealic presentation, Horsepen Hill’s family-feel is a reflection of Aviva herself. It is Aviva’s nature to go the extra distance – she is an honest, passionate, dedicated and generous person in all that she does. I am lucky to have such a friend extraordinaire in Aviva; she has always showed interest in my life and I know that I can always count on her when I need a good friend. BUT, it sure does help that she is a FAB cook, too –hey, when’s the next dinner party?!!?
"I began training with Aviva in the winter of 2013 and moved to her farm, Horsepen Hill, in the spring of 2013 with my new 4 year old dressage horse Furst Rubin aka “Rubin”. Aviva has an excellent eye for instructing and an extraordinary natural ability to teach. I have been riding for close to 22 years with several different trainers, and Aviva is one of the few trainers whom I have worked with who can connect, challenge, and inspire her students both as a trainer and a fellow rider . Her passion for the sport of dressage and dressage education inspires me to develop not only my skill as a rider, but my understanding of all facets of dressage. As one of her boarders, I can attest that she provides top notch care and services for all her boarders and their horses.
Aviva has years of experience with training young dressage horses correctly with a strong focus on developing the horse in the core building blocks of dressage such as rhythm, connection, impulsion, and straightness. She focuses on making sure the horse and rider have a strong foundation on which they can develop as they progress up the levels instead of focusing on solely show ring performance or moving quickly up through the levels.
Prior to meeting Aviva I had not had the experience of riding with an instructor with judging experience as well as trained judge’s eye. She masterfully weaves her knowledge and experience from judging into her instruction and has positively changed the way I approach the show ring and interpret my scores. A true testament to Aviva’s talent for instructing can be found in her student’s successes. Rubin and I were just beginning our partnership when we started training with Aviva. Under Aviva’s tutelage Rubin and I quickly blossomed in our training from beginning training level to a competitive first level team qualifying for both BLMs and GAIGs at both levels in our first year!
I have had several dressage instructors over the years but by far Aviva has been one of the best on every element you look for in a trainer. I have never achieved as much success and satisfaction from my riding as I have since I began riding with her. Aviva pours 110% into her students and challenges her riders to be more than just passengers along for the ride; she shapes them into true riders who have a strong foundation in dressage and confidence in their riding that will last a lifetime. "
CONGRATULATIONS to Sarah and Rubin, 2016 BLM Champions at Second Level
Shari Palumbo, Boarder and Student From 2000 – 2013
"I moved my horse Briggs to Horsepen Hill Farm in late 2000. He had some soundness issues, and it was going to be the beginning of his retirement. He was 16 then, and still able to do light dressage work and pleasure rides.
During my more than ten years at Horsepen Hill Farm, I, Briggs, and Aviva (farm owner/manager) have gone through many changes. During that time, I have observed and benefited from the changes Aviva has experienced. I witnessed first-hand the growth in her riding, training, and judging. I watched her train her horse Fredi from green broke to third level, get on her 4 year-old 18+ hand horse “Q” this past year and take him to his first show at training level only several months under saddle. I have also benefited from her training. She is a great instructor and I have learned a great deal and my riding has improved dramatically with her guidance. She has the ability to adapt her teaching to the specific needs of both the horse and rider and is able to communicate effectively so that the rider is able to understand what is needed.
Briggs and I both enjoy our time at the farm. He has plenty of grass and a large stall when he is in and I enjoy the beauty of the farm, the heated tack room and bathroom, and the fabulous indoor and outdoor riding arenas. While I am no longer riding Briggs (now 26) I am still able to ride a friend’s horse that is also at the farm. I try to get to the farm as much as I can, but I always have full confidence and trust that my horse is always well cared for and in a safe environment. When I am at the barn I enjoy Aviva and Adrian’s company as well as their three dogs and the barn cats."
Shari lost her 2 year battle with cancer in December, 2013. Her horse, Briggs, remained with us until his death in January, 2015. All of us at Horsepen Hill Farm miss them.
At Horsepen Hill Farm, LLC, horses are treated as individuals. There are no hidden costs and most “extra” services such as blanket changes, on/off bell boots, holding for vet/farrier are covered by board. By limiting the number of boarders at any given time, we ensure each horse’s needs are met.
All boarders are required to use the following service providers:
Horses are turned out in 2 groups of 3 for 8-12 hours daily depending upon time of year and weather conditions.
All pastures are fenced with 3 board wood fencing. There are 5 separate pastures. Three have a spring fed watering system and the other 2 are the “winter pastures” and have troughs with heaters. Fields are rotated regularly and are seeded, fertilized, and limed as appropriate.
Horsepen Hill Farm utilizes a manure dumpster system so excess waste is contained and is kept away from horses. Stalls are cleaned at least 3 times daily. Our bedding is double kiln dried shavings from American Wood Fibers.
Round bales are provided in the winter and are all timothy hay. Timothy is provided in the stalls as well and is unlimited based on horses’ needs. We feed primarily Buckeye and Farmers Coop feeds but can provide other feeds if carried by Southern States.
No partial or field board is available.
Aviva’s belief is that people need to feel challenged and that they learn best with positive reinforcement rather than negative feedback. Her main focus is on the biomechanics of the horse and rider and the use of imagery to achieve harmony, balance, and lightness.
Aviva’s enthusiasm for her students’ successes rivals her pleasure in her own achievements.
"A good teacher knows how to reach the student on the level that maximizes the student’s ability to learn and grow." - Aviva
Aviva is available to travel to other farms for lessons. Those lessons will be a minimum of $80 + time/mileage depending on the location of the farm and number of lessons.
Short and long term training packages can be developed on an individual basis. Please ask Aviva to set up a program for you and your horse.
"I wanted to take the time to thank you for everything you've given me and Sonny this year. I've dreamed of riding horses as long as I can remember and have long envied my daughter's skill. I never thought you'd want to take on someone like me and I am so very grateful you did. I have a whole new relationship with my Sonny and I believe we can get better- much better. Thank you!"
- Dottie Beierl
"Mrs. Aviva has taught me so much! She helped me get to know a new pony I was totally unfamiliar with. Even though she only teaches me Dressage she really helps me with everything. What she teaches me helps me with jumping games and everything else. Since I’m in Pony Club I do almost every type of riding. Sure my jumping coach teaches me how to go over fences and boost my confidence, but Mrs. Aviva teaches me much more and definitely helps me become a better rider. In my opinion Mrs. Aviva is the best coach I could possibly ask for. I work harder with her than with my other coaches….even though I work really hard while jumping. You could say she isn’t that bad during your first lesson, but in your second one watch out! It’s a lot harder in the second lesson. Mrs. Aviva is helping me become the best rider I can be! You could say she’s the base of my riding. I appreciate everything she does…and she does a ton! I highly recommend her for any rider. Beginners, advanced you name it, she’ll teach you to be the best rider you can be. I could never ask for better coach!"
- Ryan Campbell, aged 10
She maintains an active schedule of dressage schooling shows in the area including judging for:
She is a popular dressage schooling show judge for eventers and Pony Clubbers too. Aviva was selected to judge at the Region One Junior/Young Rider Championship show at Morven Park in 2011 and has judged the PVDA Chapter Challenge multiple years.
Hi, Ms. Nebesky. My name is Tracy Belski, and my daughter, Hannah Belski, rode her draft cross in the Pony Club dressage rally yesterday. I just wanted to take a few moments to thank you for the wonderful job you did as a dressage judge. According to Hannah, your feedback was incredibly positve and very constructive, and in just a short amount of time ( a few minutes, really), you demonstrated a deep understanding of both horse and rider. When I asked Hannah what her favorite part of the rally was, she said, "Talking to the judge!" What especially stood out to her was your advice when her horse broke several times at the canter. I think many judges would have just penalized the horse and rider, but Hannah said that you recognized how difficult it was for him to maintain an uphill canter, and that he broke because Hannah was insisting and it was hard for him to do it correctly. You encouraged her to keep asking for that correct movement, and she left the ring so inspired. What could have been a negative, frustrating experience for her instead was instructional and affirming. How gifted you are at working with this age group! I can't thank you enough for creating such a positive dressage experience for my daughter. You're an inspiration!
For more information about Horsepen Hill Farm and any of our services, please...
Farm phone number: 301-809-6242
Aviva's cell phone number: 240-475-8975
Aviva welcomes visitors to the farm but asks that you schedule an appointment in advance to assure that she is available.
8306 Laurel Bowie Rd, Bowie, Md. 20715
Potential students are encouraged to come and watch Aviva teach.