Lucia DiBenedetto, owner
Lucia DiBenedetto, owner of Stonelea Farm Riding Program, is a certified elementary school teacher as well as an accomplished rider. She has the patience to teach students with many different learning styles. She has taught all types of students, from the very young to the very old. Her strength is in teaching beginner to intermediate riders. She is also skilled in teaching special needs riders who may have autistic tendencies as well as attention deficit. Her patient horses and ponies are one of the main reasons her program is so successful.
Lucia was recognized in Loudoun County as one of the “Good Guys” in 2003 for her contribution to the local community through her riding lesson program as well as her non-profit Riding to Recovery — a lesson program for children suffering from chronic illnesses. This is also based at her farm in Aldie, Virginia.
Lucia’s riding career was in Eventing and Dressage. In Eventing (the triathlon of horse sports) she rode to the Preliminary Level, placing many times in the End of the Year Awards of a regional organization. In Dressage she competed through Second level, again placing in year-end awards in both local and national organizations. As her family grew, she focused more on teaching, wanting to share her love of teaching and horses with others.
Stonelea farm is a 5 ½ acre farm off Route 15 in Aldie, VA. It is approximately 10 minutes from South Riding or Ashburn, 20 minutes from Leesburg and Chantilly, 30 minutes from Fairfax and Warrenton, and 45 minutes from McLean, Vienna and Arlington.
Our number of horses and ponies remain at approximately 14. Some are used in lessons, some are retired and have moved into the role of “greeters”, and some are privately owned and ridden by the family. All of our horses are treated as pets and given lots of attention because they are kind and generous to our riders! We encourage you to spend any spare time with them, even grooming ones just hanging around!
From time to time, Stonelea Farm has horses or ponies for lease. To find out more, contact Lucia.
"We needed a refresher before a riding trip, and this was wonderful. The horses were great, the instruction was on point for each of our skill levels, and Lucia was great about working around our busy work schedules. 100% recommendation!" - J&J (8/2014)
"Thank you again for two fabulous days of lessons for Audrey. You have her hooked! As a retired teacher myself, I see all of the great teaching practices you use in your lessons. You share your love for horses along with all of the techniques necessary to develop good riding habits. Thanks for giving her your special time in what was already a very busy day for you." - S.H. (6/2014)
"My girls go to Stonelea for Spring Break and love it. They love riding but also caring for the horses. Lessons are adapted to what is going on at the farm, so they always learn something new. Miss Lucia is the best!" - B.Z. (4/2014)
"Stonelea is the best! Lucia has always been a wonderful instructor. My daughter has been riding there for 4 years and loves it! She has learned so much over that time. I definitely recommend her!" - K.E. (9/2013)
"Wonderful training barn for adults or child beginners. 9 yr old granddaughter became a confident and proud rider. Thank you Lucia! Highly recommend." - P.G. (4/2013)
"We have really appreciated your style of teaching her lessons, the patience and flexibility along with your easy way of instruction is a complete opposite to her last instructor. I think that she has learned more from you this year than she has in all the previous years of lessons combined." - Pamela (5/2012)
"I started taking weekly lessons with Lucia as an adult beginner about a year ago. I have had the chance to meet some amazing horses and people of all ages and ability. I am so very thankful to have found Stonelea Farm! " - K.M. (5/2012)
"Stonelea is the best kept secret in Aldie for riding! My child has learned self-confidence as well as true horsemanship. Very nurturing and safe environment! " - M.B. (4/30/2012)
"My 5 1/2 year old has been begging for horseback riding lessons, but I hesitated to sign her up because I didn't think she was quite old/strong enough to control a horse. I signed her up for a One-day Horsemanship Camp, which was a 3 hour class that taught the basics about horseback riding and horses. The instructor, Lucia, carefully and repeatedly instructed the children on how to be safe on and around horses. I was very impressed with the emphasis on safety. We will be taking lessons here again." - Cindy L.
"Lucia is a wonderful instructor. My daughter has been at Stonelea Farm from age 6, and she is now 14. She just loves riding at Stonelea." - D.H.
"Lucia is an excellent teacher, realizing and understanding the different styles of learning which has greatly benefited our son. We highly recommend her!" - K.B.
"Miss Lucia is a talented, positive, enthusiastic instructor who provides a thorough knowledge of horsemanship -- not just how to ride -- in a fun way. Her teacher training combined with extensive equestrian knowledge puts her skills above others. She is always aware of the needs and activities of each student and each horse, regardless of whether they are riding or working on barn activities. In addition, she generously gives of her time and talents, rescues horses and gives them new life and purpose, and has taken on students with challenging disabilities. Lucia assures that each student is thoroughly trained in safety requirements and correct care of horses, so that when they become horse owners themselves, her students know how to properly care for their horse, not just how to ride, something that is not often taught elsewhere. You can't ask for a more caring instructor." - J.P. (9/2014)
"With one special needs child and a younger sibling who wanted to ride, we couldn't have been in kinder, more capable hands. Fabulous experience! I recommend Stonelea Farm highly." - T.B. (6/2015)
"My 5 1/2 year old has been begging for horseback riding lessons, but I hesitated to sign her up because I didn't think she was quite old/strong enough to control a horse. I signed her up for a One-day Horsemanship Camp, which was a 3 hour class that taught the basics about horseback riding and horses. The instructor, Lucia, carefully and repeatedly instructed the children on how to be safe on and around horses. I was very impressed with the emphasis on safety. We will be taking lessons here again." - C.L. (9/2011)
"My ten year old has wanted to get serious about horses for a while and we're finally in the states long enough for her to do so. I wish I had found Ms. Lucia and Stonelea Farm sooner! We tried a different farm for about a month which I found to be highly disorganized, unprofessional, and lacking good instructors. This is completely the opposite of Ms. Lucia and Stonelea. Ms. Lucia got right back to me to try to schedule my daughter (no small feat with all of our other commitments) and she worked around my schedule as best as she could. After the first day, I knew we were at the right place--my daughter even told me she felt so much more comfortable there. Ms. Lucia is nurturing, but also gives great direction and expects her riders to learn how to tack up and keep the barn in order. Her organization is impressive. She even labeled my daughter's gloves when she forgot them. She even explained that my daughter was wearing her helmet incorrectly--the same one she had worn for a month at the other place! I love that Ms. Lucia is right out on the ring with the girls, and even though there are different levels at times, she manages them all and gives them direct instruction. I can't say enough about this farm. The girls that go to the farm are so helpful and have helped my daughter every time without making her feel bad for still learning the ropes. Clearly this type of ethos and attitude at the farm is a direct result of the management and instructor. Highly recommend. Not fussy, just friendly, competent, organized horseback riding. Love it!" - T.R. (10/2015)
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