The Laurel Springs Advantage

Siena MacDonald, a 12th grader at Laurel Springs School and a competitive equestrian in the 2022 WEF circuit where she qualified for the Medal and Maclay equitation finals this year - Photo by Nicolette Mcdougall

How a premier online private school empowers junior equestrians.

BY April Bilodeau

In the world of junior equestrian sports, balancing rigorous training schedules with academics is a true uphill battle. Whether it’s pulling your child out of school on Thursday for a weekend competition or hustling to the barn at the sound of the afternoon bell, traditional brick-and-mortar learning settings can serve as tough obstacles for young riders.

This is where Laurel Springs School emerges as a transformative option. The fully accredited online private school for K-12 learners is known for nurturing the dreams of its students and fostering an educational environment that’s 100% flexible, personalized, and uniquely suited to the lifestyles of aspiring athletes, performing artists, and accelerated learners. At Laurel Springs, equestrians no longer have to choose between their passion and academic ambitions. Instead, they’re championed in both realms.

Where Academics, Athletics, and Flexibility Harmonize

Reese Merna & Havanna C2 at Washington International Horse Show 2023 – Photo by Shawn McMillen Photography

For over 30 years, Laurel Springs has established itself as a leader in the online learning landscape. With curriculum that can be accessed 24/7 and from anywhere in the world, a dedicated counseling department with expert guidance for college-bound athletes (including NCAA recruitment and athletic advisement), an extensive AP and Honors course catalog, and a student community that spans across 100 countries, the school shines in the areas of flexibility, personalization, and rigor.

“At Laurel Springs, we have dedicated Academic and Athletic Advisors who understand the commitment it takes for student athletes to reach their athletic goals,” says Marcie Peoples, Laurel Springs’ Associate Dean of Student Success. “We collaborate closely with families, offering tailored athletic guidance and support throughout the recruiting process. Our focus includes understanding amateurism and celebrating our students’ milestones, like signing days.”

Furthermore, the school features 30-plus clubs and activities in addition to in-person field trips, virtual hangouts, and travel opportunities—all fostering a vibrant social community where students can connect, learn, and grow together.

Embracing Every Student’s Potential

Reese Merna & Trouvaille at USEF Medal Finals 2023 – Photo by Andrew Ryback Photography

Laurel Springs’ academic offerings cater to a diverse student body. Students may experience its traditional college-prep curriculum through full-time or part-time enrollment; and those seeking a deeper level of academic engagement may attend The Academy at Laurel Springs—an advanced college-prep environment with live weekly workshops, elite partnerships with top-tier institutions like Harvard, and additional AP and Honors options. No matter a student’s strengths or aspirations, they experience an education tailored to their unique interests and needs.

“The Academy offers students the opportunity to have live and synchronous learning in addition to an abundance of Honors and AP courses,” says Han Lee, Director of Academy Operations at Laurel Springs. “No matter where you are in your educational journey, you will find a partner in LSS.”

The school also provides enriching dual-enrollment opportunities with Syracuse and Baylor Universities, comprehensive Summer School programming, and a robust Gap Year Program complemented by personalized counseling for college and career planning, and self-discovery.

Experiencing the Difference

“I found success in all my classes without having to sacrifice the sport I love.” —Cameron Brown, 2021 Laurel Springs graduate

Cameron Brown, a 2021 graduate of Laurel Springs, illustrates the success possible through the school’s unique educational approach. Excelling in both competitive riding and academics, Brown found her experience at Laurel Springs to be nothing but positive. “I learned so much and was able to take such interesting courses,” she says. “I found success in all my classes without having to sacrifice the sport I love.” After graduating, Brown went on to ride at her dream school, University of South Carolina, and now represents one of the 5,500 Laurel Springs alumni who not only flourished at the school, but also discovered that pursuing their dreams doesn’t have to compromise their deep love for learning.

Join the Laurel Springs Community

“Our global learners don’t have to choose between their passion and academic aspirations. Instead, we champion them in both realms.” -DR. AILEEN HAWKINS, LAUREL SPRINGS’ HEAD OF SCHOOL Photo by Sportfot

Whether it’s celebrating a student’s academic accomplishments or cheering for them on National Signing Day, Laurel Springs continues to reinforce their mission of not only educating, but elevating. 

“Our program, delivered by our dedicated faculty and staff, engages global learners in an education that integrates their unique pursuits into pathways that foster growth, mastery, purpose and independence,” says Aileen Hawkins, Laurel Springs’ Head of School. 

Equipped with self-discipline, knowledge, and an unwavering passion for their dreams and aspirations, every student at Laurel Springs is valued, seen, and supported for their entire journey.  

If Laurel Springs sounds like it could be a turning point in your child’s equestrian and academic journey, you can learn more about the school’s programming and how they can personally support your student by attending a virtual open house. To do so, visit