Quiet Victory Farm is one of the best-kept secrets in Hopewell Valley! Though you can catch a glimpse of the farm from the main road, the entrance is tucked inside a bucolic neighborhood. For many years, I drove past not realizing what a hidden gem it was for the serious equestrian. When I was looking for a new barn a couple of years ago, it was then I decided to see what Quiet Victory had to offer.
My first impression of QVF was that there was a strong sense of order. Blankets were folded on the doors, halters were hung in a precise way and the horses were all in show condition. I was pleased to see my lesson was an older Dutch Warmblood named Captain. He was exactly the type of horse I was looking for. One who had been there and done that. Though Captain had been unsuccessful as a Grand Prix jumper, he did carry his rider well in the Big Eq.division. Captain went through a few more owners before Vicki acquired him and he needed a lot of TLC. Vicki, brought him back and he showed successfully locally before being retired from the show ring. Captain still works regularly because he is happiest when he has a job. Besides, just because your older doesn’t mean you have to let yourself go!
These last two seasons at QVF, I’ve witnessed what Vicki does best– matchmaking riders to horses and then prepping them for the show ring. It’s remarkable how she can take a handful of students to A-shows and consistently place well. It’s a tradition for the ribbons to be hung on the stall doors (so the horses can brag when no one is in earshot) and they make for a colorful Monday morning.
Whenever I meet someone who is good at what they do, I’m always curious to learn how they got their start and it was interesting to hear Vicki’s story. She began by saying Thom Hardy was a big mentor during her early years, however, she always had the dream to become a jockey.
At the track, you begin as a groom before you are allowed to ride, and this is exactly what Vicki did. Here she learned how to supple and finesse a horse the correct way to establish fitness and muscle. She also gained valuable experience working with young horses, wrapping legs and everything else that goes on in the backstretch before earning her jockey’s license.
After meeting her need for speed, she left racehorses to manage a barn in New Hope. When the opportunity came to work for Kevin Babington, Vicki jumped at the chance. While he was in Florida on the Sunshine Circuit, she stayed behind and taught the students who stayed home. It was then that she realized how much she enjoyed teaching. After being with Kevin, she managed a few more barns. During this time, she developed her own training program. She left management so she could cultivate her own teaching style. The next barn she was to manage was her own, Quiet Victory Farm.
In thirty years, Vicki has worked with hundreds of riders, from leadline to Intercollegiate. A few of her riders have gone pro, and one is a top Grand Prix rider. Two have won the Cacchione Cup (the highest level of Intercollegiate) and now are trainers at big barns. And of course, she works with a few die-hard older riders who want to continue at the highest level their bodies will allow. Of course, I’m not going to mention names!
The last question I asked Vicki was how did she come up with the name for the farm? My first guess was it was the name of a racehorse but I was wrong. The name came about when Vicki went out on her own. She had a student, who although was well connected socially in her current barn, suffered from major confidence issues under saddle. She came to Vicki for secret lessons throughout that show season and made huge improvements, leading to a championship in the adult hunters at WEF (Winter Equestrian Festival) and everyone at her barn was shocked. The woman then said, ”this only happened because of you Vicki, but has to be our Quiet Victory”, making Vicki promise to not tell anyone.
As sad as this secret was to keep, it should be no secret that Quiet Victory Farm is an ideal barn for the serious rider. If you are looking for a barn where your horse will be given the utmost care and you want to ride at your highest level, don’t hesitate to check out QVF.