Riley and Berkley Hoge have been horse crazy ever since their parents could remember! They’ve played with Breyers, ridden their grandparent’s horses, gone to horse summer camps, and taken advantage of every possible pony ride at a birthday or trail ride on vacations. Riley began riding when she was 11 and Berkley began at the age of 8. The first time the girls rode a horse was at Seabrook Island Equestrian Center for 30 minute pony rides; that’s when the horse craze began! Berkley and Riley have been around horses since they were young; their Grandpa Ed, Grandma Kelly, and Aunt Shelby have horses in Ohio, where they’ve enjoyed learning the basics and the occasional trail ride. What started as just beginner lessons to try out this whole horse deal, led them to become permanent riders at Sunnybrook Farm in Advance, North Carolina.
Riley enjoys learning Dressage and Jumping on her leased horse, Scout, a 9-year-old American Paint mix, who has been a therapy horse for mentally and physically handicapped individuals. They just became a riding duo less than a year ago. She’s learned a lot with Scout so far, including Intro Level Dressage and Show Jumping. They recently competed at a local Combined Training event in Dressage and rode really well, considering they were a new pair. Her favorite memory with Scout was when they had a phenomenal jump lesson back in April; he was so good! Riley’s favorite thing about Scout is his sweet and goofy personality. She enjoys buying him gourmet horse treats and pampering him with lots of love.
Berkley has been leasing, riding and showing Dok for over 2 years, developing their partnership as they go. Dok is a registered 24-year-old Purebred Arabian, retired from the show-ring, and living his best life at Sunnybrook Farm. Dok enjoys teaching Berkley the ropes of Dressage and showing at open horse shows. On the same hand, Berkley loves learning what Dok has to teach her. They have had their fair share of life lessons. Berkley credits Dok teaching her to never give up and to keep working hard. She pampers him with treats, neck scratches, and lots of hugs and in return, he gives her his trust and confidence. Berkley’s favorite memory with Dok was at a horse show in Raleigh when Dok stole a pita chip she was eating. He thought it was delicious and he started getting a bit greedy and shoving her with his nose signaling that he wanted more!
These two sisters are in it for the long haul! They spend most of their summer vacation at the barn; grooming, riding, and grazing their beloved partners. Often begging their parents to go to the barn every chance they get!
We had a wonderful time on this summer evening, photographing the four together during their equine photo session. Lots of laughs and huge smiles were shared. And the quote ‘Sisters who ride together, stay together’ was coined!
Location: Sunnybrook Farm in Advance, North Carolina
Hair: Jessica Smith at Gemini Hair Fashions in Advance, North Carolina.