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March 18, 2015

Faces of Fauquier: Horses extend her work as teacher

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“No matter how big the problem is, nothing’s too hard for God,” says Louise Summers, diagnosed with colon cancer last year.
I had never touched a horse until we moved to Fauquier County. Now, we have six horses, and I have 25 students at Adventure Hill Farm.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
She embodies devotion and perseverance in teaching.

For 15 years, Louise Summers has taught first-graders more than the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic at H.M. Pearson Elementary School near Calverton.

“In first grade, it’s extremely important for them to learn self-confidence,” Mrs. Summers said. “The other part of it is, I like children who are struggling . . . . I like to help them find success.”

She has witnessed many changes in education during her 29-year career teaching first-graders.

Today, “education is interactive and done in groups, and we can get textbooks on the Internet,” she said.

After school, Mrs. Summers runs her own business, Adventure Hill Farm, teaching beginners and children with disabilities how to ride horses.

“You learn a lot of life skills working with horses. It’s calming and the kids can feel success. Some of these horses are the kids’ best friends,” she said.

Fifteen years ago, she and her family moved to Fauquier County from Silver Spring, Md., “for the quality of life, the slow pace and no traffic lights.”

Last year, she was diagnosed with colon cancer and has since received a great deal of support from her family, friends and co-workers.

She perseveres with strength and her belief that “no matter how big the problem is, nothing’s too hard for God.”

She names her parents, Mel and Jean Hardy as her heroes.

“They have been instrumental in everything I do. I have a lot of respect for them. If I ever need anything they are there for me and give me advice. They have been a great support system this past year . . . . Anytime I need them, they’re there.”

• Age
50

• Home
Midland

• Work
First grade teacher at H.M. Pearson Elementary School for 15 years.
She has 20 students this year.

Owner and operator of Adventure Hill Farm, “a horseback riding facility for beginner riders and children with special needs.” It started as a hobby, then I turned it into a business in 2012.

Previously taught first grade and adult education in Maryland.

• Why do you do the job?
Teaching at H.M. Pearson: They’re my babies. I’m taking care of them, not only in education by teaching them math, reading, science and writing. In first grade, it’s extremely important for them to learn self-confidence. H.M. Pearson’s theme is ‘Respect, Responsibility and Control.’ The other part of it is I like children who are struggling learners. I like to help them find success.

Adventure Hill Farm: I had never touched a horse until we moved to Fauquier County. Now, we have six horses, and I have 25 students at Adventure Hill Farm. We teach beginner riders and children with disabilities like autism and learning disorders. My kids were in 4-H, and we started buying horses. Then I started taking riding lessons.

It got out through word of mouth. It’s very individualized to the child’s needs. My girls help out and my husband gives the kids tractor rides. It’s very family-oriented. I’m outside all day and I love it. You see the kids relax and it’s stress-free. You learn a lot of life skills working with horses. It’s calming and the kids can feel success. Some of these horses are the kid’s best friends.

I’ll teach both until I stop having fun!

• Family
Husband, Bruce; two daughters, Amanda and Julia, and a son, Andrew.

• Education
Bachelor’s degree, early childhood education, University of Maryland, 1986.

• Church and civic involvement
Member of Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church. I help with their outreach community work.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
15 years

• Why do you live here?
For the quality of life, the slow pace and no traffic lights. I can make it to work without any traffic lights! It’s quiet and friendly.

• How do you describe this county?
Unique, because of the different parts — downtown Warrenton, The Plains and small businesses. You don’t find that in a lot of places.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
Can we please put a Starbucks in Catlett? I wouldn’t really change anything else. I don’t want it to grow anymore.

• What do you do for fun?
I’m always in the barn taking care of the horses. Spending time with the kids.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
Our backyard, having a crab feast with all our family and friends.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
A few more traffic lights and stores. I don’t think a lot will change. There are a lot of families here with land, and they want to preserve it.

• Favorite TV show?
“The Big Bang Theory”

• Favorite movie?
“The Notebook”

• Favorite book?
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” by Judith Viorst.

• Favorite vacation spot?
Hatteras in the Outer Banks.

• Favorite food?
Lobster

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My dad would always tell me the quote: “No matter how big the problem is, nothing’s too hard for God.” Don’t worry and relax.

• Who’s your hero and why?
My parents, Mel and Jean Hardy. They have been instrumental in everything I do. I have a lot of respect for them. If I ever need anything they are there for me and give me advice. They have been a great support system this past year when I was diagnosed with colon cancer. Anytime I need them, they’re there.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
Give some of my money to colon cancer research. Then take my family on a nice vacation to Alaska or Hawaii. Then save the rest, because one day I will have grandchildren, and I want to save some money for their college tuition.


>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• As volunteer coach, Jeff Budd develops young wrestlers.


• Fraces Allshouse’s jobs focus on preservation.

• Jessica Smolinski’s book introduces children to Old Town Warrenton.

• Margaret Rice’s job all about fitness and fun in Warrenton.


• Robert Sturgeon has built his 70-employee businesses in Bealeton from scratch.

• 4-H leader Zach Woodward relishes the lessons of farming.

• Hospital auxiliary volunteer Alison Lee also earned fame in drag racing circles.

• Highland School veteran staff member Lise Hicklin always wanted to teach.


• As 9-1-1 dispatcher, Kateland Rich works to maintain calm during crisis.

• Chaplain Liz Danielsen finds a giving community.


• 9-1-1 response in Rodney Woodward’s bloodline.

• Fast talk a tool of the trade for auctioneer Kathy Shumate.

• Sam Poles takes care of varmits.

• Diane King mentors student performers at Fresta Valley Christian School.


• Lewis F. Lee Jr. followed his father into taxidermy business.

• Edward Payne returns to Orlean and to photography with passion.

• Janet Metzger’s Old Town Warrenton shop a hub of creativity.

• Pablo Teodoro bakes to build community.

• Community trails have become passion for retired VDOT engineer Bob Moore.


• Teresa Reynolds makes transition from butcher to museum director.

• After working in New York and Italy, Christine Fox moved home to open fashion boutique 25 years ago.

• Steve Lewis develops hunting reality show on Dish Network.

• Julia Trumbo grew up in the family grocery business.

• Tax preparer Renée Turner enjoys owning a business in Old Town Warrenton.

• ICU staff Carol Jones values patients’ trust.


• Wilson Sanabria grew up working in his family’s Warrenton restaurant and learning to box.

• One-man band Peter Fakoury quit 9-to-5 to learn from children.

• Liberty graduate Brittany Aubrey works in the smile business.

• Walmart cashier Lulu Baer loves to play violin and several community roles.

• In Sandra Alm, SPCA dogs have a loyal companion.

• St. James’ Episcopal new Rector Ben Maas appreciates community’s embrace

• Bicycles dominate work and play for Brian Larson.

• Teaching music therapy combines Abigail Newman’s passions.

• Brenda Rich leads volunteers who organize and run the Fauquier County Fair.

• 1st Sgt. Greg Harris stresses empathy in his job as a supervisor at the county detention center.


• Chuck Tippett challenges the “rich guy” stereotype about pilots.


• County government employee Surja Tamang previously worked as a Mt. Everest sherpa.

• Woody Isaac found his calling as a chef at age 16.

• Horses take Tommy Lee Jones all over the county.


• Retired nurse Angela Neal continues to volunteer in hospital ER.

• Gilmer Lee really knows high school sports in Fauquier.

• Stage remains central to Tim Bambara’s life journey.

• Bus driver Melissa Strain’s weekend job all about “fun.”


• Bartender Taylor Edgar has a pretty good standup routine.

• A nomad childhood led Paul Schmeling to start a moving company.


• Adam Lynch’s family owns café with local food focus and a special name.

• Patricia McMahon Rice turns passion for art into her livelihood.

• Cindy D’Ambro works as “director of first impressions” at LFCC.

• Ginger Hilleary leads local literacy organization.

• Farmers with groundhog problems call Rod Kirkpatrick.


• Horses “retire” to work with Jeanne Blackwell.

• Remington cattle farmer Doug Linton loves his home and work.

• Sports central to Robert Glascock’s life’s work.

• For Richard Mast, company ownership started with his summer work as a teenager.

• Bernice Simpson knows northern Fauquier back roads and the people who live along them.

• Eddie Payne has logged 38 years as a volunteer firefighter in Marshall.


• Stephanie Layton turns her lifelong passion for dance into her livelihood.


• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.


• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.


• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people


• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.


• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.


• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.


• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.


• Pastor a constant in Calverton.


• She keeps the courthouse spotless.


• He loves working working outdoors at the park.


• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton


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