3 Mack Hill Road, Amherst, NH (603) 801-0958

Mack Hill Riding Academy

The O'ConnelsScott and Susan O’Connell- Owners
Sue and Scott O'Connell have taken their hobby of horseback riding from passion, through obsession, to start-up business.

Sue, who grew up with horses in Vermont, is thrilled to escape from her daily existence as President of a successful consulting firm, to the rigors of horsemanship and farm life during nights and weekends.

Daughter Katie grew up riding and competing in local and national show circuits. Son Brandon typically prefers motorized horsepower but recently has started taking lessons.

Scott, who grew up riding horses on family vacations in upstate New York, spends time while not on horseback in courtrooms around the country trying cases for his clients.  “Some believe that I shovel manure professionally and for fun!”

Scott and Sue were the managing members and owners of Fox Brook Farm in Amherst, NH. After the successful growth of the Fox Brook riding programs they had decided to move the riding program to a new facility. In the March of 2007 Mack Hill Riding Academy was established on the former site of Tempus Fugit in Amherst, NH. Scott and Sue are the owners and managing members of Mack Hill Riding Academy.

Our Riding Instructors

Mack Hill Riding Academy Sign, 3 Mack Hill

Lauren Smith - Head Trainer - Western Pleasure, Hunter Under Saddle, Equitation, Horsemanship, Showmanship

Lauren began riding at a very young age, and has been hooked ever since. As a young rider she was involved in the local 4-H program, as well as taking lessons at a local stable, and doing just about anything she could to get her hands on as many horses as possible. With an appetite to learn as much as she could about horses, Lauren enjoyed a well-rounded education in a variety of disciplines. It was not until her teenage years that Lauren discovered her true love, Western Pleasure horses. Lauren prides herself on being a multi-breed, multi-discipline trainer and instructor and strongly believes that being a well-rounded, tactful rider is the key to success. She believes there is no "formula" to riding or training, but instead approaches each lesson or training session with the goals, strengths and weaknesses of each individual horse or rider in mind. 

Lauren's clients and students have seen success on the AQHA, PtHA and APHA circuits. Many of Lauren's colt starting clients have also seen great success out of the show ring, doing extensive trail riding, a true testament that with a great foundation, the possibilities are limitless. Lauren enjoys attending clinics and rides with other industry professionals as much as possible, which she believes helps keep training ideals and goals fresh. She credits much of her success to the incredible opportunities she's had riding with and learning from some of the best in the industry including: Doug Pratt, Mark Smith, Chase Barnes and Tara Buckley and many others.

Mercy Carr Zaveri - Instructor - Hunters, Equitation, Combined Training

Mercy Carr ZaveriMercy has been involved with horses for over twenty-five years. She has ridden all types of mounts and taught all levels of students. Her emphasis is on a good foundation of balance, correctness, and effectiveness with grace. She promotes teamwork and horse and rider partnership in her students. In the saddle, Mercy welcomes horses’ input and tries to get them enjoy themselves while she encouraging suppleness and balance.

As a youth, she participated in 4-H where she earned many state titles. She was also a dedicated member of the United Stated Pony Club where she earned her ‘B’ rating and was individually recognized for her riding style at the USPC National Competition in Lexington, KY. She showed several hunter ponies at B and A rated shows before moving up to a large junior hunter that she competed at A rated shows where she won a Maclay qualifying medal.

Mercy’s driving experience comes from her work with Old South Carriage Company in Charleston SC. She was the head groom for the company that included tying tails and rolling manes, a lot of them. She drove and assisted in driving singles up to a hitch of six.

Having been an instructor for more than fifteen years, Mercy enjoys sharing her knowledge and passion with her students. Her enthusiasm and commitment are apparent in her teaching. Mercy is a mom of two young children who like to “help” in the barn. She has done a tour with the NH Air National Guard Counter Drug Task Force. She has also worked in theater and aviation. She has earned her BA in Human Services from Franklin Pierce College and is also a Certified Labor Doula.


Megan Carver Instructor - Hunters, Equitation

Megan started riding at a very young age; and grew up riding hunt seat at her mother’s barn. As a child she showed at local hunter shows and as she got a little older I joined the Groton Pony Club. As a pony clubber Megan began to event and received her C-3 rating. With her Thoroughbred Arabian cross, Spider Paws, she competed at the novice level at GMHA, Groton House, Stoneleigh Burnham, UNH, and Kingsbury Hill. Later she moved up and competed at the training level with Spider for one season before retiring him. Megan then got a 4 year old registered quarter horse gelding and along with her mother’s help finished training him and later sold him.

During college Megan took some time off from riding and working with horses and received an Associate’s degree in Interior design. She has since worked for and ridden with some great local trainers such as Alison Eastman, Amy Goodnow, Gretchen Anderson, Joyce Mersereau, and Tricia Moss. 


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