trainers/staff at
COUNTRY RIDGE STABLES
Country Ridge Stables is a full service Hunter/Jumper training and showing facility. We attend “A” and “AA” rated horse shows nationally and throughout the Midwest. Working together with highly respected trainers, will can help you build the confidence needed to excel.
Laura Stern, Head Trainer, County Ridge / Laura Stern Stables Inc.

LauraA lifelong horsewoman, Laura has been riding for more than 40 years. She competed in Open Jumpers at the age of 12, clearing 6’3” at the Indiana Coliseum and has numerous national and state wins, including the Washington International Horse Show and WEF (Winter Equestrian Festival). She has qualified and taken riders to places like La Silla in Monterrey, Mexico.

In addition to her position as head trainer at Country Ridge Stables, Laura judges and teaches clinics in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Laura loves teaching and hosting clinics in order to expand the reach not only of her own expertise but that of other elite trainers. She is a firm believer that students and horses of all levels gain invaluable experience by working with a variety of trainers at clinics throughout the year. Her teaching philosophy is closely tied to her personal belief that you should never stop learning, and that the only failure is not trying.

Laura specializes in matching horses and riders and helping riders reach their full potential, from short stirrup to the grand prix. She loves starting young horses and bringing them along, but has a passion for rescuing abused and neglected horses. One thing on her bucket list is to have a beautiful sanctuary for senior and neglected animals.

Laura is currently accepting horses in training and new students of all ages and abilities.

Taylor Battaglia, Asst. Trainer, Country Ridge / Laura Stern Stables Inc.

Taylor has been riding her entire life.  She first started jumping and competing at horse shows when she was just four years old.  After Taylor outgrew the ponies she competed successfully in the “junior” divisions.  By age 12 she was competing in the high junior/amateur jumpers on her horse, Stepping Stone.  A few months after Taylor’s 13th birthday, she competed in her first Grand Prix in Lake St. Louis, Missouri where she placed 5th in a field of 26 professionals.

Taylor had many successes in her junior years riding in all 3 rings. She piloted several horses to championships in the Hunter and Jumper ring while obtaining various medal and equitation wins. As her junior years came to a close, she decided her next step was to become a professional when she turned 18.

Taylor has utilized her talent on the East Coast competing at many shows including HITS and Old Salem in New York under the coaching and employment of Anne Kursinski. While Taylor was working for Anne she was showing in the 1.25-1.30 jumpers regularly and taking on all barn chores such as, cleaning stalls, administering medications, turning horses out to pasture and making sure the horses were happy, healthy and well taken care of. After she worked for Anne, Taylor returned to Illinois. Taylor has competed primarily at HITS Chicago at Balmoral Park ‘A’ and ‘AA’ rated shows. She has ridden many horses to top placings in all of their divisions including consistently being in the top 12 and winning National Hunter Derbies.

Taylor enjoys teaching elaborate and educational lessons to any type of student. Whether a 6-year-old riding in their first lesson, or an adult who has been riding for many years, she loves being able to spread her knowledge and horsemanship skills.

 

Ashley Hill, Forest Hill Farm

MY BACKGROUND:
Forest Hill Farm was started in 1994, when I was 22 years of age. At the age of (3), I rode my first horse and started taking lessons. At age (5), I started competitive showing in some of the top ranked horse shows in and around the United States. At age (7), I qualified for the national finals at Harrisburg and Washington. At age (11), I became one of the youngest qualifiers at the Maclay Finals, which was held at the Madison Square Garden, in NY, NY. In 1990, I turned professional and started working for top hunter/jumper trainers throughout the Midwest. In 1994 is when Forest Hill Farm was created. I rode, trained and managed my clients who competed in the Top A horse shows around the country.
TEACHING AND RIDING PHILOSOPHY:
My teaching and riding philosophy stems from the knowledge and experiences I’ve gained throughout the years of being in the Equine industry.
I believe that good riding starts with flatwork. “Jumping is simply obstacles in the way of your flatwork”. Flatwork is essential and the base for riding. I also believe that you should never push a horse beyond its limits. I also know, understand and realize that people learn through different ways or methods. Those being: Verbal, Visual and Kinesthetic. My job as a trainer is to recognize how each student learns the “best” and then effectively communicate the task at hand. In all instances, the most important element in learning is a “safe” and “positive approach.”
If a student can give me the commitment, dedication, trust and the time that is needed to improve, I’m confident in my abilities as a rider and trainer to achieve the students goals and as a result help the student reach his/her full potential. I also believe that my responsibility as a trainer is to also help educate the student in the areas of basic horse management and care of his/her horses needs. (i.e. health, food, proper shoes and basic veterinarian care.)
José Fernando Mendoza, Barn Manager, Country Ridge Stables Ltd.

FernandoFernando has been barn manager at Country Ridge Stables since its inception in 2006. He oversees every aspect of horse care, including vet visits, turnout, exercise, supplies and management of other barn employees. Fernando works closely with our trainers to make sure each horse is given the individual care needed.  He is also an irreplaceable asset to the barn, overseeing and communicating with facility management when repairs or supplies are needed to keep our facility and equipment running properly.

Originally from Guadalajara, Mexico, Fernando has more than 20 years of experience as a barn manager for the top hunter/jumper stables in Illinois. In addition to his expert knowledge of horses, Fernando has great attention to detail, a high level of organization, and a winning attitude. He may seem relaxed and easy going, but that’s only because he has everything under complete control. Fernando takes his job very seriously. Whether he is checking on the horses at night or caring for horses at the shows, you won’t find anyone more thorough and professional than Fernando.