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. Qualified training will help you build the confidence needed to excel.
Laura Stern, Head Trainer

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.

Alex Pope Foster, Assistant Trainer

Alex

Alex is a USHJA certified instructor who has been teaching for more than ten years. She has coached many riders to year-end awards in both the hunter and equitation divisions. In addition, she teaches, rides and shows on both the A and AA circuits.

As an amateur, Alex competed mainly in the equitation divisions, winning multiple year-end awards, including the IHJA Adult Medal Finals. She also had the opportunity to catch ride horses in the Hunter and Jumper rings.

She has participated in clinics with Kevin Babington, Joe Fargis, Sandy Ferrell, Frank Madden, George Morris, Michael Page and Paul Valliere.

Alex’s teaching philosophy stresses safety and the well-being of both horse and rider. She has a reputation for making her lessons both fun and educational, and adjusting the pace of each lesson to the rider’s comfort level and capabilities. Whether casual once a week lessons or a more competitive training schedule, she aims for realistic short and long-term goals that help each rider reach his or her full potential. Alex strives to teach not only good riding but good horsemanship, and to explain the “why” of riding so that students can understand the reasoning behind the instruction and, as a result, gain a more intuitive understanding of their connection to their mount.

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

Taylor Battaglia, Assistant Trainer

Taylor is 23 years old and 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.

 

José Fernando Mendoza, Barn Manager

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.

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.