trainers/staff at
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 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.

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.