Hunter/Jumper Trainers in Cedar Rapids, IA area

Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum. I hope I’m posting this question in the right place; if not, my apologies.

I used to ride hunters/jumpers back in the day (mid-'70s through early '90s, then a break for a few years, then in the saddle again briefly in the early '00s) before full-time work, grad school, kids - anyway, it’s been a long hiatus, and I really, REALLY miss riding.

However, I’m actually now looking for a hunter/jumper trainer in the Cedar Rapids, IA area for my daughter who’s showing a lot of interest in riding.

She’s ridden a Welsh pony owned by a friend in another city 2-3 times a couple years ago when she was almost 6, and loved it.

When we moved to the Cedar Rapids area a few years ago, she wasn’t yet interested in lessons, and I was no longer riding (due to work and school). I’d found one eventing instructor in town that taught beginners, and had arranged a lesson for my daughter. While my daughter seemed quite interested in horses and ponies (as lots of girls are), she ended up getting kinda nervous about riding the schooling horse (a large pony, versus the much smaller Welsh pony she’d ridden her first couple times in the saddle) the trainer had at her barn. She was great when it was time to learn about grooming/tacking up the pony, but was very nervous when it came time to mount up. Needless to say, the mounted portion of the lesson was quite short.

After this lesson, she decided she wanted to wait before taking another lesson. In the meantime, the instructor moved out of town, and . . . well, now that she has been begging me (for the past couple months) to try again, I am not sure where to start looking for another instructor.

Any suggestions on hunter/jumper trainers in Cedar Rapids, IA, or where I could start asking around?


Start your search here:

A couple of years ago I moved to the Iowa City area for grad school from Florida and spent a lot of time trying to find a hunter/jumper barn in the area. Unfortunately I never found one, and ended up switching disciplines to eventing. This really is a strong eventing area, and there are several good trainers around who may have more suitable schoolies for your daughter than the first trainer you tried. I personally ride with Sarah Hauschild at Wolf Ridge Farm and I love her approach very much. She does not have ponies for schooling (she has a great older schoolmaster, but it is a horse), but does have several young children in her program.
I do know that there are a couple of event trainers up closer to you in the Cedar Rapids area as well. One that comes to mind that I have heard nothing but good things about is Annie Jones. In fact, she had a group of young girls with her at Catalpa Corner this past saturday schooling cross country and they were all having a blast, so I know that she does have younger students. I think she is involved with the pony club as well.
I was wary at first about switching disciplines since I have ridden jumpers my whole life and cross country makes me nervous, however a good event trainer is just as valuable if you can find one that is a good fit, because they place heavy emphasis on proper riding on the flat due to their focus on dressage, making them very suitable for starting young riders.
Good luck! :slight_smile:

Thanks to both of you. I didn’t find anything within 50 miles with the USHJA link, unfortunately.

Stoney447, I’ve found that you are right - I’ve found in my hunt for h/j instructors, that this area is very “eventing” oriented, which is fine. I just have very limited experience with eventing, having done just a little in Pony Club back in the early '80s, and then again just dabbling in it a little bit during high school (and even showing at Training Level at a dressage show once!), but mostly sticking with hunters and sometimes jumpers.

My daughter and I have actually met Annie Jones (Johnson now, I think?). She was my daughter’s first instructor here in the Cedar Rapids area. She had been based out of a beautiful facility in Cedar Rapids, using one of their ponies for the lesson. She was very patient with my daughter, but my daughter had gotten . . . uh, “stage fright” (I guess you could call it that) because the pony was larger than the little Welsh pony she was used to (although she’d once had a “pony” ride - you know, lead-line style on a Quarter Horse who was MUCH bigger than the lesson pony, LOL, and she’d had no problem). That’s when we took a break from trying to get her into lessons.

Unfortunately, by the time my daughter was ready to try again, I’d contacted Annie to set up another lesson, but found out she is not in Cedar Rapids anymore. She is now based out of Davenport, which is a little too long a commute for us for lessons.

And when I’d tried contacting the area’s Pony Club for suggestions on trainers and lessons for children who are beginners, I’d never heard back from them. I tried contacting them a few times but got “Oh, we’re at a horse show. I’ll get back to you when we’re home from the show regarding area instructors.” Days would go by, and I wouldn’t hear back, and I’d try again with something like, “When you get a chance, can you send me the names of area instructors?” And . . . nothing.

By the way, have you heard of Bent Creek Farm Eventing in Solon? I recently had someone recommend Andria Pooley, and may see if we can get a lesson set up for my daughter there. A little bit of a commute, but not quite as long my commute to Iowa City. :wink:

When I first moved here I kept my horses out at Andria Pooley’s place. It was then called Andria Pooley Advanced Performance Horses which she has since changed to Bent Creek Farm Eventing. She is a former student of my current trainer and came recommended to me when I inquired with other farms.

Andria turned out to not be the right instructor for me as she was very busy with grad school while I had my horses there. However, I do think that she would do very well with young students who come in for lessons and ride one of her horses. She has a great personality for inspiring confidence and is very bubbly and energetic, so she most likely would be a good child’s instructor.

I have the following suggestions. Andria Pooley has now completed graduate school, and I believe is focused solely on her eventing enterprise. The Timber Ridge Pony club does a great deal of riding out of Winds Reach Farm run by the Coester family in Iowa City. Susan Coester Daufeldt is very focused on youngsters and puts a fabulous foundation on her beginners. They have some phenomenally safe schoolies of the been there done that type, and at least one pony. She is very patient. All jumping starts with a very strong dressage/basics installation. In Solon you will find Lisa Maria Andrews at Leamanach Farm who has many, many young children and teenagers, although I do not know about schoolies. She is also more dressage based, but has an assistant trainer who takes kids to the hunter jumper shows locally. She seems to sell quite a few horses to her clients. In Swisher you will find Teresa Mulhausen, at Wyndtree Farms but I have no knowledge of her as a trainer. Closer to CR is Trish Ringgold at Chesapeake Center Equestrian. Hunter jumper here is not as strong as dressage (see IADCTA) or eventing. However, there are A and AA and schooling hunter jumper shows in Des Moines, Mason City, and Moline, IL for much of the year. Once you have your basics, you can show to your heart’s content and meet up with trainers at those shows.

Thanks everyone. I have some good info I can use to get started.