Shadow Creek Stables is what I pictured my future to look like since I dreamed of living at a ranch as a kid. Shadow Creek Stables is the quintessential riding school. With its red barn and red outbuildings, it’s every little princess and cowboy’s dream come true. While we were at Shadow Creek Stables, we met Elizabeth who has two daughters, Dru and Emma–eight and ten. Eighteen years ago, Elizabeth herself took lessons at Shadow Creek and has now returned with her girls. She loves Shadow Creek Stables for its size and for its focus on the horses first and foremost as well as on rider safety.
Shadow Creek Stables is located in the far northern suburbs and is easy to find. It is just off Highway 61, a couple of miles south of Forest Lake.
Sitting on 40 acres, Shadow Creek has plenty of room for lessons, boarding, and pasture.
Shadow Creek has three barns for boarding horses, one indoor arena for lessons, and one outdoor arena for lessons. There is a comfortable lounge for parents to use to watch the indoor arena or to quietly relax.
Shadow Creek Stables is a small Equestrian Center that’s main focus is riding lessons. With an emphasis on the English riding disciplines, students have the opportunity to learn dressage, huntseat, and competitive jumping. Three well-trained and currently competing instructors, Shadow Creek Stables offers top-notch and up-to-date instruction.
Even though Shadow Creek Stables is small, they encourage showing and provide transportation to many events (for a an extra traveling fee).
Boarding is important to Shadow Creek, and they provide care for Warmbloods, Thoroughbreds, and Quarterhorses. Currently they are boarding 15 horses. The horses they board for current or former students generally due to Shadow Creek Stables’ commitment to care for the horses.
While Shadow Creek Stables is a business, when you start your riding journey with them, you become part of the family. Being part of the family means you are known and cared for. Your safety and well-being are important.
Susan Moore opened Shadow Creek more than 34 years ago. She has tried most disciplines at Shadow Creek Stables including Western, has grown her own hay, and has offered therapeutic horseman programs in the past. However, for the success of Shadow Creek Stables, she has learned through trial and error to streamline the program she offers. English riding lessons focusing on dressage techniques has been the most consistent program, and her clientele responds well to this design.
Riding lessons are offered year round. With an indoor arena, lessons are held in extreme weather to provide protection to the horse and rider. When the weather is cooperating, the outdoor arena is used. Riders are able to have their jumping and huntseat lessons in both arenas.
First and foremost, Shadow Creek offers private lessons for all beginners. For the safety to both rider and horse, private lessons are essential at the start of a new horseman.
Shadow Creek Stables offers horsemanship camps in the summer, and they work with the Forest Lake area community education programs to give back to the community.
They have three instructors: a beginner instructor, an intermediate instructor, and an advanced instructor. Each instructor competes regularly in events and is well-trained in current horsemanship techniques.
Lessons come in a package of four for $140 or you can buy purchase individual one-hour private lessons for $60.
Beginners: techniques for walking, trotting, and cantering. They also learn how to care for the horse. To move into intermediate lessons, they must be able to get their own horse ready for lessons and walk, trot, and canter with their horse.
Intermediate Lessons: group lessons with no more than 4 students and begin to hone the dressage, huntseat, and jumping disciplines. Students who want to own a horse or begin leasing a horse, can move up to the Advanced level of instruction with the instructor’s approval.
Advanced Level: once again are private lessons. These lessons are for the dedicated and serious horsemen. Horses are (and will always be)a part of their lives.
First Impressions of Shadow Creek Stables
- The small size of Shadow Creek is its advantage. You are part of the family.. The Stable offers in-house schooling shows and transportation to different events and encourage your participation.
- The horses’ different personalities are respected.
- Safety is a huge concern. Horses are not toys. They are be understood and loved, but being around them does not equal playtime.
- I met Denise Armstead–the beginner’s instructor–and was impressed with her ability to guide Dru and Emma. She was able to balance detailed instruction and fun with her students without compromising safety and while building technique. She enjoyed Emma and Dru and was always conscious of their needs as well as the horses needs and behaviors. I would love my daughter to begin learning under her tutelage.
- Susan has a skilled business model and loves to work with both children and adults.
This is a wonderful place for the whole family to learn. It’s beautiful, easy to find in the North Metro, and welcoming. You are immediately part of the family. They would love to meet you and begin a lifelong relationship with you and if you own one, your horse!
Gianna Kordatzky is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.