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Exploring Life & Business with Lyndsey Gruber of Stoneridge Riding Academy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lyndsey Gruber.

Hi Lyndsey, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
When I was ten years old, I was desperate to ride horses. I had taken a few lessons here and there but nothing consistent and if I was going to achieve my Olympic dreams (haha) I would need regular lessons ASAP. Of course, for a lower middle-class family at the height of the early 2000’s economic crash, it wasn’t exactly realistic. After many tough conversations with my mom, I set out to find a way to ride. I emailed just about every lesson stable in Kansas City, and sure enough, eventually someone emailed me back.

Julie Pickering, a young riding instructor working out of the nicest stable in Kansas City was willing to let me work off lessons in exchange for help around the stable. Because of the generosity of Julie and her boss, Dawn Fire, I was able to ride with people I would have never dreamed of. I was able to compete at Morgan Grand Nationals and World Championships, as well as Saddlebred Nationals. I’ve ridden with numerous Olympians, sat on horses that cost more than my house, and have learned more than I ever thought possible simply because these horsewomen took a chance on me.

After I graduated high school, I found myself in the right place at the right time and opened my own lesson and training facility. Axiom Equestrian was my first real business, and it was very successful until I had a difficult pregnancy that laid me up and out of the saddle for quite some time. After bouncing around through my 20’s and working in various restaurant jobs and even launching my own start-up, an online group dining and event planning website (just months before COVID hit), my life was truly turned on its head when my daughter, Eloise Margaret, was born three months prematurely just days before lockdowns began in Spring of 2020.

Surviving the NICU and bringing home a happy, healthy, perfect baby is enough to make you rethink the important things in life, and I found myself dreaming of horses again. I knew I was good at teaching riding lessons, but the opportunity just wasn’t there at the time, and I went to work for Menufy, a local company that does online ordering for restaurants. After about six months, my dreams literally came true.

Life came full circle when I was contacted by an old friend of mine, a man named Joey who I grew up riding with way back when I was working off my lessons with Julie. Now, I am packing up my family and relocating to Louisville, KY to run a lesson program and assist him with his training horses.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
By no means. I got pregnant at 19 when I was working as a trainer and instructor in my own business. When I was put on bed rest, I wasn’t able to afford my horses or business any longer. After that, I worked for multiple trainers in different areas who were less than ethical. There were days my paychecks would bounce and I’d have to borrow money from friends to afford dinner.

Eventually, I met my husband and left the horse world and things were relatively stable. In 2019, I began working on PEPPR, Private Event Planning Platform and Registry, a website which enabled customers to book and plan group and private dining all online. I was scheduled to launch the website on a Sunday in August. My father, a professional chef and mentor who helped me with everything involving PEPPR, passed away unexpectedly the Thursday before the launch party.

I postponed the launch and dealt with my grief as best I could, and rescheduled the launch for October, the same month I would learn I was pregnant with my second child. PEPPR launched successfully in October, and by mid-November I was dealing with complications in the pregnancy. By February, I was being routinely hospitalized and we were told to prepare for her to be born at any point, at this time I was only 23 weeks pregnant and the news was horrifying.

Luckily, she held on until March 26th, 2020 and was born weighing only 1 lb 6 oz and immediately taken to the NICU. Eloise was strong though and was able to come home to us on July 1st. This was about the same time it was becoming clear PEPPR would be shuttered for the foreseeable future. I began focusing on freelance marketing work and spending time with my daughter, confident that my husband’s stable career of nearly a decade would keep us afloat.

My husband’s stable career became very unstable when his company outsourced his division and laid him off in December of 2020. The same week our 15 years old dog would wind up passing away in our arms. It was a bad week.

Through it all, I’ve kept my head up and kept going, and I’m so glad it looks like it’s paying off!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Stoneridge Riding Academy?
Stoneridge Saddlebreds & Riding Academy is a full-service boarding, training, and lesson facility in Shelbyville, KY. We specialize in show horses and teaching riders of all ages and abilities the ins and outs of horsemanship. Our lesson program is one of the top programs in the country, turning out blue ribbon winners in all divisions. More importantly though, we believe in instilling responsibility, dedication, empathy, and a strong work-ethic in all of our riders.

Riding horses gets a bad rep as being expensive and out of touch with reality, and that certainly can be the case. But, importantly, riding horses is truly magical. It’s an amazing workout that targets your cardiovascular system, core muscles, challenges your balance and clears your mind all at the same time. For kids, riding promotes critical thinking, teamwork, and working to achieve goals. Time at the barn is good for the soul, and while there are certainly ways to spend a lot of money on horses, there are also ways to enjoy horses as a family that are feasible for all budgets. Whether that be a weekly riding lesson, owning a show horse and competing all over the country, or just coming out and enjoying one of our minicamps a few times a year.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
I’m coming from Kansas City as a transplant to Louisville, and for KC I will say the best thing is definitely how willing people are to help each other. Whether they’re offering directions or offering to put you in touch with their CEO brother-in-law to help you make a connection, Kansas Citian’s are wildly nice.

The thing I like the least is how walkable the city is, having to own a car to get just about anywhere is less than ideal.

Pricing:

  • $40/half hour lesson

Contact Info:

  • Email: stoneridgeridingacademy@gmail.com
  • Website: www.stoneridgeridingacademy.com
  • Instagram: stoneridge.riding.academy
  • Facebook: @StoneridgeRidingAcademy

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