“To anyone who is serious about learning or improving their riding, Julie is the absolute best teacher there is. She is tuned in to how the rider affects the horse through their body and is able to communicate how they need to change to have a more harmonious relationship with the horse. Using visualization, specific exercises and clearly explaining why the change is important helps the student to quickly improve. She has an amazing ability to see what needs to change and make that change happen. I have been riding with Julie for 8 years and there is not a single lesson where I don’t feel something new or learn a subtle nuance that improves my riding. Julie is dedicated to the horses well being as well as the riders. She believes a supple happy horse is one a rider can learn more from and to that end she teaches students how to employ body work, such as massage and stretching, to keep the horse moving as well as it can. Sunborn Stables is like one big family. Everyone there is friendly and helpful and newcomers are always welcomed in and quickly feel they belong. I highly recommend Julie and Sunborn Stables as the best place to ride and learn. “

-Jill Gontarek

“Julie, you were such a huge part of my life growing up. From my first lesson at the age of 6 to taking second at my first three day event at Trot Brook and finally teaching and training by your side; life without you and the stables is beyond my imagination. You taught me so many great lessons and instilled dedication, passion, and an unwavering work ethic into my daily life. I honestly cannot ever thank you enough.”

– Hannah Hathaway


“I’ve got more education than should be legal! In fact, I’ve spent a large part of my life in schools and universities from the US Army to Medical School to Graduate school, and I rank you in the top 1% of all teachers I’ve ever had! Even though my natural riding ability is about zero, and I thought that I would never have much of a chance to really ride and jump again after I was severely injured in a riding accident in 2003, your ability to explain and demonstrate key concepts and methods in riding is unparalleled! I wondered why I was driving so dang far for a lesson, but I also believe the Lord puts us where we are supposed to be (if we listen) and your place is the right one for me to re-gain my seat. Having come this far in just 4 months of once-a-week lessons, is dramatic, to say the least. Every time we have a lesson I come home feeling life is worth living again. AND, I’ve lost 30 pounds! Thanks for teaching me!”

-Gary Wilhelm, MD, PhD, MPH, Colonel US Army, Flight Surgeon, Army National Guard

“I just wanted to let you know I am so impressed with your teaching style, and all there is to know about riding and caring for horses.  My granddaughter is a very new beginner, and she gets in the car and starts talking horse, and tack and posting. . .it is amazing!!! . . .You are amazing at what you do, and I am so impressed with what I see!!  We are lucky to have someone like you!!”

-Cheryl Kuehne

“My favorite thing about riding at Sunborn Stables is that it’s just plain FUN! I enjoy working out hard and hardly knowing I’m doing it because I’m so engrossed in the relationship with my horse.”

-Desi Arneson

“What I like about riding lessons at Sunborn Stables is that lessons are always a challenge both physically and mentally.  There is so much to learn, and we have riders at all levels so there are always great role models around to learn from.”

-Rachel Nekowitsch

“There are so many reasons why I like Sunborn.  What struck me the most was the organization and rules.  Boarders are able to do their own thing but within some boundaries. It drives me nuts when people are unorganized and disrespectful of others and supplies that we share at the barn.   The instructors have a passion for teaching and when I am taking a lesson they put my needs first. I am challenged in a way I never have been before and when I think I am unable to do a certain movement and then I do it, it is an accomplishment! I feel in love with the horses and the people at Sunborn.  I am learning HOW TO RIDE from very experienced and talented riders.”

-Krista Bellrichard

“What I like about lessons at Sunborn is that I feel like I make some forward progress with every ride. (even when my horse is going side to side, backwards and up and down!) I’m able to attribute the large majority of my recent success with my horse to help from you and Mary. I don’t feel judged because I don’t have a five or six figure horse and I feel like I’m a valued part of the barn family.  I feel like we have an exceptional facility and an environment that is nurturing to me as a rider and a horseman.  So, in short, I love Sunborn! And I’m never leaving — you will have to kick me out first!!”

-Jennifer Glander

“The number one reason for loving having my daughter at Sunborn is confidence building. Next is responsibility, determination, discipline, physical strength and building a connection with an animal while pursuing something she loves.”

-Sue Hervig

“Sunborn Stables has been a wonderful place for my daughter to continue her dressage training and begin to develop her jumping skills.  The trainers are all highly skilled, friendly, focused on safety and personal growth.  The staff has provided excellent care for our horse since day 1 and has truly taken the time to understand and fulfill the needs of horse and rider.  We are very happy to be at Sunborn and strongly recommend the stable to others who share a similar love and passion for the sport.”

-Sue Rowen

“Hi Julie:  Well, we made it to Colorado and the powder is fantastic.  Over 165” since 23/10/10 and more on the way.  Hope you had a Merry Christmas with your loved ones back in Minnesota. Your lessons have opened an entire new world for me in horse back riding.  Although I knew the “leg aids” existed, and that the riding crop or whip could also  be used, until your instruction, I did not have a clue about how to use them effectively.  The concept of having the horse move forward but also to the side was astounding but a great break through…

The notion that the reins do not steer the horse was also new to me.  And that one could “halt” the horse just by the position in the seat was amazing.  My wife still suspects I am exaggerating that one.

The half halt is another “new” concept (to me) that is superb…

Since I was injured in in November 2003, I wondered if I would ever jump again.  Having already gotten over cavalleti and 12″ jumps has given me great confidence.  Your patience and your detailed and creative explanations have helped more than you could know.

Another surprise, was how well I am skiing this year.  My skiing in 2008 and 2009 had really deteriorated, largely due to the pain in my left hip.  I have tried some of your suggestions, and so far, my work on the slopes is the best it has been since 2006 or 2007.  Much smoother and more control.  I attribute this to a “cross training” effect due to my 12 weeks of lessons with you before returning to Mt. Werner.  My muscular strength and aerobic capacity is much better than it has ever been in the first few days back in Steamboat Springs.  I have some pulmonary problems and above 7000′ always have trouble getting my wind, but not this year!

So, thanks, Julie…working with you and being your student has given me a new lease on the sporting life at the age of 63!”


” I’ve learned more in the two months that I’ve been riding with Sunborn than I think I’ve learned in a year of riding with other instructors. I love that I am pushed and challenged to ride correctly and to do better each and every week. Every minute of my lesson is intense instruction and Julie puts her heart and soul into helping every horse and rider in their own unique challenges. I love that I am given “homework” to work on each week as it gives me the chance to feel small accomplishments all the time in my own riding. The atmosphere is very positive, friendly, and it is great to be connected with a network or team of other students who are also geared toward competition. My horse has also benefited from riding under Julie’s instruction as already in the two months he’s been here he’s gained top line and muscle, and his movement seems more powerful and purposeful. The stable is wonderfully maintained, comfortable, and healthy for both horses and humans. I wish I had brought my horse to Sunborn years ago!”

-Leah Peterson

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