Farmington couple take reins of family business
Saddle seat lessons can lead to competitions
After 40 years in business as Lear Stables, a new generation has taken the reins of
the family’s legacy.
Kyle and Jennefer Lear-Tharaldson of Farmington are embarking on an adventure to teach the art of saddle seat riding to students from children to adult.
Saddle seat is an English-style of riding that involves standing and sitting during trots.
Students learn to safely handle a horse, maintain their balance and the skills to successfully ride saddle seat. As they progress, there are opportunities to participate in various levels of competitions.
Everything needed to try the sport, including the horse and riding gear, is available at Vermillion Township’s Lear Stables. The serious student will eventually purchase their own boots, helmet and stirrups, Kyle said.
“It’s super fun,” he said. “I go to the stable, and it’s all smiles. It seems to offer people some way to regenerate and replenish themselves.”
Lear Stables students range in age from preschool to their 70s.
“We’ve had some people start as late as their 60s,” Kyle said. “It really is something anybody can do.”
Jennefer, who has participated in the sport since childhood, is Minnesota’s only American Riding Instructors Association certified saddle seat instructor.
“It’s a tip of the hat to her expertise,” Kyle said of his wife. “It’s a strenuous testing program she had to go through. It’s like a college exam — a big one — for riding instructors.”
The process took about a year to complete, and information Jennefer had to know included the biology of horses, riding safety, locomotion and horsemanship.
She said she has earned many ribbons in competitions and enjoys introducing others to the sport.
“It’s always been a part of who I am and what I do,” Jennefer said.
Lear Stables has horses for different levels, and students may compete with various horses as they grow in their skill level.
“I like kids to be riding different horses,” Jennefer said. “It challenges you.”
To allow lessons year round, Lear Stables offers an indoor riding arena that is heated in the winter. An outdoor ring is also available.
A viewing room with Wi-Fi is available off the lounge for family members to watch lessons, which start as 30-minute individual sessions. After basic safety skills are attained, they are conducted in 40-minute small group lessons.
Lear Stables was previously owned by Jennefer’s parents, Bert and Alice Lear, of Hastings.
Jennefer worked for her parents for nine years with the goal of buying out the businesses. The purchase closed March 1, and the couple opened in Vermillion Township at the “Equitare” building at 4263 170th St. E., which has a Rosemount mailing address.
The couple intend to expand the business and introduce more people to the sport they have come to love.
“We love our customers,” Jennefer said. “They are family.”
She described the atmosphere at the stables as fun and said students become close friends as they learn and grow in a sport they enjoy together.
“Sometimes, kids just want to hang out at the barn,” Jennefer said. “There’s a joke that kids would rather clean the stall than clean their room. The kids at the barn are really good kids. A lot of times, people think they are older than they are. Riding is important to them, so they work hard.”
Lessons are $35 each, and packages are available that will drop the cost.
For more information, call (651) 438-9008 or visit www.learstables.com.
Laura Adelmann is at email@example.com or facebook.com/sunthisweek.