Sterling Shields Stables and Riding Academy Makes a Move
Writer / Jane VanOsdol
sterling-shields-5 Imagine the quintessential Kentucky horse farm but move it north one state to Indiana, and that’s where you’ll find Kim Shields, owner of Sterling Shields Stables and Riding Academy. Shields recently moved her business from Westfield to the property formerly known as Renaissance Stables. This beautiful Zionsville farm was at one time a well-known Arabian breeding farm owned by Cheryl-Jenn Pollard, daughter of Louis Jenn of Jenn-Air®. In 2010, the Leman family bought the property and undertook a major renovation, turning it into a lessons and horse-boarding facility.
The property boasts numerous features:
• 19 remodeled stalls
• A show-sized indoor arena
• Numerous pastures with run-in structures
• Heating and cooling in the barn
• An overlook deck for parents to observe
The bigger property will allow Shields to welcome more students into her horse training, riding academy and boarding programs. As a single mom, she and her two girls consider this a family business with both children aspiring to be professional riders and trainers.
Horse Trainer First
Shield’s first love is horse training, and she’s known in the industry for her problem-solving skills with difficult horses. She realized around the age of 12 that she had a gift. “I would say I learned most of what I know intuitively from just being a kid, just being around horses and watching the herd, seeing how they work and communicate with each other … It’s given me a big insight into how they think and what they’re thinking … what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are,” she said.
Shields believes wholeheartedly in passing her skills on to others. Children who are interested in horse training and instruction can apprentice with her.
Riding Academy Welcomes Children and Adults
At the riding academy, students can choose from hunter, jumper and dressage lessons, and Shields accepts both competition and non-competition students. She sets goals for them based on their abilities and interests and then structures the classes, so those goals can be met. Because the horse industry, especially competition, can be intense, Shields emphasizes healthy relationships and good sportsmanship with respect shown to judges and other competitors.
Each student is immersed in a well-rounded program that covers healthcare of the horses and barn knowledge, including pasture
management, feeding instruction and cost management. Lara Cooney’s daughter, Katie, is a student at the academy, and Lara appreciates the quality of instruction. “Katie has not only improved her riding skills, but she has also learned how to care for the horses,” she said. “It has really improved her work ethic.”
Special classes and clinics are also available for those who want to pursue the business of horses. “The best thing you can do as a teacher is to open their eyes to how things are. When I was growing up, no one would tell you how much things cost,” she said.
The final piece of the business includes boarding horses with the stipulation that the boarders are part of the training program. “My strength comes from training horses and training the people,” she said. “A rider is either helping to continue the training (of the horse) or is undoing the training.”
Overall, Shields and her family are thrilled with their new facility. “I was lucky to be the one who got it,” Shields said.
For information on horse training, the riding academy or boarding, visit sterlingshieldsstables.com.