Barn Buzz

Featuring regional stables and trainers.


Kibler Shamrock Farms
3614 Rocky River Road South, Monroe, NC.

There are 8 stalls in the main barn with 20 stalls around the property in run in shelters. The 8 large pastures and 1 rehab paddock provide ample outdoor time for all the horses at the farm.  Lessons cost $60 for a private one hour lesson and board ranges from $500 pasture board – $750 stall board, Kibler Shamrock also offers several training packages ranging from $400-$750 a month.

A little history about Kibler Shamrock?
Shamrock was started by John and Diane Kibler, and their daughter Stephanie Shepard.  Stephanie attended NCSU with a BS in Animal Science and the farm was built shortly after her graduation.  She is the current barn manager.  Melissa Ingram graduated from Clemson with a BS in Equine Business and currently works as the assistant barn manager.  We also have several weekend helpers and a working student who work alongside one of the more qualified staff.


Brett Ingram
Bret Ingram is originally from Monroe, NC but spent most of his childhood in Charleston, SC.  He spent 4 years in Germany working with many dressage and event trainers such as Andrew Hoy, Joachim Weiss, and Martin Plewa.  Brett earned his bronze and silver medals as well as his FEI Trainer A certification.  He also had the opportunity to train and show up to the Grand Prix level while in Germany.  Brett returned to Monroe in 2009 and has been teaching and training since.  Brett is happy to work with any level rider; however, most of the students on the farm are young event riders or adult amateur dressage riders.  We attend everything from small schooling shows to rated events and clinics.

Stephanie Shepard
Stephanie Shepard grew up riding saddlebreds at Misty Meadows but switched to hunters during college.  She has two children, Owen, 8, and Lyla, 5. She lives right around the corner from the farm and is able to respond to emergencies after normal working hours.  John has “semi-retired” from daily activities on the farm, but is usually down in the barn making conversation and helping out with the big jobs.  The Kibler’s enjoy meeting new boarders and clients and helping care for their horses.  They are sticklers for cleanliness and regularly maintain their riding arenas.  It is apparent that they truly care about the horses because they feed high quality feed and hay year-round despite the high costs in the winter.  The farm does take 1-2 horses at a time that need specialized care for rehabilitation.


What makes Monroe an ideal location for your barn and training operation?
Monroe is a great location because we are close enough to Charlotte for boarders to have an easy commute, yet far enough out of town to benefit our horses.  Our farm is very peaceful, constantly has wildlife, and the horses are able to be turned out despite the weather due to the fact we have plenty of land to turn out on.

Fond showing memories?
We always have a great time at shows.  We have a great group of riders who all chip in when it comes to showing, which always makes for a great experience as the trainer.  I think everyone enjoys going to Aiken the most, because they usually get the chance to try swimming their horses for the first time.  That is ALWAYS a memorable experience!

If you could offer one piece of advice to a young rider, what would it be?_PAT9056-w500-h500
If I could tell any young rider just one thing, it would be to work for what you want.  There is no instant gratification in horses, and I think that many young riders have a hard time seeing that.  The only way to get better at riding is to ride, ride, and ride some more.

What are some ideal traits you look for in your dressage horses?
When I look at a young or green horse, I want to see natural, uphill movement that will make it easy for them to do the job.  Of course, confirmation is important as well, or the horse won’t be able to hold up for the job.  It’s also very important for the horse to have an eager attitude with a willingness to work and please.

What makes Kibler horses special?
They are all very spoiled.  Since we have plenty of staff on-site all day, they typically get checked on 5-6 times per day, and usually get more than their fair share of attention.  This includes little things like balmex on white noses in the summer, hosing off if they are sweating in the pasture, replacing the fly masks that inevitably get taken off multiple times each day,  consistent and regular changing of blankets in the winter, and of course the mares demand their hay under the sheds whenever it is raining.

kibler ring-w500-h500What traits do you look for in your riders?
Dedication.  I strongly believe that no matter how green or mislead a rider is when they begin training with me, the progress they will make all depends on how dedicated they are to making it happen.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing a student who truly wants to become a better rider.  These students typically make more sacrifices along the way, but at the end of the day, I find myself willing to make personal sacrifices just to see those students succeed.  As a trainer, it is hard for me to watch talented students slip through the cracks.  Unfortunately this does happen, because ultimately it is up to each student to put forth the dedication it takes to succeed.

What’s the number one thing you think all dressage riders should know how to do?
I believe that all dressage riders, really all riders in general, need to understand how to let go of their personal troubles before getting on a horse.  Horses don’t understand that we’re having a bad day, or holding tension due to a bad ride yesterday.  They only understand how to react to what is being asked of them at that moment, and they deserve a consistent and fair ride every time we get on their backs.  It is human nature to harbor the bad energy we’ve carried home from work, or from the fight we had with our spouse or children, but it is not the horses’ nature.  If we could learn to let go of all that mental tension, I believe we would all have much more enjoyable rides.Cruise full gallop-w500-h500

Any funny stories from owning and operating a barn?
Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about operating the barn by myself.  We have a great team that works together.  We are a “do-it-yourself” kind of barn, which means that when we decided we wanted to build a half-wall around the covered arena, we literally did it ourselves.  Let’s just say this meant a lot of all nighters with cold pizza and Red Bull.  The end project turned out great, but it took three weeks of non-stop work.  Every time one of us comes up with another great idea for an addition, we’re a little more careful to think about what we’re getting into.

Can you talk about any of your horses in more detail?
We don’t have any horses with crazy outgoing personalities, but I think our mares are much more telling than our geldings.  Several of our mares will do all of their carrot stretches (bend left, bend right, stretch between their legs) if you simply stand in front of them and show them a carrot.  We also have a gelding who LOVES to have his tongue scratched.  I’m still not sure how he learned that he enjoys that, but he sticks it out for you to scratch every time you approach his face.


Photos provided by Sims Hill Farm

Number of stalls: 20, matted and well ventilated
Number of pastures: 9
Roundpen: 1
Individual Turnout: Yes
Cost of lessons: $85
Cost of ship-in lessons: $125
Cost of board: 2 options:
Full care – $1450/month
Partial care – $1000/month
Arena: 225 x 145 arena with Geo Textile footing
Access to trails: Yes

A little history about Sims Hill Farm
Sims Hill opened in May 2012. The farm is owned by the Johnson Family. Built on almost 21 beautiful acres in Waxhaw, the farm is located just south of downtown Waxhaw. The land was originally owned by the Sims family (who raised 11 children in that 3 bedroom house!) many years ago, and also happens to be at the highest elevation south of Richmond. This is how the “Sims Hill Farm” name was established.

Trainer, Mike HenaghanScreenshot_2015-11-05-09-43-55-1-w500-h500
Mike brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and horsemanship to our program. He has trained many top winning equestrians, including 2 – time Olympic gold medalist Beezie Madden, Allison Firestone, Ray Texel and Darren Graziano. He has had multiple students win the Medal, Maclay and USET Talent Search Finals, Pony Medal Finals, the USEF Pony Hunter Championship, Pennsylvania National Horse Show, Washington International Horse Show, and Young Riders Championships. He is a five time national pony medal champion trainer. He has brought so much to our program and pays attention to every detail during every lesson and is an incredible horseman.

Fond Showing Memories
Mike had the honor to show at the “Old Riders Championships” in Bern, Switzerland and Schruns, Austria making up the team with Bert and Diana Firestone, and winning the silver medal both times.

Screenshot_2015-11-05-09-40-18-1-w500-h500If you could offer one piece of advice to a young rider, what would it be?
“Stay determined to learn, knowledge is available, seek it. And don’t forget to sleep with your heels down!!!”

What are some ideal traits you look for in your show horses?
Temperament, jumping style and ability, movement and athleticism.

What makes Sims Hill horses special?
They are relaxed, happy in their work and training, and they have a more natural life.

What traits do you look for in your riders?
Desire to learn, strong work ethic, and talent.

What’s the number one thing you think all riders should know how to do?Screenshot_2015-11-05-09-44-43-1-w500-h500
Riders should understand the importance of proper flatwork. Correct flatwork increases the horse’s fitness and body conditioning and increases a rider’s ability to work more effectively over fences.”

Can you talk about any of your horses in more detail?
All of the horses at Sims Hill Farm are special in their own way. One that really stands out is Hennessey. He is coming 18 years old, has a heart of gold, still loves to compete and has succeeded in everything from the Olympic Games to the Young Riders Championship. He really enjoys his job every single day. Mado says his favorite snack is Sour Cream and Onion potato chips!


Hidden Ponds Equestrian Centre
2902 Trinity Church Road
Monroe, NC 28110

Here’s some history of Hidden Pond
Kim Rodden has owned the Hidden Pond property for about 20 years. At first, it is where she kept her show and training horses, and at that point, she was showing a lot both in and out of state; she didn’t want the responsibility for any boarders and focused on her own horses. When she first bought the farm, it was broken down with little fencing, so she rebuilt the barn, fenced in the pasture, and built the arena. Later, she bought the ten acres next to her and had the trees cut down to make more pasture land. She then got married had children, and as her daughter began to show, she began to open up her barn to students and boarders. She thought it was a great opportunity for her to use her skill and knowledge to help others with their love of horses. Hidden Pond gives beginner to advanced lessons, goes to shows local and away, has camps over the summer, does special outings, and has clinics at the farm.

A little history about Kim Rodden?
She got her first horse when she was twelve and has been hooked ever since. She has IMG_4095-w500-h500ridden and shown Western, but jumping is her real love; she says there is nothing like it just being you, your horse, and the times. Sher and her dad would load up the trailer with the horses and head to shows weekend after weekend with her trainer, Wayne Lowrey. She had the greatest experience going to England and riding there, and some of the best times of her life were either on a horse or in the truck going to horse shows. Her daughter now shows and is successful in the children’s hunters, but they have a jumper at home being trained for her to start showing.

What makes Waxhaw/Monroe the ideal location for your barn and training operation?
I chose Monroe because I love the country. It’s a ways out there, and some people think it’s too far, but I don’t want people and houses around me. I love seeing the trees and pasture land. It’s starting to build up a little out my way, but it is still nice and quiet.

IMG_4092-w500-h500What are some fond showing memories?
Some of my most favorite memories are the times when my dad and I were traveling. That time with him was priceless. I didn’t always have the best horses in the beginning, but that was fine because it made me into the rider she is today. Anyone can ride a dead broke horse that does everything for you. I did end up with some fabulous horses that I won a lot on. For instance, one of my jumpers, Gatsby, was one of the winningest horses in Ocala. Another great showing memory is when I got her first pony and took him to her grandma’s for Christmas. There was a ton of snow on the ground, and I will remember that forever like it was just yesterday. I have also made many great friends through showing, and though horse friends go away for a while, you always seem to cross paths again later in life.

What’s it like heading to shows on weekends with young riders?
Shows have always been fun for me. Loading up a bunch of teenage girls and preteens make them even more fun. I think it’s great to see what I’ve taught them to come out and to watch them excel in the classes they are showing in; it brings back a lot of memories.

If you could offer one piece of advice to a young rider, what would it be?IMG_4096-w500-h500
My advice to kids is to have confidence in themselves and ride like they know how to ride and to be patient because nothing is going to go or happen as quickly as you want it to.

What are some ideal traits you look for in your horses?
I mostly looks for honesty in my horses. I want a horse that tries no matter what and that won’t flip out on you. The best horse I ever had wasn’t flashy like everyone wanted but was very honest; I went to try him and ran him right into an oxer, but he came back and jumped it even better. I also prefer geldings over mares, but that doesn’t keep me from looking at mares.

What makes Hidden Ponds horses special?
Hidden Pond horses are special because they all have a great brain. Some, especially the mares, can be sassier than others, but that makes better riders out of my students – they are not allowed to get off just because the horse is being sassy. They have to ride through it. I use the more broken horses for beginners and the more advanced horses for the more advanced riders. I also doesn’t over use the horses, so they don’t ring sour and stay sound.

What traits do you look for in your teams and riders?
I want my riders to have a goal, to have the desire to reach that goal, and to work hard for IMG_4091-w500-h500it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

What are some funny stories from your earlier riding years?
The funniest stories from my earlier riding years are some of the dumb and unsafe things I would do with her horses. I would get on bareback, no halter, no helmet, jump, and switch horses while trotting. Now a mom, I realize how unsafe those things were, but I would probably do it all over again.

What are a few details about some of your horses?
The oldest horse I have in the barn is my jumper Rafferty. He is 23, and I am trying to keep him fit so he will stay sound. He loves people and is always sticking his head out to be petted or to get a cookie (he’s almost obnoxious about it). He is the old man and king of the barn; he gets brought in first and put out last, because otherwise he bites and goes after other horses. He goes out by himself, but he is so big he just reaches over the walk way. If he doesn’t get his way, he starts running outside or in his stall. He is one of my most favorite horses I have ever had. Hidden Pond also has a huge variety of different horses with all different personalities that make them as special as they are.