Stone Ledge Farm is a premier Morgan Horse training and academy stable in northern Illinois. James and Becky Gruenberg opened Stone Ledge Farm in the spring of 2000. For almost 20 years, they have worked together training and showing Morgan horses, as well as launching a lesson and summer camp program. In addition to our training program, we offer an extensive academy program and brokerage services.
James and Becky opened Stone Ledge Farm with the hope to fill its aisles and stalls with good people and good horses, and to spread the joy and satisfaction of being involved with the Morgan horse. Together, they have trained numerous champions for the show ring. In addition to training and showing, James and Becky enjoy giving back to the horse community. James is currently the President of the Jubilee Morgan Horse Show, and Becky serves on the USEF Saddle Seat Equitation committee.
MEET OUR STAFF
Becky is from Rockford, Illinois and adopted her love for horses from her mother and older sisters. As a youngster, she trained with Stan and Paulette Bodnar of Merriehill Farm and then went on to pursue her saddle seat equitation goals with Sandy Sessink at Old Orchard Farm in South Lyon, Michigan, where she was the 1994 Saddle Seat Equitation 16-17Grand National Champion, Senior Saddle Seat Equitation Reserve World Champion, Top 3 AMHA Saddle Seat Gold Medal Finals and Reserve Champion in the UPHA Challenge Cup. After high school, Becky attended Iowa State University, then moved to Michigan to be the assistant trainer at Old Orchard.
Academy Program Director
Christie is an Illinois native who has been riding horses nearly her entire life, and has been competing in various disciplines for almost 20 years. Growing up with Morgans, Christie has successfully competed in hunt seat, western pleasure, showmanship, equitation, in-hand and reining. She has worked alongside top trainers in the Morgan horse industry from a very early age and hopes to carry on in their tradition of promoting the breed and helping young equestrians develop their passion for horses.
She also has an extensive background in teaching and in small business operations. Christie worked as a teaching assistant at DePaul University, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology, while chalking up experience as a teaching assistant. This position inspired her desire and knack for teaching, following her through several iterations, such as outdoor recreation and safety skills as a certified rock climbing instructor, to today as the Academy Program Director at Stone Ledge. She is also a Safe Sport Certified Instructor. Christie has successfully managed and launched several small businesses and hope that her background will help the Stone Ledge Academy program to flourish for years to come.
Kendra is a freshman nursing major at Bradley University, specializing in neonatal and labor and delivery. She has been riding for 11 years and has always loved horses. She is passionate about riding, and has show ring experience, although her favorite time in the saddle is spent out on the trail. She herself has spent many weeks at summer horse camp growing up and Kendra is excited to be part of our very enthusiastic and experienced Summer Camp team!
James, a Michigan native, grew up working with horses as well as dairy cattle. He was involved in the local FFA, serving as president of his chapter in addition to being involved, and placing highly, in state judging competitions. His family owned and showed many hackney ponies and stock horses in harness, showmanship, pleasure and gaming classes. After high school, James attended Saginaw Valley State University and took an assistant trainer position at Ken-Mar Training Center.
Taylor has been surrounded by horses her entire life as the daughter of James and Becky, and watched her parents build Stone Ledge Farm from the ground up. She has competed on the National and World level of horseback riding under the instruction of her parents, and she also taught riding lessons prior to furthering her education at Carroll University, where she is currently getting her degree in Elementary Education. Taylor is looking forward to a summer filled with fun activities and a lot of learning about the Morgan breed at our Summer horse camps!
Abby Bennett is a senior at Hononegah High School where she participates in the marching band, concert band, is a section leader for her instrument and is a part of the National Honors Society. She has been riding horses at Stone Ledge for almost 11 years, and has been teaching for two. She has shown with SLF for many years, beginning with the lesson horses she still works beside today. She began volunteering at Horse Camps as soon as she was able, and has been an integral part of our camps since their inception. We are thrilled that she stepped up to take this opportunity to run our camp this year!
Bailey has been in love with horses since the tender age of five. Although she was the only one in her family with a passion for horses, she had very supportive parents who encouraged her dream. They taught her that in order to get what you want, you have to work hard every day for it. When she was 15, she was given the opportunity to buy her first horse, Naomi. Her parents told her that she could get a horse, but they weren’t spending a single dime on it. Driven by her passion, Bailey worked every day after school feeding and cleaning stalls and whatever odd jobs she could do to make this horse her own. Now, seven years later, Naomi has a brother named Doug. Bailey’s career at Stone Ledge Farm began three years ago as a part time groom. Growing up trail riding, she was mostly self-taught and never had any formal training. Proper riding and equitation were foreign concepts to her. But she realized she could learn and grow at SLF and with the encouragement and education from Becky and Jamie, along with blood, sweat and tears, she is no longer just a groom—she is the Assistant Trainer at SLF and living her dream every day.
Gretchen has been a horsewoman since the tender age of 8 years old. She began with 4-H and open shows, and spent her childhood trail and recreational riding with friends on Appaloosa and Quarter Horses. At 14, she began working at Crestfield Morgans in Illinois, where she became familiar with the Morgan breed and stepped up to the higher levels of showing at the USEF rated events. She began to breed Morgan horses once out of college and has enjoyed national success with her Maple Rose prefixed horses. The first Morgan born on her farm, Maple Rose Ty One On, became a multi-titled World Champion with the help of Stone Ledge Farm. Ty also carried her first born to compete in her first National competition, just as he did for Gretchen 10 years prior. An RN by trade and a part-time Riding Instructor at SLF, she is CPR certified, a Safe Sport certified Instructor and is also a certified Equine Massage Therapist. Gretchen’s mantra: “I call horses ‘divine mirrors’ – they reflect back the emotions you put in. If you put in love and respect and kindness and curiosity, the horse will return that.” —Allen Hamilton
Kacy Lawver is currently attending Rock Valley College for Business. She is a photographer who takes many of the beautiful photos featured here on our website, and she owns a horse named “Ace” (Hells Bells CH). Kacy has been riding at Stone Ledge for 12 years and showing for eight years. She has been a horse camp volunteer for eight years and is over the moon about her new post as a Camp Director this year.
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