Birch Bend Farm

Birch Bend Farm


What time do we need to be there tomorrow for the boozy show?
As parents we get caught up in and focus 100% on our kids and watching them grow as riders, help them deal with the ups and downs you have in any sport, and also watch them bond with an animal over a period of time. However, I think it gets lost on us what the sport does for us as well. While we are spectators, we are also barn hands, horse catchers, water gatherers, tack personnel and so much more. We also partake in this sport in a whole different way, we are a team. We also bond with the animal in a different way than our children do, but I believe just as equally as important. When Kennedy decided she wanted to start this adventure, Courtney and I had no idea what to think or where this would take us. The three of us collectively had close to zero experience with horses, but Shannon was patient and an amazing coach to all of us. Fast forward 7 months and I am just as excited to go see this beautiful horse as much as Kennedy. Although I am not his owner, I still cherish spending time with this guy and being his “fill in surrogate” dad. Shannon I am forever grateful for you allowing me this opportunity and placing the trust you do have in me with not only Ghator but the rest of the awesome ponies you have! Cant wait to see what the future holds for this awesome farm.... #Ghator #Perry
Here are pics from today's show 😊
Natalia is SIX! We got to do her session at Birch Bend Farm today at one of her riding lessons. She is an absolute doll and watching her with Perry was perfection! Happy Birthday cute girl!
Did you know you can book HORSE sessions?! In partnership with Birch Bend Farm, we can take a venture out to the farm and have some fun with these beautiful animals! 🐎

Be sure to follow the farm on IG too for all their amazing events! 🙌🏻🖤🐎📸

Side note: BIRCH & ELM at Birch Bend Farm is located right there too! 🛍🙌🏻

Here at Birch Bend Farm we focus on horses, retreats, outdoor events and our lesson program

Operating as usual

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 07/30/2022

Today students had the opportunity to learn from Beth as she joined us for our last home show of the summer show series at the farm. We love shows that feel more like clinics

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 07/12/2022

When I was young my first horse Izzy was a firecracker. It took us years in the ring to make him the beautiful well polished horse he is today. Many miles we put on him at home, quiet talks by the pond, schooling clinics and lessons where I questioned if all of it was worth it. I kept pushing through believing in my horse because of the bond and commitment we had made to each other. This last weekend I got to witness the start of the same journey in our girl Shelby and couldn’t help but share in the celebration. Layla is the sweetest mare at home or on my farm training. She’s a willing worker who wants to please and has beautiful movement but as a former rail ridden only horse she doesn’t quite understand why she is the only horse in the arena for dressage tests. Her anxiety rises and she panics. Time and time again I have watched Shelby rise to every occasion though loving her horse through these tough moments encouraging her that she too can be a dressage horse no matter how hard it may be. This weekend Shelby and Layla took home Reserve Champion in Sporthorse! To say I PROUD is an understandment! Your hard work is paying off Shelby! Keep going, keeping loving on Layla and one day you will have your Izzy ❤️

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 07/12/2022

We had a great CMHA weekend! The weather was perfect and our students had a blast ❤️❤️❤️


These two looked stunning in the ring last Saturday! To watch their growth together this past year has been incredible. Way to go Kendyl and Izzy ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 06/25/2022

🤩🤩We had such an amazing time today 🤩🤩 Thank you to all the amazing families who participated in our second show of the series today! We couldn’t be more proud of our students and all their progress

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 06/16/2022

CMHA standings for the first show weekend of the series are out! I cannot begin to tell you how incredibly PROUD I am of our team. The scores show just how much growth has been happening and how hard the students are working to achieve their goals✨Each student has given their all, been a team player and repeatedly shown progress above my expectations. Well done to all that participated! - Shannon Dunlap

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 06/13/2022

CMHA Weekend Highlights ✨ We couldn’t be more proud of our team this weekend! Our students finished with multiple tests in the high 60s, ribbons and smiles galore! It was a fun filled weekend had by all ❤️

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 06/12/2022

Words cannot express how proud I am of each student and family who joined us for the first day of this CMHA show series! Teamwork is everything ❤️

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 06/09/2022

We are so excited to be back in the ring this weekend for the first CMHA dressage show of the series for 2022 ❤️ Can’t wait to cheer our students on!


It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood❤️


Cece’s eyes sparkled this week as she practiced her sporthorse pattern in her lesson ♥️ Ghator looked pretty happy himself!

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 05/23/2022

It’s been a busy couple of weeks preparing for the summer show season! Our students are on count down to our first CMHA dressage show of the season June 10-12. If you have a passionate show kid looking for a new barn DM us we have a couple of lesson spots available for our next session ❤️

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 05/21/2022

We have a couple spots left open for our first summer lesson session! DM us if you have interest. If you reserved a spot but didn’t pay by yesterdays due date please note we’ve opened that spot back up for new students!

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 05/20/2022

Our sweet Emma graduated high school last night✨ She will be off to Albion College in the fall to ride and compete on their show team. Ms Violet gets to go to Albion too!! If you’ve been blessed by Emma’s teaching and would like to celebrate her graduation we cordially invite you out to the farm on June 4 11a-2p for a celebration of her high school graduation and wish her well on her new adventure at Albion!


There is nothing more rewarding than after teaching a year of flat work with a student watching them thrive over their first set of combined jumps at the canter. This is what progress looks like.. there’s no fast track way to learn how to ride over fences you must first learn to ride between fences. It takes lots of consistent dressage training. Now Kate & I get to watch her blossom as she learns how to ride the distance to and over the fence properly. What an amazing first combination. Way to go Kate!

As a child I was taught this thought process of flat work being the ultimate foundation no matter what your trying to accomplish with your horse. Thank you Manuel for teaching me well. I’m so grateful to now pass it on to our riders.

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 05/15/2022

Summer Registration is OPEN! Current students are entering week 5 and we are so excited about the start of our first six week summer session. We will be teaching Monday- Thursday evenings limited space is available. If you are interested in renewing or are new to our facility please DM for more details!


Today we opened up the back pasture for the first time this spring. I love to see happy horses enjoying the day ✨


These two had such a fun time last night with Emma during their lesson. Tori learned how to bathe properly. We believe in having well rounded students by exposing them to care opportunities as much as riding is our focus it’s so important that they understand over all care duties. Izzy was thrilled he got to have a spa day 🎉❤️🎉


Kate had her one year riding anniversary in April. She is one of the most determined riders we teach. Even during a challenge she always rides her heart out to work towards her goals. Her equitation is supple and effective… we are so pleased with the relationship she has with Izzy! It’s a match made in heaven ❤️


Reminder: No lessons this week due to the horse show over the weekend. If you are not a show student please DM us to make up this weeks lesson ❤️

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 04/23/2022

We started the show season off right with our first home show! Congratulations to all of our amazing students on a job well done today! You make us so proud! Thank you to our parents for your commitment to your students and to our wonderful judge Sally!


Breech color options!!

Interested in learning about the new dressage attire rules? Technical Delegates Lisa Gorretta & Jean Kraus review & discuss changes to the USEF Dressage Attire Rules - DR 120, which went into effect 12/1/2021, including visual guides to help you decide what to wear in the ring. USDF members can login & watch it here:


❤️ An Open Letter to An Industry I Love ❤️

It all started as a young child wide eyed at the opportunity to ride at my local stables. My parents sacrificed so much of their time weekly to watch me train. As a teenager, I mucked stalls at two facilities daily for the opportunity to own my very own horse and show. The sacrifice was immense but every bit of it was worth it. Over the next couple of decades, I worked in corporate America to hustle enough to make the biggest purchase of my life; the farm where my horses and I reside today. It has been my mission to encourage and support young students like myself so that the next generation of riders could experience the joy of taking their lease pony in the arena to show off all that they worked so hard for.

Over the couple of years feed costs have increased 40%, Electricity costs increased 30% and township taxes are over $583 a month with property values continuing to rise increasing the tax burden for owners/trainers. This is all before we take into account that the purchase price of a small facility like mine is between $400,000- 600,000. That mortgage costs over $2000 a month by itself.

What hasn’t changed over the years is the cost of lesson sessions, horse show stable fees, and board. I have personally watched as many of my fellow trainers have closed up shop, stopped boarding horses and teaching for steady pay in traditional jobs. This is because each of us are running now on a deficient due to an overwhelming rise in costs of operation. I wish I could say this is not an industry standard but it is at this point. I’ve spoken repeatedly to other trainers who are taking losses sometimes in the excess of $50,000- $75,000 a year because of these costs. None of us are independently wealthy and able to sustain long term these kind of loses. We work hard to find ways to cut costs without sacrificing care so that we can continue to provide a happy healthy place for students to learn!

To the parents who continue to invest in their childs dream whether at our facility or another’s like ours we THANK YOU for your on time payments, volunteered support/help around the farm and your commitment to the future of this sport. We do not take it lightly the support you have given us and the continued commitment you make to furthering this sport. To my fellow trainer friends we see you, we are with you and we too are concerned about these rising costs but will continue to press forward to raise up the next generation of amazing riders as long as we can!


Trainers Everywhere

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 04/21/2022

Tonight Shelby & Maddi worked together to prepare for their Sporthorse Class! Our first home show is this Saturday ❤️ we can’t wait to enjoy the beautiful weather and see our students shine ✨ 💕


Easter Bunny Impersonator looking for carrots 🥕 😂 If Layla isn’t the cutest thing you’ve ever seen I don’t know what is! Happy Easter friends ❤️

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 04/14/2022

Tori has been with riding with us almost 10 months. She started out in group lessons on Ghator and quickly picked up how to cruise through patterns at the trot learning to use her cues to guide Ghator. Last night she decided she wanted to challenge herself. She said what about canter Ms Shannon. I said well that’s a whole new gate we have to learn. Her eyes were sparkling as she said can we do that today ✨ I love it when our young ones build up the courage to try something new. I said well absolutely! This is her first try at cantering folks ❤️ she was beaming so proud of herself and Ghator. There is nothing that brings me more joy than seeing kids grow. Tori you are our student of the week! So very proud of you!!!

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 04/10/2022

Congratulations to all of our high point winners from the CMHA Dressage series 2021 🎉🎉 we were missing a couple of our students who were unable to attend but even so it was a great day celebrating all of our hard work in 2021 now onward to our 2022 show season!

Shout out to our winners 🎉🎉🎉
Lilly & York
Emma & Violet & Perry
Jessica & Izzy
Shannon & Perry
Maddi & Perry


Reminder: We start week six today of our current session! Students who have registered for the next session payment is due this week by Friday!


⭐️ REVISED Show Schedule ⭐️

We are so excited to host our judge Ian Baese for our home show series this year! This will be an excellent time of learning and build confidence as our students prepare for our summer show scheudle! If you are curious what we are all about this is a great time to visit the farm!! Below are the revised ride times for April 23 🎉🎉

Photos from Birch Bend Farm's post 04/05/2022

Congratulations to our girl Shelby on the purchase of Layla! We are so excited for this pairs journey ahead and this years show season is going to be amazing! Layla gets to stay with us for a couple months while the Tanners work on their new farm so we plan to get as much training done as possible during her stay! Seeing Shelby’s face light up today as she learned how to lunge her new horse made my day… so excited for them both ❤️


Perry is so cute! I swear he was staring me down as we tacked up yesterday! This horse is a mommas boy for sure❤️


Expectations vs reality play a huge role in whether or not you and your new horse will be successful. If the expectation is to buy a horse, have the trainer do the “hard” work and just come out to “see him and ride” your horse will be bonded to the trainer not you. Horses mind those in authority roles who clearly demand respect not through might but through active engagement. If you are having trouble with your horse I ask that you reflect on how much you work with him.

It is not enough to just purchase the horse and expect that the horse bonds with you because you bring him treats. It takes work people! Followed by more hard work. I have seen too many riders claim they have an out of control horse to tell me that they come to ride twice a week for an hour. Owning a horse is a commitment that goes way beyond riding. Ground manners are taught not expected and reenforced through solid consistent training. Even our best horses given no guidance will regress. Owning a well trained horse is a commitment that many do not take seriously and quite frankly expect others to do all the heavily lifting. I’ve seen fantastic horses with such potential ruined by inexperience and lack of commitment. No one wakes up and suddenly their horse is amazing. No it takes years of consistent training, consistent ground work and consistent quality feed/hay. That’s the basics.

Nothing with horses happens overnight. Also find a trainer who invests in their training. So many times I see people afraid to admit they train and are trained. This past weekend myself and another trainer Kathy from Bay City gladly sat under Claudia Coley to learn new pointers from her. You are never to old or too wise to learn from someone else. I will take home so many new things to work on with my horses, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to learn.

Moral of the story- the moment you think you know everything or expect someone else to do all the hard work with your horse is the moment you my friends are in trouble. The difference between good and great is a lot of hard work. The commitment is long but the rewards are bountiful ❤️

Videos (show all)

There is nothing more rewarding than after teaching a year of flat work with a student watching them thrive over their f...
Tori has been with riding with us almost 10 months. She started out in group lessons on Ghator and quickly picked up how...
This week Kendyl is learning in her equitation class how to collect, refine and properly use cues to ask Izzy to move fo...
No matter where you are in your riding career keep pushing, keep training and keep learning. Parents ask me all the time...
Today we continued our training with violet as we teach her to build her top line and carry herself through her stride. ...
Congratulations to our Charleigh girl on the purchase today of Mr. Frank! Oh my goodness we are SO over the moon excited...
Kendyl & Izzy built trust strengthening their relationship as they worked to establish collection and pace through their...
Happy Thursday Friends 😂 last night during the rain storm I found this runaway feasting on hay in the indoor. At 25 year...
Sweet & Sassy this pair has blossomed over the summer and into our latest fall session. Cowboy came to us in July; he is...
Cyanne came to us last winter as a quiet 10 year old who loved animals and wanted to try something new. She quickly lear...



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