Please introduce us to you and your family.
Hi my name is Caroline Flynn-Côté. I’m a local Ridgefield mom and happily married to my high-school sweetheart John Côté. Most days, we split our time between the riding ring and the ice hockey rink, balancing the passions of both our son Hudson (8), an AAA hockey player for Westchester Express, and daughter Brynn (5), who shares my love for horses and already competes with her pony, George.
Tell us the story behind Stone Ridge Equestrian that operates out of Stony Lane Farm.
Horses have always been an important part of my life. I started riding at age three thanks to my Aunt Donna, the former owner of the “Red Barn” on Briar Ridge Road in Ridgefield where she kept her horse, Encore. It’s incredible to think we’ll soon be celebrating the one-year anniversary of our boutique, family-owned equestrian business right where it all began!
We see that your equine roots span over several decades-please educate our readers on your expertise.
I began my professional career working for Olympic Silver Medalist Peter Leone at Lion Share Farm. I continued to work for several other prominent Westchester and Fairfield County facilities, and focused on teaching and managing various training programs until I finally landed at JT Farm (Jimmy and Ellen Toon). It was through this opportunity that I inherited the horses who are the backbone of Stone Ridge’s lesson program today.
Tell us about the services you offer to your boarders/riders.
Stone Ridge Equestrian offers lessons to riders of all ages and abilities. Students are matched accordingly based on skill level. We are located at 260 North Street just a few minutes from town, and only 15 minutes from Old Salem Farm, a premier show facility. We have clients from Ridgefield, Wilton, Briarcliff, Bedford — and even Brooklyn, NY!
What does your facility offer that sets it apart from the abundance of local farms in our area?
~Quality, care and safety are what set us apart from other programs. Our horses and ponies are treated like gold. They get the highest quality feed, supplements, vet care, and monthly chiropractic work and acupuncture. We invest in our animals so they can help teach the next generation safely and effectively. Horses need routine medical care and maintenance, just like professional athletes.
~Most lesson programs don’t offer students the opportunity to show quality horses at premier venues. Stone Ridge has an amazing roster of high-quality horses and ponies, some of which are also available as flexible lease options, giving riders the opportunity to improve consistency and compete.
~As a mom, I pride myself on being patient and loving. I know when to push a student, and when to keep lessons light. Most of all, I know how to keep things fun. It’s important to me that students learn how to ride correctly. I have a well-rounded perspective, having ridden both Western and English, and like to incorporate pieces from each discipline into every lesson.
~I’m also known for hosting some fun evening adult classes (let’s just say that wine and cheese is involved!). Stay tuned as we launch a new series soon.
What piece(s) of advice would you give to parents seeking equine programs for their young riders.
I always tell parents, “you get what you pay for in this sport.” It’s quality versus quantity. You want to make sure the animal your child or you is sitting on in good health and has experience. Just because it’s a good horse doesn’t mean it’s appropriate for a lesson program. All of our horses and ponies have been there, done that, and are glorified babysitters in the proverbial sense. At Stone Ridge, we want students to have a positive experience.
Sadly, there is no “cheap” way to ride. The cost of caring for horses has gone up just like most everything else in this economy. If it’s too good to be true, it usually is!
However, I will say that the barn is a safe place and keeps kids out of trouble. Getting your child involved with horses teaches resilience, compassion, team work, accountability and empathy.
Please provide our audience with a brief introduction to some of your horses at the farm or even one very special one.
At the heart of our program are Spoon, Pippen and George. They are “tried-and-true citizens,” having shown up and down the East Coast at all the major venues with many accolades behind them. I can honestly say they are the only school horses of their caliber in Fairfield in Westchester County. Stone Ridge also has other horses in the barn available for lease.
260 North St. Ridgefield, CT 06877