Valley Ridge Farm
Valley Ridge Farm is pleased to provide a sampling of the testimonials we have received from our valued clients over the years. As West Virginia’s premier equestrian educational, training, and boarding facility, our goal is to assist each individual by providing the same exceptional level of care and service that we have offered since we opened our barn doors 39 years ago.
A Place Where Friends Become Family
A Valley Ridge Farm Alum Perspective – “I learned how to ride at VRF starting at age 6 on Q tip, Babe, Banjo, and Joker. I remember some of my riding lessons from that time, and even some of the falls (my joints remember them too!) But that’s not what I remember most clearly. It’s the time spent with friends that became my family, chatting and laughing while mucking stalls, dumping frozen water buckets, unloading hay in 95 degree heat, bathing ponies, and cleaning lots and lots of tack. I learned to appreciate the amount of work it takes to be able to ride and care for these beautiful animals, all for the love of the horse.
When I started competing, I learned about the ups and downs of the sport. I learned about sportsmanship. I learned how to pick myself up when I fall down, even if I am embarrassed. I learned how to take care of myself so I could help my horse perform. I learned about disappointment, and how to come back more determined and to fight for the ride I want. Later on, I learned what it takes to lose a friend too soon. Most importantly, I learned to keep learning from every situation life presents.
This grit helped me excel in my professional career and forge my comeback to riding and showing after a nearly nine-year hiatus. This grit was instilled in me 25 years ago at VRF, along with a lifelong love of horses. And I’m forever grateful.
Pictures include: Q tip, Joker doing the short stirrup, Monday jumping at Hartwood or Upperville, Walking the Jr. Jumpers with Chad and Michele at Culpepper, Gayle and Gretchen at Culpepper, and my recent horses: Sawyer, Luna, and Oscar. I’m a lucky girl to have these horses and people in my life.”
– Girls with GRIT
Fun Lessons – Recommended For Riders of All Levels
“Michele Koury is an amazing trainer! I recently had the privilege of taking classes with her through WVU. Every week, students went to her farm and had a group lesson. I’ve been around horses my entire life, but I’ve learned so much from Ms. Koury in just that short amount of time. Her lessons are always a lot of fun! I’d definitely recommend her for any level rider!”
– Devan Mynes
“Michele Koury is the best trainer! We love the barn – and my horse loves the barn. They take great care of us and him! Highly recommend!”
– Julia Robb
Michele Made Me Who I Am Today
“I have been seeing all these wonderful photos and comments about girls with GRIT at VRF. I absolutely love seeing how they too have been positively influenced by such a wonderful sport and barn! I started riding with VRF when I was 12. Many of you know the beloved pony, Spud…. Well, he was my pony. Riding with Michele Tuoti Koury made me who I am today. She, along with the horses, taught me responsibility, respect, and to be a leader and team player. I was able to go from riding Mr. Spud to doing jumpers with my Warmblood Will. Life has taken me away from WV and VRF but I always come back and Michele always has a horse for me to ride. No barn has compared to VRF it will forever be my barn family and I miss it all the time. I am grateful that my daughter can come and visit and ride Spud. I am hoping she too can learn and have a positive influence through riding.”
-Erin Pastoria Larew
A Wonderful, Welcoming, and Safe Place to Get Back In Shape
“After taking some time off from riding, Valley Ridge Farm, Inc. has been a wonderful, welcoming, and safe place to get back in shape. Everyone is very friendly and helpful, and the horses are wonderfully taken care of. Michele relates well to all levels and ages of riders, and she does a great job making everyone feel like part of the team”
A Professional, Nurturing, and Caring Place For Your Child
“…I absolutely love Valley Ridge Farm!! My daughter started riding lessons about 15 months ago and so far, the entire experience has been wonderful. Michele Koury is a very knowledgeable instructor and is extremely talented teaching the lessons at Valley Ridge. Her support staff are also very talented and have been taught well by Michele. My daughter’s self-esteem and work ethic have developed quickly under the guidance of Michele and I highly recommend the educational environment she has established in her business for riders of all ages and levels of horsemanship. Valley Ridge is a place you want your child to go to and be nurtured and instructed in such a professional and caring way. I would not go anywhere else.”
“We came for the mini horse lesson today for my 4-year-old who didn’t stop smiling the whole time she rode! The worker was AMAZING with the small children! My 9-year-old also took a lesson with the owner while we were there and she was so awesome as well! Thank you so much for a great experience today! We will for sure be back!”
The BEST Horse Boarding and Most Knowledgeable Trainer
“Valley Ridge Farm is a FANTASTIC place. I boarded my mare there for two years before we had to move back to New York. I didn’t want to leave.
On riding/training: Trainer Michele is the most knowledgeable trainer I have ever worked with. She’s great at communicating with her riders, and fine tunes her explanations with examples to help you understand. She’s great at restoring and building confidence, and taught me and my horse Maggie a lot. She never pushed too hard and offers just the right amount of sternness to get the job done! I had great lessons every time and Maggie grew into an incredible athlete during her time there, and it was all thanks to Michele and the great riders she has there. If you want to become a great and confident rider, go with Michele.
On boarding: Throughout my years of owning horses, I have been at four different barns. I can honestly say that VRF is THE BEST boarding experience I have had. I always felt comfortable with Maggie there. I never felt like I had to be at the barn to make sure she was okay. Maggie was always super healthy and very happy at VRF. I always knew she was in great hands with Michele and the staff there. They pay attention to each and every horse and develop a personal relationship. Maggie was treated like a queen by all the staff, riders, trainers, and boarders alike.
On top of all this, the people at VRF are amazing. Everyone is very welcoming and non-judgmental. VRF is a warm and welcoming community and family of knowledgeable horse people who are serious about riding, horse health care, and happiness!
If you’re looking for a great hunter/jumper trainer and facility for yourself or horse, or just a great relaxing boarding facility, go to Valley Ridge! It’s THE BEST in West Virginia.”
Superior Riding Instruction and Excellent Horse Care – Exceptionally Clean & Safe
“We have been at VRF for two years and I don’t know one person or family who isn’t THRILLED with their entire experience. Whether riding for the first time or finding a home for your horse, VRF provides superior riding instruction coupled with excellent horse care in an exceptionally clean and safe environment.
Michele’s deep understanding of her trade and decades of experience is evident in every lesson. Her ability to naturally translate her profound depth of knowledge is specific to each rider, relative to their skill level. Each and every lesson has her undivided attention and commitment. When watching lessons, I’m always amazed at how technically consistent and attentive Michele’s coaching is, whether the lesson is individual or if there are multiple riders in the ring.
Is Michele a tough coach? You bet she is! And I wouldn’t want it any other way. She’s tough on her demands for safety both in and out of the ring, because the safety of each child and horse come first! Michele does not let the riders fall into bad habits or get sloppy or distracted. She is tough, fair and consistent and her riders improve dramatically as a result.
Not only are these riders learning exceptional technical skills, but Michele’s style of coaching naturally influences her riders in many other important ways. She is building their character by instilling self-confidence, responsibility, etiquette, work ethic and individuality. She teaches her riders the proper respect of the horses as well as the correct methods and manner to properly care for them. She keeps an exceptionally clean stable and barn and demands the same of each rider under her care. Michele leads by example and demonstrates the lesson that anything worth doing is worth doing right.
When my daughter began riding at VRF, I expected her to learn how to ride a horse well. What I didn’t expect was for her to learn these very important life lessons that are so positively shaping and developing her character!
With regard to price, I have done my homework. Is VRF competitively priced? The answer is yes. Absolutely. But quite honestly, even if it wasn’t, I wouldn’t care – because you can’t put a price on what both my daughter and I are learning. We have found a second family at VRF – the staff, other riders, and families are tremendously supportive of each other. A barn’s environment is made up of its people – and we are lucky to be a part of VRF. “
Amazing Place for Children to Grow Into Responsible Adults
“This is an amazing place for children to grow into responsible young adults. Michele Koury and her stellar staff tailor their lessons to the individual needs of each rider, younger and older.”
“My daughter and I have been at Valley Ridge Farm for over a year now. We initially came so that my daughter could participate on the Interscholastic Equestrian Team. It wasn’t long before we decided to make VRF home to our horse, too.
The barn is well run and I am always confident that my horse is receiving quality care. Although the board is higher than where we were before, there is really no comparison in the facilities and level of care, so I don’t even have to question the difference in cost. My horse’s stall is always clean, and he is seen regularly by the farrier. I don’t have to worry about his needs and I know he is in good hands.
My daughter has made so much progress in such a short time at VRF. Her trainer is very experienced, knowledgeable, and professional. She coached at the collegiate level for over 25 years, and has been a coach and trainer for over 30 years. It is obvious that she has a passion for what she does. My daughter has ridden many different school horses, and learned something new from each one. Every school horse in this barn has proven himself to be a valuable asset to the training program. The trainer knows the personality of each school horse, as most of them have been here for years, and she selects the appropriate horse for each rider’s ability and skill level. My daughter has worked her way up from the beginner horses to those appropriate for more advanced riders. After watching my daughter for a year, I decided to take lessons myself, something I always wanted to do when I was a kid but never had the opportunity. It has been a great experience and I am looking forward to many more years sharing this wonderful sport with my daughter.
My daughter participates in the working student program at VRF. She works an eight-hour Saturday and earns a free lesson. She is learning responsibility, team work, leadership skills, organization, and time management, in addition to equine care and barn management. The best part is, she doesn’t see it as work, because she loves spending time at the barn, and so do I.
The people at VRF, both employees and clientele, are a wonderful group of folks. We work together to run the IEA team and put on the home horse shows. The barn provides a very great place for young people to spend quality time, providing good role models and a wonderful peer group. The benefits to be gained from spending time at a place like VRF are immeasurable and will last a lifetime.”