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Candid testimonials from our students.

Our students range from young children to older seniors, some with years of horse riding experience and some with little or none. Regardless of this diverse range, we are committed to delivering a riding experience that is unique to each individual. Whether training for competition, perfecting horsemanship skills, or just riding for fun, we strive to make your riding enjoyable and memorable. Read the stories below from some of our students who decided to share their experiences with Colorado Equestrian Academy.

  • Kristen Wheeler is absolutely the best trainer I've ever had! Beyond having lesson horses perfect for every level of rider, she makes every lesson super rewarding. Every ride is a really positive experience, and I always leave super excited for the next ride! The facilities are beautiful, and different package options make it really affordable. I can't recommend it enough!
    Camille Glazer, pre-vet student at Colorado State University
  • Testimonial from Emily Faltermier
    I can't recommend Kristen enough. She is a wonderful trainer and she loves what she does. The stables are beautiful with indoor and outdoor arenas. Kristen is very kind and she always wants you to succeed. The horses are well-trained and easy to ride.
    Emily Faltermier, middle school student
  • Great, safe, educational, fun environment for learners of all ages! Coach/Instructor Kristen is patient, encouraging, knowledgeable and supportive of her students!
    Elizabeth Aquino-Curry, mother of 13 year old CEA rider
  • To say that CEA is an amazing place is not doing it justice. I love CEA: from Kristen, the lesson horses, the facility and the fellow riders.  Kristen has a wonderful ability to know what I need for each lesson, always challenging and adding new things to strengthen me mentally and physically as a rider. I cannot say enough about how amazing Kristen is to see my limitations and to work with me to work through them and mold me into a confident rider. I am thrilled to learn not only to ride, but the opportunities to show, attend clinics and to learn all around horsemanship are nothing short of awesome.  As a returning rider (took 15+ years off from riding) I can honestly say CEA is for adults and kids, anyone that wants to learn can be an equestrian here!
    Sara Raver, CEA rider since 2016
  • I first started riding with Kristen to get over an old barrel racing accident that scared me so much I was afraid to ride. I appreciate that Kristen has been working with me on horsemanship since my first ride. She has a great depth of knowledge as a judge, competitor, and teacher and communicates clearly and effectively. Learning to expect the best behavior and only give corrections when needed has helped me relax as a rider. I feel more confident and continue to refine how and when to clearly cue and communicate with whatever horse I’m riding in the indoor or outdoor arena, through patterns, on the trail, and supporting them though what may challenge them. The exercises we’ve done have improved my seat and Kristen is able to correct me early so I don’t ingrain bad habits. I’m always exited to ride and learn, she’s so positive!
    Victoria Dixie Crowe, CEA rider since 2015
  • My darling horse, Cheerio had a serious accident two years ago and we've been working through a lot of fear and trepidation trying to get back to being able to ride the beautiful trails of Raptor Ridge, again. Kristen helped me see that my horse was a lot more honest and willing than I was. He would completely relax and ride beautifully for her and, seeing this gave me the courage to trust him - and myself. Kristen's horsemanship, encouragement, clear instructions - and mostly her calm demeanor have really helped me and Cheerio become a team again. Thanks, Kristen!
    Kathryn Barrett, CEA rider since 2015
  • The last 8 months that I have been riding with Kristen have been the most beneficial and productive months in my many years as a rider. The facility is outstanding and I am excited to see everything changing and being improved upon as the months go by. I’ve ridden for years, bouncing from barn to barn and trainer to trainer, yet Kristen has provided an excellent environment that has helped me grow exponentially as a rider in the months that I have been with her. She knows how to create a program that fits each individual. Kristen helped me to regain my confidence and strength as a rider, and my horse loves the facility. Kristen has helped me to get back into showing and helps her riders to obtain the goals that they set. The Colorado Equestrian Academy at Raptor Ridge Equestrian is not just a place to board a horse or take lessons, it is a place that forms strong connections with horses and people and provides a fun atmosphere.
    Jordan Atwood, UNC psychology student
  • Testimonial from Violet Leon
    My 3 daughters ride and board at Raptor Ridge Equestrian / Colorado Equestrian Academy. It is hands down the BEST barn we have been involved with. Kristen, our trainer, is always looking for new fun things to do with the kids. From barn sleepovers to Valentine's Day parties for the horses, the fun and activities are non stop. My girls absolutely LOVE IT!!! Kristen is always positive and upbeat and completely brightens the girls day. The other "residents" at the barn are really helpful and nice. A truly great group of adults and kids. Horse shows are always a blast too. No pressure, just go out, have fun and execute what you've learned. My middle daughter just won her first Blue ribbon!!! Bill and Anne are really special people as well. They are totally into improving the Ranch and are extremely successful in creating a "Happy Place" for my children and the entire family. Pride of ownership is very evident with the cleanliness and kindness displayed at the Ranch. We are truly blessed to have found this facility and the family that runs & owns it. I highly recommend a visit to meet Kristen & her family. This is a barn that you will want to be involved with!
    Violet & Tony Leon, parents to three CEA riders
Testimonial from Emily Faltermier
Kristen is so kind and patient with me. With each lesson, I am learning so much. I have greater confidence riding than ever.
Emily Faltermier, middle school student

This place is a gem. For those who seek solid education in not just riding skills but the learning whole equestrian lifestyle and animal behavior. A warm, family environment to make you feel loved and special. From wee ones to their parents, from the timid to the intrepid rider your horse needs will be satisfied.

Nancy Dupont, Owner of Castle Rock Arabians

Colorado Equestrian Academy is incredible. The stables are always clean and tidy, there is a variety of well trained horses, and there is six miles of trails! I have already improved a lot with the help of Kristen.

Scarlett, 10 year old CEA rider

Kristen Wheeler was the most amazing trainer I have ever encountered! I came to her 8 short weeks before my PATH Intl. instructor level certification as a ball of anxiety feeling unprepared for success. Our first lesson she provided me with enough support to canter in circles where it had taken a year with other instructors for me to be comfortable enough to simply canter around the arena. She is dedicated to your goals and is willing to work with you as much as you need to succeed at them! I passed my certification and am now a registered level therapeutic riding instructor! I learned more from Kristen in 8 short weeks than from other instructors over 2 years. Thank you, Kristen, for helping me be successful!! Seriously I cannot recommend Kristen enough! She is affordable, provides lessons at a beautiful facility and has horses for every level of rider that are well trained but also push you to become a more advanced rider!

Kara Sullivan, PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor

I am an older rider (in my 60’s), with an athletic horse who tends to spook, spin and bolt. In just a couple months, Kristen did wonders for my riding position, security and confidence, and my horse began behaving much better almost immediately. Kristen also rode my horse through an incredible de-spooking session on a cold windy day that included trucks and front end loaders dumping and moving rock while trees were being cut down with chain saws. Not only did Kristen ride calmly through the many spooks and attempted spins, but the exercise ended with my horse standing quietly in the middle of the mayhem!

Kristen is empathetic and compassionate and knows how far and hard to push both the horse and rider. I highly recommend her as a problem solver for any riding discipline and as an effective equitation instructor.  Over the last 20+ years I have worked with 7 trainers, and Kristen is one of the best.

Ann Hagerty