Now based out of Moorpark, California, about an hour northwest of Los Angeles, STC Dressage was founded in early 2008 in Albuquerque, NM by Sean Cunningham. The mission was to provide world-class dressage training and teaching for horse and rider. During the operations in New Mexico, Sean and his students brought home more championship titles and national awards than any other training team in the state. In November of 2011, STC Dressage relocated to southern California, where we have been hard at work to carry on the same tradition of excellence. You can also learn more about us in an article published in the April 2011 issue of Sidelines!
Sean Cunningham, Owner & Head Trainer
Sean’s vast experience includes training horses to upper levels, handling young horses and overall equine management. He has been riding for over 20 years and has worked at some the country’s top sport horse facilities with international-level trainers.
Sean’s formative riding years began as any other young aspiring trainer-to-be; riding, taking lessons, mucking stalls, doing things he wouldn’t dream of doing on horseback these days. Kid stuff, really. But important nonetheless. It helped develop a deep-seated passion that continues to drive him to this day. A love for horses and animals in general. A desire to learn anything and everything he could about them. He spent his first few years in the horse industry under the tutelage of June Pedersen of Castle Ridge Keep in his hometown of Crystal Lake, IL. She helped plant the seeds that would someday grow Sean into the horseman he is today, as well as the one he continues aspiring to be.
Sean’s professional equestrian career began in 1999, when he was accepted as a working student at the prestigious Tempel Farms in Illinois during his summer breaks from college. There, he was immersed full-time into advanced dressage training. He worked closely with his trainer, Bill Clements, on learning everything from breeding to starting young horses under saddle all the way up to the movements of the High School. Upon graduation from college in 2002, seeking to continue his education into the world of high-performance dressage, he took a working student position for Lendon Gray in New York.
While at Lendon’s, Sean continued to expand his horizons. He was involved in all aspects of the care, management and training of competition dressage horses from the ground up. He learned the importance of having a proper support staff of grooms, farriers, vets, etc. as well as developing relationships with people such as show managers, horse transports, local GMO leaders and the like.
After his time at Gray’s, in 2004 Sean took the position of sales manager at Iron Spring Farm, one of the country’s top sport horse breeding facilities. At Iron Spring, Sean brought young horses through the levels, and showed them both under saddle and in hand. He developed his eye for looking at young dressage horses, and enhanced his understanding of how to make quality breeding choices. He also played a significant role in Iron Spring’s success at Dressage at Devon.
Sean returned to Devon again in 2007 for Horses Unlimited, a sport horse breeding and training facility in central New Mexico. He won the mature stallion class at Devon with Wild Dance and secured many other top placings at the prestigious show that year. He also brought home many other top placings at their local shows around New Mexico.
Sean struck out on his own in 2008. He rode and competed for Paradigm Sporthorse Farm, Camelot Friesans, and various private clients in the Albuquerque metro area. Collectively, they won an impressive number of High Point, Show Championship, Breed Championship, Regional Championship and various national awards.
Upon moving to California in 2011, Sean worked part-time for Gray-Barron Ranch in Chatsworth, CA. They have earned an astounding number of awards and accolades with their home-bred Morgans, and Sean is helping to continue that trend! Sean also spent his afternoons at Hilda Gurney’s Keenridge Farm for two years. There, Sean continued to develop his eye for quality young horses, improving his riding and training abilities, and overall striving to improve his knowledge as a horseman.
Sean now operates his own training center at the tranquil and stunningly beautiful AA Ranch in Moorpark, CA where he works with and welcomes clients and horses at all levels.
To learn more about STC Dressage, contact Sean!