As lifelong members of the equestrian community, Spark founders Julie Brady and Melissa Lund noticed that something was missing—a coherent, step-by-step system for reliably teaching students everything they need to know about the basics of horsemanship and riding that consistently produces educated riders with competence both in and out of the saddle. After years of honing their own teaching programs, Julie and Melissa joined forces to develop an official curriculum, and Spark Equestrian Academy was born.
Our curriculum consists of six consecutive levels, each with their own clear set of outcomes and a week-by-week agenda to ensure all students receive the same complete education. The first three levels—Introductory, Rookie and Novice—provide students with a general education in English-style riding, and consist of a 45 minute riding session complemented by pre- and post-class horsemanship education. The horsemanship portion of these classes will teach students everything they need to know about safely and independently handling, grooming, tacking and caring for our lesson horses.
By the fourth level, Intro to Specialized Riding, students will be able to prepare for their riding class independently. At this level, the riding lessons are 60-minutes long. Intro to Specialized Riding students will get their feet wet in the two different English disciplines we focus on here at Spark Equestrian: jumping and dressage. Following the fourth level, students will select which discipline they would like to continue on with.
Level five classes available are either Dressage Basics or Jumping Basics, where students will begin to delve into the intricacies of their respective sports. The final, sixth levels available are Competition Dressage and Competition Jumping. The Competition classes give students a taste of what it is like to show without owning or leasing their own horse, and are designed to help students decide if they would like to continue into horse ownership or leasing. Parents be warned— by this point in our curriculum, we find that students have been irrevocably bitten by the “horse bug” and will continue to learn and grow in this amazing sport for the rest of their lives!
To provide a clear and complete foundation for riders and ignite passion for the equestrian sports.
It’s clear what will be taught and when it will be taught so you know you are mastering the most important skills at the right time.
Transparent Level System
You will know where you’re at in your journey and what you will need to level up.
We focus on one goal at a time so you can focus and develop the most important skills for where you are in your journey.
Our year-round temperature-controlled facility means your skills don’t get rusty over the winter.
Spark Certified Instructors
All our instructors are certified to teach our curriculum so you get a consistent experience, every time.
Julie Brady | Founder
Julie Brady is one of Spark Equestrian’s primary instructors, specializing in the equestrian sports of hunters and jumpers. She has owned a teaching and training business in Stillwater, MN for over twenty years. In 2018, she expanded her business and purchased the beautiful Serenity Farm, where she is currently based out of. Julie and her students have enjoyed many successes showing in the hunters and the jumpers on both schooling and rated circuits. In founding Spark Equestrian, Julie has dedicated her vast knowledge toward the goal of providing students with a clear and concise path to success in their equestrian endeavors.
Melissa Lund | Founder
Melissa Lund is one of Spark Equestrian’s primary instructors, specializing in the equestrian sport of dressage. She is recognized by the United States Dressage Federation as a bronze, silver, and gold medalist in dressage competition. Melissa is passionate about bringing young riders up through the levels in her sport, and has taught hundreds of kids how to ride through the summer camps and lesson programs she has developed. In addition to training horses and riders in the private sector, Melissa has also taught in the University of Minnesota’s intro-to-riding class. Melissa currently teaches and trains out of Serenity Farm in Stillwater, MN and gives dressage clinics around the midwest.