Ashleen lee - Head trainer & barn manager
Ashleen is a graduate from DePaul University with a bachelors degree in Business Management. She has ridden with many top trainers including but not limited to, Bucky Reynolds, Nancy Whitehead, Tim Goguen, and Larry Glefke as well as clinics with many top professionals including George Morris and Candice King.
In 2011 she became certified by the United States Hunter Jumper Association. She started riding at the age of 5 and has been fully involved in the family business for most of her life.
She began competing in Grand Prixs and International Hunter Derbies in 2010. Ashleen has led herself and many riders to both IHJA and Zone Championships. She has led clientele to tricolor ribbons at the Pennsylvania National Show and Washington International. In 2014 she was Zone 5 Horse of the Year in the 3'6" Performance Hunters with Speak Kindly and Grand Hunter Champion in 2013 and 2014 for the Illinois Hunter Jumper Association. In 2015, she was won the award for Developing Professional Owner award by the World Championship Hunter Rider program.
In addition to her riding ad training achievements, Ashleen enjoys running the social media and marketing campaigns of the barn. In her free time she writes for the Freedom Woods blog and occasionally the Plaid Horse Magazine. One of her blogs, The Madness Behind the Inside Leg to Outside Rein, has gone viral with over 500,000 clicks to date.
Currently, Ashleen takes her team of riders, investment horses, and young professionals to horse shows across the country. Ashleen believes in developing riders and helping them reach their goals. She has a true passion for helping other young professionals go through the ranks and is has built a team filled with talented,passionate, and hard working young professionals. She believes that unity is strength. By selecting a group of professionals with different strengths and talents who work together as a team, they are capable of accomplishing and furthering the knowledge of other equestrians to a different level.
She strives everyday to further her clients and teams abilities as well as her own. She believes it is of the upmost importance to constantly improve her riding and knowledge, and her team to further assist the students of Freedom Woods.
Stephen foran- Professional rider & Trainer
Stephen grew up locally in Lake Forest, Illinois, riding and working in his father’s stable. Throughout his junior years, he was very successful. Some of these showing highlights included, competing on the NAJYRC Zone 5 team, placing in the Grand Prixes as a junior, 2012 USHJA Emerging Athletes Program Winner, and invited and attended all major equitation finals
Shortly after aging out of the juniors, Stephen worked for top professionals in the United States, such as Missy Clark and Peter Wylde. On Wylde’s advice, Stephen traveled to Belgium and Germany to expand his riding knowledge and ability. He spent two years working for prominent International trainers and horse dealers. During this time he rode and competed on horses at an International level and learned the ins and outs about investment horses from top people. For over a year, he rode and worked for Olympic coach and founder of IN Show Jumpers, Henk Nooren. IN Show Jumpers is one of the most successful show jumping investment groups in the world. Stephen spent his time there showing young horses and selling horses up to 1.45m on the Belgian circuit. Through Henk Nooren, he gained knowledge and experience in both riding and investment horses.
From there, Stephen spent the next six months riding for many dealers and owners. During this time he competed at CSI Grand Prix level and sold International Grand Prix horses and prospects to clients all over the globe including America, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. Throughout his time in Europe he competed at the top level and gained an extensive network of top professional and dealers.
Stephen is spear heading our investment program using his extensive global network and knowledge of working with young horses through Grand Prix level. This talented young professional is competing at the Grand Prix level and using his knowledge, to advance our newest additions to our team to the next level!
Jackie Kinson - Trainer
Jackie began riding at the age of seven. She spent her childhood competing on the AQHA circuit primarily focusing on Western and English Pleasure. Jackie’s parents were fearful of jumping and did not allow her to participate in jumping or hunt seat riding. Jackie respected her parents wishes, and saved up for her very own thoroughbred by the age of eighteen. Since then, Jackie has been avidly involved in hunt seat riding.
Once finished with school, Jackie worked a few corporate jobs before finding herself at a prominent hunter/jumper facility in North Carolina working at Cane Creek Farm. She spent four years at Cane Creek learning the ins and outs of maintaining a large facility and teaching lessons. Jackie moved with her two horses to Freedom Woods in December 2016.
In just five short months, Jackie has become family to us. She exhibits hard work and passion and has already developed her riders from their first lesson, to beginning jumping, to helping finding them suitable horses to continue their riding careers.
Brianna Yeargin - Trainer
Brianna grew up in Barrington, Illinois and began riding when she was eight years old. In just a few short years, she began competing in the Pony Hunter Divisions and equitation. Brianna furthered her riding career through her junior years competing in the ‘big eq.’ and earning many tri colored awards in the ASPCA MaClay, USET, and WIHS. During this time she competed in the jumper ring up through the 1.30m, enhancing her skills and experience to be versatile in both rings. Brianna has trained under a number of household names, one of the most influential trainers of her junior years was trainer and R rated judge, Scott Hofstetter in Ocala, FL. Throughout her junior years, she was awarded many championship awards and end of circuit awards.
After high school, Brianna was a scholarship athlete of two NCAA DI Women’s Equestrian teams. She was originally recruited by South Dakota State University, and was later recruited by Kansas State University to transfer and compete for them. Due to family reasons, she returned home to Illinois and finished her studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign earning a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.
Since college, Brianna spent the last few years breaking and training young Warmblood sport horses for private sale at a family owned breeding and training facility in Charleston, Illinois. In her time there, she gained experience and knowledge through working with young horses, students, and helping manage the facility. Being the versatile horse woman she is, she also enjoys dabbling in reining in her free time.
Brianna is looking forward to expanding her experiences in working with and developing young horses, and continuing her showing career as a professional. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience with her students. She enjoys harnessing and developing young and novice rider’s talents and encouraging them to achieve their goals.
We are beyond excited to have Brianna as a member of our team. In her short trial here, she has already impacted our clients and staff. She exhibits the knowledge, confidence, and drive that we value. We are looking forward to a bright future for Brianna as a rider, trainer, and member of our team.
Alexander Lee - Trainer & camp director
Alexander Lee is a graduate from Le Cordon Blue with an associates degree in Culinary Arts. Alex grew up around his family's stable since he was seven years old. In his junior years, Alex was captain of St. Johns Military Academy's equestrian team. During this time he showed extensively on the Wisconsin Hunter Jumper Association Circuit. After high school, Alex immediately jumped into the family business creating his own team of riders who rode competitively at Northern Illinois Hunter Jumper Association Shows and local 'A' circuit shows. After a few years he took a brief break from the horses to go to culinary school. After working the restaurant scene for a short while he decided horses and teaching is where his passion is. Alex has been back working at the family business for the last three years and prides himself on a strong base of horsemanship. He spends his time developing his riders and running our camp programs.