Client Reviews of Morning Sun Ranch
12/1/2013 James Polizo
Morning Sun is the third ranch we've used in the area and it is far, far the best. There are plenty of arenas, some of them quite large, plus a round-pen. Often an arena is set up with very clever "obstacle courses" designed to help you work your horse through various issues. There has always been an arena available when we go to ride there.
The ranch has a network of trails that go around the property so you can trail ride right on the ranch itself. The trails also lead outside if you want to go adventuring. The setting is beautiful with lots of trees and the weather is usually pretty good (i.e., above the fog).
I board a horse at Morning Sun and have found the cost to be extremely reasonable. I was actually saving money at Morning Sun versus another ranch on the coast that had seemingly much lower rates but didn't include as much; plus I no longer have to haul hay in my SUV. Our horse is extremely well cared for, the stall is clean, the food is good and it is weighed (not just thrown in by the flake). There is always a helping hand for us less experienced horse owners.
Gina Kindscher, the owner and lead trainer, is simply amazing. Her knowledge of horses is remarkable and her attention to detail is unmatched. Yet, she is friendly and approachable and does not have the "stuck up" attitude that some equestrian instructors do. Gina is a natural teacher, knows her stuff, and is incredibly good at explaining the "why" and not just the "what." If you want to know how to have a better working relationship with your horse, then Gina is the person to get you there.
Gina teaches my 11-year-old daughter and my daughter loves it. The amount she picks up even in a single lesson blows my mind. My daughter also rides at another ranch where there are "rescue horses" and she has said that she uses techniques that Gina is teaching on those horses and sees better results with them. Sometimes a "problem horse" is a problem with the rider and Gina is amazingly good at figuring this out. Our horse had a few issues and in just a couple of sessions, Gina had it all worked out and not by retraining the horse but by retraining us. One key advantage of Morning Sun is that the lessons are individual. My daughter pays more for group lessons at the other place she rides than she does for individual lessons at Morning Sun.
One other thing worth mentioning is that Morning Sun is a kid-friendly place and not all ranches are like that. I've seen riders at one other ranch we boarded at thunder up to my 7-year-old and tell him, "Here, horses rule." At the other ranch where my daughter rides, the place is like a cemetery with everyone speaking in whispers, moving slowly, and afraid to laugh out loud or even carry a bottle of soda in their hand. Morning Sun is friendly, active, and open; it's a place where a hearty laugh is welcomed and we even had a little birthday party there with our horse in attendance trying to eat the carrot cake.
I can't recommend this place highly enough.
5/24/2015 Kathryn Klein
I attended a Peter Campbell Horsemanship clinic at Morning Sun Ranch last October, because my horse had been having some "issues." I was very impressed with the facilities and the warm and welcoming attitude of the staff. After learning that Genae Kindscher had successfully resolved similar issues with other horses, I decided to move my horse to Morning Sun in order to work with her — even though I have to drive over an hour to get there from my home in Redwood City. Morning Sun has not disappointed me — we have made huge progress in 6 months! Gina and Genae have helped me overcome major anxiety about my horse, and now I am building an amazing partnership with him.
Gina is always willing to share her wealth of knowledge about horses, riding and horse care. Both Gina and Genae have been compassionate, clear and to the point in their instruction as I learn about the Horsemanship approach, which is new to me, even though I have been riding (Hunter/Jumper) most of my life. Genae has been patient and methodical with my horse, taking the time it takes for him to learn and rewarding him for making his own good choices rather than punishing him simply because he doesn't always know how to respond when confronted with something alarming or new to him.
My horse seems to be very, very happy at Morning Sun. He especially enjoys play time (turnout) in the big arena with other horses, and grazing in the pasture!
12/1/2012 Paddy Douglas
Beautiful Ranch and Expert Trainers: Morning Sun Ranch is located in a gorgeous setting and is very well maintained. I immediately liked the feel of this
open, spacious setting with adjoining trails that can be used for trail rides. The owner Gina Kindscher and her family take great pride in the property and are extremely passionate about horses. I have been taking lessons on a weekly basis for several months and enjoy Gina's style of professionalism and warmth. She stresses safety in all of her lessons, but gives me the confidence so that I can progress with my riding ability. Although I am an inexperienced rider she does a great job at simplifying the many aspects of learning to ride without making me feel intimidated.
4/6/2011 Deanna Copeland
Morning Sun Ranch is an experience that will complement your life for a life time. It is truly in a beautiful setting with great trail riding and several arenas. They are accommodating, friendly, kind, considerate, and eager to assist you anyway they can. Safety and fun are their top priorities. They have no problem being honest which is valuable when purchasing a horse of your own. They have assisted me with 6 horse purchases. In every transaction they have held to the greatest of integrity. The lessons they have given to children I have sent were complete with understandable directions and lots of patience, which gave the children wonderful experiences. Morning Sun trainers communicate very well with their students and parents alike. They are a family-oriented facility and facilitate a variety of disciplines: Western, English, etc. Morning Sun Ranch is truly a complete experience from trail rides to arena work, for beginners to advanced riding. I have boarded all my horses there and have been very pleased at the level of cleanliness of the stalls, barns and all the grounds. The feeding program is above and beyond top quality. They have complete emergency protocols in place for quality care of all the horses and well posted information for a smooth running facility. Their boarders are friendly and welcoming. Over all, I confidently give this business a 5-star rating. They are unlike any other stables I have done business with. ~Happy Trails~
3/29/2011 Shelby Rovai
I started my horse experience late in life. My daughter and step-daughter started riding at Morning Sun and within weeks I was hooked and looking for a horse for me to ride. Four years later, we have come and gone and returned to where we were meant to be. Gina is a wealth of knowledge and an extremely skilled and competent horsewoman who is always researching, reading, sharing, and looking at every point of view to achieve the best health and performance from every horse and rider. I consider her my mentor and very close friend. She always has a smile and a kind word and I can only hope that I can continue to learn from her and gain the confidence and experience that she can impart. The facilities are not pretentious, but are very clean and the views and trails are gorgeous. Every aspect is geared towards the health and comfort of horse and rider. Morning Sun is my home away from home and whenever I feel blue or stressed I take a short drive and get my horse "fix" and remember that I am part of an amazing world with inspiring people and animals who can make me whole again. Truly the "sunshine" of my life. Lovely people, nature and fresh air, I can't say enough...
3/29/11 Marilyn B.
Morning Sun Ranch is a God send. This is a serene facility for your horse boarding needs and lessons for riding and horse care. I stumbled upon this ranch over 2 years ago and I am thankful every day that I was so fortunate to find it. This is much more than a place to board your horse or to take lessons. This is a warm community that embraces new comers to the horse world and experts alike. I have come to know Morning Sun as my retreat because I know that I will find joy and rejuvenation here as I communicate with the horses. Gina Kindscher is a unique woman who cares very deeply for the horses that she boards here and is eager to teach her students the foundations of humane horsemanship. Nothing but kudos to say about Morning Sun Ranch... You and your horse will thank Gina for creating and developing such a wonderful place.
2/21/2011 Pamela Jacobs
This has to be the best overall horse barns in the county. It has everything you would want for your equine partner. There are several arenas of different sizes and footing, a round pen, pastures for turn-out, an all-weather bark path around the property one can ride even in the rainiest weather and direct access to miles of terrific trails. Several different stable choices are available too, all with stalls and attached paddocks. The tack rooms in the main barn are huge - great for holding all your tack and supplies. Gina, the owner, is extremely knowledgeable about horses, very caring and an excellent manager. It is a great home for my very special horse.
Morning Sun Ranch - GREAT PEOPLE, TRAILS, HORSES!! We had the pleasure of keeping our four horses at Morning Sun for several years. The owners, who are always on-site, are experts in the world of horses. Gina and her team are great to work with, they are fair, careful, and know how to have fun! They were absolutely HEROIC during the Larkin Valley fires a few years ago; all the horses were evacuated safely. Aside from all that, Morning Sun has "ride off the ranch" access to the best trails in Santa Cruz County. These people know horses, they are fair and honest. In my opinion you and your horses can't do better than Morning Sun.
Quiet, Shangri La, Awesome Trails: Morning Sun Ranch is a wonderful place. With 3 barns, 3 arenas and miles and miles of beautiful trails with access right on the property. Gina and her family run a great facility with the best in horse care available. Park-like atmosphere for peaceful co-existence with horses. 5 minutes from Aptos and Watsonville, 10 minutes from Capitola. Well worth the trip.
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3/28/2015 Heather Sweet
In 2013, my husband and I were introduced to Morning Sun Ranch through a mutual animal-lover friend who knew of our desires to learn how to ride. We were told that owner Gina Kindscher would make sure we were safe, well educated, and that we’d have an enjoyable experience. These words don’t begin to describe this incredible facility. Gina’s knowledge and experience is beyond compare. She not only fits us with horses that are at our ability levels, but she has a teaching technique that is clear, concise and engaging. You leave feeling like you were born to ride. As an elementary teacher, I leave every lesson feeling like I have not only learned about riding and the horse as an animal, but that I have also learned something about myself. If you are looking for an extraordinary experience and a confidence boost for yourself or family, Morning Sun Ranch is the place to go.
12/4/2015 Sarah Elizabeth Leitch
I was looking for a place to board my anxious, nervous horse, away from the hustle and bustle of the show barns we had been at for most of our lives (both separate and apart). Immediately my boy was calmer and less stressed, and I am too. How Gina and Genae run the barn and the business around it is wonderful, it is both a professional business and a relaxed environment where not only can I ride my horse, but enjoy being at the barn again. Everyone there is a wonderful example of the horse world I fell in love with as a little girl, welcoming, hard working, and most of all, they love their horses and it shows. I am so glad I found Morning Sun.
10/26/21 Jenny Brown
I have two daughters who had a dream. They researched and found Morning Sun Ranch all on their own! They love all things horses and Morning Sun has provided such a wonderful and safe place to experience that! They get to work with horses; feed them, turn them out, blanket them, ride them, take them for a walk, clean up stalls, clean the stables and barn and clean tack. I think they enjoy all the working just as much as the riding! I so appreciate that Gina gave us a chance. There was not any space in the riding program when we first started but all my girls wanted was to be around their dream. And she let them! So all the horse dreams continue thanks to Morning Sun! I do not ride, but I really enjoy the peaceful setting and beautiful trails to walk on while I wait for my girls to be done. Thank you Gina! (and Amy!)
11/7/21 Diane S.
I can't say enough wonderful things about Morning Sun Ranch and the Kindschers. I am a novice rider training with Gina and I have been so impressed with all the aspects of my instruction. Safety is a top priority for me and clearly this is the case for the folks at MSR as well. This special environment has fostered confidence and allowed me to get closer to my goal of horse ownership. Gina takes extra time to share her remarkable horsemanship expertise, imparting lessons that have value both in and out of the arena. I really could not be happier with my riding experience at Morning Sun Ranch.
10/29/21 Brianna H.
I moved to Watsonville earlier this year from the east coast and wanted to learn to ride again, as I have always loved horses and had not taken lessons since I was young. I asked for ideas on where to take lessons on Nextdoor and though I received many options, when I received Gina's welcoming and encouraging message, I knew that was where I wanted to go. Gina's positive and 'come as you are' attitude made me feel right at home as soon as I met her and experienced Morning Sun Ranch for the first time. Gina's lessons are so much deeper than the traditional lessons I took as a child. Gina, with her incredible patience, helps me learn how to be in tune not just with the horse but with myself, and after my lessons I always feel more at peace than when I arrived. All of the school horses have their unique lessons to give, and Gina's profound love for them shows. I am so grateful to Gina and her family for the gift of being able to take lessons at a property as beautiful as Morning Sun Ranch, and in an environment where everyone is made to feel welcome and at home.
2/7/22 Amy Lukic
I consider Morning Sun Ranch as My Happy Place! I started taking lessons over a year ago and it has transformed my life completely. Not only have I improved my riding skills but my physical/mental health has improved immensely. I attribute my success directly to my mentor, Gina Kindscher. I love the ranch so much, I volunteer whenever I can and want to spend all my free time there! I feel so blessed to have found My Happy Place at Morning Sun Ranch and intend to continue my journey with the Kindschers forever!