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At Cornerstone Ranch, the lesson focus is The Basic Handle, a scientific approach and organized system of riding created by Monte Foreman in the 1950s. The goal of our riding is to encourage the horse’s natural movement and full athletic ability. The humane methods allow the horse to understand what is being asked and respond willingly to the rider, and by working as a team the horses and riders can have much more fun!

Every time one gets on a horse’s back there are new things to be felt and learned. Sign up to take a lesson or workshop with Julia, a riding lesson or driving lesson with Susan, and get on the right path to safely ride and handle horses while you fall in love with the process, camaraderie, and beautiful surroundings at the Ranch.

Julia Connell

Head Riding Instructor
and Barn Manager

MA Licensed Riding Instructor since 2016

Summer Horseback Riding Camp

Julia Connell moved to Princeton with her family in 2000 where Cornerstone Ranch began on a lot of woods. Growing up on the Ranch and seeing it grow into a working business fueled her passion for horses, and pushed her to become a riding instructor.

In 2016 Julia began building her own lesson program. Julia instructs group and private lessons, monthly full day workshops, and week-long youth riding programs in the summer. Local schools have worked with Cornerstone Ranch to bring students for riding lessons as elective classes. Julia focuses her time primarily on instructing, but has also started horses under saddle that had never been ridden prior to her training. As Head Instructor and Barn Manager, she also oversees the schedule and procedures of staff and wranglers, organizing the barn, equipment care, riding arena clean up, horse care and doctoring, and more. Julia strives to be a good example of a committed rider and horse handler for her students, and demonstrates the time and energy needed to spend with  horses.

To progress her knowledge and training, Julia travels annually to southern Arizona to participate in Resident Weeks and learn from Ron McLoughlin, owner of the Classical Stock School of Arizona. Julia also participates in Ron’s clinics and clinics with other Foreman/ McLoughlin instructors.

a person riding a horse

a person riding a horse

Susan Connell

Cornerstone Ranch Founder and Manager

MA Licensed Riding Instructor since 1988

driving Percheron horsesa person riding a horse

Susan Connell, founder and owner of Cornerstone Ranch, has been around horses since she was a little girl. Her parents were in the horse showing and breeding business, and were often either traveling for horse shows or training, or developing their own riding facility in Jefferson, MA. Throughout her youth horses were always her biggest calling, and her way to escape from life’s stresses. As a young adult working in different trades like waitressing, cleaning, and even starting a bookkeeping business, Susan was always brought back to horses and instructing.

Susan has always been passionate about horses, and is now helping others discover their love for them. She started instructing lessons in the late 80’s, and decided to fully commit to Cornerstone Ranch in 2004. Starting solely as a lesson barn, we have a strong foundation in instructing lessons here. Susan is the face of commitment and is always training new youngsters, refining the older horses, and running the place on top of it! She is a hard-working role model for all of the riders that come to Cornerstone. 

Susan is devoted to demonstrating and instructing a style of riding that develops the horse’s mental and physical health, using methods learned in her youth developed by Monte Foreman. Susan was even lucky enough to know and learn from Monte Foreman as a child. Seeing the benefits of this positive training first hand, she knew she had to share this fun way of riding as a team with your horse. Now Susan rides in clinics taught by Ron McLoughlin and is always finding ways to further her knowledge with horses.

Amazing Place!

All staff were friendly and the horses were nice. It was my first time riding a horse (private riding lesson). I was riding the horse named Louie. He is very smart, sweet and very caring and patient. Thanks to him, I had only good emotions on my first riding lesson. My instructor was Julia. She is a very positive person and a great teacher. Highly recommend!

– J. Terry
Loves Riding at Cornerstone Ranch.

I LOVE riding at Cornerstone Ranch in Princeton! The owner, instructors are the best!! They take fantastic care of their riders, educating, helping each of us become the best rider we are able to be. The horses are sweet, healthy, a pleasure to ride! the facilities, trails are top-notch! It's where I go for my horse fix, you will enjoy it too!

– Joyce K.
Adult All-Day Workshop.

I attended an adult full-day workshop at Cornerstone Ranch as a beginer. I had previous riding experience on trail rides, including during a week-long stay at a guest ranch, but I had never had a formal lesson before. Julia was an amazing instructor. She was incredibly patient and supportive -during the first half of the day, I was practicing a posting trot for the first time. We had a delicious lunch with ice cream before our afternoon lesson. Total time in the saddle was about 6 hours or so, and I loved every minute. The other students were also very friendly and I felt so welcome at the ranch. The horses were so well trained and sweet - Julia does a good job matching horse to rider based on personality and experience. I hope to be back!

– Melody W.
Amazing Experience.

Riding at Cornerstone ranch was an amazing experience! I have been riding horses my whole life, but had a little gap, and I have to say safety & ride enjoyment were or top priorities. The horses were well trained and the facility, clean and comfortable. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get back in the saddle again!

– Sharon H.
5 Stars for Cornerstone Ranch.

I have not ridden a horse in some time and today I visited Cornerstone Ranch in Princeton Ma. The owner Susan and her daughter Julia made me feel welcome right away. I was given a lot of new information on horseback riding and tips on riding before I even got in the saddle. The location is beautiful and private. While I only took a trail ride they offer lessons wagon rides and other options. The Horses are very well cared for and well trained. I definitely would highly recommend you pay them a visit. 5 Stars for Conerstone Ranch

– Robert B.
Adult All Day Riding Workshop: Great Experience.

The adult all day riding workshop was such a great experience thanks to Julia & Susan’s knowledgeable & encouraging instruction. It’s obvious the ranch’s goal is to enhance both rider & horse with tried & tested methods that even an inexperienced or nervous rider can perform. The atmosphere is a beautiful mixture of pastoral settings, great stories of proven riding results and the added bonus of delicious food. I can’t wait to go back & experience more of their offerings.

– Peggi C.
Our Happy Place.

This is our happy place, and has been for a long time. Even though it takes over an hour for us to get here, it's always worth the trip. A ranch is a peaceful and welcoming place and everyone who works there is lovely, kind and knowledgeable. My daughter loves taking lessons here. One of the things that keeps us coming back is also the fact that this is one of the few places that publishes their availability and lets us sign up for ad hoc times and classes without a regular commitment.

– K. Slavsky
Riding Lesson Review.

Our instructor, Susan, is super nice! She and Falcon really made the experience unforgettable!

– Alice L.
Positive Experience

Very relaxing and positive experience!! Sammy was our trail guide. She was very kind, upbeat and attentive to us (visitors) and too, the horses who depend on her. All horse's were impeccably groomed, fed and watered. A very content herd for sure! Our trail ride was leisurely and scenic. Unrushed, thoughtful and safety focused.....10+ star experience. No cell phone policy, disconnect to reconnect! Ty, ty, ty! Our horse's were responsive and THE BEST trained I have ever ridden (and I have ridden more horse's than I can count). Susan, CSF owner, was driving a gorgeous team of ? Percheron when we arrived. So well trained, beautifully groomed and clearly Susan's team was happy, very happy and enjoying their training. Susan took the time to chat with us as did each CSF team member. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to visit such a beautiful, positive horse farm, ride with a diverse group of people and horse's and know that future riding/driving experiences will always be top notch at CSF! Ty Team CSF! Big shout out to Blue and Pedro!! Thanks Kidder ~ luv u

– Kateri W.
Great Experience.

We had a great experience at Cornerstone Ranch. Got a private lesson for my Mom and daughter to share the experience together and they both had an amazing time. Instructor was very informative and helpful, and they both left with a great memory together, and wanting to do it again!

– Keith S.
Amazing Riding Lesson.

Our girls had an amazing riding lesson with Julia and Maddie- both ladies were attentive and very supportive of the girls. The ranch is welcoming and very clean! We will definitely be back!

– Dottie R.
First Time Riding Experience.

First time riding experience for my daughter. She had a blast and was able to learn a lot for her first time. Definitely will come back and recommend to others.

– Davell R.