Established by Dick and Lollie Ames over 50 years ago, and now managed by their daughter, Lara, Cedar Ridge Arabians sits on 500+ acres of green pastures with a one-of-a-kind facility in Jordan, Minnesota, not far from Minneapolis.
It is staffed with some of the brightest rising stars in the industry: performance trainer Laura Rodel, training and operations manager Stephanie Davisson, and the newest member to the CRA family, halter trainer Kenny McDonald.
When discussing what brought McDonald to CRA, he explained, “I was drawn to the CRA team for a few reasons; the Ames Family is one of the most respected families in all of the Arabian horse industry, and they have developed one of the best breeding programs in the nation.”
Being young, McDonald brings to the table a new style of halter training. He has been showing and training halter horses since a very young age with his family. Walking into CRA with the Ames Family’s established decades of success in breeding and halter wins makes his job that much more exciting.
One of the best parts of his new gig, he shares, is working in such an upbeat and happy barn with Stephanie and Laura. Laura Rodel has been with CRA now for a few years, and each year she looks forward to seeing more horses and clients reach success together and is witness to the breeding of incredibly talented horses in all divisions.
When it comes to McDonald, Rodel has nothing but great things to say as well, “Kenny has been a great addition to Cedar Ridge. He’s brought new ideas and solutions to the team that have been very helpful thanks to his extensive knowledge and talent. His personality fits in really well, there’s never a dull moment at work.”
Operations manager Davisson had the same praises for McDonald, “Our team is so much fun! It’s nice to have a group of people that work so well together and help each other out so much. It’s the perfect balance of work and pleasure.”
Looking towards U.S. Nationals, the trio is excited for the rest of the industry to see their latest talent. “We are slowly starting to put our plan together for Nationals,” McDonald says, “but one to keep an eye out for is the Half-Arabian yearling filly, Like No Other CRF, by Arrowhead’s Unlike Any Other and out of the beautiful Baske Afire daughter, HA Sahara Afire.”
Davisson agrees. “It’s always exciting to see the younger stock enter the ring for the first time to see what divisions they’ll be competitive in. Of course, the AEPA, AWPA, and AHPA classes are always goals.”
Continuously improving the quality of its breeding, including the addition of home-bred western pleasure horses, and exceptional teamwork is Cedar Ridge Arabians’ key to success, both at home and in the arena. With the help of this skilled trio and CRA’s ever expanding lesson program, one can bet they will see numerous future national champions within the industry for many years to come.