Insulated from the noise and road construction along Old FM 2243 by a stand of native live oak trees, the 15 acres of Cornerstone Farm have been converted into a horse- and child-friendly property for riding lessons and camps, owner Jen Shaw said.
Cornerstone Farm offers an English horseback riding lesson program for all ages and riding abilities. Pasture and stall boarding are also available on a limited basis, as well as spring break and summer camps and birthday parties.
Shaw said she had difficulty finding an available farm to lease before choosing Leander as the home for her business.
“With all the schools in this area, something just felt right about it,” she said. “[So] the first thing to do was find a location, and then make it a farm.”
Shaw grew up riding in California and began her career working for professionals there. In 2000 she moved to Austin and opened Cornerstone Farm, which was located on Spicewood Springs Road near the Arboretum for 13 years.
During that time, Shaw said she traveled with clients to horse show competitions all over the country.
Austin resident Debbie Mitchell said her daughter Grace trained with Shaw for about 10 years, starting with lessons as a third-grader.
By the time she graduated from high school, Grace had won multiple state and national championships, competed on a national level and was offered two NCAA equestrian scholarships, Mitchell said.
“It was a great experience,” Debbie said. “I think [Shaw is] a great instructor, and I think kids will be lucky to have her.”
Shaw said although she loved the competitive show environment, she felt disconnected from the clients and horses back at home. In September 2015 she moved her business to Leander and decided to focus on building a new lesson program.
“It was a big change, for sure,” Shaw said. “[Showing] was my whole identity.”
Austin resident Logan Lloyd, who began training at Cornerstone in 2004, said she admires Shaw’s ability to help riders reach their personal goals.
“Her understanding of how to meet the needs of each student individually helped me to become successful in a higher level of competition than I had ever thought possible,” she said.