School of Horsemanship
7500 Valleyhigh Road NW
Byron, MN  55920
Leah Allerts' Autobiography

   My fascination with horses began decades ago as a young girl in North Dakota. The first encounter I had with horses was a team of large dark draft horses delivering a load of coal that heated our home.  They were the most beautiful animals I had ever seen.  I knew at that time that I needed horses in my life.
   During high school I spent every day (11 to be exact) at the Minnesota State Fair from morning to night when the last horse show was done.  My girlfriend and I watched all of the draft horse classes, the western classes, the driving classes, the gaited classes, the hunter/jumper classes and the equitation classes.  We took the last bus home every night and the first bus back every morning and spent all of our
time in the horse barn.  
   After a few years the different stables began to notice us.  One of the large hunter/jumper stables gave us “grooms passes” which enabled us to get into the coliseum for free to see all the horse shows but we also met them as their horses were finishing their rounds and we would walk and cool down the horses.  If they had a ribbon attached to their bridle we felt we had died and gone to heaven!  I
wanted to jump horses.
One week out of high school I began working with horses and I never looked back. 
   My first opportunity came from the manager of the North Oaks Riding Club, Frank Long.  Marie Long, his wife, was the riding instructor.  I worked for Frank and Marie Long both at the North Oaks Riding Club and later at their own stable,
Merrywood Stable at Forest Lake, MN.
   Frank & Marie Long were running one of the largest, most active and successful hunter/jumper stables in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area at that time.  Longs always
had a very active teaching program for all ages and abilities.
    Frank Long kept an endless parade of "potential jumping prospects" in training.  If these green horses showed talent in the jumping chute we would continue their training on the flat and over fences to get them to the point of sale.  They also put on a spring and fall gymkhana every year and for many years ran a recognized
AHSA hunter/jumper show.
   During the six years I worked for Longs I learned to handle and care for horses and barn management.  I rode and put miles on a lot of green horses.  I learned to teach
riding under the supervision of Marie Long.
I then joined the Peace Corps and spent two spectacular years in South America.
 Upon returning to Minnesota I wanted to independently get into the horse business. In 1967 I accepted a position as trainer and instructor at Meadowlane Stable in Rochester, Minnesota.  About a year later I was given the opportunity to become
the manager of the stable - that was when the whole adventure really began.
   With a whole lot of luck, perseverance and wonderful students I started the Paddock School of Horsemanship in 1968.  From 1968 to1974 I rented a variety of different barns.  I wanted to stay in Minnesota and loved the Rochester area. In 1974 I had the good fortune to purchase land for a permanent  location for my school of horsemanship from Wayne and Margaret Hoffman of Byron, Minnesota.  I was able to buy 44 acres of bare fenced land (with one water
hydrant) within four miles of Rochester.
In 1979 I married my husband and had our daughter in 1982. 
In Minnesota an
 indoor arena could provide a riding school with year-round capabilities which are otherwise impossible.  I did not want to work seasonally.  We continued to outfit the property with a 29 stall stable, indoor riding arena, outdoor rings, jumps, an outdoor hunt course, better fencing and an apple orchard.  After this was we built our home.
 I’ve worked with thousands of students and horses in the last fifty years and feel very grateful to have built my life around horses and teaching.  This is above and
beyond any expectations I ever had.
A dream comes true.

"The art of horsemanship is keeping the horse between you and the ground."  -Robbie Gaskins

Aerial view of the Paddock School of Horsemanship.
Leah Allert began the Paddock School of Horsemanship in 1967.  Her main emphasis was to give people a good foundation with their riding skills, an understanding of the horse, and to help them find the same enjoyment with horses that she always experienced. The students at The Paddock learn how to ride and care for a horse. They also learn concentration, focus, patience, and the importance of practice. In other words, riding lessons help an individual develop many life skills necessary for becoming a successful adult, and many of my students have gone on to become doctors, lawyers, artists, veterinarians and teachers, as well as riding instructors, stable owners and professional riders. 

One of our past students whose successes we thoroughly enjoying is Kate Bomgaars Reuter. Kate and her husband are owners of Newstone Farm in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. She and her chestnut stallion On Line had wonderful success in the Grand Prix jumping division. 
Check her out on the video clip below.

Katie started taking lessons with Leah as a small child and continued into her early adolescence. She began showing in our gymkhanas and rode in our county fair horse shows. Katie was always a hard working rider and fun to teach. 

Katie recently stated:

           "I am very proud of how I started riding.  I believe your teaching gave me the focus, determination, foundation and work ethic to become the rider I am today."

Thank you Katie and congratulations on your success. ~ Leah

"Simply put, I am happy here."  -Leah