Stephen Birchall, Head Trainer, Instructor
Michele Bondy, Young Horse/Assistant Trainer
Dan & Gina Ruediger, Owners
Daria Ruediger, Assistant Manager
Originally from Florida, Stephen’s passion for horses began early as a child and continues to be his life’s work as a careered professional dressage trainer and competitor. Throughout his career he has worked with many notable trainers and coaches who have inspired his riding, training, and teaching philosophy. Stephen has developed and competed multiple horses to the Grand Prix level as well as shown extensively in Southern California, Wellington Florida, and now currently in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to training, he is also a popular clinician throughout the US. Stephen’s training philosophy is simple: believe in yourself and train like each day is new and fresh, with no mistakes in it!
Michele has been riding her entire life and as young rider, she trained with our friend, Willy Arts for many years. Michele has successfully competed through FEI, but focuses her energy and enthusiasm to starting and training our young horses - so they have a correct foundation. For over 4 years, Michele has been successfully training and competing Sonnenberg bred young horses including training them to not only pass the strict KWPN performance tests but many have placed in the top five in North America or have become North American Champions. Michele is a USDF Silver Medalist and works closely with Stephen in the development of our training program.
Daria has been a key player at Sonnenberg through out her life - both in the continuous care of all of the horses as well as her help in the breeding and raising of our mares and foals. There is likely not a better foal handler in North America than Daria and when it comes to foal watch, you can count on her to stay awake and predict accrurately the start of labor. Sonnenberg Farm wouldn't be as successful as it is without the work and labor of love that our daughter, Daria gives our farm and we couldn't be more pleased to see her develop as a young breeder. Daria hopes to pursue her college goals of becoming an equine veterinarian and if she can accomplish this, we are confident she will be outstanding in her field.
Dan & Gina have both been competing horses since their youth. After meeting one another in college, getting married and starting their family and careers, their goal was to develop a farm and follow their passion - to breed, raise and train KWPN horses. Sonnenberg Farm was developed to accomplish this goal and since 2003, Gina, Dan and their two kids, Mason and Daria, have been living on and working on their farm. Gina and Dan are both active competitors as well as direct their breeding program to consistently produce not only North American KWPN Keuring Champions, but also USEF and USDF Champions all the way to Grand Prix.