The riding lesson & training aspect of the business was started as “Barnes Paddock” by Kaye Barnes (now Handlon) in 1998 hosted at Hidden Oaks Farm in Pinellas Park, FL. A relocation to Angier, NC in 2000 brought the business to its current farm location and would now offer horse boarding and in-house horse training.
In 2007 the farm was given a ‘business make over’ and the name was changed to Starting Point Stables to better reflect the horse training, riding instruction and over all teaching methods & theories.
Business Owner & Instructor, Kaye Handlon
Kaye started riding in 1980 learning western pleasure with a local instructor and then showing on the local circuits. She then started showing hunter pleasure (stock horse style english) through 1983. Through 1984-1986 she took lessons with (then) AHSA ‘r’ rated Hunter judge Audrey J. Brey. And finally in 1986, she changed riding disciplines to dressage and lessoned for a summer with USEF long-listed Deborah Adams out of Painted Lake Stables in Pinellas Park, FL.
In 1986 she was extremely fortunate to stumble upon a local gem, a retired horseman named Harman Haakman. Harman had a superb classical background (Hungarian Cavalry School) which not only changed her understanding of riding and horsemanship in general, but changed her views on life. All she learned and experienced with him as a mentor she found so familiar with the writings/teachings of Bertlain DeNemethy, Waldemar Seunig etc. Kaye rode with Harman on and off over the years as she started a family, and even went back to FL to lesson with him after moving to NC.
Over the years Kaye has audited clinics with favorite dressage instructors (and authors) such as Paul Belasik, Ralph Isselhort (who was one of Reiner Klimke’s apprentices), and Erik Herbermann.
After realizing that raising a family was her priority and that achieving upper level dressage goals was going to take more resources than she had at her disposal, she changed her focus to versatility training (lower level dressage, obstacle course work, distance riding).
Sitting around waiting for a better horse became a road block for me. Instead of being disappointed that I could not afford a horse with upper level potential in the sport I wanted to do I began seeing each horse as a ‘learning puzzle’ to be figured out. I may not have the horse that can get to 4th level in dressage but there are certainly more things this horse can do that I am not tapping into. I still have room to learn and to grow as a rider with the ‘ordinary horse’. I can still become a better rider, I can still improve my equitation. And I can still use classical / cavalry school based training to get these horses there.