On a quiet, sunny 26 acres overlooking scenic Lake Buchanan, about 10 miles outside the town of Burnet, you’ll find horse heaven. No, I don’t mean the place where horses retire after their work here on earth is done. Quite to the contrary, Sunset Cliff Farms is where the discriminating horse and rider go to receive the very best in top-notch training and luxury care and accommodations.
Owner Sherry Atherton opened her first rate, full service facility in 2004, which includes a covered riding arena comparable to those found at national shows, beautiful barn complete with oversized stalls with fans and run-outs, hot and cold wash racks, an air-conditioned lounge for guests and the very best in high-tech equipment to improve the comfort and performance of each horse they board, train, breed or sell. She has been catering to the needs of serious equestrians competing in “A” and “AA” Hunter/Jumper and Equitation events ever since, successfully showing all over the United States. Resident trainer Ginny Joyner has over forty years experience in this highly specialized sport and famed trainer Peter Pletcher can often be found by her side, giving additional direction at many of the shows attended by Sunset Cliff Farms and their team.
“All the training is private because every horse and rider are unique,” says Sherry of the services offered at her establishment. Limiting their clientele to those passionate about riding and showing, Sherry insists they offer something no one else in the Hill Country can: real, professional experience. “Anyone can call themselves a trainer,” she warns and advises prospective clients to do their homework and check the “miles” of the trainers and horses their considering.
Because they avoid the cookie-cutter approach, Sunset Cliff Farms is uniquely situated to take on the problem horse that may have been previously rejected by other trainers. They are also open to helping beginners to the ring, but Sherry insists they must have passion, be serious about the sport, and prepared for the great responsibility of a hobby like this one. “This isn’t for everyone,” she says both of the sport and her facility.
Those looking for a unique and individual training experience, elite accommodations for their animal, or for a well-bred, well-trained horse can make an appointment to meet with Sherry and her staff, tour the onsite arena and show-barn and ride the horses available there for sale or lease. The barn is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so horses are never left alone, but a busy show schedule can put Sherry and her trainers out of pocket for days at a time. It’s important to call ahead to arrange a meeting and tour.
“If you don’t have a horse, we can find you one,” Sherry states and even offers a leasing program to those who will be boarding their animal on-site. Interested parties must assume the monthly expenses for the animal in addition to a monthly fee based on the horse’s original asking price. Once there, you and your animal will have access to the best in therapeutic technologies, which for the laymen means equipment and services to help your horse perform at peak level, such as magnetic blankets and footpads.
“We’re not easy to find, but it’s private here and free of distractions. It’s worth the drive,” Sherry explains. Equestrians from Austin or any of the neighboring communities will appreciate the sense of seclusion, high attention to detail and custom experience Sunset Cliff Farms has to offer. For more information or to see photos of the property and their champion horses, you can view the website at www.sunsetclifffarms.com.