John Charlebois - Owner, Trainer
John Charlebois is a lifelong equestrian professional. At age seven, he began riding horses in Quebec, Canada, and has ridden hunters and jumpers since. His passion and talent for riding and training took him to the Morven Park International Equestrian Institute in Virginia. Upon graduating from Morven Park, Charlebois taught riding at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York.
In 1979, Charlebois then managed the North American World Cup team that competed in the World Cup event in Sweden. He came to California in 1980, where he was manager and trainer at the beautiful Chalk Hill Ranch for seven years. In 1987, John was entrusted to start the Chalk Hill Winery Equestrian Center.
With the taste and experience of running a business under his belt, Charlebois moved to Petaluma and established Charlebois Farm. He then moved to Portola Valley where he now owns and operates Charlebois Farm at the Portola Valley Training Center. He later established an additional Charlebois Farm location at Saratoga Farm in 2009.
John Charlebois was the former President of the Northern Chapter of California Professional Horsemen's Association, and a former board member of the International Jumper Futurity. He is a big "R" Registered Judge with United States Equestrian Federation (USEF), and has competed throughout the United States and Canada as a rider and trainer. Today, Charlebois continues to concentrate his career as a rider, trainer, clinician, and judge. He remains as passionate about the sport as he was at age seven in Quebec, Canada. This passion and energy is what motivates and drives his students and horses. Recently, Charlebois was featured in a special for radio station KALW 91.7 as one of the most “Passionate People in the Bay Area.”
Hugh "Bert" Mutch - Show Associate Trainer/Rider
Hugh, or "Bert" as he is known grew up riding with his legendary father, rider and trainer R.W. “Ronnie” Mutch. He was also fortunate enough to have trained with such international icons as: Bertland DeNemethy, Eddie Macken, Rodney Jenkins and Michael Matz. As a junior, Bert won the 1978 USEF Medal Finals, becoming the first and only father-son combination to have one the Finals (Ronnie won in 1950). In that same year, Bert won the National PHA finals, and gold medals in both the USEF finals and the Prix de Nations Junior Jumper Finals in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
After his successful junior career, Bert moved into the professional ranks, winning his first Grand Prix in 1979. He joined famed rider/trainer Rodney Jenkins in 1981 where he rode and trained both hunters and jumpers, posting prestigious wins from coast to coast on such famous mounts as Holy Smoke, Touch the Sun, Count Tuscan, Henry the Hawk, and the incredible Roxdene.
In the early 1990’s, Bert moved to Woodside, CA where he was the rider and trainer for Sam and Libby Edelman’s S&L Farm. At S&L, Bert produced numerous Champions and Grand Prix winners such as S&L Ballet, S&L Second Honeymoon and S&L Low Rider. Bert has also successfully represented the USET and our country on several occasions both in U.S. and International competition.
Bert now lives in Redwood City, CA and is a crucial part of the Charlebois team as a rider, instructor and trainer.
Lara Eder - At-home Associate Trainer/Rider
Lara Eder is the newest member of the Charlebois Farm team. She knew she wanted career working with horses since early childhood. As a junior, Lara rode with Laura Gerst at Windy Hill, and never outgrew her childhood love of horses and ponies. After graduating high school, she went to New York and spent a year at Sarah Lawrence College where she competed on their IHSA team, getting the opportunity to show a variety of different horses.
After she decided she’d had her fill of snow days, Lara returned to California and bought a project horse, a three-day eventer that she eventually showed in the hunters and equitation. She started riding as a working student with Jeannie Scalise at Avalon Hunter/Jumpers in Woodside, and continued her college education at University of San Francisco. Lara started teaching and riding professionally at Avalon during her last two years of college. She graduated with a BA in English with a creative writing emphasis. Several of her short stories have been published.
Lara is very excited to join the Charlebois team and we are happy to have her!
Victor Vega - Horse Show Groom
Victor has been working with John Charlebois at horse shows for over 15 years. Victor brings over 24 years of horse show experience to our team, and has worked with other trainers including Linda Huff, Carlton Brooks, and John French. Victor is originally from Michoacán, Mexico, where he owns horses of his own. Victor is one of six incredible Vega brothers who also work as grooms at the shows and often serve as helping hands for Charlebois Farm as well.
Victor now lives and works at Saratoga Farm full-time, and travels to every horse show with us. Over the years, John and Victor have developed a mutual admiration and respect for each other, and most importantly, a strong friendship. At the shows, they work as a team to ensure that our horses have the greatest chance to succeed and perform at their best. Victor also serves as an inspirational motivator for our clients at shows, and never fails to put his full effort into making your horse show experience seem effortless. We all love Victor and the horses trust him completely. He pays meticulous attention to each horse and will go above and beyond what is expected of him.
According to Victor, he loves and takes pride in his work at Charlebois Farm. Horses are his “passion and his life.” Charlebois Farm would not be the same without Victor!
Martin Mendoza - Head Home Groom/Caretaker
Martin has been working with horses for 10 years, and has been a groom with Charlebois Farm for the past 6 years. Martin is originally from Michoacán, Mexico, where he and his family have horses and donkeys of their own. He has one brother who also works with horses, and many other family members in the US and Mexico who are caretakers of horses as well.
Martin is a hard worker, is trustworthy and dependable. He has been an invaluable part of the Charlebois team, and knows everything there is to know about our program. Martin also travels to horse shows with Charlebois Farm several times a year. He is a master behaviorist, and ensures our horses are the happiest and most well-mannered horses on the property! Martin cares for the horses, and has a unique relationship with each of them. He is also loved and respected by our clients, who know and trust his watchful eye on their beloved horses. Martin is wonderful, with a vast knowledge of horse care and health. He is light hearted, and a pleasure to work with!
Francisco “Pancho” Alvarado - Saratoga Farm Grounds Manager
Pancho has been working for John at horse shows for 13 years, with over 25 years of horse care experience. He is from Michoacán, Mexico and has a wife, a daughter, and two sons. Originally one of our top horse show grooms, Pancho and his family have now become a permanent part of the Saratoga Farm family.
Pancho lives on the property and is single handedly responsible for all the grounds work on the farm from watering and dragging the arena, to cleaning stalls, feeding horses, repairing fencing/irrigation, maintaining the property’s many horse trails and more. He is hard working and always on the move! Pancho and Victor are lifelong friends and work as a great team together. You can find Pancho at Saratoga Farm with his boys helping him with a project or playing with Buddy the mini! Pancho is the muscles of the machine, and the Charlebois team would not be the same without him.
Butch Coggins (PVTC Farrier)
2995 Woodside Rd
Woodside, CA 94062
Steve Wiberg (Saratoga Farm Farrier)
Jay A Reynolds, DVM (Vet)
San Mateo, CA
Gary Hanes, DVM (Vet)