Our Staff

Riding school instructors are chosen for their equestrian training, their ability to impart knowledge and level of professionalism. The instructors will work with students to achieve their individual goals as riders and determine the best course of lessons for student progress.

Leslie Kramer - Owner / Manager

Leslie Kramer, one of the owners and the manager of Equest Farm, began her commitment to this sport and the special relationship between people and horses over 50 years ago. She began riding with her father Ben Brupbacher and sister Mary once a week as a Sunday outing. Those once a week rides turned into a life passion for the horse and this special place once known as City Park Stables, now Equest Farm. Now, Leslie is fortunate enough to interact with riders and horse lovers on a daily basis. Overseeing the facility, the staff, the riding school, summer camps, care of the horses and boarders are just part of her daily activities. Managing this entire facility is a full time job, not only maintaining the property but monitoring the care, custody and control of Equest Farm.

Through a long and illustrious history, the stables have survived in this urban setting when so many equestrian centers located in an urban setting have failed to thrive. Through her commitment, Leslie has brought the citizens of New Orleans a place to enjoy the serenity of the land while enjoying the horses.

DJ Johnson - Head Trainer

DJ started riding at the age 4 under the training of his father Junior Johnson. As a kid, he was fortunate enough to follow his dad around at horse shows and was introduced to showing on a national level from some of the best horse trainers. As a junior he showed in ponies and in junior hunter divisions. Once he graduated high school, he became a professional and rode and worked for his father. From there he worked under Bob Crandall as a manager/ assistant trainer for one of his customers in Virginia. While there they had many horses and riders that qualified for nationally ranked horse shows such as Devon, Harrisburg, Washington International Horse Show, Harrisburg, East Coast Junior Hunter Finals, USEF Pony Finals,USHJA International Derby Finals and the national horse show frequently. In those years DJ also started his own business where he trained and managed 20+ horses in Richmond as well as travelling to the winter equestrian festival for the winter months.

DJ's been lucky throughout his career to have had the chance to work with some of the best trainers in the horse business like Junior Johnson, Joe Fargis, Chris Wynne, and Danny Robertshaw to name a few. Customers he's taught have gone on to win year end champions, circuit champions and scholarship winners. He has also made frequent trips to Europe to select horses for clients and investors. He looks forward to working in New Orleans and travelling along the greater southwest and east coast horse shows!

Kristen Davis - Riding School Director

Kristen is a dedicated hunter/jumper professional with a variety of exceptional experiences. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Equine Science with concentration in equestrian instruction and training from Lake Erie College, where she competed successfully in IHSA, IDA, and ICTA. Kristen also studied abroad at England's Hartpury College, completing coursework in Equine Veterinary Science, Equine Anatomy, and Equine Psychology and training in classical dressage and stadium jumping. Kristen also trained with three day eventer Julie Randall in Aukland, New Zealand. Before coming to Equest Farm, Kristen worked as an instructor, trainer, camp and horse show organizer as assistant to Susan Horn at Prospering Farm in Prosper, Texas. Previously, Kristen was a private trainer at Echo Hill Farm in Rhinebeck, New York, a trail guide in West Virginia's New River Gorge, and was an assistant instructor under Bernie Villeneuve at Andrews School Equestrian Center in Mentor, Ohio.

Kristen has developed students through beginning lessons to showing successfully, with students consistently in the ribbons and most in the top five for the year end. Kristen has been Equest Farm's Riding School Director since February of 2010. She has restructured the riding school while teaching lessons from beginner level to 4'9", designing a consistent lesson program, overseeing high quality instruction from four assistant instructors, maintenance of stables and horses with the barn manager, and scheduling and organizing the lesson program with the secretary. In addition, Kristen is the coach for the Tulane University Equestrian Team.

Amanda Velez - Instructor

Amanda started riding at Equest when she was seven years old in summer camp. After her first week, she was hooked on horses and continued to ride throughout her teen years. Eventually, Amanda began work as our diligent tacker and eventually moved up as an instructor in the riding school in 2013. She loves teaching all ages and watching them grows like she did. Amanda is now working towards her own goal of showing with her horse, Batman.

Kaitlyn Nesbit - Instructor

Kaitlyn Nesbit, started riding Saddle seat when she was six years old. After she made the switch to Hunter/Jumper lessons she was really hooked. In 2010, she started taking lessons at Equest Farm while working as a restaurant manager in the French Quarter. Years of managing a busy restaurant with 75 employees prepared her for managing riders at all levels. She realized her true passion was not only horses and jumping, but also teaching the children and adults that share her love of horses and riding.