Family

Mountaintop Ranch is a family owned Equine Business. Original owners Virgle and Bettie Cunningham come from a long line of Texas Ranchers and Quarter Horse people. Mountaintop Ranch was founded in 1972 primarily as a Timber Operation. However, the Cunningham's realized that the greatest values of the Ranch were the wilderness, flora, fauna, wildlife, and spectacular views.

In 1985 they decided to establish their Quarter Horse and Paint Horse business to include Breeding, Foaling, Imprinting, Sales, Training, and Consulting Services. To manage this equine business, Virgle and Bettie's daughter Lydia Cunningham joined the ranch as part owner and full-time Ranch Manager.

Lydia Cunningham Bush has a Bachelors Degree from Northern Arizona University. She did additional work at West Texas State University with Gary Marbel, an outstanding Instructor in Equine Science and Horse Trainer. She has Equine Breeding Certificates from North Carolina University and Ohio State University. She has served as a Governoratorial Appointed Member of the Virginia Horse Industry Board.

Virgle L. Cunningham has a Bachelors Degree from Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, with a major in Animal Science. He received his Equine Judges Card in 1954. He also received his Masters Degree from American University in Washington, D.C. 

All of the Cunningham family are recipients of numerous certifications from Horse Forums and Seminars.

Recognized as a World Class Horse Ranch, Mountaintop Ranch has been a member of the AQHA Breeder's Service since 1984 and is a member of the AQHA Breeders Referral Program. 

Whether you take advantage of our excellent breeding and foaling services, or perhaps, you need a stellar trainer or expert consulting; whatever your horse needs, come meet the Cunningham family and join our Mountaintop Ranch family.

 

Mission Statement

 

Mountaintop Ranch is a family owned and operated Horse Ranch. All working members of the Ranch are encouraged to work as a team for the betterment of the public's knowledge of Horses. We strive to give excellent care to all members of our Equine Family and to deal with each other and the public in a way as to encourage the rewarding satisfaction of having shared a day in the life of a horse. We strive to grow in knowledge to become better horseman in every capacity of the job at hand. We take pride in a job well done and we want all who spend time here to have gone away with memories that will last a lifetime and sometime change a life.

We honor God for giving us this opportunity to work hard and learn and share with others His marvelous creation of the horse. We work together as a body and no one member can function without the other. Everyone who works here is a very important member of the Ranch and is considered a very valuable asset.

Our goal is honesty and integrity in all that we do and to never hurt horse or human.

 

Testimonials

 

                              

I purchased a Mountaintop Ranch yearling gelding in 1998, he has received all his training by the Ranch training staff and I am very happy with the horse he has become. Mountaintop Ranch provided additional growth opportunities for me and my horse in the form of training seminars and showing opportunities. During this time, I have come to know the Cunninghams and I consider them great friends. I would recommend that if you are in the market for a horse or to have one trained, visit MountainTop Ranch. Kevin Showman
Falls Church, VA

I've lost track as to how many horses Mountaintop Ranch has started for me in the past 8 years or so, but you all have done a wonderful job for me. I have another one ready to bring you this spring. Hope he turns out as well as the rest. The two out of four that I kept for myself last year are doing great. I can work cattle on them all day and then let my grandkids ride them. Let me know when you have room for my latest 2 year old. I think he will be a good one. Don Bevan
Broadway, VA

Brewster, TB/Connemara cross, was sent to Mountaintop Ranch to be turned into a good trail horse for his aging owner. He went from a very anxious guy around other horses, cattle, barking dogs, noisy trucks to a real confident, trustworthy, fun-to-ride trail mount. I now go anywhere alone on him and yes, he gets anxious occasionally but now he just moves on by without hesitation--thanks Lydia, David, and all at Mountaintop for bringing out the 'best' in Brewster. I anticipate many hours of pleasure on his back for years to come. Leslie McLean
Foxrise Farm, Boyce, VA

To the Staff at Mountaintop Ranch:

Please let us take a moment to mention how patient, kind and generous your staff at Mountaintop Ranch was to us before, during and after the purchase of our beautiful buckskin overo paint filly out of Megas Black Gold and Fancy Free Cowgirl.

The demonstrations, information and photographs were very helpful and greatly appreciated. It was truly a pleasure working with you all and we look forward to the spring training of our quarter horse mare.

 

George & Jackie Tate
Goodview, VA

Dear Mountaintop Ranch:

Although I have purchased a lot of horses in my time, I had NEVER bought one sight unseen... that is until I purchased my 3-year-old Paint from you. When the transport trailer opened, out stepped a well-trained, beautiful horse that would in short order, become my trusted mount and best friend. Thanks for the great work and fantastic horse!! John Calhoun & Champ
Eagle, Colorado

Most people come to Mountaintop planning on buying one horse, as did we, but when faced with making that final choice we ended up with a 3-in-1 package of Gay Diamond, a 10-yr. old Quarter Horse broodmare, her unborn 2000 foal, and her 1999 colt, both out of A Classic Cody. We took the colt home almost immediately but left the mare to be foaled out by Lydia and her staff. Talk about the right decision!!!

Chip, the yearling, was easy to handle immediately due to his imprinting at birth. When our second colt was born 2 months later, he too was imprinted. Foaling went well and our mare and foal had incredible care. Our new colt, Go Diamond, had a minor birth affect, his umbilicus didn't want to close over and Lydia was on it immediately. She took him down to Charlottesville to a large equine hospital, (Lydia, not some staffer), and made sure the best care was given. We could not have asked for a more alert and caring person. At the age of 2 weeks, our new foal and mare were home with us, both thriving.

This past fall, our now 2-year old gelding, Chip, went back to the ranch for training. Like the majority of Cody babies, he is intelligent and eager to learn. Within 3-weeks, I was up on him with the trainers' assistance, and at 6-weeks, my husband, a novice rider, was on him. He was worked extensively in the arena, round pen and on trails. For a 2-year old, he is very mellow and responds beautifully and hasn't missed a beat since he has been back home. Thank you so much for the time you spent with him, he is a dream!
Needless to say, we find Mountaintop to be heaven sent and will continue to do business with you. In fact, our mare will be bred again to A Classic Cody this spring for a 2003 foal and our now 2-year old will be going to the ranch this summer for training. Lydia, Bettie and Virgle you are more than friends, you are like family to us. We wish you the greatest of success and hope everyone gets a chance to taste the joy and excitement of Mountaintop Ranch. Cindy Stay
Viewtown, VA

 

Facilities

 

        
Approach to the Equine Center The large covered arena has a thick, soft base and overlooks the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has a special sitting area so that owners can comfortably watch their horses being trained. This facility is protected from the weather and allows us to train year round. 
       
The covered horse walker aids us in exercising, warming up and cooling down the horses in training. The outdoor sliding track is utilized to teach the reining horses to slide and stop properly. We also use it for barrel horses and to teach all horses to ride well without working off of a fence.
        
This 100ft round arena has a gorgeous view. We teach our horses and clients to lope here. We also use it to start horses on cattle. The 45ft covered round pen is used to start all the green horses and to teach ground work. 
                
We're proud of our stalls, both how we keep them and their runs. We keep a full time staff to keep your horse's stall as clean as possible.  Six of our stalls open up to long runs behind them. Here, your horse actually has an opportunity to exercise while he is waiting for his training session. We also keep our new mothers and their foals in these stalls for safety and exercise while they are at the ranch for breeding.
     
And nine of our stalls have short runs behind them. We use these for outside stalls on nice days. We don't believe in keeping your horse closed up inside all day. We like our horses to be horses. All of our training horses have paddock turnout for free exercise.  

Our extensive and wide variety of specially-designed horse facilities reflect our long-standing desire to treat your horse with the same "tender loving care" that we would want for our horses. We're proud of our business and we appreciate the opportunity to care for your horse.