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View Full Version : Lessons in Bay Area, CA?



twcolabear
Sep. 15, 2009, 05:18 PM
Hi All,

I am a dressage rider interested in taking some jumping lessons. I have never jumped and so I am looking for someone who would be very good with people like me. I have a 4yo WB gelding and even though I would be interested in seeing how he would do, I think it would be best if I took some lessons on a good solid schooling horse. Any recommendations in the Bay Area are appreciated. I am willing to drive 60 miles in either direction from San Francisco.

Thanks in advance

3 is the limit
Sep. 15, 2009, 10:16 PM
I don't have any suggestions of where to go, but here are 2 places to avoid.
:)
Skip Spring Down Equestrian center in Menlo Park/Palo Alto
SKIP Big Oak ranch in Morgan Hill and stay as far away from Rhonda Heiner as possible

KateKat
Sep. 15, 2009, 10:56 PM
Curious, what is wrong with Spring Down? I go to the BA to visit my parents and was looking at that barn as a possible place to take some occassional lessons...

twcolabear
Sep. 15, 2009, 11:54 PM
Ok Places to avoid is a start :) Any other suggestions?

MR
Sep. 16, 2009, 12:25 AM
I just sent you a PM with some info & suggestions. :)

Plus, there have been a number of similar posts here on COTH - might do a search for "Bay Area", "San Francisco Peninsula", and "lesson"...

You might also look / post on www.bayequest.com - where you'll find more local information.

PM me if you have more questions & good luck in your search!

MR
Sep. 16, 2009, 12:28 AM
Curious, what is wrong with Spring Down? I go to the BA to visit my parents and was looking at that barn as a possible place to take some occassional lessons...

IMO (can't answer for the original poster about this), Springdown is great for beginner kids. They run a solid, beginner program and have for DECADES. Horses are well-cared for. However, there is limit to what they can offer & adults out-grow SD's resources quickly. They have a very specific program, and turns out the same type of rider in everyone - safe, "pretty", and educated in the basics. There is a lot of positive in that, for sure! There is a lot more you can learn from other places, too. I've recommended SD to many parents in the past, but it may not be the right place for this poster who, it sounds like, has lots of riding experience (just not over fences yet).

KateKat
Sep. 16, 2009, 10:33 AM
ah, ok. Well it actually sounds pretty ideal for me as I just wanted to find a place that I could basically just use to get some extra saddle time, not necessarily instruction (since it would literally be like 3 times a year that I'm in the BA for an extended period of time).

Alright, sorry OP. Back to originally scheduled programming...

BAEN is a great resource if you haven't gone to their website yet. Its how I've found most of my barns.

Equus_girl
Sep. 16, 2009, 12:39 PM
I would try Nicole Bloom. She has some very nice lesson horses and sets up amazing jumping exercises for her students. http://70.87.186.7/about.html

EmJae
Sep. 17, 2009, 01:18 PM
Hi All,

I am a dressage rider interested in taking some jumping lessons. I have never jumped and so I am looking for someone who would be very good with people like me. I have a 4yo WB gelding and even though I would be interested in seeing how he would do, I think it would be best if I took some lessons on a good solid schooling horse. Any recommendations in the Bay Area are appreciated. I am willing to drive 60 miles in either direction from San Francisco.

Thanks in advance

For what you're looking for, I think Spring Down will probably work as long as you go in with the expectation that it is not an intense training barn. As someone else posted, SD is primarily geared towards beginner children.

I've had three once-a-week lessons there, and I understand why some people would not recommend it. For me, it's been working out because I'm trying to get back into riding but my horse can be a bit spirited for me. I started taking lessons there with the goal of improving my seat, and the horse I've been on the last three times is very good for my confidence.

I haven't started jumping yet, so I can't really say anything about the quality of the jumping instruction, but you can always go and see how you like it since lessons don't really break the bank.

If you want more information, feel free to PM me.

mjrtango93
Sep. 17, 2009, 02:09 PM
Well depending on which way you want to go, I am at a barn in the East Bay about 20 miles from San Francisco. We are not a H/J barn but if your just looking for the basics and learning to jump we could definately help there! We even do several A jumper shows a year, but not sure if you are looking to show. We have plenty of lesson/school horses or you could bring your guy in as well.

Dun Ciarain
Sep. 18, 2009, 01:12 AM
Spring Down is a beginner's barn. There is nothing wrong with it for what it is. www.springdown.com A large number of the riders at the local "A" circuit barns got their start there. Most show barns don't have beginner programs. Try McIntosh, they are a show barn, but do have some lessons. www.mcintosh-stables.com

rdc
Oct. 6, 2009, 07:59 PM
I've been at McIntosh since February. I'm extremely happy with the program, the instructors and the spectacular school horses. It's a good, hard-working and friendly barn.

Wonders12
Oct. 6, 2009, 08:14 PM
Are you really willing to travel 60 miles? Aka, to the north bay/santa rosa area?

quiet5
Oct. 7, 2009, 08:16 PM
Are you really willing to travel 60 miles? Aka, to the north bay/santa rosa area?

I drive 60 miles to my barn 5x a week. insane. but against traffic so...:lol:

does anyone know how much the McIntosh's charge for full training? just wondering (please PM me, if you know: yes, I know I could call. though I kinda want to avoid that sticky-wicket at this juncture!).

Also, does anyone know where Duncan MacFarlane landed?

many thanks!

Star Creek
Oct. 7, 2009, 10:52 PM
I drive 60 miles to my barn 5x a week. insane. but against traffic so...:lol:

does anyone know how much the McIntosh's charge for full training? just wondering (please PM me, if you know: yes, I know I could call. though I kinda want to avoid that sticky-wicket at this juncture!).

Also, does anyone know where Duncan MacFarlane landed?

many thanks!

Duncan McFarlane is at www.helenmcnaught.com

quiet5
Oct. 8, 2009, 08:24 AM
Duncan McFarlane is at www.helenmcnaught.com

oh! thanks so much....jeez, they're really close.

Equus_girl
Oct. 8, 2009, 12:43 PM
Duncan McFarlane is at www.helenmcnaught.com

Isn't he at Glenoaks Equestrian?

NCHorseofCourse
Oct. 8, 2009, 07:01 PM
Isn't he at Glenoaks Equestrian?

Looks like the facility on Helen's website is Glenoaks, doesn't it. I don't know though.

Arall
Oct. 9, 2009, 10:00 PM
I agree with the people telling you to avoid Springdown. It really is a barn for kids who want to ride for a couple years then give it up and not go any further. Their riders are safe but not pretty or effective. The training is super lax. The tack they use on the horses is from the 1970 at best and every horse goes in a German Martingale whether they need it or not. I am also not a fan of the horse care. While it is not terrible, the hoses receive at most one shovelful of shavings/sawdust (can't remember what the use) in their stalls and the horses are all used twice a day in lessons. If you have any other questions about SD I'd be happy to answer them.

mew
Oct. 10, 2009, 12:45 AM
SD has lots of issues, most of the directly stem from the head trainer some of the under trainers maybe good but the head trainer/owner is "interesting" and the *horror* stories of things she has said/done are beyond belief

The horses, are lunged into the ground every thing is in a pleham and german and they push the ridders into jumping rather fast and then leave them at 2'6 for ever

I would avoid this barn at all costs.

Willow tree has a lesson horse I think and I would go there or contact the Mcintoshs barn

quiet5
Oct. 10, 2009, 09:17 AM
SD has lots of issues, most of the directly stem from the head trainer some of the under trainers maybe good but the head trainer/owner is "interesting" and the *horror* stories of things she has said/done are beyond belief

The horses, are lunged into the ground every thing is in a pleham and german and they push the ridders into jumping rather fast and then leave them at 2'6 for ever

I would avoid this barn at all costs.

Willow tree has a lesson horse I think and I would go there or contact the Mcintoshs barn

Really? Willow Tree has a lesson horse? Wow. Wonders never cease! :D

Colin & Toni McIntosh are super nice and are great trainers. Not sure about the lesson horse status, however...

mew
Oct. 10, 2009, 11:01 AM
Last I heard which may well be out of the loop willow tree had exactly one lesson horse guy's old JR horse harold. I don't know what the situation with who gets to ride him is and how though.

Another one that I just thought of is Jan Perice has a *wonderful* reputation and I believe lesson horses

redkat
Oct. 10, 2009, 07:24 PM
Yeah, but try to get a response from JP Training as just a lesson student...I couldn't, and I was looking to lease. I tried to contact them repeatedly but never got a response.

I highly recommend McIntosh. They had a couple of school horses when I was riding there, the instruction was fabulous, and I learned so much. It's expensive and was a little difficult to schedule for someone with a full time job, but I'd go back there in a heartbeart.