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Stratosphere
Feb. 25, 2011, 07:50 PM
I live and work in San Francisco and have only been back to riding for about two years after a long career-induced break. I bought my dream horse in November but my current trainer just told me she is moving, so I am looking to COTH for options and ideas of a trainer/boarding facility within an hour's drive from downtown San Francisco--with traffic, that's the hard part!

I work at least 50 hours a week and do not have a flexible work schedule, so my gelding is in full training and I also need a trainer that is willing to teach lessons a few evenings a week and a regular weekend lesson. I am riding at Training/First level (same for my gelding, though he was trained through Second but needs time/muscle to get back to that), and my long-term goal is to show a bit and get my bronze medal eventually.

My gelding is 18hh, so stall size/turnout is also an issue. It seems that nothing is easy with horses!

I am open to North Bay, East Bay, and especially Peninsula recs--as long as the drive from downtown is about an hour or less.

Please feel free to PM me with suggestions--and if you have an idea of ballpark board/training costs for recs, even better.

Thanks so much in advance, COTH!

Pocket Pony
Feb. 25, 2011, 09:25 PM
If stall size and turnout are an issue, stay away from the Peninsula! :lol: Turnout is horrible and prices are ridiculous.:eek:

LoveDusan
Feb. 25, 2011, 10:00 PM
Would you consider Napa?? It is pretty much a full care facility, with 16x18 box stall available. All day turn-out in private paddock is included.

Perfect Pony
Feb. 25, 2011, 10:21 PM
Well I am moving to Riverside Equestrian Center on Sunday to work with a very talented young trainer who is working in the barn of an FEI level trainer/rider. They have big stalls and turnout, and they do have a wait list for some huge paddocks that are the size of a turnout in most places.

I'll let you know how it all goes if you are interested. Riverside is certainly a nice facility with lots of shows/clinics/trainers/etc.
http://www.riversideequestriancenter.com/

I love the facility I board at currently in the East Bay, and it's well within an hour of SF, but if you want to be in training I do not recommend it sadly - especially since it's only 10 minutes from my house :(

chryssilynn
Feb. 26, 2011, 08:01 PM
Christine Rivlin is excellent, at Riverside Equestrian in Petaluma.

Perfect Pony
Feb. 26, 2011, 08:21 PM
Christine Rivlin is excellent, at Riverside Equestrian in Petaluma.

Well that is nice to know, it is the barn I am moving to tomorrow! They certainly seem very nice, and the horses were in lovely shape and well ridden and trained.

Stratosphere
Feb. 28, 2011, 07:19 PM
Would you consider Napa?? It is pretty much a full care facility, with 16x18 box stall available. All day turn-out in private paddock is included.

That sounds good, but Napa is definitely over an hour from downtown SF, and with my work schedule, an hour each way is what I've found is my limit. I was hoping, perhaps unrealistically, to find something closer--I live close to 280 in the Mission Dolores area of SF, so that's why Peninsula recs are especially welcome.

Does anyone have any experience with Petra Beltran at Clermont Equestrian? Clermont looks like a nice facility, board prices on their website not too outrageous, and the location would be great for me...

It takes 30 minutes just to get to the Golden Gate bridge from my house... But Woodside/Portola Valley is 45 minutes to an hour max and Clermont is 35 minutes.

I am open to East Bay, but Livermore (Greenville Eq. Center) is just too far--I tried a horse out there during my horse search and with traffic it was way over an hour. To do that regularly, especially during prime commute times, as I must, would kill me. Where do SF dressage riders go? Or do they just not work 50-hour-week career/desk jobs so the horsey commute is (slightly) less painful?

Thanks for the recs so far! I will definitely look into those, and would love any more that folks have. And good luck Perfect Pony, I would love an update when you've settled in!

AnotherRound
Feb. 28, 2011, 07:26 PM
Maybe sharing your gelding with us is not foremost on your mind with this thread, but I would Luuuuvvv to see some pics of this big boy.

Good luck in your search. I feel for you - my commute to the barn from work is two hours. from home, 40 minutes, but during the week its hard hard hard. Hope you find the right place.

Cheryl

honeylips
Feb. 28, 2011, 09:22 PM
There are several at GEC that work in the city - but they do it the opposite way. They live out here (near the barn or out in the East Bay like Pleasanton or San Ramon etc) and BART into the city for work every day. They still get home in time to ride around 7pm or 8pm daily plus weekends they are close and that works for them for showing.

I know at least 1 person who lives/works in SF proper and commutes out to Yarra Yarra and she works a lot as well.

Bethe Mounce
Mar. 1, 2011, 02:45 AM
We're in San Ramon and several commute from San Francisco...works pretty good for them...

Sandy M
Mar. 1, 2011, 10:49 AM
Wyvern in Martinez, perhaps? Don't know who trainer(s) is/are there, but everyone tells me it's a lovely facility.

I'm a commuter, Concord to SF, get home at 6PM and head straight to the barn (in Walnut Creek), but my young horse is not in full training (can't afford it), and I trailer weekly to my instructor in Livermore on the weekends, work on my own the rest of the time, so my arrangements would not work for you.

Perfect Pony
Mar. 1, 2011, 11:42 AM
Wyvern in Martinez, perhaps? Don't know who trainer(s) is/are there, but everyone tells me it's a lovely facility.


Courtney Kelley is a beautiful rider and excellent horseman and works out of that facility. Their rates are also quite reasonable.
http://www.wyvernfarm.com/

Tracy Hill is also there but seems to focus more on the upper level clients.

The only disadvantage to Wyvern is there are not a lot (or any?) after work riders, so I have always resisted going there. If you have your horse in training during the week and ride mostly weekends it would be an excellent place. It is a little isolated and dead after work.

Dressage-ryder
Mar. 1, 2011, 02:59 PM
We have a mare in training with www.crcdressage.com and I can't begin to say enough wonderful things about Caitlin. Caitlin has a super feel with horses and the changes in our mare in the 8 weeks she has been there have been superb. She is very fair and tactful. Christine Rivlin is also great.

Sandy M
Mar. 1, 2011, 03:50 PM
Courtney Kelley is a beautiful rider and excellent horseman and works out of that facility. Their rates are also quite reasonable.
http://www.wyvernfarm.com/

Tracy Hill is also there but seems to focus more on the upper level clients.

The only disadvantage to Wyvern is there are not a lot (or any?) after work riders, so I have always resisted going there. If you have your horse in training during the week and ride mostly weekends it would be an excellent place. It is a little isolated and dead after work.


Heck, I am alone 80% of the time when I ride in the evening. However, since BOs are on the property, they'd PROBABLY find my body when they do late night checks before they go to bed. ROFLOL Seriously, there's only one other person who regularly rides after 6:30 P.M. There are a couple who are there when I arrive at the barn in the evening, but most of the time they are leaving just about when I start to warm the beastie up.

Perfect Pony
Mar. 1, 2011, 04:16 PM
Heck, I am alone 80% of the time when I ride in the evening. However, since BOs are on the property, they'd PROBABLY find my body when they do late night checks before they go to bed. ROFLOL Seriously, there's only one other person who regularly rides after 6:30 P.M. There are a couple who are there when I arrive at the barn in the evening, but most of the time they are leaving just about when I start to warm the beastie up.

Oh I understand that, it's just that Wyvern is very remote, down a couple miles of single lane, unlighted, rural road in a isolated valley. You would have to make the drive to realize why I would not want to drive out there and ride alone at night!

jenm
Mar. 2, 2011, 04:06 PM
I sent you a PM about dressage at Stanford. Not only is Rachel Williamson fantastic, we are also fortunate enough to have Brian Sabo come up and teach for two days once a month.

The other bonus is that Stanford is very close to the Horsepark and Webb Ranch both of which host some great dressage shows.

scubed
Mar. 2, 2011, 04:18 PM
http://racheldressage.wordpress.com/about/ at Stanford

chryssilynn
Mar. 2, 2011, 04:21 PM
I sent you a PM about dressage at Stanford. Not only is Rachel Williamson fantastic, we are also fortunate enough to have Brian Sabo come up and teach for two days once a month.

Rachel's fantastic. Works well with all ages of people and all types of horses. She's extremely versatile, a rarity!

ens0613
Mar. 2, 2011, 11:46 PM
I'm going to third/fourth (?) Rachel Williamson. She's enthusiastic, knowledgeable, versatile, and just a fantastic person to be around and work with :)

Beentheredonethat
Mar. 3, 2011, 01:16 AM
For sanity, I would go south if I were you. Commuting east over the bridge or north over the bridge is going to be expensive in tolls and gas that's going up 5 cents a gallon a day, and put you in traffic and take a lot of time to commute. I would go south on the peninsula towards the Woodside area. You have a fair number of good options. Carrie Coe and Pam Miller of Seven Oaks have been doing it a long time and work out of Portola Valley. You have others mentioned above, and there are lots more.

Perfect Pony
Mar. 3, 2011, 10:08 AM
For sanity, I would go south if I were you. Commuting east over the bridge or north over the bridge is going to be expensive in tolls and gas that's going up 5 cents a gallon a day, and put you in traffic and take a lot of time to commute. I would go south on the peninsula towards the Woodside area. You have a fair number of good options. Carrie Coe and Pam Miller of Seven Oaks have been doing it a long time and work out of Portola Valley. You have others mentioned above, and there are lots more.

The only problem with this suggestion is the fact that the OP wants a bigger stall and decent sized turn outs. The distance gas wise is about the same any way you go, however the boarding/training costs are 25-50% more down on the peninsula.

Agreed traffic might be better, but the facilities are poor horse-management wise and the costs very expensive, so it's all about trade-offs and priorities.

mbm
Mar. 3, 2011, 01:01 PM
any chance you could live in the east bay, work in the city and keep horse in east east bay?

this is what i have done.....

Sandy M
Mar. 3, 2011, 03:57 PM
any chance you could live in the east bay, work in the city and keep horse in east east bay?

this is what i have done.....


You and me: The commuter's daily itinerary: Concord to SF to Walnut Creek (barn) to Concord.

Other times it has been Concord to SF to PLEASANTON and/or CASTRO VALLEY, back to (North) Concord. Sigh. That was when I drove an economical car instead of a gasoholic truck. Now it's only a 15 min. drive to the barn from BART and/or home, for which I am grateful.

Cheaper to live in the east bay (more so the further east you go), and cheaper to board. The commute is not that expensive, just time consuming. Still, on a good day, 45 mins. each way via BART and/or carpool.

Watermark Farm
Mar. 3, 2011, 04:03 PM
Stratosphere, 10 years ago when I lived in Noe Valley I kept my horse for a time in Marin County (Nicasio), but it was a solid hour each way. The turnout and facilities were excellent, though, and I had access to some good trainers.

Eventually I stumbled across the Moss Beach/Montera area south of Pacifica. Sunshine Valley Road in Montera. From Noe Valley it was a pretty easy drive. The barn was very basic but had good turnout and Charles de Kunffy and his partner quietly taught there (this was not advertised) and lived nearby. You might take a drive down there and ask around and see what is there now. On the plus side this area has some great trails for hacking and NO mud.

The Peninsula area had very little turnout and was expensive, but it's also worth a look. Some excellent barns and trainers there plus clinics and shows at the Horse Park.

Going east you might check out the Orinda/Lafayette/Moraga area and also the Bear Creek Road area in Briones. Good luck, I feel for you! I have fond memories of buying bagel and coffee at Noah's on 24th and heading to the barn on Saturday mornings...

MidlifeCrisis
Mar. 4, 2011, 10:26 AM
Heidi Riddle at Half Halt Farm in Briones Canyon (near Lafayette in the East Bay). Her barn has large stalls, large turnouts, and she's an excellent dressage trainer.

sonnenschein
Mar. 4, 2011, 11:21 AM
I sent you a PM about dressage at Stanford. Not only is Rachel Williamson fantastic, we are also fortunate enough to have Brian Sabo come up and teach for two days once a month.

The other bonus is that Stanford is very close to the Horsepark and Webb Ranch both of which host some great dressage shows.

Yes, but the cost of board at Stanford is prohibitive, I boarded there in the good old days before the renovations and had to move when they announced an astronomical rate increase.

jenm
Mar. 4, 2011, 02:13 PM
Yes, but the cost of board at Stanford is prohibitive, I boarded there in the good old days before the renovations and had to move when they announced an astronomical rate increase.

Yes, board is very expensive and I won't stay there forever, but the training my horse is getting right now is phenomenal. I'm an eventer and the combo of dressage/jumping training has done wonders for my green horse. Being in the mare motel helps a bit price wise as well.

However, there is also a dressage court with new mirrors down the entire long side, a covered arena with lights and new footing, another outdoor arena with lights, a big show arena and three round pens. The stalls are cleaned 5x a day and the horses fed 3x a day so I can't complain about the cost of board, at least not for now. ;)

Careswell
Mar. 6, 2011, 10:28 AM
On the same note, anyone know of a good trainer with an available lesson horse within an hour of SF? I need to travel back there for family reasons, leaving my 2 horses at home. I would love to be able to take some lessons/ride while I'm in SF this summer.

RougeEmpire
Mar. 6, 2011, 06:10 PM
I also boarded horse at Riverside Equestrian as well and was at one time an assistant trainer there. Nice place, very big with good footing but at LOT LOT LOT of drama. You can't have that many trainers in one area and not constantly have sparks flying. Ive also had personal dealing with CHristine Rivlin as have several other trainers, I will hold my tounge on my opinion of her riding and her attitude and some of the things I've seen her do first hand.

I will however warn you to watch out for that NASTY three legged Husky of hers (if she still has it) that thing bit and mauled multiple cats and often snapped and snarled at clients. Unfortunitly a couple of the trainers at the facility are more "showman" and "marketing" and real died in the wool HORSEMEN. There is a lot of gossip and other BS that goes on there and the owner is of the faciltity is really intense and in my experience kind of shady at times and kind of nuts.

Speedy Alice
Mar. 7, 2011, 10:21 AM
Not sure how long a drive this would be for you w/ traffic et al, but http://www.lajollaequestrian.net might be an option. I don't live in SF (am in Michigan) but I know they're having a clinic with a rider from the Spanish Riding School in a couple of weeks... maybe they'd be worth checking out.

Good luck finding the right place! :)

Perfect Pony
Mar. 7, 2011, 03:38 PM
I also boarded horse at Riverside Equestrian as well and was at one time an assistant trainer there. Nice place, very big with good footing but at LOT LOT LOT of drama. You can't have that many trainers in one area and not constantly have sparks flying.

Unfortunitly a couple of the trainers at the facility are more "showman" and "marketing" and real died in the wool HORSEMEN. There is a lot of gossip and other BS that goes on there and the owner is of the facility is really intense and in my experience kind of shady at times and kind of nuts.

Unfortunately you have just illustrated the atmosphere of every single barn within 30-45 minutes of San Francisco. Welcome to the Bay Area, a horse owners nightmare.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Mar. 7, 2011, 04:44 PM
Unfortunately you have just illustrated the atmosphere of every single barn within 30-45 minutes of San Francisco. Welcome to the Bay Area, a horse owners nightmare.

And that's one of the reasons I now drive an hour each way four days a week to see my horses: A great training barn with horse friendly living (my old guy is in pasture and the little one in a super-sized grassy paddock that is only closed off when the footing is too wet) WITHOUT the drama. :D

I used to ride at Riverside and the climate there is definitely more dramatic than it needs to be, even at a multiple-trainer barn.

Cold Spring Farm
Mar. 7, 2011, 04:49 PM
When I lived in Half Moon Bay I had a wonderful facility with a great rubber dressage court, gorgeous barn, irrigated turnouts, and an easy hack to the Purissima Creek redwoods and some amazing trails. Don't know who owns it now, but if you see any boarding advertised in that area, you might want to check it out!

CMWC
Mar. 8, 2011, 05:26 PM
Have you looked in to Matt Brown in Petaluma? His barn is right around an hour (depending on traffic) from SF. Brand new barn, 14x14 stalls with attached paddocks, lots of turnout time and space, great footing, trails, evening lessons. I don't think his website is updated with the new barn he moved to last year, but it should have contact info for you.
www.eastwesttrainingstables.com

LoveDusan
Mar. 9, 2011, 10:33 AM
In case anyone is near the Napa area. We have some space available at the barn I board at. For me the best part about this place is that it is DRAMA FREE. The owner will not tolerate drama, and attitude. She is very particular of who she allows to board here, she always makes sure that it is someone who will not turn in to the bad apple of the bunch.

Everyone here is responsible, and keeps to themselves. We have oversize stalls, with all day turn-out, blanketing, graining/supplements, orchard hay fed twice daily, everything included. Gated and private, only 22 horses (that including retired ones). So the arenas are never crowded, everyone gets along. Maybe part of the reason is because they are not a "training barn". But our clients are welcome to bring in someone to help, as long as they are not in the way on anyone.

Before coming here I had boarded at middle of the run/to highend places. They all seemed to have something going on. People with an attitudes, and the larger places were always busy. It was like a windmill. But to me the most important thing has always been the consistancy of care of my horses. They have a staff of 2 people, so it is always the same. Super attention to detail, so it creates a worry free situation as a horse owner.

Here are some pic's

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2046376&id=1462039992&l=7154405396

LuLuT
Mar. 20, 2011, 01:50 PM
You should look at Clermont Equestrian Center on Skyline Blvd off Highway 92. I live in Noe Valley, SF and board my horses there and am happy with the facilities (25 min drive from Noe Valley). It's a 45 minute drive from downtown SF in rush hour traffic. Petra Beltran is the resident dressage trainer and is well liked (I am a hunter/jumper so I haven't worked with her). Georgia Simpson, another dressage trainer, also gives lessons there. There is an outdoor dressage court with mirrors and a large lighted indoor arena where you can ride up until 10 pm (you can ride no matter what the weather in the winter months which is fantastic). Craig and Anne Clermont, the barn owners, are wonderful people who are investing huge efforts into making this barn a topnotch show barn for both hunter/jumpers and dressage. 12 x 12 stalls, all day group pasture turnout or half day individual paddock turnout. Different boarding options, all at reasonable rates compared to other Woodside facilities. I recommend you take a tour.

Stratosphere
Mar. 31, 2011, 05:50 PM
Maybe sharing your gelding with us is not foremost on your mind with this thread, but I would Luuuuvvv to see some pics of this big boy.



I finally got a pic of him up--this is actually still the only photo I have of him under saddle, from the night I went to try him last fall, but it gives an idea of his (super) size. I am just about six feet tall, so we fit each other pretty well.

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk94/greyhound88/Fred/Fred10-21-10.jpg

Thanks everyone for all of the wonderful suggestions. I am now in training with Caitlin Casey at Riverside and loving it--we have already made good progress in the few short weeks he's been there and he seems very happy and settled in right away.

And yes, riding-wise, it would make more sense to live in the East Bay (closer to many nice barns) and commute to the City via BART as some suggested, but that just won't work for me and my husband, unfortunately. Due to his career (periodically working in Silicon Valley) the East Bay doesn't make sense, so San Francisco it is for us--which guarantees a long riding commute, no matter which direction you go. I am learning to love audiobooks, just found out you can check them out from the library. I'm also thinking about getting a Jane Savoie course to listen to on the commute as well...

AnotherRound
Apr. 25, 2011, 08:24 AM
[quote=Stratosphere;5519398]I finally got a pic of him up--this is actually still the only photo I have of him under saddle, from the night I went to try him last fall, but it gives an idea of his (super) size. I am just about six feet tall, so we fit each other pretty well.

http://i278.photobucket.com/albums/kk94/greyhound88/Fred/Fred10-21-10.jpg

quote]

Glad you're "home" and doing well - pant, pant, that's one hunka horseflesh, congrats and <drool> you look great on him. Cool, thanks for sharing the photo! No wonder you're up in the stratosphere!

edited - I was drooling over the horse, not you, heh heh, but you do look well suited for each other!

Stratosphere
Apr. 28, 2011, 08:58 PM
Glad you're "home" and doing well - pant, pant, that's one hunka horseflesh, congrats and <drool> you look great on him. Cool, thanks for sharing the photo! No wonder you're up in the stratosphere!

edited - I was drooling over the horse, not you, heh heh, but you do look well suited for each other!

Thanks! And I knew what you meant! :winkgrin:

I do love him--my trainer hopped on at the beginning of my lesson yesterday to illustrate some concepts and I haven't seen him under saddle from the ground in quite a while, and I just kind of stopped and stared for a minute--he is just so...purdy. If only those dapples would stay forever, though!

jenm
May. 3, 2011, 01:34 AM
Thanks everyone for all of the wonderful suggestions. I am now in training with Caitlin Casey at Riverside and loving it--we have already made good progress in the few short weeks he's been there and he seems very happy and settled in right away.
..

I'm so happy to learn you found a place that makes you both happy! I'm sorry you won't be at Stanford, but after seeing the picture of your boy, I can understand why you need to be particular about the space he needs.

You two make a lovely pair. :yes: Let me know if you ever plan to show over in Woodside/Portola Valley, it would be fun to meet you.

Sandy M
May. 3, 2011, 10:27 AM
Unfortunately you have just illustrated the atmosphere of every single barn within 30-45 minutes of San Francisco. Welcome to the Bay Area, a horse owners nightmare.

Maybe it's just the (they think!) big names? I know of at least two barns, one in Walnut Creek and the other Livermore, where there is minimal, if any, drama. I will say, however, both are "smaller" - roughly 16 horses at one barn, capacity for 20 or so at the other.

Bethe Mounce
May. 3, 2011, 10:34 AM
Just saw Caitlen at Yarra Yarra on Sunday. I scribed the outdoor arena. Lovely rider, lovely horse. You're in good hands. Good luck with your horse, hope we get to see you at some shows....

Bethe Mounce
May. 3, 2011, 10:36 AM
At our barn in San Ramon, we have no drama, and if some erupts, it is squelched quickly. I think perhaps we are the only barn in the east bay area where both disciplines operate side by side and both instructors/trainers like and respect each other. We're lucky!!!!!!

Sandy M
May. 3, 2011, 04:02 PM
At our barn in San Ramon, we have no drama, and if some erupts, it is squelched quickly. I think perhaps we are the only barn in the east bay area where both disciplines operate side by side and both instructors/trainers like and respect each other. We're lucky!!!!!!

I think variety helps. We have trail riders, dressage riders, retired and semi-retired horses, people who go down the road to work with an H/J trainer, others who just tool around hunt seat for exercise but do not show, a guy with a rescue that he rides western, etc. Everyone "does their thing" and noone gets bent out of shape. I just wish we had MORE trail riders - my youngster needs company on the trail since we are "starting over" in that regard after a long layup. He's been back in full work almost a year, but when I got him back to fitness last summer, it was late and rainy winter set in all too soon, making the trails unrideable. Now I'm ready to go, and most the trail riders are day riders, so no company for me to go for a short evening ride and get him over his sillies!! I have to think the more trail exposure, etc., he gets, the less reactive he will be in general - especially at dressage shows.

Perfect Pony
May. 6, 2011, 05:43 PM
I think variety helps. We have trail riders, dressage riders, retired and semi-retired horses, people who go down the road to work with an H/J trainer, others who just tool around hunt seat for exercise but do not show, a guy with a rescue that he rides western, etc. Everyone "does their thing" and noone gets bent out of shape.

I wish that were the case. The place I left used to be great, but has gotten so bad I get anxiety attacks just thinking about moving back. I have decided it really is up to the BO/management to set rules and boundaries and behavior expectations. With the economic downturn the barn is no longer totally full, so people are allowed to behave badly and sometimes it is even rewarded.

Then some places have people in charge that are just plain crazy ;)