View Full Version : San Diego Lesson Barns

Aug. 17, 2011, 09:31 PM
Looks like we'll be moving to San Diego within the next few months. Need some heads up on lesson and boarding. Being from Texas I know the boarding will be a bit of a sticker shock but what I am really looking for is.
Barn with lesson horses for kids.
Trainer that's good with kids (confidence builder I'd love to pack up my trainer but I can't.)
DD does show but she's not ready for the circuit so not needing a show barn. Brag on the great trainers and feel free to pm me the names of who to stay away from.

Aug. 17, 2011, 11:06 PM
It's a pretty large geographic area with no shortage of BNT's. This is my favorite trainer in the area:


I have taken lessons from her on the riding simulator. She's fantastic.


I believe she also teaches here:


Aug. 17, 2011, 11:31 PM
I just moved here six months ago and although I can't comment on a kid's barn, you pretty much want to live in North San Diego County -- most of the barns are located in that area.


Aug. 18, 2011, 01:13 AM
Your move comes at a good time - the USDF Convention and Symposium will be in San Diego in late November, early December.

As for trainers for kids, you may want to look at the website for the San Diego Chapter of the California Dressage Society (CDS).

Aug. 18, 2011, 10:12 AM

Aug. 19, 2011, 08:15 AM
So Del Mar is the big show grounds and most have their stables either on or near it. I'm surprised at the lack of quality of websites of most of the trainers I clicked on. I did find a couple of trainers that said children but not many. I'm convinced there's a trainer out there I'm not seeing. Might go the pony club route as DD is interested in jumping. I do love how one of the trainers has a cocktail hour, that sounds divine!

Aug. 19, 2011, 10:23 AM
I found the same thing when I moved here -- trainer websites not adequate. Trainer listings not complete. Pomegranite Hill gets mentioned a lot for kids, I think it is more of a family style barn, but I haven't visited.

www.seabreezefarms.com is a nice facility and they seem to have an all-around program. The owners also have a store "frustrated cowboy" in del Mar, very nice. I didn't board there because I wanted more space and trail access, but I did check out their facility.

I actually see quite a few kids at del Mar Show Park, and with all the trainers there, someone has to have lesson horses.

Another idea is to call Mary's Tack and ask them for a recommendation -- they see all the local trainers and know of a variety of barns.


Aug. 21, 2011, 12:45 AM
Another idea is to call Mary's Tack and ask them for a recommendation -- they see all the local trainers and know of a variety of barns.

Sorry, not a good idea. They may "see" the local trainers, but they have no idea of quality of training.

Aug. 21, 2011, 01:13 AM
At least they can give an idea of the barns -- as an outsider coming in, they were helpful in suggesting a few for me to check out -- and it's tough finding the barns through google or CA Horsemans Directory or CDS listings - there are more out there that just don't advertise or list.

My same lament for finding farriers...lol.


Aug. 21, 2011, 11:08 AM
My daughter (21) rides with Lena Norloff-Davis at Fairbanks Equestrian center on the old Douglas Fairbanks property in Rancho Santa Fe (Del Mar). Its a gated community but the guard will give you a pass.

Aug. 21, 2011, 11:10 AM
There are dressage shows at the show grounds in Del Mar. Its an on site for hunter-jumpers. I don't know any dressage trainers that work out of there. Again, Mary's Tack will give you directions and phone numbers

Jun. 28, 2012, 10:23 PM
Not meaning to drag an old thread up but so far I have found a few barns that will cater to kids. It's an interesting concept out here. DD has ridden for a few of the trainers out here and here's the results:

If You have a schoolmaster pony or short horse you will make a TON of money out here since no one really has any!

We've ridden with:
Tina Caldwell
Liz McConnell
Elizabeth Johnson
Nancy Thorne

All of the above are wonderful trainers and if anyone wants more details feel free to PM me.

Jun. 28, 2012, 11:34 PM
I dont know the barn name but look up Bethany Wallace sporthorse training, San Diego, California. She is the daughter of my current trainer, and is AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (her site says sporthorse training, but she also gives dressage lessons... please consider her! She is an amazing trainer, as well as a nice, fun person!!!!!

Jun. 29, 2012, 12:52 AM
Well, as you are now experiencing, horse keeping is expensive out here and most trainers aren't footing the bills for school horses when they have to board. I grew up in the Midwest and it is an entirely different situation. Having school horses is an easier option when you own the property or are paying cheap board and have the clientele to cover the costs.

I am in N. County and pay ~$1k month board each for my 2 horses. I'm a serious AA who is competitive at FEI levels...with a family, a full-time job & 2horses. Frankly, I don't want to board at a barn that caters to kids and I say that despite having a 5 year old DD that I adore. We don't have any young kids and rarely have even a JR or YR. I prefer to board with adults and am grateful to have the option.

Jun. 29, 2012, 10:51 AM
After reading the comments about kids riding dressage and the lack of school horses for them to learn on, this is one area our sport has neglected.

Hunter/jumper barns have kids by the boat load, and the school horses (and ponies) to go with them.

The saddle seat division has academy classes at shows for lesson horses only and students. As a trainer told me "Not every kid wants to jump." Those classes are very popular and bring out parents to the show to cheer on the kids.

And of course the Quarter Horse division is filled with children ("youth" as they're called) learning to ride, and participating in their extensive youth programs.

Dressage for kids ? Ummm, sadly it's not really happening on the scale of the other divisions. And that's a bit puzzling, considering dressage is open any breed, type, or size of horse, and the training and horsemanship involved can be used in other disciplines.

Jun. 29, 2012, 12:32 PM
Even the ones that own their own barn don't really have ponies or short horses since these are the riders competing themselves. (Kudos to them really!) I have no wish want or desire to lease a h/j pony and then train it to do dressage, not even knowing if the little monster WANTS to do dressage. (That was literally our only option at one barn) DD's riding at Training level and getting good scores with it having her try to train a pony into dressage is not time well spent at her age. Honestly my favorite was the barn that offered the 4 y/o GREEN Broke pony to us to learn on. I think I left permanent skid marks on the driveway for that one. DD does not have the skill set to bring on a green horse and won't for a few years yet. DO I want her to make her own GP horse/pony? YES! But not at 9 y/o! Let's get an independent seat, solid leg position, and a leg yield that looks like a leg yield and not a pissed off giraffe.

Trainer we're with now has a solid school master and though he's a full size horse he's listening to the DD just fine. Trainer really meshes with the kids and while the place isn't crawling with kids the few that are there are well mannered and enjoying themselves.