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View Full Version : Scarcity of eventing in N California



Xanthoria
Dec. 9, 2011, 02:03 PM
I recently looked up all the recognized and schooling events I could find in CA, and let's just say there aren't that many nearby.

Using San Francisco as a hub (a lot of barns surround the city and a lot of people live in/around it), aside from the Horsepark at Woodside (45 mins from SF) the next closest eventing place is Ram Tap in Fresno (a good 5 hours down the central valley from SF with trailer) then Twin Rivers - the same driving time but down the coast.

Eventful Acres is out east in the foothills about 4 hours, (And Rancho Murieta used to be in the same area) but after that everything's 7-9 hours south. (I'm estimating Google's car travel time + an hour or two as I have not been to all locations)

Admittedly coming from the UK I find this relative lack of events rather depressing, but I suppose it must be a factor of land prices and the enthusiasm for dressage and hunters instead. The cost to travel all these long distances (gas, time off work, extra stabling, hotel nights etc) puts a lot of people out of the running for competitions though.

Looking at the map I see somewhat of a black hole, eventing-wise: I have not seen events held north of SF - Santa Rosa and beyond. Admittedly once you get into Mendocino there's less dense population, but does anyone think there's a market up there for an eventing facility?

(And what if we had a "gateway" eventing competition? Dressage, hunter round, and then sort of a hunter derby? Might get people to cross over ;))

Perfect Pony
Dec. 9, 2011, 03:26 PM
I recently looked up all the recognized and schooling events I could find in CA, and let's just say there aren't that many nearby.

Using San Francisco as a hub ...

...Eventful Acres is out east in the foothills about 4 hours

It's between 2-3 hours to Eventful Acres FYI. I haul to the area regularly from the East Bay and it takes me 2.5 hours door to door (and 20 minutes of that is to get to I-80).

Ram Tap is closer to 3.5 to 4 hours, Eventful Acres 4 hours.

Still a long drive, and probably much longer if you live north of SF and have to go over the Golden Gate Bridge and down through SF. So I would not lump living north of San Francisco into a scarcity of eventing in "Northern California"

That said, I get your point. Murieta has left a hole, and there used to be small events in Santa Rosa, but then the whole ordeal happened with the facility, there is no one to run them, and I guess the XC course has gone downhill.

Fillabeana
Dec. 9, 2011, 03:35 PM
There used to be a lovely event up in REALLY Northern California, in Fall River, in the late 80's/early 90's. Gorgeous place.
There's plenty of open space once you get 3 or 4 hours north of the Bay Area. Or even just to Woodland; there are fabulous rolling hills all the way up the valley to Redding.
Land, though, in California is really expensive. In order to have a facility for an event, you are looking at cattle ranches-which are highly overpriced according to the income a cow produces, or in other words a reasonable return rate on the income production value of the land. In the valley (San Joaquin or Sacramento) you are looking at really high value orchard or vineyard land. The good news is that you could have a cross country course and cattle grazing at the same time, as long as you could use electric fence to keep the cattle off the jumps, and you either own the cattle or can work with the owner in terms of grazing the area when there is no event!

I like your idea of 'gateway' shows. Hunter derbies are super popular right now, and the idea of getting good mileage would probably appeal to a lot of hunter riders.

Xanthoria
Dec. 9, 2011, 03:51 PM
It's between 2-3 hours to Eventful Acres FYI. I haul to the area regularly from the East Bay and it takes me 2.5 hours door to door (and 20 minutes of that is to get to I-80).

Yeah I was using SF as my starting point and EA is 3 hours by car, so I'd allow 4+ with a trailer. YMMV - literally! :lol:

I know someone with 90 acres of land in Mendocino, including a shallow, gravel-bottomed river/creek. Would be so perfect for an event! But of course would require building all sorts of arenas, stalls and so on... :no:

Perfect Pony
Dec. 9, 2011, 04:39 PM
Yeah I was using SF as my starting point and EA is 3 hours by car, so I'd allow 4+ with a trailer. YMMV - literally! :lol:

I know someone with 90 acres of land in Mendocino, including a shallow, gravel-bottomed river/creek. Would be so perfect for an event! But of course would require building all sorts of arenas, stalls and so on... :no:

I doubt Mendocino would get much interest as it's a long drive even for Marin/Sonoma. I think what we really need are more events and facilities on the 80 and 580 corridors (Davis area and Livermore area). It would also be really nice to have a facility in the Sonoma area, maybe a cross country course in a field out near Riverside, we already have the great show facilities there!

btw, Chocolate Horse used to have combined tests, a derby type show would be great there.

Xanthoria
Dec. 9, 2011, 04:48 PM
My thought was that if people are already ready to travel 4-9 hours south or east, then 4-5 hours north wouldn't be unreasonable at all. This spot is about 2 hours from Petaluma - the Horsepark is 1.5 hous the other way (in a car.)

Marin/Sonoma/Davis would be sweet! With land prices in those areas I doubt that'll happen soon though :no:

Rancho de los Amigos needs to restart their ODEs for the lower levels!

akor
Dec. 9, 2011, 05:00 PM
I have to travel 2.5 to 5 hours for my events. And, most of ours are recognized events only...Actually, it's either 2.5 or 4.5+ hours, nothing in the medium range.

But, there are a lot. 15 or so. And, I don't have to deal wth that much traffic.

Clinics, same thing.

I can imagine it's frustating thought to live in Northern California and not have stuff closer...

I however, have to drive 2+ hours to reach civilization.

Perfect Pony
Dec. 9, 2011, 05:56 PM
My thought was that if people are already ready to travel 4-9 hours south or east, then 4-5 hours north wouldn't be unreasonable at all. This spot is about 2 hours from Petaluma - the Horsepark is 1.5 hous the other way (in a car.)


But I don't think you will get the turnout to make it worth while. Yes, you will get the Petaluma and north people, but the competition wont be there. People in the South/East and Sacramento areas will still chose to go to Woodside/TR/Ram Tap instead.

three_dayer
Dec. 9, 2011, 10:35 PM
At least you have events that are remotely close to you. The closest event for us is 5 hrs away, and that only goes to preliminary. For the upper levels the closest event is 12 hours away, that would be woodside. Everything else is between 12-19 hours away. Unfortunately events come and go. Yes, it sucks having to travel, but that is what happens when you live on the west coast.

LetsGoXC
Dec. 10, 2011, 01:34 AM
There's also Camelot up in the Chico area. They aren't currently running recognized events, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the direction that they were pushing. They've put in a wonderful water complex and every time I've been there it's been quite fun.

I wish someone would light a fire under the management group at Murieta Equine Complex to at VERY least reopen the XC course for schooling if not start running some unrecognized events. I can't recall when they stopped hosting events there, but they seem to be keeping the XC course at least somewhat maintained.

Somewhat related to MEC, it's also a shame that Pebble Beach doesn't run events any longer. Tim Postel is involved in the management of MEC now so he's not unfamiliar with Eventer's needs.

Twin Palms is a very nice place to go school - lots of fences of all sizes but I'm not sure about the parking. Twin Palms could be a great place for a "Welcome To The Darkside" clinic sort of thing for HJ crossovers.

There is Jack Rabbit Flats in Dixon, but I've never been - that might be another place for Welcome-To-Eventing type events.

LoneTree has some fun Hunter Paces and events through the year - a long drive, but certainly worthwhile.

One of the problems in getting facilities to run Events though is certainly the money. For arguably less effort you can make far more money per competitor running a rated H/J show. However, more and more people are getting priced out at H/J shows ($200 in nonsense fees before even getting one class on the sheet), so it may be a good time to start pushing for more unrated events.

Supporting the sites that are running unrecognized events is really key - as those events grow and hopefully transition in to recognized events, some other sites might look to get in on the Eventing game again. MEC might be worth a shot if someone's got the know how and heart to pour in to getting an Event running there again.

RockstarPony
Dec. 10, 2011, 06:16 PM
UC Davis Equestrian Center has schooling shows; I think there's one in the fall and a couple in the spring, but I'm not positive on that. They're pretty terrible about advertising them online, but if you call the office they should have a schedule.

caevent
Dec. 10, 2011, 08:52 PM
The Woodland Stallion Station is in the process of putting in a xc course (Rod Hisken is helping them design) and are planning to hold unrecognized events next year. It's a shame that we have to travel so far to compete, but at least there are some places to get lower-level miles.

vagabondrider
Dec. 10, 2011, 09:02 PM
"Back in the day" there was Wild Horse Valley Ranch in Napa with divisions through advanced. They used to hold long format 3 days there too I believe. Also as someone mentioned, Pebble Beach. The xc was on a very small piece of land but across the street from the ocean so very unique. Just over 10 years ago there was American Valley run by kristi & randy Nunnink. Loved that event. It was in the Sierra Nevadas, beautiful with open meadows and hilly wooded parts to the course. I was really sad to lose that event. It was a hike from the bay area or anywhere else, but really worth it. Reaching far into the past...Lily Glen in southern OR (Ashland)- not N Cal but a lot of Californians went there.

easykeeper
Dec. 10, 2011, 10:04 PM
Ahhhh, Wild Horse, Lily Glen and way way back, the Mt. Diablo Trail Ride Association had a recognized event! Not a lot of open galloping, but the terrain was fun and the views beautiful!

I used to board at Woodland Stallion Station some 20 years ago...I was one of two riders who rode english. Always thought all that land in wine grapes was a waste, now I am glad to see they are putting it to good use with a XC course!

So sorry to hear about Murrieta...it was always a nice event.....

Fancy That
Dec. 13, 2011, 12:01 AM
On the bright side, at least we have Woodside in our backyard :) And the lovely schooling XC facility at RDLA.

Gilroy Gaits is reputed to put in a XC course - but I won't hold my breath on that. Would be awesome though!

Have you done the schooling HTs at Moss Beach Ranch? I haven't been, but at least there are some fun, unrecognized events around here.

I've always wanted to try EA and TPs. Love Lone Tree!

I'd say my favorite XC course around here is at Piers Ranch in Portola Valley. Soooo fun! Just did the Hunter Pace with Los Altos Hounds there on Saturday :) Where were you?????

Appsolute
Dec. 13, 2011, 12:27 PM
Sad to see so many events gone! I started eventing in the mid 1990’s back then we went to:

Wild Horse – Napa (Favorite! Beautiful, loved it) – GONE
Murrieta – Rancho Marietta - GONE
Pebble Beach – Monterey – GONE
American Valley – Sierras – GONE
Lilly Glen – Ashland OR – GONE (I remember the last event when the water got too high!)
CTETA (Now the Woodside Horse Park) – Still here and much improved.
Ram Tap – Fresno – Still around!

Fancy That
Dec. 13, 2011, 12:54 PM
Sad to see so many events gone! I started eventing in the mid 1990’s back then we went to:

Wild Horse – Napa (Favorite! Beautiful, loved it) – GONE
Murrieta – Rancho Marietta - GONE
Pebble Beach – Monterey – GONE
American Valley – Sierras – GONE
Lilly Glen – Ashland OR – GONE (I remember the last event when the water got too high!)
CTETA (Now the Woodside Horse Park) – Still here and much improved.
Ram Tap – Fresno – Still around!

Hey Apps - did you ever school XC or go to the Horse Trial (schooling/fun) at Windance in Pescadero? Gale Wong used to have a nice XC course on her farm and she used to hold a schooling Horse Trial every Halloween, plus XC camps, etc. She has let the XC course go, though, as I schooled there for her Ladies XC Camp a couple months ago and many/most of the XC jumps were not being maintained.

Kairoshorses
Dec. 13, 2011, 01:41 PM
Welcome to my world. The difference is I live in West TX, and have no other life (other than kids and job)!!

Nearest event is 4.5 hours. Then 5.5, 7, 8, 10, and 12 hours.

AND the nearest eventing trainer is just as far.

Gotta love it when you live where we do and have to drive so far.

FLIPPED HER HALO
Dec. 13, 2011, 03:04 PM
Back in the early 90's I boarded and worked at Wild Horse when I got my first horse. LOVED it there and it was amazing to watch the transformation every time a show was hosted and the mare pastures were converted into the stabling areas across from my geldings pasture.

They are working on building the California Equestrian Park in Sonoma County
http://www.cepec.us/eventsfacilities.htm
The facilities will include arenas, coliseum, pavilion, polo field, cross country course, driving course, trails, galloping track, museum, restaurants, conference center, shops, picnic areas, campgrounds, education facility, surgery and imaging centers, and a farrier shop. CEPEC is also working with the American Red Cross to create an emergency mega-shelter for horses and people.

There is Jack Rabbit Flats in Dixon for schooling. http://jackrabbitflats.net/
• WELCOME TO JACK RABBIT FLATS—A 35 ACRE CROSS COUNTRY SCHOOLING FACILITY CAREFULLY DESIGNED TO TAKE YOU AND YOUR HORSE TO THE NEXT COMPETITIVE LEVEL. WITH MORE THAN 30 OBSTACLES—INCLUDING WATER, A BANK, AND DITCHES—JACK RABBIT FLATS OFFERS CHALLENGES FOR RIDERS OF ALL LEVELS. LOCATED RIGHT OFF HIGHWAY 80 IN SOLANO COUNTY, BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND SACRAMENTO, WE OFFER GROUP DISCOUNTS AND FREQUENT RIDER PACKAGES.

Twin Palms Combined Training in Loomis: www.twinpalmscombinedtraining.com
Lovely facility! My coming 4 year old is going there in the spring to be started over fences.

Lone Tree hosts some schooling events as mentioned. So does Camelot up near Chico.

Somerset in Winters has a cross country course you can haul in and pay a use fee for.
https://sites.google.com/site/somersetfarm/home/cross-country-course

Hiskens in Grass Valley. Twin Rivers and Ram Tap are quite a haul from up here.

UC Davis hosts a derby twice a year, usually in April and November.

It would be wonderful if they could open up MEC again. I miss Wild Horse. I know the facility is leased out to Natalie Rooney Pitts now by Kenzo and she runs her barn out of there. Not sure if there is haul in available to use the course or what kind of shape it is in.

Grace67
Dec. 13, 2011, 03:16 PM
I'm not an eventer (far from it actually) but I've lived up in Mendocino county for the past 40+ years. We are sorely lacking in ALL things horse related....shows, clinics, trainers, etc. That wasn't always the case but somehow in the last 10-15 years everything has disappeared and the only events I see locally are rodeos, barrel races and team pennings......none of which I'm interested in and neither are the few serious horse friends I have. We sometimes travel to Lake county for thrice yearly dressage clinics by a clinician who travels 4+ hours to get to us. Several years back there was a multi day, large (for our area) and very well run driving show put on by an outside driving group which we all enjoyed very much. We'd love to have other events held up here and attract a much higher level of equestrian than what I see out there currently but sounds like we're too out of the way and out of the loop at this point. Frustrating.

poltroon
Dec. 13, 2011, 03:35 PM
American Valley was lovely fun to go to, but the upper level courses involved some pretty extreme terrain. I am sorry we have lost it.

Santa Rosa Equestrian Center (formerly Oakridge) still exists, and Yves Sauvingnon still teaches from there. They also have a pretty good Pony School which sends lesson kids out eventing as far away as Ram Tap on school horses. I believe the cross-country can be available for schooling even though they have not had any events there for some time. There are other eventers here and there on the North Coast.

We are lucky to have some pretty nice options within California. Galway has grown beautifully and we're very lucky to have Twin Rivers as a relatively new facility. The rebirth of Woodside is welcome. Ram Tap has a great central location and a long tradition. But it's a big state and we're not going to have the density of the UK.

Even for dressage, while trainers are fairly thick, actual recognized dressage shows are surprisingly thin on the north coast, concentrated in the summer. It's not all that easy for people not in the north coast to get here.

jenm
Dec. 13, 2011, 03:37 PM
I'd say my favorite XC course around here is at Piers Ranch in Portola Valley. Soooo fun! Just did the Hunter Pace with Los Altos Hounds there on Saturday :) Where were you?????

They did a great job with the new course, it's so inviting as well as challenging. As I was riding back to my trailer, I was already trying to figure out where the dressage court could go and where the stadium jumping arena could be. :yes:

I was also wondering where Xanthoria was.

FT, the photographer was JC Dill. A link will go up on the LAH website when she has uploaded them. She's a great photographer, I had her do my "family portrait." :)

ens0613
Dec. 13, 2011, 03:57 PM
I seem to remember hearing about a Monterrey Horse Park in the works a couple years ago - anyone know what happened to that?

Xanthoria
Dec. 13, 2011, 04:12 PM
Where were you?????



I was also wondering where Xanthoria was.

Aww, mah horse is lame.... and it's not looking good. :no:

Nice to be missed though! :D

jenm
Dec. 13, 2011, 05:36 PM
Aww, mah horse is lame.... and it's not looking good. :no:

Nice to be missed though! :D

Oh no!! Sending jingles your way. I hope it's not as bad as you think.

poltroon
Dec. 13, 2011, 05:41 PM
I seem to remember hearing about a Monterrey Horse Park in the works a couple years ago - anyone know what happened to that?

They apparently did some tours in the fall, so they haven't given up yet. I know they were hoping to get a boost from a San Francisco Olympic bid, but that obviously did not work out.

I'm appalled to report that googling for it, I found a very active "Say No to Monterey Horse Park" group.

It appears that the new plan involves hitching the horse park to a housing development, which in my experience does not bode especially well for it. It energizes opposition from people who might not oppose the relatively open space of a horse facility and creates local opposition from the homeowners who end up buying in but who don't actually like horses.

Appsolute
Dec. 13, 2011, 05:51 PM
Hey Apps - did you ever school XC or go to the Horse Trial (schooling/fun) at Windance in Pescadero? Gale Wong used to have a nice XC course on her farm and she used to hold a schooling Horse Trial every Halloween, plus XC camps, etc. She has let the XC course go, though, as I schooled there for her Ladies XC Camp a couple months ago and many/most of the XC jumps were not being maintained.

Yes, I know Gale very well, my Dad met my step mother at a pony club rally there in 1990! My horse lived there for a short time when she was 2-3 (riley had a fan club there), I backed her in Gale's main field. It is a shame that the property has not been kept up. Used to be a wonderland of tiny jumps, and was a great place to play on a young horse. Didn't realize she still was hosting camps though!

Xanthoria
Dec. 13, 2011, 06:32 PM
Oh no!! Sending jingles your way. I hope it's not as bad as you think.

Well, it seems to be at least navicular and maybe other stuff... so... blah... :no:

poltroon
Dec. 13, 2011, 06:53 PM
Well, it seems to be at least navicular and maybe other stuff... so... blah... :no:

Gah.

Xanthoria
Dec. 13, 2011, 07:04 PM
Yeah. Double gah. :(

Fancy That
Dec. 13, 2011, 08:23 PM
Yeah. Double gah. :(

Triple Gah!! Sorry to hear about your boy :( I should have asked you if you wanted to ride Sandys' horse (my sister) Her horse is riderless and will be for awhile! Nikki is alot slower than your boy, though :) (and probably doesn't jump as high)

Appy - small world that you know Gale! I figured, given where you live :) Yes, the XC course hasn't been maintained at all...literally disintegrating. I have great memories of Windance though! And yes, she still does the Ladies XC Camp

NorCal Peeps - who's going to LoneTree in February? I think the first Hunter Pace starts then.....

Xanthoria
Dec. 13, 2011, 08:28 PM
Awww, thanks! Well you know I just met a nice woman who wants me to school her TB for xc but if that doesn't pan out (or it pans out too well and she starts hunting him!) then maybe I can steal Nikki. She may not be fast, but she has spitfire attitude - which I love!

vagabondrider
Dec. 13, 2011, 09:56 PM
I remember Windance! Had Pony Club camp there & it was great fun. I'm surprised noone has mentioned Twain Harte Ranch yet- Noel Parker Ortiz used to run a recognized event & also unrecognized events. Also Silver Lining used to do unrecognized events. In the late 90's/early 2000's there was an unrecognized event somewhere near the Yosemite area (Susanville? Don't remember). I can't remember what it was called. And Woodside (formerly CTETA) used to have unrecognized events too- they were great, 2'3" through training! Before UCDavis tore down the xc course to make room for the vet school expansion there was an unrecognized event there too through training.

Jumpingrules92
Dec. 18, 2011, 11:10 PM
There's also Camelot up in the Chico area. They aren't currently running recognized events, but I wouldn't be surprised if that was the direction that they were pushing. They've put in a wonderful water complex and every time I've been there it's been quite fun.

I wish someone would light a fire under the management group at Murieta Equine Complex to at VERY least reopen the XC course for schooling if not start running some unrecognized events. I can't recall when they stopped hosting events there, but they seem to be keeping the XC course at least somewhat maintained.

Somewhat related to MEC, it's also a shame that Pebble Beach doesn't run events any longer. Tim Postel is involved in the management of MEC now so he's not unfamiliar with Eventer's needs.

Twin Palms is a very nice place to go school - lots of fences of all sizes but I'm not sure about the parking. Twin Palms could be a great place for a "Welcome To The Darkside" clinic sort of thing for HJ crossovers.

There is Jack Rabbit Flats in Dixon, but I've never been - that might be another place for Welcome-To-Eventing type events.

LoneTree has some fun Hunter Paces and events through the year - a long drive, but certainly worthwhile.

One of the problems in getting facilities to run Events though is certainly the money. For arguably less effort you can make far more money per competitor running a rated H/J show. However, more and more people are getting priced out at H/J shows ($200 in nonsense fees before even getting one class on the sheet), so it may be a good time to start pushing for more unrated events.

Supporting the sites that are running unrecognized events is really key - as those events grow and hopefully transition in to recognized events, some other sites might look to get in on the Eventing game again. MEC might be worth a shot if someone's got the know how and heart to pour in to getting an Event running there again.

I think you are from my neck of the woods? :) Jack Rabbit and Lone Tree are AWESOME places to school. Have you been to Twin Palms? Their XC course is AMAZING and they have an amazing training staff as well. :) Parking isn't an issue as long as their arent 15+ trucks/trailers :)

Watermark Farm
Dec. 19, 2011, 06:30 PM
Santa Rosa Equestrian Center (formerly Oakridge) still exists, and Yves Sauvingnon still teaches from there. They also have a pretty good Pony School which sends lesson kids out eventing as far away as Ram Tap on school horses. I believe the cross-country can be available for schooling even though they have not had any events there for some time.

The fences are still there but unfortunately the course has not been maintained since Yves sold the property. The footing is poor due to gopher holes and at this point nobody is using it for much schooling. We're clients there and are really hoping the XC course will be resurrected at some point in the future.

I miss Murietta the most! Drove by there the other day and the XC fences look so sad. Easykeeper, I attended summer camp at CMDTRA on Mt. Diablo and cut my eventing teeth on those old fences! Thanks for the memories!

poltroon
Dec. 19, 2011, 06:37 PM
The fences are still there but unfortunately the course has not been maintained since Yves sold the property. The footing is poor due to gopher holes and at this point nobody is using it for much schooling. We're clients there and are really hoping the XC course will be resurrected at some point in the future.

Do you know what Yves did to deal with the gopher holes? Was he just running horses on it more? (I have gophers in my own grass field...)

caevent
Dec. 20, 2011, 10:58 AM
Yves had his right hand man, Gonzalo, out in the fields year-round setting traps and filling holes from the gophers. They also didn't allow any horses out if the fields were wet, as the clay soil would create hoof prints that would dry into "ankle breakers" later on. Now, horses get turned out whenever, which is nice in the short-term, but really makes the ground hazardous in the long-term.
Yves has another farm now that has a handful of xc fences and a gallop track, but it's not open to the public.