Horse scene in Fort Collins, CO? ( Boarding, Farriers, Vets etc)
I am moving myself ( and my horse!) to Fort Collins, CO in mid september and am looking for information about boarding, farriers and vets in the area. I'm planning a visit in August, and wanted to gather a place of possible boarding places to visit.
Any insider knowledge would be very helpful! I'm looking for a place with an indoor and good, solid care. I'm a dressage rider, so a place that is dressage focused would be nice, but is certainly not a requirement.
Also- a good farrier and vet would be great to know about in advance! Anyone I should watch out for? Feel free to PM me
You should LOVE the town. This is an amazing area.
We moved to Wellington (just north of FoCo) 3.5 years ago from the east coast. Best decision we ever made. We own our own farm so I can't help you out with recommendations as to boarding barns.
The scene here is very different, obviously. I have yet to see a trainer that teaches here now I'd take lessons with (I've observed some of the "top" trainers in dressage and h/j around here). The barns are much different, too.
You may want to consider transitioning over to trail riding, esp. if you are in school and may have limited time. The trails here are fantastic, virtually endless, and lots of fun. From what I've seen there aren't many dressage shows within a 45 minute radius of here, anyway.
Our primary vet and farrier are based out of Boulder, and is someone I highly recommend, but we do go to them. They are the ones we go to with any lameness issue. The only vet in Ft Collins I can recommend for horses is Dr Michael Suit. I really like him, and his fees are reasonable (many aren't around here.) For small animals, we use Chapelle Animal Hospital off 287 near Laporte. A classmate of mine in vet school worked there for years and highly recommended them, and we have been thrilled with them.
Farriers can be a challenge here. Again, IMHO, it's just not the highest quality horse scene and the area is flooded with people trying to make a professional life out of horses. I'll try to PM you with the list of farriers we have used that I won't recommend. Does your horse have shoes or any feet issues? Finding someone who understands sport horses and can shoe right can be a challenge here. Hence, why we haul to Boulder area.
Honestly, at this point, when I find time to take lessons or put a horse in training, it will be in the Boulder area, also. I'm not going to pay for a dressage lesson here that teaches hand to leg riding
PM me with any questions. Will you be in school or?? Have you found a place to live (I know of a very nice house for rent soon near CSU).
I'd recommend checking out Raeann Curtis and Phantom Hill Farm. They're a little south of Fort Collins but not much. She's a pretty good dressage trainer, definitely the best in the area IMO. Her farm is lovely, the horses seem to be very well cared for and the indoor is very nice. I was working at another farm while I was up there so I never boarded there, don't know what her rates are like or anything.
It's definitely hard to find a good farrier. I really can't recommend one--the good ones I knew either retired or left the area.
I used Ed Wydallis as my vet, and I think he's very good. The problem is that he doesn't have a clinic and only limited diagnostic equipment (no x-ray or anything) so you have to either have a relationship with another vet clinic or haul to CSU for certain things. The plus side is that he's a fantastic vet, so we used him as our primary vet but hauled to CSU for things he couldn't handle. It worked quite well for us but I know a lot of people would be uncomfortable with that.
CSU also has a non-emergency service, I don't know what it's like from experience but I knew some people who used it and liked it quite a bit.
It is a cool place. I lived up there for about 5 years and liked it quite a bit. Not my favorite place but pretty neat. You just have to watch out for all the equine science majors who really embellish their horse experience and manage to land jobs as trainers/BMs.
I'm new to the Boulder area and don't know a lot about the horse scene in Ft Collins except that you can probably find top notch vet care at CSU. The boarding and care at most places in this area is probably not what you are used to. I think you should be able to find a decent dressage trainer. There's one who freelances at the barn where I ride. I've listened to her lessons and think she's very knowledgeable even though her students at this barn don't lesson very often nor are they advanced riders. At least for the basics (leg to hand, use of outside rein, etc.), her instruction seems better than a lot of the hunter/jumper instruction I've observed in the area. It seems to be fairly common here for one facility to have several trainers and boarders of different disciplines. Sorry I'm not much help, but be prepared that while this seems to be a horsey place, it's a pretty different world compared to most other horsey places in the country.
I've been in Fort Collins for over ten years now. It's not horse mecca. There aren't a whole lot of boarding options, especially if you need an indoor. There aren't going to be many trainers for you to choose from. You may have a hard time finding a farrier you like.
For vets, I use Ed Wydalis and Amy Jergens. Ed is wonderful at the basics, as well as artful suturing and non surgical colics. He's very no nonsense. Amy is brilliant at the more complex matters and has all the equipment and a full surgery suite out in Gill. After numerous negative experiences with CSU, I won't use them anymore, and I'm far from the only person in the area who feels this way.
I use John Hilderbrandt for shoeing. It's a fairly new relationship, but I've been pleased so far. If you have a complex case, Thom Rossen in Longmont is excellent--just expensive, and you have to haul to him. Once your horse is no longer "interesting," he'll probably stop calling you back, too...but he's great if you have a problem that needs fixed.