I currently board my horse in Montgomery County, MD, but my job is relocating up to Howard County and the commute to my current facility is more than I think I want to make on a day to day basis. It would be 40 miles, which with DC traffic = way too much time in the car! I'm very familiar with the boarding facilities in Montgomery County, but don't know much about the facilities that are closer to Fort Meade. I'm hoping for something within about a 20 mile radius, so Columbia/Olney/Bowie/Odenton/Severn/Glen Burnie would be the general area.
My only real requirement is good care and an indoor. Doesn't matter if the barn has a trainer or not. I compete mostly in eventing and dressage, but dabble in the jumpers as well, so something that would cater to that. I would prefer a facility that doesn't have a large lesson program, but could handle it if that was my only option. Trails/fields to ride out of the ring are also a huge plus.
If anyone has any suggestions please let me know!
Last edited by Sonoma City; Dec. 21, 2011 at 12:36 PM.
Columbia Horse Center is pretty good from what I recall(and isn't too far from Ft. Meade) but it does have a big lesson program (I think boarders are required to take lessons as well).
A smaller place is Bucks Haven Farm, in Fulton. It's probably a 15-20 minute drive from the Fort if you drive like I do. 30 minutes in traffic. I considered boarding there a while back, and pass by every day (I live in the area). They seem to do a lot of turnout and they back up to Schooley Mill Park so have access to trails and a cross country course. I believe they have both indoor and outdoor rings, too.
A lot of the other places I know much about are further out toward Mt. Airy and Frederick so probably wouldn't do you much good.
Columbia Horse Center does have a very large lesson program, about 3-5 lessons going on from 4:30 to 7:30 during weekdays and 8:30am to 3:30pm on weekends.
I also live near Bucks Haven and the only reason I wouldn't consider going there is that the family who owns it and lives on the property are not really horse people and may not know what to do in an emergency. Also they only have an indoor, but like Analise said you can easily hack to Schooley Mill Park.
One barn that is pretty close to Columbia is Evergreen Stables which is a smaller, mostly dressage barn, but they do have some eventers and hunter/jumpers that board there. Everyone I know who keeps their horses there is really satisfied with the care and the facility.
I don't know if you would be willing to travel this far but Waredaca and A Bit Better Farm are also pretty close to Ft Meade (just shoot up 32 then take backroads through Highland and Olney). They both have indoors and are Eventing barns
A really good place to look for barns would be the Equiery, they have a ton of listings for barns all over Maryland.
Ah, I can see jumps from the road so I assumed there was an outdoor ring too. Are those just jumps in a field or am I imagining things?
Also: I was going to suggest Waredaca but wasn't sure if the OP would think it was too far. That's where I would love to board, personally, from what I've seen of it.
EDIT: I second the idea of checking the Equiery. Hardcopy is free in just about any local tackshop around here, but you can also look up boarding ads in their classifieds online: http://classified.equiery.com/
Try Rolling Acres on the Howard/Montgomery line. It's a top notch H/J barn, and they do really well in the jumpers. Nice indoor and outdoor and good turnout. They don't have a lesson program, and have several trainers. They do teach some eventers and foxhunters as well as people in their show program, and last I checked they took boarders who weren't in their program. The farm is 200 acres so there's plenty of room for conditioning on the farm (and great hills!) but also backs up to a state park, so you can hack for hours. Waredaca is a 10 min hack. The family that owns and runs it are great people, very nice and no drama.
I board at Waredaca, and I get there via 32 from the BW parkway (so just 2 minute or so from Ft. Meade). It's just about 25 minutes from Ft. Meade.
But -- although I love boarding there, we DO have a lesson program, which is really only an issue in the winter; in better weather we have the use of all three rings (indoor, outdoor jump ring, and lighted outdoor). But during the winter, there are limited times when you can use the indoor on the weekends and week nights. You _ can_ use it, but only at specific times due to lessons.
We also have a "be driving down the driveway by" close time of 9:30 pm (this is well past when lessons end). This can be hard for some working professionals.
A Bit Better, just down the road, is also an eventing barn with an indoor and a brand new outdoor. It is much smaller -- no "lesson program" per se, but in practice if the resident trainer (who is excellent) is teaching jump lessons in the indoor, it's hard to work around that.
That being said, it's a very, very nice place with excellent care.
Thanks everyone for the suggestions! Evergreen Stables seems like it would be most suited for me, but I will check out Bucks Haven and Rolling Acres as well. Waredaca is a bit further out than I would want in an ideal world and a bit more hectic than I would want, but beggers can't be choosers so I will look into it as well! I should have added that I will be living in the Silver Spring/Bethesda area (my SO works in Fairfax so have to be somewhere inbetween), so my "triangle" commute is proving to be a bit challenging!
I don't know the area well, but I would second looking at Merry Acres. I had a blast there with my gelding, who I took with me for my summer internship. I was very pleased with the people, the facilities, and the care my boy and I got there. He certainly missed the green pastures when we went back to California at the end of the summer. We had great fun on the variety of trails they had and the smaller xc jumps they had available.
If OP is going to be living in Bethesda/Silver Spring Area - you might also I would also chime in about a Bit Better Farm and Waredaca.. there is also Pleasant Prospect which is primarily a fox hunter's haven but they do have an amazing outdoor ring (a bit of a hack from the barn though) some cross country type fences all over the place and trails... There are also some eventing barns in Woodbine MD - one used to be Sunset Hills not sure what's happening there now.. and I think there are a couple of event trainers working out of Woodbine..
there is Pickwick stables which is in Sykesville? most hunter/jumper barn - many of the h/J barns are going to want the boarder to be in some type of lesson/training program - just something to think about
Good luck on your search! I lived in the area and was constantly searching around for the perfect barn.
I've been to evergreen to school some horses, and compete in their dressage shows, I found it to be a wonderful place. Very expensive though, and anal about some of the care....from what I remember you had to mop up any poop stains after the normal routine of picking the poop up. There are lots of nice stables in the olney area, Brooke Grove farm being my favorite. Full X-country through training, indoor outdoor, hay grown on site, bring in your own trainer 300 acres.... and very fair price! Periwinkle is pretty, but I have never had a great experience there. There are tons of nice barns out by pleasant prospect (board is around 800 a month+ from what I remember.) There are also a few nice barns in the Burtonsville area that do not advertise. Also, Windsor manner is owned and ran by wonderful people! And their in the sandy spring area, I've only been there a few times but I loved it!
Feel free to pm me if you want any more details on these.