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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 19, 2003
    Location
    So Cal USA
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    303

    Default Best Horse Areas in the West within a Reasonable Distance to Skiing?

    Any suggestions for the best areas to live in the west where there are great trails, access to hunter/jumper barns and really good skiing? We are in southern California but it's getting so crowded and pretty darn far from good ski areas.

    Northern Cal, Oregon (we heard Bend OR was nice and pretty "horsy") or ???

    Would ideally like to live where you can ride outdoors most (if not all) of the year. Somewhere pretty!

    Thanks!

    Joanne



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 26, 2006
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    709

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    Colorado!

    Live on the Eastern side (near Boulder/Denver... forget which is closest to the overpass) & then drive an hour or two on weekends to get to some of the best skiing in the country! Eastern side is more desert-like, so less snow (great for riding). Not sure what the show scene is like, but there are certainly many farms.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 27, 2010
    Location
    Nevada
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    2,561

    Default

    East of Portland, Ore is good as you are just an hour or maybe two from Timberline on Mt Hood with year round skiing most years and there are some horse barns in the area. Also south of Portland...puts you a little further from Mt Hood but good riding areas. Central Oregon is also great...Bend is pricey (well, maybe not compared to socal!) but there are other towns in the area that are less so...Redmond, Terre Bonne, Madras, Sisters etc. These are a better winter weather (drier) but still put you within driving distance of Mt Hood and then there are ski areas in the central Cascades as well....just not year round. If you live on the north side of the Columbia River in Washington you still have access and probably less expense.

    Reno area is good as well...south of Reno there are English barns near Minden/Gardnerville and while most riding is indoors in the winter (depending on snow...some years more than others) the summer riding is awesome as you can haul up to Tahoe in about an hour or two. Winter gives you great skiing up at Tahoe as well...Squaw Valley, Mt Rose, all kinds of areas. A drive an hour east puts you in the desert with hundreds of miles of trail riding and some ranches to go have fun on as well. And you can drive over to Sac in a couple hours as well giving you the areas around there and on the west of the Sierra's for riding.

    Southern Idaho also gives you good places....Sun Valley is there for skiing and the costs of housing is probably a little less than the Portland area...probably even a little less than central Ore. Reno area is expensive but also has a huge foreclosure rate at the moment so there are bargains to be had.
    Colored Cowhorse Ranch
    www.coloredcowhorseranch.com
    Northern NV



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 19, 2003
    Location
    So Cal USA
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    303

    Default

    Thank you Abberlaze and Coloredcowhorse for your suggestions. :-)

    Keep 'em coming COTH'ers!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2011
    Posts
    92

    Default

    With the strange life I lead... I kind of live in 3 areas haha. I reside in Utah, my show jumper/ competition horse is in Nor Cal and I spend lots of time in Oregon for vacations and shows.

    I love Utah (that's where I live so i am kinda biased haha)... Skiing couldn't be better (ski in ski out housing in Park City), housing/cost of living is so low my Cali apartment rent was nearly the same as the mortgage on my 4000 sq ft. house in utah, and there are a lot of lovely stables... though depending on what discipline you are in not always a lot of lovely trainers.

    I adore the Portola Valley/ Palo Alto area in Nor Cal... Gorgeous barns gorgeous area, expensive but worth it... super close to San Fran and still close to the mountains and beach.

    I love Bend!... sunriver I have actually been thinking about getting a time share there because we head over there a lot and go to the Oregon High Desert Classics every year (h/j show). It is so pretty, but more small town- college vibe than the other places.

    All three are great for the outdoor lovers and horses... You'll have more summer in Cali obviously and closer skiing in the other places.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Sanger, TX, USA
    Posts
    4,818

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    Denver area, southern side. Within a couple hours drive to Keystone,
    Copper Mountain, Vail a tad further.

    Parker, south of Denver, is home to the Colorado Horse Park. Lots of hunter
    jumper. Expanding from 3-week hunter/jumper circuit to 7-week this summer.
    Lots of hunter/jumper barns. Closer to the footholls--more trails.

    Lots of riding outside in the winter. Get some big snows but it melts off pretty
    rapidly. Some winters more than others.
    Julie
    www.centaurfencing.com
    Safer, Stronger, Lasts Longer!
    Godspeed BARBARO--Run fast and free!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 2, 2003
    Location
    Woodland, Ca
    Posts
    6,181

    Default

    Sacramento it's 1 - 2 hours to ski. Several rated show facilities are within an hour drive and you can ride all year long, provided you have a covered ring for the really rainy weather.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 21, 2001
    Location
    Parker, Colorado
    Posts
    2,618

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BasqueMom View Post
    Denver area, southern side. Within a couple hours drive to Keystone,
    Copper Mountain, Vail a tad further.

    Parker, south of Denver, is home to the Colorado Horse Park. Lots of hunter
    jumper. Expanding from 3-week hunter/jumper circuit to 7-week this summer.
    Lots of hunter/jumper barns. Closer to the footholls--more trails.

    Lots of riding outside in the winter. Get some big snows but it melts off pretty
    rapidly. Some winters more than others.
    Ditto! Wonderful horse scene here. Spring has sprung and it was almost 60 degees here today. Of course it snowed last night too, LOL.
    where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov. 19, 2003
    Location
    So Cal USA
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    303

    Default

    Thank you Greenwoodeq, BasqueMom, Rhymeswithfizz and Fourmares! Great ideas. :-)

    I've heard that Placerville in Nor-Cal was very horsy and reasonable. Anyone know about that area?

    More ideas?

    COTH'ers are THE BEST!

    Thanks! :-)



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 8, 2004
    Location
    The Great, uh, Green (?!?!) North!
    Posts
    3,732

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    Vancouver, Canada! Huge dressage and H/J scene. You can ski the local mountains and ride the same day. And possibly go sailing. Not far to Whistler, and a very reasonable drive to the interior mountains.

    Just be prepared for drizzle.
    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 4, 2003
    Location
    Sanger, TX, USA
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    Denver area gets about 300 days of sunshine. When the storms come through, it clears up quickly afterwards. Not the dreary weeks of clouds like
    in the midwest. Lot of local thunderstorms in the summer in mid-afternoon,
    then all clear again. The most dreary days I can remember is 3 in a row.
    Julie
    www.centaurfencing.com
    Safer, Stronger, Lasts Longer!
    Godspeed BARBARO--Run fast and free!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2003
    Location
    northern California
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    1,445

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beachpony View Post
    Thank you Greenwoodeq, BasqueMom, Rhymeswithfizz and Fourmares! Great ideas. :-)

    I've heard that Placerville in Nor-Cal was very horsy and reasonable. Anyone know about that area?

    More ideas?

    COTH'ers are THE BEST!

    Thanks! :-)
    I live south of Placerville and it takes me about 45min up the hill to go skiing,
    1/2 hour down the hill to Rancho Murietta and Starr Vaughn. Great trail-riding all around me!
    Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
    Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    forward is like love - you can never have enough



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
    6,738

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    If you define "horsey" for you, that would help.

    Hood River, OR puts you 45 minutes from Portland and major show barns (HJ/D/E or W), amazing trail riding and perhaps a 30 minute drive to year round skiing at Timberline (Palmer Glacier Chair). Another 1.5 hours and you can ski Central Oregon at Bachelor (dry powder, more sun).

    Bend is dry (high desert), very horsey (all disciplines) but kind of isolated (3 hour drive to PDX and the "big city").

    Even Portland is only an hour drive to the mountain. We started skiing this year before Thanksgiving, and spring skiing will continue into May, on the regular slopes. They have a 100+ inches of base right now.
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 19, 2003
    Location
    So Cal USA
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    Default

    Thanks Ibex, BasqueMom, and Reiter!

    Reiter: Do you know who the best h/j trainers are in that area? Does Rancho Murietta have trainers? Couldn't tell by their website, just that they have a ton of shows. Any info on the best trails on-line I could look at? (state parks, county open space trail areas, etc.?)

    Looks like we have a LOT of (fun) roadtrips ahead of us!

    Thanks!

    Any more out there COTH'ers? :-)



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 19, 2003
    Location
    So Cal USA
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    303

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    Calvincrowe:

    "Horsey" defined: Somewhere there is access to a GOOD hunter/jumper barn and miles of beautiful trails. I've been showing my whole life with top trainers in So. Cal and my boyfriend just started riding (h/j) last year (he's HORSE CRAZY! How COOL is THAT??!!). I can teach him but it's fun to be with a barn as well, like to trailer in to. County shows are all we need for the most part and possibly trailer to a rated show now and then. We'd love to find an area that won't break the bank that had direct access to trails from our property. We both work at home so no concerns about a long commute.

    Oregon sounds nice. What's PDX?

    Thank you!!!

    Joanne :-)
    Last edited by beachpony; Mar. 15, 2011 at 12:59 AM.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2003
    Location
    Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
    Posts
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    PDX is Portland (airport designation), Oregon. We have several major H/J trainers (Jeff and Shelly Campf of Oz, Jim Dahlquist of Ringside, Megan Gass (jumpers), Rich Fellers is based here, too.)

    We have a serious A circuit in the summer based just south of Portland with at least 6 A or AA shows, and a thriving schooling/C show circuit as well.

    All the barns have indoors, so the wet winters aren't a big deal. And the skiing doesn't get better than here
    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2003
    Location
    northern California
    Posts
    1,445

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by beachpony View Post
    Thanks Ibex, BasqueMom, and Reiter!

    Reiter: Do you know who the best h/j trainers are in that area? Does Rancho Murietta have trainers? Couldn't tell by their website, just that they have a ton of shows. Any info on the best trails on-line I could look at? (state parks, county open space trail areas, etc.?)

    Looks like we have a LOT of (fun) roadtrips ahead of us!

    Thanks!

    Any more out there COTH'ers? :-)
    I'm a dressage rider, so not really up on the hunter/jumper trainers, but there's a lot of them! Rudy Leone (near RM) has been around forever:

    http://leoneequestrians.com/

    As far as trails goes, the best ones are not publically advertised, but Sly Park is a great one:

    http://www.slyparklake.com/

    Let us know where you end up!
    Hoppe, Hoppe, Reiter...
    Wenn er faellt dann schreit er...

    Quote Originally Posted by mbm View Post
    forward is like love - you can never have enough



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 8, 2006
    Location
    B.C. Canada
    Posts
    1,918

    Default

    Well if you wanna move to Canada... Kelowna to be exact

    I live 20 minutes from a world class skihill (big white) 30 minutes from the riding club, and lakes in both directions for fishing, waterskiing and boating. And I have trails out my back gate.
    Quote Originally Posted by ExJumper View Post
    Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 21, 2008
    Location
    Sonoma County, California
    Posts
    2,506

    Default

    Northern California!

    Rancho Murietta area east of Sacramento is Horse Central and a decent drive to the slopes. The foothills area nearby (Sutter Creek & Jackson areas) is quaint and very pretty. The whole Sacramento area is uber horsey. Winters are mild, summers can be pretty warm. If you are into hunter/jumper, Rancho Murietta and the Elk Grove/Wilton area both have huge h/j venues (Rancho Murietta Eq. Center & Brookside Equestrian in Elk Grove).

    Grass Valley and Nevada City area north of Sacramento (specifically check out the Chicago Park area, very nice horse area) are very nice, great weather and an easy drive from great skiing.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
    Posts
    4,534

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    I live in Sacramento, my dad used to live in Placerville. Up towards the foothills (i.e. Placerville, and areas pretty much past El Dorado Hills) you're entering more into trail riding country. Not many trainers up that way. Placerville itself is nice though. Its kind of your typical foothills town, small, lots of trees, some kinda rough looking areas. Not a ton to do up there either, but Folsom and El Dorado Hills are close for more major shopping and restaurants. Its pretty though, and a much more relaxed pace. Very affordable as well.

    Kelly Van Vleck is out of Rancho Murrieta, assuming you're looking for a H/J trainer. That area is nice as well, but its a little out there. Small community, but not a ton to do.

    As a whole though, I would recommend Sacramento area for sure. We're 1-1.5 hours away from the snow in one direction, San Francisco in the other. If you hate the traffic in Socal, you'll definitely appreciate "rush hour" here. It can get a little gnarly sometimes, but nothing like Socal (I was down there for four years for college, so I am well versed, lol). Sacramento and surrounding areas still have a small town-ish feel, and there are still some fairly rural areas where you can get a nice piece of land for an affordable price.

    There are also an abundance of good trainers around here, in most disciplines. Multiple show venues within a 40 minute drive of Sacramento (Leones, Rancho Murietta, Brookside, Starr Vaughn, to name a few of the bigger ones), plus you are still close enough to hit up the shows on the Peninsula/Central Coast area.

    Gets warm in the summer, but that probably won't bother you. Generally mild winter, with probably a good month or so of consistent rain. Indoors are pretty few and far between up here, but can be found.

    Let me know if you have any other questions about the Sac area. I've been here for about 6 years and really do love it!



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