I'm thinking about moving up to San Luis Obispo. Would love to know more about the riding up there. I'm an old ammy h/j rider that still jumps a bit but would love to trailride more. As far as trainers, I've seen Harley Brown ride at The Oaks (and was quite impressed) and for trailriding, Montana Del Oro and that you can ride on the beach at Pismo. Please tell me more!
We have two hunter/medal horses and two minis. One of the minis drives and I'd also like to know if their are other driving or mini people in the area.
Are there any reasonably priced small horse properties in the area? Best barns with h/j facilities (besides Harley Brown) with access to good trails?
I've lived in the San Luis Obispo area for four years now. I'll try to answer your questions as best I can.
I think the one discipline that is under-represented up here is the H/J. Besides Harvey Brown, there is Dark Horse Farms in Templeton (about 30 minutes from SLO), but I've had trouble getting a hold of them. Other than those two, there's no one else I can think of.
There a lot of Dressage and Eventing here, for the English disciplines. Also a lot of reining/reined cow horse and barrel racing for the western.
I drive as well, and here on the Central Coast we have a fantastic driving community. Brass Oaks Driving Society is up here and we have a good amount of driving activities. We have a man from down South come up once a month to give lessons, playdays, and every year we have the Dressage Festival, a driven dressage show.
Other places to trail ride: Lopez Lake, Santa Margarita Lake. I don't trail ride, so I don't know that very well.
There really isn't any boarding place with access to good trails. Pretty much all trail riding is going to be trailer out. Most boarding places are multi-discipline with no in-house trainers. I've boarded at Buckley Stables and Vulcan Mesa, two of the larger operations.
"Cheap" homes in San Luis Obispo county is an oxymoron, especially horse property. Within San Luis Obispo itself, there are very limited areas where you can have horses. And those areas have large (10-100 acre) farms that cost well into the millions. Atascadero, up north of SLO, is much more affordable and many more possible areas to have horses. Personally, I like Atascadero more than SLO, more of an actual town feeling, not like the extended college feeling SLO has when the students come back. (Also note, I'm a student so take that as you will). Other horsey towns are Arroyo Grande and Nipomo, down south, Templeton, Creston and San Miguel up North.
Thank you so much for your feedback! Didn't know about Nipomo. Looks kinda' rural, horsey, and "beachy". Like that! I'll check out the other areas too.
The driving group looks like fun. :-)
So NO barns that have access to trails??? Geeze!
Thank you again!
IMO, Nipomo and Atascadero are the two best affordable horsey areas. Then Arroyo Grande, Templeton, and Creston. SLO and Paso Robles will be the most expensive.
I can't think of one boarding place that backs up to any trail system. The only real trail systems are the state parks, most boarding places back up to other farms or neighborhoods. There's a lot of land up here, but most of it is private. Santa Margarita Ranch and Madonna Ranch are huge, but private. Unless you count trail riding as a walk around the neighborhood, and even then, most boarding places are located off of busy roads you wouldn't want to ride a horse on.
The one thing to be aware of is that there just isn't much in ways of horses up here. It's not like LA, San Diego, or even the Inland Empire where you can throw a stone and hit 10 "trainers". There are very limited amount of trainers here. Very limited opportunity to show, except if you're an eventer, then at least you have Twin Rivers.
Don't get me wrong, I love SLO, but I would not settle here if I was looking for many horse opportunities. Also, jobs are hard to come by right now, especially depending on your profession. I know of way too many out of work teachers, computer scientists, engineers here in this county. And these aren't people who are straight out of school.
I had thought the San Luis area was a lot more "trail friendly" than San Diego (I'm in northern San Diego county), that's why I was considering it. Hmmmmm...
Thanks again for all the info!
Sea Horse Ranch looks WONDERFUL but looks to be dressage only, no jumps. :-( Maybe there's somewhere to trailer out to that's close? Or maybe I'll just have to take up dressage again! ;-) That place is so beautiful it's tempting!
Guess I'm spoiled being from southern California "where you can throw a stone and hit 10 "trainers" like DancingAppy said.