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  1. #1
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    Mar. 6, 2011
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    Default Living in SF and boarding (moving from the east coast)

    So I graduated early from Cornell this December and will be starting a job in San Francisco next month. The office is downtown. I lived in the bay area when I was younger but my parents have since moved- my mom to CT and my dad to Orange County, CA. I am not that familiar with the city... I would love recommendations on the best areas to live in the city that would allow me to access downtown but also access to boarding barns somewhat near the city (I'll have my car with me). I would prefer to be within 45 minutes (but am okay with up to an hour).

    A bit about my riding/boarding preferences: I ride only dressage and I have an 8 year old Friesian mare. She needs at least 4-6 hours of turnout per day (all day is preferred but probably not realistic). I would prefer for the trainer to be on-site but am okay with trailering in if I have to...

    Also, I realize there are other threads on this and I will be looking into those barns but since I'm not familiar with the city I would appreciate tips and information on driving times, locations, etc- Thank you!
    Last edited by hvfdressage; Dec. 27, 2011 at 01:43 PM. Reason: editing



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 15, 2008
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    Congratulations on your graduation. I'm in SoCal so can't help with your questions regarding boarding but am sure others will chime in.

    In the meantime, you should check out the Bay Area Equestrian Network; bayequest.com or bayequest.info

    Good Luck



  3. #3
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Congatulations on graduating and getting a job in this economy! Now, the down side - SF is a lovely city, but very expensive, and it is hard, hard, hard to find boarding wtih turnout anywhere near the city. You'll probably have to drive out a ways to get turnout. IF your job has flexible hours, so you aren't driving in rush hour (6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.), 45 minutes to an hour will get you a ways out, but if you are hoping to zip over after work at 5:30 or 6 p.m., 45 minutes may get you 3 miles out

    I don't live in SF, but worked there (on the Peninsula) for about 6 months (temporary assignment) this past year, and the traffic was rough.

    There are several threads on the topic here on COTH - you'll probably end up having to go over to Contra Costa or Marin County which means battling one of the bridges (Bay or GG).

    I do know of a nice place with turnout in Martinez - Wyvern Farm - but that is a bit of a drive (not sure how close BART will get you).



  4. #4
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    So you want to live in the city? It will be really tough. For work you will want to live somewhere either on the BART or MUNI train line. For riding you will want to prepare yourself to ride only on the weekends.

    Frankly, after 15 years here, I have found that if you want to own horses you are MUCH better off living outside the city on a BART line and living near your horse. Getting in and out of SF with a car is a nightmare during the week. I live near my horse (within 15 minutes) and BART to work. There are several nice areas where it is possible, with great facilities and trainers available.

    "The City" is great if you want to live that lifestyle (I lived there several years). But it is a different lifestyle than owning horses.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2010
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    I lived in California for about 10 years and recently moved back to the east coast. I can share some perspectives on commute and options between various locations having lived and done the horse thing on both sides of hte bay. Will send you a PM with suggestions
    Last edited by SnicklefritzG; Dec. 27, 2011 at 02:43 PM.



  6. #6
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    San Jose, Ca
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    I work in the heart of the downtown financial district, and live out on the rural coast.

    If I leave my office at 5:15 I can get to the junction of highway 92 (to half moon bay) and 280 by 6:00 PM, from there, I drive back over to the coast, and I am at my barn by 6:30... so yes, a bit more then 45 mins.

    Closer, there are a few barns in Pacifica, you could get there within 45 mins of down town. When I am not carpooling, I take BART to Daly City. Leave the office just after 5, puts me in my car at the bart parking lot at 5:35, Pacifica is another 10 - 15 mins from there.

    There is also Cypress ridge on skyline, covered arena, lights and turn out, I don't know that they have any dressage instructors though.

    Living IN the city does make it a little harder though, because now you have a long drive back home after riding. My barn is the half way point on my long commute.

    Those in the east bay can chime in as well, the bridge is a PTA, but if you take BART, there may be some solutions.

    I LOVED the time I spent living in SF, so if you have your heart set on that, I understand. But if you are willing to live down the coast, or in the east bay (or north as well I am sure, I am just not familiar with it), its easier to ride when the horse is closer to your house, and on your commute.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 26, 1999
    Location
    Concord, California, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    So you want to live in the city? It will be really tough. For work you will want to live somewhere either on the BART or MUNI train line. For riding you will want to prepare yourself to ride only on the weekends.

    Frankly, after 15 years here, I have found that if you want to own horses you are MUCH better off living outside the city on a BART line and living near your horse. Getting in and out of SF with a car is a nightmare during the week. I live near my horse (within 15 minutes) and BART to work. There are several nice areas where it is possible, with great facilities and trainers available.

    "The City" is great if you want to live that lifestyle (I lived there several years). But it is a different lifestyle than owning horses.
    AMEN and in spades! I tried the "live in SF, commute to the horse" routine for a while and it was a beyotch. I'm an SF native, and hated to move out of the city but Contra Costa and other areas are cheaper to live in, and the commute via BART and/or car pool is not that expensive. So, now I still work in SF, but horse lives in Walnut Creek, and I live in Concord (about a 15-20 min drive from my horse).

    I park at Concord BART in the AM, get off at Orinda (min. BART fare $1.75) and joint the casual carpool into SF, then take BART home ($5.30). On nasty weather days I take BART at $5.30 each way. Still, that isn't that much over a year, and my rent and board are doable. Frankly, SF rents are such that I couldn't even CONSIDER keeping a horse if I lived in SF now. I moved out nearly 30 years ago. To live in SF and keep a horse elsewhere was financially possible then, but inconvenient logistically (except when I was boarding in Golden Gate Park - no longer an option). These days - Well, maybe if I made $100K a year..... but otherwise, no.
    Last edited by Sandy M; Dec. 27, 2011 at 02:51 PM. Reason: typo



  8. #8
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    Concord, California, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    So you want to live in the city? It will be really tough. For work you will want to live somewhere either on the BART or MUNI train line. For riding you will want to prepare yourself to ride only on the weekends.

    Frankly, after 15 years here, I have found that if you want to own horses you are MUCH better off living outside the city on a BART line and living near your horse. Getting in and out of SF with a car is a nightmare during the week. I live near my horse (within 15 minutes) and BART to work. There are several nice areas where it is possible, with great facilities and trainers available.

    "The City" is great if you want to live that lifestyle (I lived there several years). But it is a different lifestyle than owning horses.
    AMEN and in spades! I tried the "live in SF, commute to the horse" routine for a while and it was a beyotch. I'm an SF native, and hated to move out of the city but Contra Costa and other areas are cheaper to live in, and the commute via BART and/or car pool is not that expensive. So, now I still work in SF, but horse lives in Walnut Creek, and I live in Concord (about a 15-20 min drive from my horse).

    I park at Concord BART in the AM, get off at Orinda (min. BART fare $1.75) and joint the casual carpool into SF, then take BART home ($5.30). Average time 45 mins to an hour each way. On nasty weather days I take BART at $5.30 each way. Still, that isn't that much over a year, and my rent and board are doable. Frankly, SF rents are such that I couldn't even CONSIDER keeping a horse if I lived in SF now. I moved out nearly 30 years ago. To life in SF and keep a horse elsewhere was financially possible then, but inconvenient logistically (except when I was boarding in Golden Gate Park - no longer an option). These days - Well, maybe if I made $100K a year..... but otherwise, no.



  9. #9
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    Aug. 26, 1999
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    Concord, California, USA
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    Default

    Sorry for double post. Computer being "difficult." *G*



  10. #10
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    Nov. 16, 2011
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy M View Post
    AMEN and in spades! I tried the "live in SF, commute to the horse" routine for a while and it was a beyotch. I'm an SF native, and hated to move out of the city but Contra Costa and other areas are cheaper to live in, and the commute via BART and/or car pool is not that expensive. So, now I still work in SF, but horse lives in Walnut Creek, and I live in Concord (about a 15-20 min drive from my horse).

    I park at Concord BART in the AM, get off at Orinda (min. BART fare $1.75) and joint the casual carpool into SF, then take BART home ($5.30). Average time 45 mins to an hour each way. On nasty weather days I take BART at $5.30 each way. Still, that isn't that much over a year, and my rent and board are doable. Frankly, SF rents are such that I couldn't even CONSIDER keeping a horse if I lived in SF now. I moved out nearly 30 years ago. To life in SF and keep a horse elsewhere was financially possible then, but inconvenient logistically (except when I was boarding in Golden Gate Park - no longer an option). These days - Well, maybe if I made $100K a year..... but otherwise, no.
    You sound like your living my old life! I miss the bay area- now living in Sacramento area but totally miss Walnut Creek and surroundings. Home sweet home. Miss my barn there too!



  11. #11
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy M View Post
    These days - Well, maybe if I made $100K a year..... but otherwise, no.
    Hahaha, I'd say at least $250k! SF is one of the most expensive cities in the WORLD to live in. A lovely place, fun, fun, fun, but $100k doesn't get you much in the city



  12. #12
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    Jan. 26, 2010
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    What PP and Sandy said. Marin county, north of the GG bridge is the best option for getting the boarding you want. But driving that way is not fun and I think the best commuter option is a bus. If you go south on the peninsula there are more boarding options that tend to be REALLY expensive and no turn out. There is a commuter train that goes south. In the east bay you have options to go to, but they require some driving, though you can take BART from somewhere on the other side. If you are near a station, it's usually about $8-$10 each way. There are almost no options for places with that much turn out, though you an always try. (Mine are out 24/7.) What Appsolute said might be your best option IF you can afford to live in the city.

    I think you might have to rethink your options.



  13. #13
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
    Hahaha, I'd say at least $250k! SF is one of the most expensive cities in the WORLD to live in. A lovely place, fun, fun, fun, but $100k doesn't get you much in the city
    Yes, you are right. We are DINKs and make more money then I ever dreamed I would make honestly. We still live in the East Bay in a working class neighborhood in a 1000sf house built in the 1940s and I drive a used car with 160k miles on it, all to be able to afford the obscene amount of money it costs to have a horse here, and keep my sanity.

    In 1998 I was renting a room in a cockroach infested flat in the Mission District and paying $500 for the privilege. Did I mention the only reason it was that "cheap" was because we rented out the living room as a bedroom!? The hall, one bathroom, and nasty kitchen were the only common spaces. Life in the city!



  14. #14
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    BTW, if I was really into dressage and working at a job in the City I could take BART to I would probably chose to live in the Pleasanton area. There are some top notch boarding and training facilities out that way, and BART is a single train into downtown. There are also sometimes multiple CDS shows monthly in the Pleasanton/Livermore area. And it's a pretty quick and easy drive out to the Sac area shows, as well as over the bridge to the Woodside shows. It's a bit of a dressage mecca.



  15. #15
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    Mar. 4, 2009
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    Arizona
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    If you move to the Tiburon area, you can take the ferry over to the city. Depending on where your office is, you can either walk or take Muni to it. Guess what? NO traffic!!! Lots of great barns on that side of the Bay Area as well (at least when I lived there), including ones where your horse can get some great turnout.



  16. #16
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    Aug. 26, 1999
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
    What PP and Sandy said. Marin county, north of the GG bridge is the best option for getting the boarding you want. But driving that way is not fun and I think the best commuter option is a bus. If you go south on the peninsula there are more boarding options that tend to be REALLY expensive and no turn out. There is a commuter train that goes south. In the east bay you have options to go to, but they require some driving, though you can take BART from somewhere on the other side. If you are near a station, it's usually about $8-$10 each way. There are almost no options for places with that much turn out, though you an always try. (Mine are out 24/7.) What Appsolute said might be your best option IF you can afford to live in the city.

    I think you might have to rethink your options.
    BART from Concord is $5.30 each way. Only $10+ one-way BART fare to my knowledge from Concord (or further) to the SF Airport. Don't know what the rates are from North Concord or Dublin/Pleasanton, but I doubt more than $6 or $7 each way. Parking is free at Concord and North Concord, but you have to pay $1 a day at Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek. Don't know about Dublin/Pleasanton/Livermore BART parking.

    I live in North Concord, but drive to Concord Bart (not North Concord BART). There, I can park indoors and when I get to the BART station from work, it's a 12-15 min. drive (if that) to barn in Walnut Creek. I just pack my riding clothes and leave them in the truck. Where I board, my horse has a good-sized paddock. Turnout - well you have to do it yourself (they might turn out for $$, I never asked). In the summer and on weekends in the winter, there is limited turnout and two arenas, one covered. Not fancy, but also not expensive.

    Board in Contra Costa is lower than the Peninsula and Marin. And indeed, Livermore is a good area for dressage. I trailer from Walnut Creek to Livermore to work with my instructor. While she doesn't have a covered arena, her arenas are "all-weather" and short of actual rain (i.e., riding in the rain), they are usuable year round.
    Last edited by Sandy M; Dec. 27, 2011 at 03:49 PM. Reason: additional info



  17. #17
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    Feb. 10, 2006
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    as others have said - you may wish to consider the reverse situation if you want to ride more than 2-3 times a week. Living near the Pleasanton BART station will put you within a 45 minute direct into downtown train commute that is very predictable. Then you will be living within 20 minutes of many dressage focused, and other types of barns. I have several friends who work in the city, they are on the 7am train, work 8 to 5, home by 6 or 6:15 and to the barn by 6:30/6:45. If you tried to live in the city and drive out after work - you would be looking at 2-3 hour commute.
    Perfect Pony has it right that the east bay is a good dressage community, many barns, many trainers, many shows and clinics. Plus we are within 1.5 hours of all the shows in Sac/Peninsula, North Bay, Vacaville/Pebble Beach etc. Its a good central location.

    Turnout is vastly different than the east coast. Almost no grass for 9 months of the year (irrigation is prohibitively expensive), turnout is sand paddocks, 1-2 hours a day maximum, solo horse turnout (no group turnout), at the dressage focused barns. But many have stalls with paddocks attached so they live indoor/outdoor. Many barns have 20-30 horses, or more, than have to share 10 turnouts or less. So that means everyone gets a couple of hours maximum. There simply isn't enough land available at a good price to have east coast style turnout. You will probably want to find somewhere with a good sized indoor as well. The weather does get rainy enough here in the winter than outdoor arena's can need to be closed by the barn management to prevent ruining them. Jan/Feb you will need an indoor in order to keep riding and be able to ride at night easily.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by esdressage View Post
    If you move to the Tiburon area, you can take the ferry over to the city. Depending on where your office is, you can either walk or take Muni to it. Guess what? NO traffic!!! Lots of great barns on that side of the Bay Area as well (at least when I lived there), including ones where your horse can get some great turnout.

    Tiburon is serious big $$$$$ to live there.....



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by honeylips View Post
    Tiburon is serious big $$$$$ to live there.....

    Plus the ferry is an expensive commute compared to the busses or BART. I think ferry is something like $13 each way? (But they do serve drinks.......)



  20. #20
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    You can buy ferry ticket books to make it cheaper, and compared to driving and parking it's not bad at all (not to mention not pulling your hair out over traffic, and being able to get home quick to go ride!). BART is cheaper of course, but the ferry commute is pretty fabulous. Tiburon is expensive but man oh man, what a great place to live. Strawbery is near there and less expensive, and only ten minutes to the ferry. Larkspur is worth looking into as well.



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