My daughter is currently competing at Training level and seems to have outgrown her trainer. Can anyone recommend an eventing barn in the DC area with a trainer who would be good for a young rider hoping to move up to the higher levels?
We'd like to board our two horses (or at least hers) with the trainer, but would consider other options, such as lessons on the trainer's horse(s) or someone who would come to us.
We live in McLean, VA so would like something as close as possible to us, although I know that's a tall order. (We travel about 45 minutes to our current barn, except for rush hour).
I'm not from the area, so take anything I say with a grain of salt and ask those in the know about the real traffic patterns. You might PM GotSpots as she is in that area and deals with the commute.
Without traffic, the Gaithersburg area (Waredaca or A Bit Better Farm would both suit your needs) are about 45 minutes. Melissa Hunsberger is in Dickerson, which is about 55.
Middleburg is the same, though IME, there is always traffic, but that would give you a huge range of options. I would particularly recommend Sean and Kendra McQuillan. Aldie is a little closer in. I believe Tiffany Catledge was there, but may be further out now. I don't know other trainers in that vicinity, but it might be a good place to look.
Gosh, so many options. Obviously, there are a ton of great eventers in the Middleburg area, but for someone who might also take boarders and still runs a great training program, on the Virginia side, I'd say any of Skyler Voss at Morningside (Warrenton), Lynn Symansky (Middleburg), or Tiffany Catledge (Allforit Farm, at Foxchase) (Aldie/Middleburg). Sharon White (Last Frontier Farm/WV) is going to be a bit further out for you, though she's fabulous.
Whoops - scubed and I posted at the same time. Commute time - from Falls Church, I can get to Middleburg in 45 minutes or a little less at off hours; I count on about an hour if I'm going after work and about the same coming into the city if I ride in the mornings. Depending on where you are in McLean, you can take toll road to Loudoun County Pkwy to 50, or 66 to 28 to 50 -- both work reasonably well though susceptible to traffic as everything in the area is.
Sean and Kendra are great, but are out in Upperville, so might be a bit more of a hike than you're looking to do. They do have a lovely indoor though.
Not sure what your price range is, either... Some of the names on the list are quite expensive for just regular boarding, and at least one requires all boarders purchase a lesson package each month. (Which all expire at the end of the month and don't carry over. )
If you went to Maryland, certainly cannot go wrong with A Bit Better or Waredaca. I board at Waredaca and you do not have to be "in training" (although training board is available). We have stall and field board and it is quite reasonable given the facilities, which include a full xc course, hours of parkland hacking, bluestone dressage pad, jumping ring, and indoor. You can take as many or as few lessons as you want, and we have amazing clinicians (Jimmy Wofford, Boyd Martin, Mara DePuy, etc etc etc) come in on a regular basis.
A Bit Better is much smaller but a super friendly family barn with great care, and a 2 minute trailer hop from the facilities at Waredaca.
Can anyone enlighten me as to who requires lesson packages as part of their board? I'm looking around the Middleburg/Upperville/Purcellville area for a good barn, but I'm super picky about facilities (seeing as there are so many options) and I don't necessarily want to commit to regular lessons unless I really like the trainer. Also, I am a working amateur, so I don't necessarily want to have lessons when it might be 10 pm before I ride (and yes, I will do that, have done it before).
Horse isn't coming until January, so I have time to shop.
Right now I'm looking at Tiffany Catledge, and the McQuillans for the winter at least. Jan Byyny is someone else I'm looking at it, but she is gone from Jan to April, so not sure if she's taking boarders then.
So yeah, who requires training board/lesson packages?
You can always check individually with each person. I've heard that lessons are required to board at Morningside/Angelica, and wouldn't be suprised if it was required elsewhere, too. Why fill a stall with someone who isn't going to take lessons when it could be filled with a client who will pay for lessons, too? DC, there are lots of smaller, private barns in the area that might work for you that would allow you to trailer to a trainer of your choice. Also, Locochee farm has really nice facilities, and as far as I know no resident trainer, but I heard a rumor it was for sale.
OP: Having lived in McLean and kept horses all over the DC area, I feel your pain. Nothing is really an easy drive. If you have the capability to trailer, it might be easier to find a nice, private barn in the Great Falls/Vienna/Fairfax area and trailer out for lessons. There are a lot of Pony Club kids who keep horses in that area and sometimes have regular lessons with several of the pros mentioned in this thread at their home rings.
If you don't mind driving, Morningside (Skyeler Voss) is about an hour from McLean out 66 (so getting there after school would be difficult), and Tiffany and Lynn are about an hour out rt 50, in Middleburg. A Bit Better (Kelley Williams) is an hour up the Beltway and 270 - I did that drive in high school, but that was years ago and traffic is much worse now, so I'm not sure I'd reccomend that.
Can anyone enlighten me as to who requires lesson packages as part of their board? I'm looking around the Middleburg/Upperville/Purcellville area for a good barn, but I'm super picky about facilities (seeing as there are so many options) and I don't necessarily want to commit to regular lessons unless I really like the trainer.
I don't know the answer to your exact question, but if you're looking in that area I can give a positive recommendation for Paul Ebersole. His place seems very ammy-friendly and it's in a lovely area (lots of good hacking/conditioning, friendly neighborhood). DH is down that way right now working on the courses at Oatlands and he took a lesson with him (I was down visiting and got to watch) and really enjoyed it. He's got a great eye and seems like he has a good program going. Worth checking out, anyway!
Paul's place is very nice but quite far out - solid hour plus from McLean. Sharon's is another 15 minutes. Using the toll road would make it bearable - probably 30 min to Leesburg, then another 30 min from there.
Yes, Locochee was my original choice, but YB has already befriended me (yay!) and while I would consider it short term (i.e. winter), I would still be looking for another situation.
A private barn would probably be perfect for me, IF it had good footing, good turnout, good care, etc. And I'm sure those exist, I'm just not really sure how to find them! I'm absolutely determined to take advantage of the amazing trainers in this area and NOT limiting myself to one person!
Having said that, I absolutely loved the culture and caramaderie in my last, large barn. I'm hoping to find at least a few show buddies to share travel/trailering/margaritas/fun. It's easiest to do this in a big barn of course, but who knows.
Basically, I'm open to lots of types of barn provided they have excellent care, turnout, ring footing.
If anyone knows of any close to M-burg that will have openings come winter, let me know! (Or tell me later, whichever.) Needs to be in the Middleburg, Upperville, Purcelville, or the area between Middleburg and Purcelville. I'm eventually (when my jobsite gets up and running) going to be driving down through Frederick in the afternoons.
Someday soon I'm planning on writing a blog about this. I swear!
(Also yb, I WILL be picking your brain about this, I just have been rather surprisingly lackadaisical about this so far. Probably because I have such a long time to find a place.)
Another really nice option would be Cedar Brook Farm in Centreville. http://www.cedarbrookfarm.com/ Shannon O'Roark is the owner/trainer there, and has evented to Intermediate, and placed 4th in the Atlanta Heat Trials against Barcelona horses from other countries. She also takes regular lessons with Lauren Kieffer at the O'Connors, and is happy to take her students along.
Cedarbrook is 20 miles from McLean - straight out 66, so an easy ride if not in rush hour.
DC, we'll chat more about it. My gut tells me that you're going to be best off finding a high quality boarding facility (like Locochee), and haul out for lessons. Most of the trainers that you would probably be most interest in riding with aren't going to have the facilities you are going to need (lights, and indoor, etc). So many options!!!!
I'm pretty sure we have a boarder or two here at Windchase that hike out here from the Mclean area. And yes I see them riding at 10pm at night but hey, thats what the indoor and lights are for! There is no training/lesson requirement here either. Divine Comedy - if you driving from Frederick to Mburg you'd pass right by us.