Hi, have a friend who wants to learn to ride english. He has a little bit of experience but that was a long time ago. He went on a trail ride with me with some hilly terrain- riding western and did pretty well. Even cantered a little down the beach. Very athletic (avid skiier and cyclist )and I think he will learn fast. He lives in Novato CA. Wondering if anyone can recommend a good trainer with lesson horses. All things being equal, moderately priced is preferred to high dollar (if that's even possible in Marin!!!). Also if I end up relocating to this area, can anyone recommend a good boarding barn? My horse and I do eventing, HJ schooling shows, and love to trail ride.
Thanks in advance to anyone who can help out.
Yes, I have heard good things about Kilham, but it is actually in Nicasio-not too far from Novato. They have some XC jumps set up in their big outdoor field, a covered, outdoor (both w/ nice jumps) and a beautiful barn. I believe it back up to trails-otherwise you ride for about 10 minutes out and get amazing trails
I'm just bumping this up because I just moved to Sausalito! I left my horse in Indiana on a lease, but would love to find a place with good lesson horses. I don't really show, so a more laid back place where you're not required to show would be preferred.
Marin is somewhat limited in lesson barns, especially for adults.
Frivian: Miwok Stables, in Tennessee Valley (Mill Valley), is very close to you and has a nice lesson program. Its one drawback is the weather can be foggy and cold, even when it's sunny in other parts of the county. Mukluk: Miwok might also work for your friend, but it's not that convenient for Novato. There are many more barns north of Novato in Sonoma County, but I don't know enough to recommend ones with good lesson horses and/or trails that are not show oriented.
For both, or for further research, a good general online resource for the area, in case you are not familiar with it, is Bay Area Equestrian Network, at the website - bayequest.com.
While a bit more on the high dollar end, Beverly Jovais at Alder Lane Farm is amazing. It is a show barn, but there is no pressure to show and they have great lesson horses. Very laid back atmosphere but still very professional and Bev has trained some amazing riders. Katy Candy (assistant trainer) is VERY low-key and perfect for riders who don't want to show. They are up in Cotati/Petaluma but worth the drive.
If you're willing to go a little north to Rohnert Park/Santa Rosa, I rode with Carrie Hover at Petaluma Hill Stables for several years and have nothing but good things to say about her. She has great, well cared for lesson horses. She is great with beginners, teaches a lot of adults, and makes sure you have those basics down before moving up. They do show during the summer, but there is no pressure to show and a lot of the barn doesn't. Plus, you can't beat the price at $35 for a private half hour (and he'll be tired at the end of that). I'll PM you her number.
As far as eventing barns, I've known people who have been very happy with Matt and Cecily at East West Training Stables and Andrea at Chocolate Horse. (I know her previous assistant Kelly was very popular but I believe she is now training out of the country. I don't know much about her newer one Amber but I assume she is very qualified as well.) Both are in Petaluma, but they are very different barns.
If you're less competitive, Carrie (see above) has the occasional eventer in her barn. She used to event and I've seen her work magic with them. However, it's not an upper level eventing barn.
There is one barn in the area that I would stay away from, but I'll PM you that info. Again, these are all North in Sonoma County, but you may find they are worth the drive.
Riverside Equestrian Center has alot of trainers to choose from and a series of great shows all summer. They are about 15 minutes from Novato On Lakeville Hwy. Marian Nelson has a great beginner program with some nice horses.