My husband and I are thinking about moving to Calgary and I'm curious as to what riding opportunities there are for hunting and show jumping, and what the rough cost of things is like.
We're from New Zealand, but currently travelling. Keeping horses in NZ is quite different from Canada, so I'm really trying to get a feel for what it would be like before seriously looking at moving.
Are there good instructors for show jumping? I know Spruce Meadows is very handy - does that mean there are regular shows? What's the story with leasing/half leasing - do people lease out good horses ie jumping 1.10m and up? Or would I need to own?
Hunting - I'll ask in the hunting forum, but if anyone knows anything about it that would be good too.
Keeping horses - in NZ all my horses have lived outside 24/7 (apart from being stabled the night before the odd event) - but I'm guessing most live in during winter? Roughly how much does it cost to keep a horse in the area, relatively close to the city? I know this is like asking how long a piece of string is
There are loads of hunter/jumper barns in Calgary (with most being in the South end of the city). If you let us know what kind of showing level you would like we could chime in with some possible barns for you (some barns are super expensive and all inclusive and do away shows for most of the winter season, others will do some away shows but tend to not show in the winter).
We have some very very good instructors in the area, but generally for most you will have to board at their barn to use them (very few, if any, travel around to other barns). Some of the Grand Prix jumpers that train students are, Gail Greenhough and John Anderson (Jonathon Asselin used to but does not accept clients anymore). There are many others that are very good but just aren't world renowned!
Lots of shows at Spruce Meadows. You cannot board there (they don't take boarders anymore) but they have a whole summer series where you can show side by side with world class riders. They also have a spring and fall series, which generally are more local riders and are indoors.
No hunting that I know of, we just don't have the terrain for it...too many gopher holes! There used to be one many years ago (I think with Black Diamond Cattle Company) but I don't know if it's still going.
Most show barns will not do rough board, but at my barn horses get turnout in paddocks or a field for appox 7 hrs per day. We just blanket them in winter and the only time they would stay in is if the weather is very cold (think -20C and below). At my barn it costs me approx $1200/month (this is full board, 3 lessons per week, use of all arenas, blanketing etc. Farrier and vet are extra).
Edited to add: there are lots of people that lease out their horses, but generally only to trainers that they know and trust. It's very normal to see people jumping much bigger than 1.10m on a leased horse!
If you go to You Tube and type in either Rocky Mountain Show Jumping or Spruce Meadows it will give you an idea of how our shows look.
Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't Do It!
Thanks Eclipse, that's really helpful. At this stage I would like to be able to show once or twice a month, no traveling away.
The whole barn thing is definitely very different from NZ - at home you generally do everything yourself and then trailer to lessons with the instructor of your choice. We do have a decent range of instructors, though more of an eventing focus.
Three lessons a week would be amazing - I'm sure my riding would improve dramatically with that kind of attention. Three lessons a month is more normal at home.
In Alberta, I think Calgary is just about the best spot to be for show jumping, with the amount of barns and BNR's, and the proximity of Spruce Meadows as well as Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. The only hunt club I know of in Alberta is the Calgary Hunt Club. They are most active primarily in the fall, I have been meaning to get out for a hunt or two the past few years but it just hasn't worked out for me! They have a facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/groups/43375...ref=ts&fref=ts
In terms of boarding and costs, there's many options all across the board pretty much, from DIY/rough board and traveling out for lessons to boarding at a actual barn with a trainer on site. I can safely say that the majority of horses here do not live in during the winter, some do, most don't (mine included), although you pretty much can not ride regularly if you don't have access to an indoor arena for the winter. Definitely horses to lease at all levels if you find the right barns. There's definitely a LOT to choose from around Calgary, I have no doubt you would be able to find whatever you were looking for in the area