I'm looking to find a barn I'll fit in at in St. Louis. I live near UMSL in North County and am trying to stay within 45 minutes of home. Right now I'm debating between Baskin, Irish Fox, and Great Griffin. I'd eventually like to be able to board so Kennedy is out for me. I'm 19, am in college and have taken a few years off so am a bit rusty. I'd like to get back into the swing of things and find a new barn to call home. I'd like to show, but I'm not looking to do anything huge. I'll show in rated shows when I get back up to that level but I only do it for fun. I'm also not made of money so affordability is important to me. Where do you guys think I'd fit in? I also don't want to ride in a group with 8 year olds, I'd like there to be other people around my age.
I'd love opinions on the barns, the school horses, the trainers, etc.
I am at Griffin and I love it. We have a lot of adults - actually, most of our boarders are adults, come to think of it. We work really hard to maintain a "drama-free" environment, and it makes the barn a really nice place to be. Amanda, the owner, is constantly making improvements to the property, and it is nice to be at a place that pays attention to the physical plant as well as the happiness of the horses.
Baskin does seem to have a higher number of juniors, but I know the Wash U Equestrian team rides out of Baskin, or at least they did. I don't know about other adults there - I usually only see kiddos at the shows with Susan and her team.
Irish Fox I think does have a fair number of adults, as well. John and Beth are really nice and they have a lovely facility. They are the furthest out of the three that you listed.
For what it is worth, I live in the City close to Skinker and Forest Park. I make the drive to Griffin 4 days a week - it's about 37 miles each way. Yeah, it sucks on weeknights when the traffic gods are playing havoc with the commute, but my horse is fat and slick and happy, and I love my trainers, so for me, it is worth it. If you are looking to board eventually, I will tell you that I think that all of the barns in the St. Louis area are about the same price wise - between $650 - $750 a month depending on the service. You may want to also check out the Illinois side - I don't know who is over there, but I know there are a couple of places and board, along with everything else, seems to be less expensive on the Illinois side of the Metro area. PM me if you would like any other info.
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I actually rode at Kennedy Farms with Mari a long time ago and loved her, the facility is gorgeous and their lessons are reasonably priced but when I looked into boarding I was told $650 so I went and talked with someone about what it included and she told me that IF I had to budget, she would say $1500 not including any training or lessons. That BLEW my mind, first of all...of course I need to budget I'm not made of money and I need to know what I'm going to be spending each month. Second, anywhere else I have looked into riding at it's hundreds of dollars cheaper including full training. So, when I heard that...I stopped riding there and ended up boarding somewhere else.
The reasons I like Griffin are, the facilities are beautiful, the lesson horses are high quality, and Mari trains there.
The thing that Irish Fox has going for them in my mind is the prestige and the ease of access to the NEC.
The thing Baskin has is their location...it's closer to my house.
I'm thinking I'll take an introductory lesson at all three and see where I think I'll fit in the best. Does anyone have experience with show fees at any of the barns? I've ridden places where a schooling show at the NEC costs you $500 for the weekend and I've ridden somewhere else where you can show rated for half that. What are your experiences?