Jay's place is Sandy Point Stables, she has been around forever! The polo place is Ted Torrey's Glen Farm, Sachine Belle runs her business out of a farm in East Greenwich and the Braymans have a barn in Ashaway. Those are all pretty well established!
In addition, there is a huge Naval something or other in RI...newport....that employs many residents. as an aside, there are several successful h/j business that have thrived in RI for decades. Off the top of my head I can think of Jay Sargent's place (name escapes me and I am too lazy to think), the BIG polo club that also does h/j, the one in Tiverton - John Blair's place and one in Wakefield (Amy Eidson's place). I actually think they once said RI had more horses than people - lol. I just listed the older, more established ones that had/have been around for a looong time and have been successful at the higher level shows, but I am certainly not dismissing the smaller businesses.
The naval base has really been cut down in numbers over the past years, nothing like it used to be...
Also, Amy no longer runs a training business (except for 1 long-time student) she mostly judges now. I'm not sure I would consider the shows that Glen Farm (the polo club) goes to as 'big shows' I believe they mostly stick to RIHA shows, none of which have a USEF rating above 'Local'.
I'm not sure why you're comparing Nantucket to the whole state of RI, as another poster mentioned, Nantucket is a semi-remote island, where as RI sits directly on a major highway between NYC and Boston.
Maybe better to look at small business in general? Also, maybe look at some different/more reputable sources.
HOLY CRAP! Was that there when I was a kid? If it was, why on earth wasn't I riding there!
Sometimes I miss RI. Except for the snakes. Don't miss the snakes.
I lived in Rhode Island until I got married and every summer since and have never ever come across a snake! Do any of you old timers remember riding at Jacobs Hill in Seekonk? The owner was one of the first importers of New Forest ponies, Mrs. Wilson. Her instructor, Rosemary Nesbit, used to fetch students from Providence private schools like Lincoln and Wheeler and drive them out to ride in her VW bus. Great memories.
Oh god! Our house backed up to a 12 acre wooded ROTC preserve with lots of creeks running through. Our yard was overrun with big BLACK snakes. HUGE ones more than an inch in diameter. Bold as anything and would get on the pavement and sort of dare you not to go around them. When our heater crapped out, the mechanic found a NEST OF THE BABIES in there. We also had field mice in the house like crazy. It was a little too wild kingdom for me as I am terrified of snakes (irrational but very real phobia). Ugh.
Rosemary Nesbit sounds familiar. I was in elementary school when I lived in RI, but I wonder if she's who I took lessons with. Of course, I remember the HORSE 15.1ish solid (maybe part draft) gray mare named Frosty. Did the outdoor ring have a tree growing in it? I can recall being in a group lesson where one by one the horses scraped us off going under the tree branches
This was in the late 50's--so I am dating myself to be sure. There was only an outdoor ring. Prince, Bubbles, Tally-Ho, and Pebbles were some of the horses and ponies. Jacobs Hill is now a very elegant bed and breakfast. You can see some of the history of the place on its website. Originally it was a hunt club for the area's finest families.
FWIW, DH's mother's farm started out as a breeding and training facility just north of Indianapolis in the 1980s called Valhalla Farms. They showed mostly APHA halter and some WP. The business supported itself and his family, but just barely. It was a huge operation and definitely not sustainable in the long run... DH's mom decided when DH was 6 to find a tourist town near an airport with decent weather to start a dude ranch on the east coast (she didn't want to compete with all the ranches out west). She found a lovely farm in Madison, GA and that is the short version of how Southern Cross Ranch started. We still do breeding, training, and showing, but it is all supported by tourism from people coming and staying at the farm.