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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2006
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    New York
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    Default Best barn in Central NJ for adult beginner rider?

    In this case, beginner = someone who has had 2 lessons but has also done trail rides. Experiences some nervousness, but is not overwhelmed.

    Also, the discipline isn't as important as safe, competent instruction and good horsemanship/horse care.

    Specific instructor recs welcome too.

    I know you get what you pay for, but budget is a consideration.

    Thanks!

    (Cross-posted to dressage forum)



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2009
    Location
    Hunterdon County NJ
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    3,002

    Default

    From what you are describing, I would point you toward Silver Bit and Spur. It is one of the few facilities in the area that rents out horses for trails, so you can do that also if you like.

    Most larger, well known and respected barns with lesson programs also have significant show programs. To quote a potential employer from an interview, "I need someone who can get them into the show ring as soon as possible."

    Learning can be complicated by the barn's desire to get you involved in showing ASAP. That's how they make their $. Shows, selling clients well schooled horses they can show, coaching at shows and many lessons to prepare for 'finals,' circuit awards, etc.

    A lot really depends on your personality. If you are more of a 'do it yourselfer' who wants to proceed at your own pace, then someplace less show motivated will likely be a better fit. But if you want a lot of attention (and are willing to pay for it...) then the bigger show barns will be happy to have you.

    Really I recommend you go to different farms and try them out. Often it is more of a personality fit than anything else.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2006
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    New York
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply. I'm asking for a coworker who took her 2nd lifetime lesson recently and the instructor had her cantering. I was a little concerned by her description, especially since she says she experiences nervousness.

    So, I'd prioritize good horsemanship/sensible instruction geared to the student above price.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun. 20, 2009
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    Hunterdon County NJ
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    Default

    Well that's just it. "Good instruction" is a matter of opinion. Plenty of people would be happy to be moving along as quickly as they can. Others, not so much. If your coworker was just nervous, I might suggest she go back to the same place and ask for another instructor, and/or watch some lessons.

    She is simply at such a novice level that she "doesn't know what she doesn't know." And probably cannot judge whether or not her nervousness was justified, or if adrenaline combined with the unknown were getting the better of her.

    The best recommendation is to continue to try. Go watch more lessons. Ride with the same instructor but have a talk about her nervousness first. Try a different instructor at the same facility. I don't think that just because she was 'nervous' means she should ditch the current instructor/facility.

    Can you go with her? Watch/video? Can she get instructor to take some quick video during the lesson for you to look at?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 23, 2009
    Posts
    20

    Red face

    Go and meet Torri Dragos at True Heart Stables in Califon, NJ. She is a very down to earth, honest, ethical, experienced, "old school" horsewoman/trainer. She is great with adults, especially beginners. The barn is beautiful (brand new), gorgeous indoor, brand new outdoor, great big stalls and beautiful turn-out. The entire group there is nice, nurturing, and low-key. Check out her website too...trueheartstables.com. Good luck! PM me if you want names of places in central and northern NJ to stay away from!!!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2010
    Posts
    50

    Default

    Carol Davison she is outstanding !



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2001
    Location
    New York, NY
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    6,852

    Default

    Sending you a PM.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2012
    Posts
    615

    Default

    OP - I feel your confusion! I came back to the horse world just over 3 years ago and had no idea where to turn - who was good, who was bad, who was great, and who was HORRIBLE. Unfortunately, I found the horrible before the good and spent my first year in a love-hate relationship with the whole equestrian thing.

    Personally, if I had to do it again, I would look around and take lessons at several places before making a decision. Don't be intimidated into thinking you need to go with a certain discipline or with a certain trainer if you are not completely comfortable. Also, trust your instincts!

    A couple of things you can look out for regardless of your level of knowledge:
    - stay away from facilities that don't seem to be well taken care of. There are diamonds in the rough so to speak, but, for the most part, if the barn managers/owners can't be bothered to take care of the place they probably aren't taking care of the horses.

    - look for professionalism. Does the trainer pay attention to you? Are they up front about how much they are charging? If you answer no to either of these things, then I would steer clear.

    - Safety first. Do you see people appropriately dressed with closed toe shoes? Are the students all wearing helmets? Are the horses secured and being handled appropriately or are people running around?

    - Are you comfortable at the facility and with the trainer? This is important as this person is going to be giving you all kinds of guidance and if you don't have a rapport that becomes difficult.

    Anyway, good luck!
    ~ In the chaos of the showing, remember riding should be fun for all, including our 4-legged kids.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 16, 2009
    Location
    Near the cupcake shop
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    Default

    I love Briarwood. They have a large school string, are safety oriented, friendly, have a decent facility, and lots of on premises shows that are affordable should you decide to pursue it. I neverfelt pressure to show, but did eveventually after at least 15 years away from the show ring.

    I think most folks would agree they have a good reputation.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2011
    Posts
    349

    Default

    There are many wonderful barns in the central Jersey area. My suggestions is that your friend should visit facilities. She should meet the trainer and watch some lessons both at and above her level. This will help give her an idea of where she'd be headed if she stayed at any place. What is the "feel" at each barn? Is there good rapport between the trainer and students? Do the clients seem happy and friendly? What is the string of school horses like assuming your friend does not have her own? Are there horses that would be appropriate for her now and as she advances? What are her goals long term? Is she interested in showing, trail riding, group lessons? Are there other riders in her age range at her level? What opportunities does each facility offer?

    I agree with another poster that it often depends on personality who would be the best fit. Every trainer has a different style and your friend can only determine who is the best fit for her by getting out there and visiting barns/taking trial lessons. Good luck to her!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 13, 2000
    Posts
    1,729

    Default

    briarwood would be a good choice! they have tons of school horses at all different levels to get you started.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2006
    Location
    New York
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    Default

    Thanks everyone, for the replies. I'm moving to Jersey myself, so I may check out some of these barns. Am not h/j inclined -- want to event -- but it looks like the depth of choice is great.

    I agree, completely, re: finding the right fit. I started riding just over 5 years ago, and stumbled on a great first teacher. But, I was only in that area for 2+ months, then it was back to the greater NYC area. I have probably tried 10 or more instructors between then and now.

    I was leery of my coworker's description of her 2nd lesson (2nd lifetime lesson). Her first lesson was 2 years ago, or more. I'd estimate that, in her life, she's been on a horse less than 15 times. So when I heard that she was cantering, I went... hmmm... Make no mistake, she's fit, she has an excellent sense of balance, but I flashed back to the instructor, who, after 6 months in the saddle (and having seen me ride for maybe 3 months, if I was lucky 2x/week) had me cantering 3-foot courses on a rather opinionated mare. (Mare's goal in life was to make it back to the end of the arena with the gate as fast as she possibly could). Make no mistake, it was FUN and I got around the courses without falling or even pulling many rails. But a little voice in the back of my head was going "you don't know what the eff you're doing and maybe you need another instructor." I finally listened to that voice, and eventually found someone that I stuck with for 2 years.

    But I know that my foundation got very short shrift. My sitting trot still SUCKS for example. So, as I garner helpful hints for my friend, I'm thinking back to my own "if only's." ;-) More of a foundation is always a good thing, IMO.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 1, 2003
    Location
    Fairfax, VA
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    Default

    One of my students is heading to Rutgers in the fall. She's a novice, but has some talent, is definitely smart and dedicated. Please PM with responses as I may do some pre-sorting for her.

    Does Briarwood do the Rutgers team? I believe they do the Drew team, but if they do Rutgers too that might be the place to send her.

    Thanks!
    "Socrates was a very wise man who went around giving good advice. They poisoned him." Anonymous...



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2004
    Posts
    260

    Default

    Brairwood hosts a large majority of the IHSA shows in NJ. I beleive Rutgers is one of the schools that also trains there.



  15. #15
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    Mar. 16, 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jn1193 View Post
    One of my students is heading to Rutgers in the fall. She's a novice, but has some talent, is definitely smart and dedicated. Please PM with responses as I may do some pre-sorting for her.

    Does Briarwood do the Rutgers team? I believe they do the Drew team, but if they do Rutgers too that might be the place to send her.

    Thanks!
    Rutgers is based out of Briarwood.



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