Places for conditioning/canter sets in Fairfax County or eastern PWC?
I love the little barn I board at, but there's not much room to do any conditioning trot sets or canters. (We do have relatively large paddocks, but we're on a flood plain and they tend to get wet FAST.)
I'm looking at the various trails/parks in the area (Bull Run, Fountainhead, Manassas), but I'm unable to determine if any of the trails there have any fields or footing that's good enough to canter on. I'd love a big field so I can circle him when he's being all , but I realize most of these places just have straight up trails.
I've looked at Nokesville, but it's a little further away than I'd like... darn 9-5 job and all doesn't leave much room for daylight.
Morningside isn't that close (I think it's technically Fauqier), but it's a straight shot out 66 and they also have a track for when footing is particularly hairy. I've heard that you can do trot/canter sets around the field at Turner - which is Fairfax (off of Route 7/Baron Cameron) but haven't tried, though they certainly have a gorgeous outdoor ring and jumps - at least they did last year, I've not been back this year.
I live right on the Manassas Battlefield and it is adequate, though I'm guessing less groomed than some of the other options (they don't run around filling holes, etc, as I'm sure they do on actual x-c facilities).
Several of the best fields/trails do not allow horses, but there are plenty of fields where they have mowed the perimeters that are suitable. I don't like to go too fast on the trails as there are a lot of people on foot/strollers/dogs etc I don't want to run up on.
The fields at Turner Farm are nice and you can canter in them.
Where are you located? Turner farm is 15 min from me and so I use it a lot - but wouldn't travel much farther than that so routinely just to trot and canter in the field. It is nice, but the 3 small fields get a little old going around and around for 30 minutes! Also, please be considerate of ground conditions when you go - footing is great and it has a nice grass cover, but especially the area in the XC field nearest the ring gets very wet and can be torn up easily.
Would be interested to hear more about Manassas battlefield.
Frying pan is ok, but the footing isn't great - the bluestone paths in the woods are hard unless it is wet, and when its wet the field adjacent to the upper ring is too wet to ride on (but people still do, so then when it dries it is horrendously torn up). The perimeter of the cornfield is ok.
When its wet, Riverbend/Great Falls park has bluestone and sand trails that are wide and a good place to trot. You have to be careful of pedestrians though. I don't do this often though as it is hard footing...