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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 6, 2013
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    313

    Default Bay Area dressage barns

    A while ago I asked for dressage barn recommendations in Los Angeles and got really great replies. Now my partner and I have begun considering relocation to the Bay Area as well and I'd like to visit a few barns when I'm there next month to see if it's a place I'd want to be - it's a big consideration in terms of where I want to move. I'm looking for an FEI level trainer with a full training programme available (5 days a week), preferably a smaller barn (under 20 horses), and - if possible - some grass turnout. I'd like to be with someone who shows but does not leave for 6 months at a time to do it. And I'd like all of this for under $1500-2000 a month, including full board and at least half training! Tell me it is possible.

    I know the Bay Area covers a lot of space but any suggestions would be appreciated.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
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    8,698

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    Totally impossible to recommend anything unless you have some idea of where exactly you might be relocating too.

    That said, I am still searching for a dressage trainer I would like to ride with in the Bay Area! The list of trainers I will not ride with is very long...



  3. #3
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    Jan. 6, 2013
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    Default

    My exact location would be flexible - I'd choose to live somewhere close to a good barn.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2006
    Location
    SF Bay area
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    1,121

    Default

    What you are looking for is possible in the north/south/east bay and on the peninsula - other than the "less than 20 horses" part. Really if you can narrow it down - then those of us "locals" can help!

    Out here due to the cost of land and improvement and staff - the barns with dedicated dressage trainers and facilities tend to be larger.

    But other than a show weekend at my 'large' barn I have never been in the ring with more than 4-5 people at any one time. Nights are even more quiet. Today I rode, Sunday morning with 1 other person. Yesterday, Saturday morning, 2 other people.

    But I love my barn and most of us have been there for 5 years or more!
    Last edited by honeylips; May. 12, 2013 at 10:13 PM.
    RoseLane Sportponies - Home of
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  5. #5
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    Are you looking for someone to ride your horse, or someone to teach you? That will narrow down things as well. Some can ride, some can teach, few can do both...

    The only thing that comes close in my area is Heidi Riddle, and IIRC you have to be in full training with her, but it's super cheap for the Bay Area. It's not a fancy barn, but she has real turnout and has produced the goods.

    My favorite part of the Bay Area is the North Bay (Novato/Petaluma/Napa) but I don't feel comfortable recommending anyone in particular up there anymore.

    honeylips' trainer comes highly recommended to me from a trainer I like and respect a lot, but the barn is too far from my house (Livermore). It's a large barn though.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2006
    Posts
    452

    Default

    Tracey Lert at American Sporthorse, Chris Rivlin at Four Winds (if you can get in), Pam Nelson at Villa Rosa.



  7. #7
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    Jan. 26, 2010
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    6,389

    Default

    What PP said. I would not do what EP said. Heidi Gaian maybe (Pam's daughter.) Living anywhere you want may ot be an option unless you are quite well off. It can be extremely expensive to live in some areas.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2003
    Location
    Northern California
    Posts
    1,169

    Default

    I like Christiane Noelting in Vacaville. She's not too far from the North Bay and has a wonderful facility. Christiane herself is an outstanding trainer. Here she is:

    christianenoelting.com

    Best of luck to you!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2006
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    Default

    Well the you go - completely different opinions

    I will also agree with Heidi Riddle - she is wonderful. But isn't she way out in a pretty remote location?



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2005
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    SFBay
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by exploding pony View Post
    I will also agree with Heidi Riddle - she is wonderful. But isn't she way out in a pretty remote location?
    It's not as remote as it seems, it takes about 15-20 minutes from downtown Orinda or Lafayette to get to Briones.



  11. #11
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    Oct. 21, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by Natalie A View Post
    It's not as remote as it seems, it takes about 15-20 minutes from downtown Orinda or Lafayette to get to Briones.
    I commute into SF every day and take BART from Orinda, it's 45 minutes for me to get there from Embarcadero (24 min on the train and 15 min or less from the station).

    Seriously, it really depends on where you plan to live in the Bay Area. Traffic is horrendous with all the bridges and tunnels. I have tried to board in Walnut Creek, Danville and Novato/Petaluma. Unless I keep my horse minutes from my house (which I do now) I pretty much could only ride on weekends.



  12. #12
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    Jul. 5, 2006
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    452

    Default

    Perfect Pony is right - the Bay Area is like LA - a huge area. Christianne is in Vacaville - that would be like 3 hrs ea way for me! Heidi Riddle could be a solid 2 hours for me depending on traffic.

    The east bay should be easy for me - on a sat it would only be half an hour. But on a weekday? Yikes - I could be sitting in traffic for an hour and a half getting to the barn from my office. It isn't even an option for me given the crazy, unpredictable hours I work.

    If you really can pick your location then look at the scores on centerline, come for a visit with the trainers you are interested in, check out all the options and watch the trainers ride and teach. Training is such a personal decision and there are so many factors that come into play.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2000
    Location
    California
    Posts
    8,451

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    Quote Originally Posted by inne View Post
    A while ago I asked for dressage barn recommendations in Los Angeles and got really great replies. Now my partner and I have begun considering relocation to the Bay Area as well and I'd like to visit a few barns when I'm there next month to see if it's a place I'd want to be - it's a big consideration in terms of where I want to move. I'm looking for an FEI level trainer with a full training programme available (5 days a week), preferably a smaller barn (under 20 horses), and - if possible - some grass turnout. I'd like to be with someone who shows but does not leave for 6 months at a time to do it. And I'd like all of this for under $1500-2000 a month, including full board and at least half training! Tell me it is possible.

    I know the Bay Area covers a lot of space but any suggestions would be appreciated.


    :wipestearsfromeyes:

    Good luck!
    My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

    "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
    Posts
    1,789

    Default

    First of all, if you are moving to CA, join CDS - they have a roster of all members (including trainers) and send out a monthly newsletter with ads, show info, etc.

    Then, as already noted - narrow down WHERE you will be - Bay Area is a huge spread with even huger traffic issues. If you are in South Bay, it is much different then East Bay or Peninsula or ?

    You may have to give up one or two of your criteria - I can think of some larger barns that might fit your requirements, except the "under 20 horses", or small barns that don't have turnout, but mean everything else. But... That doesn't mean they are going to be close enough to be realistic.

    Have been to the barn Honey Lips is in - and it is lovely - big, but has multiple arenas, multiple trainers, good footing, etc - well worth checking out. Also a bigger barn, but with turnout and at least one FEI trainer and multiple arena options - Wyvern in Martinez. Headed to the North Bay, Santa Rosa Equestrian Center is big, but has turnout and reasonable prices (for Bay Area). Smaller facility in North Bay - Sutton Place - one good FEI trainer, worth the visit if that is the direction your will live. In the South Bay, American Sport Horse and Tracey Lert are an option - although one of the owners just passed away, so not sure what will happen there long term.

    Several good trainers already mentioned - but you really need to figure out WHERE you will live. Traffic sucks...


    1 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
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    Jan. 6, 2013
    Posts
    313

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Perfect Pony View Post
    Are you looking for someone to ride your horse, or someone to teach you? That will narrow down things as well. Some can ride, some can teach, few can do both...
    Both, but mostly teach. I have both right now, it must be possible to find.

    Thanks for all your suggests, guys! I really appreciate it.

    I currently travel a minimum of 1 hour to my stable each way and I consider that totally acceptable, so "close to the barn" probably means something different to me than some of you



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 10, 2006
    Location
    SF Bay area
    Posts
    1,121

    Default

    it's just that "1 hour" on a saturday morning can be 3 hours on a weekday after work. So just bear that in mind!
    RoseLane Sportponies - Home of
    Golden State - 2012 Bundeschampion 3yo Pony Stallion
    Golden West - 2014 Bundeschampion 3yo Pony Stallion
    Petit Marc Aurel- International FEI Dressage Pony Stallion



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 8, 2012
    Posts
    128

    Default

    Tracey Lert, recommended above by exploding pony, is fantastic. Cannot say enough good things about her. She doesn't do a lot of ego-stroking but she is a great teacher and trainer.

    honeylips speaks the truth about drive times -- sometimes places that are 15 min away in ideal conditions are an hour's drive in Bay Area traffic, and heavy traffic is not always predictable or restricted to rush hours.



  18. #18
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    Jan. 6, 2013
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    313

    Default

    Yes, it is the same here (Toronto). Thank god I love my car so much.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2013
    Posts
    21

    Default Do a search on my post

    I posted almost the same question some weeks ago. The discussion might be helpful for you in your search. We are just in the middle of preparing our house for sale and meeting real estate agents, so we are rolling on the plan for relocating! Good luck to you and I hope to see you out there!




  20. #20
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2004
    Posts
    7,540

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    i think you need to narrow down what type of trainer you want to ride with - we have folks from all stripes and all talents..... there are some very very good trainers around and some that suck.

    soooo it all depends on what you are specifically looking for.

    You can for sure be at a larger barn and pay top $$ - but there are also more under the radar options with very good trainers.... not all options would work for all folks.

    my suggestion would be to get a list of possibles and then go watch them teach - more than once - and see if they fit your style.

    i will give a shout out to my trainer - Marc Rijpens - i think he is fantastic - but he is also very very low key and nowadays under the radar....

    good luck!



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