I was wondering if anyone has had any experiences, good or bad, with Hay Fever Farms in Central NJ and Neal and Elisa Shapiro. I've seen the facility, and spoken with Elisa on the phone, and both the barn and Elisa seem wonderful.
However, I have not watched a lesson or heard much about them. Any feedback/reviews.
My friend bought a horse for her daughter from them last year and he is everything they said he was, she loves him. And Neil and Elisa have kept in touch with the new owner, and give her and her trainer tips about him when they run into each other at shows.
I can remember watching Neal ride with the team when I was a junior in the 1960s and would definitely recommend him as an excellent horseman.
Thank you, everyone, for your feedback. I was really impressed when I talked to Licha on the phone. Based on their answers they seem professional and relaxed, and not into knickle and diming their clients. The facility is gorgeous.
I will let you know how it turns out.
Just out of curiosity, has anyone had a negative experience with them. Please send me a PM if you have. I just don't think anyone is perfect and I'm wondering what the other side of the coin looks like.
Last edited by CrittersMom; May. 31, 2013 at 06:16 PM.
Reason: Additional comments
I just took a lesson there a week ago - hands-down, the best lesson I've ever had. I rode with Licha; she has a phenomenal eye for little details. Thoroughly looking forward to going back. I'm quite disappointed that its really too far away for me to board there, too.
If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
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a friend of mine knows Neal and he's come down to do some in=barn clinics and all thought he was great. One of her clients moved so she now mostly rides with him and has been quite happy with him. I don't think I would hesitate to ride w/ him.
I just took my husband out to Hay Fever to look around again and I ran into another border. She was really nice to take a few minutes and answer my questions - and there were alot of them. She made some really great points, saying that Neal and Licha are very laid back and do not push you into lessons/program/etc, and the grooms make sure that blankets, supplements, turn-out instructions are always followed. On top of that, the boarders are mature and generally get along without much of the barn drama. The hours are 24x7, the board is reasonable, and there isn't pressure to push the "extras". In fact, Neal and Licha encourage the riders to be independent and go to schooling shows on their own when they are ready.
Now, here is where I need advice ... first, is there anything else I should be asking regarding the facility? I've asked the following: rates for board and services, parking, hours, if there is required lessons, use of facilities, supplements, farrier and vet care.
Second, I currently ride and show in the hunters. Hay Fever is primarily a jumper barn. I'm not completely sold on the hunter ring as I've seen the down side, but I'm concerned how difficult it is to make the transition from hunters to jumpers? I like the fact that jumpers seem to be more independent than hunters and there doesn't seem to be as much emphasis on appearance, but hunters seem much less intimidating (at least at the beginner levels).
Good riding basics are good riding basics. I have done several in hunters and jumpers and have done just fine. I also have several friends that show at some pretty big shows and do both - usually hunters locally for mileage or fun, then jumpers when it counts, so to speak.