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Trainers, Resources in near Hilton Head, SC?

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  • Trainers, Resources in near Hilton Head, SC?

    I'm moving from VA to Okatie, SC (near Hilton Head) this month and must find a new dressage network. Seems my closest resources may end up being based in/near Savannah, GA. I have a barn but am looking for a trainer, shows, etc. I have a TB mare, so I need someone who can deal with that sort of brain! Is SCCTDA the only dressage group there? Any advice on VETS? Thanks, all!

  • #2
    I live about an hour from Hilton Head. SCDCTA is a good place to start. I think the closest shows for you (recognized) will be at Mullet Hall Equestrian Center on John's Island.

    There are two fantastic trainers who come up here about every three months from Valhalla Farms in FL. If you would like info on their clinics just let me know. There are really not many dressage trainers who reside in this area full time.

    I use Edisto Equine Clinic as my vet, but there is another vet who people love who is based in Hilton Head. I'll have to get you his name. But Edisto is the closest full surgical clinic, which is why I use them.

    I also ride an OTTB! Just love him!! Where are you going to be boarding? You can PM me if you want to.


    • #3

      My old hometown

      I was home for the weekend a few months back and ran into a woman in full seat breeches (dead giveaway for dressage rider! lol) and found out she's the new trainer out at Rose Hill in Bluffton. Rose Hill has been many things over the year: first polo, then some racing, hunters and now it seems dressage. Which threw me for a loop!

      Anyway, most riders in and around Hilton Head are hunter/jumpers, which is what I grew up doing. But you may want to check with Rose Hill. I have no idea who their new trainer is and how good she is, but she's the only one I know about in that immediate area.

      Careful with recommendations from SCDCTA, their president (Rebecca Housely) just had her horses confiscated last year (starving, http://www.live5news.com/Global/story.asp?S=13054650) and I don't think they've removed her from office yet (!!!). It's left a bad taste in my mouth for the organization. There is no excuse for that and no excuse for the organization not to remove her immediately (watch, I'm gonna get blasted for this).

      If my husband and I get re-stationed to Sav, we'll have to do a COTH meet up!

      Oh and I love Edisto Equine Clinic. John Malark, though abrasive at times, is a fabulous vet and good at what he does (he does great pre-purchases and colic surgery). Dr. Susan Banner works with him (I think she still does) and that woman cares deeply for the horses. She's truly wonderful.


      • #4
        Agree, Dr. Marlark and Dr. Banner are wonderful. They have a new vet there who I use, Dr. Reese Mayer. He is GREAT! Knowledgeable and so NICE!!


        • #5
          Thanks for these leads...I'll take any info! I hear the Edisto vets are good. My one worry is in an emergency. I have been told they are 1.5 hrs away. Oh, how I will miss VA: 35 vets and farriers per square mile.


          • #6
            AllAround, you get used to it ... sadly. And you learn to carry a lot of banamine for easing a horse's misery while you wait sometimes over 3 hours for the vet to get there (and sometimes, they don't make it). And you keep all three clinics numbers in your phone, because if it's an emergency you don't just call your vet ... there might be someone else closer.

            Also having your own trailer to trailer your horse to the vet clinic is usually a good option.

            It will be quite a change from Virginia! Plus, the only tack shop in the HHI/Btown area shut down last year. Beaufort has more of a Western scene, from what I recall, and I don't know what their tack shop situation is.

            I suggest making the trip to Aiken (2.5 hours away or so) or Camden (3 hours away).


            • #7
              Don't despair, there is another tack shop. Lowcountry Saddlery, very close to the one that closed down. It's in Bluffton, just before you get on the first bridge over to HHI. Mostly hunter jumper stuff but she will order whatever you need, and she has lots of horse items like blankets, bellboots, fly spray, supplements, halters, etc.


              • #8
                I'm originally from Hilton Head (lived there for 20 years!). There isn't much in the way of a specific "dressage" barn, but a lot of the H/J barns have a few dressage riders mixed in with them.

                I would contact Elizabeth Bateman, the owner of Lowcountry Saddlery. She knows anyone and everyone horsey in the area.

                As far as vets go Dr. Malark and his colleages at Edisto Equine are by far the best, but unfortunately they can hard to get out since they're 1.5-2 hours away from the area. For small stuff (vaccines, stitches, etc) we would use Dr. Mitch Lowery as he is based out of Bluffton.

                Good luck! Which barn are you staying at??
                Fils Du Reverdy (Revy)- 1993 Selle Francais Gelding
                My equine soulmate
                Mischief Managed (Tully)- JC Priceless Jewel 2002 TB Gelding


                • #9
                  My sister lives on HHI and I used to take lessons from a gal about halfway between the island and Savannah when I was down there visiting. Her name was Christine Manka, and she worked for Gulfstream (that was the business card she gave me). I just googled her and her name is now Christine Manka Williams. She's still at Gulfstream, so she must be down in that area somewhere.

                  She had a small private farm down there.

                  She is from Germany and was fabulous with basics and lower-level stuff, which was all I was able to handle at the time! Based on intense instruction I've had in two working student positions since then, she definitely knew her stuff and I would ride with her again given the opportunity.



                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dwblover View Post
                    Agree, Dr. Marlark and Dr. Banner are wonderful. They have a new vet there who I use, Dr. Reese Mayer. He is GREAT! Knowledgeable and so NICE!!
                    They are the greatest! John saved my friend's old eventer on the operating table. I couldn't watch.

                    ETA: John and Sally have others working for them who come out for shots and routine stuff and xrays. I live 89 miles from Edisto and get great service, always have, from them.


                    • #11
                      Christine Manka is still around but she is remarried and I think her name is Williams now? Check with the barn at Ford Plantation in Richmond Hill as she gives lessons there still.

                      As for farriers, there are some good ones over there, plus all our GA farrier live around Clyo (don't ask me why.) and are good. Pat Hudspeth and Darian Kersey.


                      • #12
                        Glad to hear all this as I hope to find myself living in Savannah someday...
                        "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AzuWish View Post

                          Careful with recommendations from SCDCTA, their president (Rebecca Housely) just had her horses confiscated last year (starving, http://www.live5news.com/Global/story.asp?S=13054650) and I don't think they've removed her from office yet (!!!). It's left a bad taste in my mouth for the organization. There is no excuse for that and no excuse for the organization not to remove her immediately (watch, I'm gonna get blasted for this).

                          This seems like a lot of FAIL. Glad you said this. I'll go do my scribing for NCDCTA.
                          Amber King
                          Furever Dachshund Rescue
                          Fundraising Chair


                          • #14

                            Thanks for the good leads so far, all! And thanks for the farrier names as well. Hairdressers and farriers: the hardest folks to replace when one moves. I will definitely contact folks mentioned here!