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Just Started at a New (to me) Eventing Barn

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  • Just Started at a New (to me) Eventing Barn

    Hi everyone,

    I am just in the process of returning to riding after a 20+ year absence. I have only been riding for the past few weeks and in trying to find a barn to settle into, I had a lesson at a local eventing barn. I posted about this on the "Off Course" board, but I think I am going to stick with the two barns I've tried for now. One barn for fun and the eventing barn for work. Anyway, I live in New Hampshire and was wondering if anyone had heard of the barn and/or the BO/Trainer/Instructor? I've been so long out of the horse scene, I really am clueless these days. Anyway, the barn is Apple Tree Farm in Hollis, NH and the BO/Trainer/Instructor is Alison Eastman-Lawler.

    I used to do some very novice eventing in my previous riding life, but never owned a horse and never had the money or opportunity to pursue training or competition too seriously. Now I would like to see what I can do. Of course, at this point I am 46 and only recently back on a horse after over 20 years, so it probably won't be much, but I'd still like to see. I at least want to be the best rider that I can be, wherever that leads me. Anyway, I was wondering if anyone knows anything about the barn or about Alison. She gave me a tough lesson last week and I'm looking forward to more -- LOL. I'm just on the cusp of everything and am excited, so I want to know all that I can find out about my new barn and instructor and everything else horsey that crosses my path. Thanks!
    -Debbie / NH

    My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    She's well respected and has a great group of people that event together. You'll do fine with her.
    Live, Laugh, Love
    http://confessionsofanaaer.blogspot.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      At least some of the Apple Tree crowd go south in the winter. They were parked next to us at a bunch of the Aiken events a couple years ago and were a really nice, friendly group of people. I also know Allison does quite well as a rider and her personality is such that I would imagine she would be a great teacher. Totally second hand, non-specific knowledge, sorry.
      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

      Comment


      • #4
        You are where I was last year and I just wanted to write and say that I SO understand your excitement and passion. I'm now 47, have my own horse and am competing a bit this summer and hope to compete a lot next year.

        I only have anecdotal info on Allison and it all seems positive.

        Comment


        • #5
          I was Alison's student rider at an ICP workshop in the spring. Brief encounter, but I liked her a lot and thought she taught a good lesson under pressure.
          bullyandblaze.wordpress.com

          "The present tense of regret is indecision."
          - Welcome to Night Vale

          Comment


          • #6
            I've been riding at Appletree Farm with Alison for 2 years now. I also am in my 40s, and came back to riding after a long break. I love it there - I own a couple horses and ride most days. I'm competing at BN level, hopefully will move up eventually. I've learned a ton from Alison - she is a great instructor. There is also a great group of people there - one of the reasons I chose it. There are many adults who compete or just take lessons, as well as kids and teenagers. Also - she runs an adult camp from her farm in Aiken in the spring - it is a great learning experience, and loads of fun. She also does a series of 2-phase shows that are low key and a lot of fun.

            Looking forward to meeting you around the barn, Debbie!

            Marilyn

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks!

              Thanks everyone! I am so, so happy to hear all the positive feedback about Alison and Apple Tree -- I really did get a great vibe there. I feel like I have so far to go right now and I just know that Alison and this barn are going to help me get there. I can ride okay, but I've lost most of those subtle nuances that makes one a true horseman, and that especially make a rider strong enough for eventing. I'm really looking forward to working hard to get all of that back. I'm also hoping someday when I'm ready that Alison might give me some direction towards a horse to purchase or lease (we'll see, I'm not there yet).

              Now I'm even more excited! I keep saying this, but I'll say it again: I feel so, so lucky to live where I do. 3 years ago I couldn't have dreamed of these possibilities (I lived in NYC then).

              Thanks again!
              -Debbie / NH

              My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

              Comment


              • #8
                I have nothing but good things to say about Alison. Constantly at the same events, always nice and respectful in the warm up rings, rode after her at Kingsbury Hill. I would probably try her barn if I was closer as she seems to be a stickler for organization, cleanliness, and success. I am glad you lesson was tough and that you liked it! I would say keep riding with her as she does very well as well as her students. I am sure I'll be up at her schooling events next year with some clients. Hope to see you there! Good luck!
                "Want to ride for fun? Ride a carousel."-Gina Miles

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Finn'sMom View Post
                  I've been riding at Appletree Farm with Alison for 2 years now. I also am in my 40s, and came back to riding after a long break. I love it there - I own a couple horses and ride most days. I'm competing at BN level, hopefully will move up eventually. I've learned a ton from Alison - she is a great instructor. There is also a great group of people there - one of the reasons I chose it. There are many adults who compete or just take lessons, as well as kids and teenagers. Also - she runs an adult camp from her farm in Aiken in the spring - it is a great learning experience, and loads of fun. She also does a series of 2-phase shows that are low key and a lot of fun.

                  Looking forward to meeting you around the barn, Debbie!

                  Marilyn
                  Marilyn,

                  When do you ride? Right now it looks like I'm going to be riding late Friday afternoons. She told me that the group I'm with alternates weeks. One week is dressage/flat work, the next is jumping. We had the dressage lesson last week which means that this week will be jumping. Woo!
                  -Debbie / NH

                  My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Welcome to the "re-rider" world I got back into it at age 42 in 2006. I had my first ever horse trials this summer on a friend's old gelding, got 3rd place in Elementary at Green Acres in Madbury, NH, and I was hooked! And then we were preparing for our first recognized event, to do BN at UNH, but at the end of July I had a terrible fall -- not the horse's fault, I fainted -- and am just getting back into riding seriously now.

                    I have my own horse now as well; we are boarding/training at a dressage barn for the winter, but *if* I get back into eventing Allison's barn is one I am considering, because it's relatively close and I have heard such good things about it. (The if being because I may not be able to return to jumping, plus my horse is a wicked little speed demon over fences and needs some serious retraining in that regard...)

                    so welcome!
                    You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                    1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by quietann View Post
                      I have my own horse now as well; we are boarding/training at a dressage barn for the winter, but *if* I get back into eventing Allison's barn is one I am considering, because it's relatively close and I have heard such good things about it. (The if being because I may not be able to return to jumping, plus my horse is a wicked little speed demon over fences and needs some serious retraining in that regard...)

                      so welcome!
                      I think Apple Tree has a board & train option where Alison will school your horse. That might be a good option if you think you want some help training your horse over fences. Of course, I don't think it's cheap, but then what is in the horse world?
                      -Debbie / NH

                      My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by cranky View Post
                        Marilyn,

                        When do you ride? Right now it looks like I'm going to be riding late Friday afternoons. She told me that the group I'm with alternates weeks. One week is dressage/flat work, the next is jumping. We had the dressage lesson last week which means that this week will be jumping. Woo!

                        I ride usually in the mornings - I'm in a Wed 10 am lesson. I have to get home for the afternoons when my kids get home from school. All the lessons alternate flat weeks with jump weeks. It's good because it makes you work on both. Have fun in your jumping lesson! Will this be your first time back jumping?

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Finn'sMom View Post
                          I ride usually in the mornings - I'm in a Wed 10 am lesson. I have to get home for the afternoons when my kids get home from school. All the lessons alternate flat weeks with jump weeks. It's good because it makes you work on both. Have fun in your jumping lesson! Will this be your first time back jumping?
                          Nope. I've actually jumped a couple of times at my "fun" barn. Nothing over 2' though. I've heard that we're supposed to get some heavy rain on Friday so I wonder if my lesson will get canceled. Guess I'll find out on Friday.
                          -Debbie / NH

                          My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Hi, Cranky! It sounds like you've got a great situation. Since Alison goes south in the Winter, and the fun barn is probably available year-round, doing both sounds like an optimal solution. Us AA's with full-time jobs can't be snowbirds, usually. I found a barn to take lessons at, but it's a little too far away, and the timing is pretty tough, so I'm hoping to find a lesson or part-lease closer to home/work. Right now, I do vaulting at one barn, and have two people at different barns that let me ride for free on the weekends. I've taken lessons at two places before, and it usually works reasonably well, but some trainers want an exclusive relationship. So, to avoid drama, it's best to check in with them up-front about that.
                            Stay me with coffee, comfort me with chocolate, for I am sick of love.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by cranky View Post
                              I think Apple Tree has a board & train option where Alison will school your horse. That might be a good option if you think you want some help training your horse over fences. Of course, I don't think it's cheap, but then what is in the horse world?
                              That's what I'd be looking for. Maresy *loves* to jump and has a 3'6" leap in her -- higher than I'd ever go -- but very little formal training for anything over 2 feet. I loaned her to a fearless teen for eventing camp and they did Novice at the schooling show at the end... Maresy did the X/C at Training level speed (and teen got yelled at for it, but she *insists* that she had maresy under control!) and came off the course wanting to do it all over again. She's a 15 hand Morgan and an overachiever with a sense of humor, as that breed often are.

                              The way I see it, she needs to be taken back to working ground poles and learn not to *jump* them, and then build up very very slowly. She's super-talented but falls apart mentally if she's pushed hard.
                              You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                              1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Apple Tree keeps it up all winter!

                                Hi Debby. I haven't met you yet at the barn, but I am one of Alison's students and I do some teaching too (Saturdays). Anyway, just wanted to reply since many people have mentioned Alison going South. For the winter, she has really good instructors come in to cover her teaching.--so your education will continue! We also have great clinics in the winter with area trainers like Lainey Johnson, Lynn Coates Holmes, and Suzi Gornall.

                                I ride on Fridays so I'll see you next week!

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by hldyrhrses View Post
                                  Hi Debby. I haven't met you yet at the barn, but I am one of Alison's students and I do some teaching too (Saturdays). Anyway, just wanted to reply since many people have mentioned Alison going South. For the winter, she has really good instructors come in to cover her teaching.--so your education will continue! We also have great clinics in the winter with area trainers like Lainey Johnson, Lynn Coates Holmes, and Suzi Gornall.

                                  I ride on Fridays so I'll see you next week!
                                  Great! I'm really looking forward to pursuing my riding education there. I have A LOT of work to do (right now I pretty much suck). I was disappointed that lessons were canceled this Friday, but the weather was pretty miserable. I had a nice chat with Alison on the phone though and I told her that I was interested in becoming a permanent member of the lesson group. So I am really excited!
                                  -Debbie / NH

                                  My Blog: http://deborahsulli.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Hi Debbie! Welcome to ATF, I'll meet you this winter when I'm home from school! Alison is amazing, she has given me so many wonderful opportunities. You'll have a blast!
                                    ~Megan

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I sold a really nice chestnut horse they named Theo to Allison's barn. Wondering if he's still there with his girl...nice rider and good kid...anyone know?
                                      Proud & Permanent Student Of The Long Road
                                      Read me: EN (http://eventingnation.com/author/annemarch/) and HJU (http://horsejunkiesunited.com/author/holly-covey/)

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Yup. Theo is still there. Doing well - his owner LOVES him. They are a great pair.

                                        Comment

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