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Jumper barns in the San Francisco area? - moving, looking for suggestions

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  • Jumper barns in the San Francisco area? - moving, looking for suggestions

    I'm looking to move to San Francisco area in the next few months and I plan to take my horse with me. I'm going to go out to visit barns in two weeks and I'm trying to put a list together of where to visit.

    I'm looking for a place that is jumper-oriented, shows, has trainers on-site, and has all-day turnout (in a group) or pasture board. Would also like a barn that has access to trails. Preferably within 30 minutes of Millbrae/Burlingame.

    I've been searching myself but I am having trouble finding barns that have the right combination of training & turnout. Seems you either get great training and very limited turnout, or tons of turnout and very limited training.

    Anyone from that area, or have any personal experience with barns there?

  • #2
    Your deduction is correct. There is no such thing as all-day turnout in the bay area, unless you are willing to put your horse in a group pasture 24/7. Barns with pasture board typically don't have top trainers on-site, and pasture board is not going to be what you are used to coming from other areas. They are usually mixed-gender pastures, only have grass in the spring, and are frequently fenced with barbed wire.

    You make some serious compromises with the turnout situation in NorCal, but it is completely manageable if you have your horse in a good program. Things like stalls with walk-out paddocks really help as well. Horses from other places adapt just fine, as the feed program is completely different than in places where there is lots of turnout available.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      If you find that barn, let me know!

      There's Portola Farms, Webb Ranch, Portola Valley Training Center, Glenoaks, Fremont Stables/Windy Hill, Folger Stables, Woodside Horse Park, Stanford Red Barn. These are all in the Portola Valley area and offer different options. I may have missed a few...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by wanderlust View Post
        Your deduction is correct. There is no such thing as all-day turnout in the bay area, unless you are willing to put your horse in a group pasture 24/7. Barns with pasture board typically don't have top trainers on-site, and pasture board is not going to be what you are used to coming from other areas. They are usually mixed-gender pastures, only have grass in the spring, and are frequently fenced with barbed wire.
        Is this true of most of Northern California? I was kinda hoping that it changed depending on where around the Bay you're looking...? I have been looking to relocate myself and the horsekeeping is obviously very different from eastern PA. I had gotten the impression (perhaps mistakenly?) if I looked in Silicon Valley area for work (which would be most realistic for me anyway), that if I boarded more in that direction, I'd have more luck with turn-out?

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Why is it like that? I did notice a lot of places that had stalls with small attached paddocks. But I really like to let him be a horse as much as possible, he loves spending time with his turnout buddies and I think it's really good for him mentally.

          Right now he only gets grass 6 months of the year, the rest he goes out with a round bale. That would be fine too - just want him out moving around with other horses and something to eat.

          Comment


          • #6
            Honestly, it has to do with the cost of real estate in the area. Pasture land is very, very expensive vs. putting a house on the land. I live in the East Bay / Oakland and even in Oakland 1.5 acres that you can have a horse on with a little house is well over $1M.

            Woodside, Palo Alto & all of the Peninsula horse areas are also some of the most expensive housing areas because of their proximity to Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

            Comment


            • #7
              Lemme know if you find a place! I have been living and riding in the CA Bay Area (Peninsula) for almost 35 years and I do not know of any place with facilities, trainers AND group / all day turnout.

              I DID have 12 hour a day group turn out for a while (private barn) – but no trainer, very little in the way of facilities. I simply do not know of any show barns with extensive turn out.

              Back when I was at the Portola Valley Training center – “turn out” was 2-3 hours a day in a 24 x 24 dirt pen (which was extra $$ on top of already pricy board).

              I currently have self serve turn out on GRASS (hard to find!) – but again, no trainer, limited facilities – NOT a show barn.

              It is an unfortunate reality around here. Back when I was at show barns, I was a working student, so at least I was able to get my horse out and hand walk a few times a day, and even rode twice a day so he wasn’t cramped in a stall 24/7.

              Oh - and no such thing as round bales in CA - most barns will feed hay two or three times a day (around 10 lbs per feeding). Some of high end places will do an "unlimited hay" option, for an additional fee.

              My work around has always been to keep a few bales of hay in the trailer and provide a nibble net for when my horse is in her stall.

              Her stall is actually a 12 x 12 stall attached to a 50x50 paddock - you can find these types of arrangements on the outskirts, but not 30 mins from Milbrae.

              Sorry to be a Debbie downer! It wasn't until COTH did I learn about this all day on grass group turnout - plus all day hay you guys have on the east coast! It just does NOT happen here. As other posters have said, when 5 acres of open land can go for 10M - just too pricey pasture horses.
              APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

              Comment


              • #8
                There's some places in the East Bay where things are a bit better, but not much close to San Francisco or Silicon Valley.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by vali View Post
                  There's some places in the East Bay where things are a bit better, but not much close to San Francisco or Silicon Valley.
                  Gah. I have been debating even moving my horse - this is making me think that it would not be fair for him to try to adjust to the California lifestyle. It would probably make more sense financially to sell him before moving anyway. (wah!)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Ditto what the other posters have said. We boarded on the coast for a bit but the commute was not fun and it was 1/2 day turn out on sand. Went to a private barn for a bit and had the grass turn out but inconsistently. Eventually moved horses to North Bay (Petaluma) where there are more grass turn out options as long as the barn is not on adobe soil. Ultimately bought our own place in the North Bay - and only now do they have all day turn out on grass. Turn out is a challenge in the Bay Area though there are indeed many top barns on the Peninsula. We were very impressed with Stanford.

                    Good luck! Please feel free to PM if there is more info we can provide.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      We did have turnout back in the day, but that property was absorbed by the GGNRA and although the barn still exists and is a listed concessionnaire so safe, all the land around it that was rather overgrazed due to the Mediterranean climate =dry all summer, was made off limits and has now recovered. The horses are stuck in panel paddocks though. The others? Multi million dollar homes twenty years ago.
                      Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                      Incredible Invisible

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                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Are trainers that travel very hard to find?

                        I have found a few places that have adequate turnout, limited facilities compared to others but still have a ring and jumps.


                        Also what can I expect for board prices around there? Many of the show barns don't list their prices on their websites. I've seen as low as $200 for "pasture board" with no trainers and no ring, and then $820 for a spot at a show barn. What's normal?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Welcome to California.

                          There are more options for training + pasture in the North Bay.

                          Pasture is more available in the Bay Area than in LA, but a lot of that land is "borrowed" - ie it belongs to PG&E or some other entity that owns the land and is willing to lease it for pasture. Obviously, investing in an arena or fancy barns on such a property makes little sense. Thus, you have places that have pasture but no facilities or facilities but no pasture but few with both.

                          The pasture only places can be very cheap but also typically are more of a co-op kind of arrangement. They also may have waiting lists. The price range you saw is actually truth.
                          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The boarding price range - $200-$820 - doesn't seem *that* bad to me. Everyone says it's very expensive, but $800/month is about the minimum you'd pay around me now for boarding at a show barn. I'm not saying $800/month is cheap - I would just think it's *normal*. "Expensive" and "normal" both being relative terms

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Are you looking at San Francisco because your job is transferrable there, or just because it seems like a fun place to live?

                              Because if its not due to your job, I would suggest checking out Sacramento. I've been here for almost 10 years and we've got a lot of what you're looking for-good trainers, much more space than the peninsula (most facilities have some form of pasture turnout) and close to trail systems. Board and training is also much more affordable! Same goes for cost of living. Anyway...just an unsolicited suggestion

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I would say in the peninsula area - show barns range in price from $600 to $1200 a month before training. Then tack on another $600 -1$1,000 a month for full training, keep in mind, that many training facilities require that you be in full training to board there.

                                Never heard of $200 a month - for anything.

                                I have boarded at some private farms in the Woodside area (without facilities) that were closer to the $550 a month mark - and would hack to Woodside horse park. If you pay the $1,000 a year membership, you can use the horse park, and lesson with one of the instructors based out of there, or bring in your own if they are a member with insurance.

                                I pay $400 a month for a 50x50 paddock with two sided stall - and about 30 pounds of hay between two feedings. I clean, turnout, blanket, provide extra feed etc. The facilities consist of a large grass turn out, one small arena, and access to trails. This is in Half Moon Bay where board tends to be cheaper!
                                APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Hello!

                                  I am also moving to the area - San Jose, and was curious what you found out in your visit. Did you find a good place for you and your horse?

                                  Would love to hear your conclusions.

                                  Thanks

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Appsolute View Post
                                    I would say in the peninsula area - show barns range in price from $600 to $1200 a month before training. Then tack on another $600 -1$1,000 a month for full training, keep in mind, that many training facilities require that you be in full training to board there.

                                    I have boarded at some private farms in the Woodside area (without facilities) that were closer to the $550 a month mark - and would hack to Woodside horse park. If you pay the $1,000 a year membership, you can use the horse park, and lesson with one of the instructors based out of there, or bring in your own if they are a member with insurance.
                                    Agree! Tack on the additional $$ for training/grooming unless you can go ride/groom daily. The horses really should get out daily because what is considered turnout here, is not really turnout like your thinking from the east! I can say, however, that the horses are kept impeccable as far as grooming goes. Ours adapted perfectly but it did take a few months.
                                    Westbrook Farm
                                    Facebook

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I lived in NorCal for many years, and had to deal with the same issues everyone has described. I ended up at a fantastic boarding facility in east bay, commuting across the bridge to work, and trailering in for lessons and shows with a top trainer in the area.

                                      Pros - cost effective, facilities had exactly what I wanted (large stalls with attached paddocks, turnout on grass, miles and miles of trails), and my horses were in "my program" at all times.

                                      Cons - time consuming, longer commute to work, less hands-on help from trainer.

                                      So there are ways to do it, you just have to prioritize what you want and find a solution that works with your riding goals, abilities, budget, and lifestyle.

                                      There are several fantastic trainers in the area, many of whom will work with ship-in clients. Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you want to chat about details.
                                      "A goal without a plan is just a wish."

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        If you are living on the peninsula/san jose area Morgan Hill/Gilroy has some great places with more land for turnouts etc.

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