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Good hunter/jumper show barn in Iowa

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  • Good hunter/jumper show barn in Iowa

    Hello, I am moving to Iowa (Cedar Falls area) and I'm looking for a good hunter/jumper show barn. If anyone has any suggestions of barns, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.

  • #2
    If it was in Des Moines, I could help you. Have you checked the yellow pages for stables in Cedar Falls? Or you could call one of the barns in Des Moines and ask them.


    • #3
      Hi! I moved to Iowa City about 8 years ago and love the state and the people. I can't give you any advice about barns in Cedar Falls. However, you will be about 90 min from Mason City for the Midstates A shows and there are AA shows at Maffitt Lake Equestrian Center just outside of DesMoines. A trip up there (or down there) would introduce you to the community. Also, Midstates web site lists trainers. See http://www.midstateshorseshows.com/Trainers.htm. Fall show is scheduled for Sept 9-13. Maffitt Lake has two shows in August. Good luck in finding a barn.
      Pace, path, balance, impulsion and ?


      • #4
        I don't know about Cedar Falls, but I can give you some places in Des Moines if you're up to the drive. Maffit Lake Farms or Valley Park Stables are the two places I'd recommend in Des Moines. MLF is a more "big show" focused barn, whereas VPS has a local show focus in addition to the A shows. They might know someone in the Cedar Falls area, too.


        • #5
          I am from the Ames area, but I recall this place being built a few years before I moved away.


          I don't know that they are really h/j or more eventing but it might be a good place to start. There always seemed to be a lot more good barns on that side of that state, so I am sure that you will find something. If you can get hold of a copy of Apples N Oats (Iowa horse magazine) there used to be a lot barns that advertised in there.


          • #6
            web links to aid your search

            The INHJA has a web-site www.inhja.com, but no link to trainers. The Apples N Oats suggestion is spot on; it is filled with advertisements for trainers in the area. http://www.applesnoats.com/
            Pace, path, balance, impulsion and ?


            • #7
              Thank you all so much for all of your help and suggestions. We are will to drive a few hour to take lessons, so barns in the Des Moines area are also options. Thanks so much for the help!


              • #8
                I never rode there, but Valley Park Stables in DM is supposed to be one of the better h/j barns in the state. There used to be a couple of others in the same area, but they changed hands a few times and I lost track of their names.

                Good luck moving to Iowa-- I left the state a year ago.


                • #9
                  I sent you a private message with some more details.


                  • #10
                    Back in the 60's and 70's when I had my horses down there - we had JonBar ran by Don Snelling, Hans Post Stables (where I boarded), Maggie Moss's place and Racoon Valley Horse Center. We did stationary jumps for the hunters in a real hunt field! Nowadays, it's "eventing". Oh, the changes.

                    Valley Park, I believe, is the old Hans Post Stables.

                    Does anybody on this board from Des Moines remember these barns?????


                    • #11
                      Gooselover, I'm a little too young to "remember" them, but I know of them. I rode in the valley from about 1990 until I moved away in 2005. I was at Maggie's old place mostly (post-polo club, it was a show barn for a few years, and now has no trainers but is a nice little boarding barn), but took lessons at Valley Park. I began riding at Deer Valley, at the western end of the valley. That was part of Moss's originally too. My first trainer came from the family that originally had Robin Hill.

                      Hans had retired by the time I started riding, but he still lived in the valley and was a regular railbird at all the little shows. I really enjoyed him, and wished I would have had the opportunity to ride with him.

                      I love hearing the horsey history of Des Moines! It was very hard for me to leave my horsey group in DSM. I desperately miss riding in the park, and having such a great little horse paradise (minus the flooding ) in the middle of the city. My mom still helps out on the weekends where I used to board, so I at least still catch some of the news and updates.


                      • #12
                        Depending on how much & at what level you want to show, if you'll be boarding a horse or looking for school horses, etc. you might also want to consider the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City area. There are a couple of barns that have nice programs, depending on your situation and goals.


                        • #13
                          I ride in Des Moines now, at Valley Park. Its great but OneonOne was spot on when saying we have a balance between local and "A" shows. Maffitt Lake is more of a top dollar show barn, but they also have great facilities. It just kinda depends on what you are looking for. We do go to alot of "A" shows but its also like a huge family down here :]

                          There is also a smaller barn (the old foxfield) now called Irish Run down in the valley. I don't know much information about their program, sorry.

                          OneonOne & Gooselover- It's really cool to hear about what Valley Park used to be like. I love riding in the park as does my horse :] and its a perfect place of paradise in the middle of the city.


                          • #14
                            I don't know much about Irish Run either. That's where I originally started riding, back when it was Deer Valley (pre-Foxfield). If the OP is interested, I can check my sources in the valley to get the scoop.

                            Jumpersluck, do they still require you to stick to the trail in the park? Way back when, the park was even more fun when we could build jumps and ride in the big open field near the turn in the bike path. When the park took down our jumps and restricted us to the path, it was a sad day. I totally understand why they did it (liability, and the few riders who were disrespectful of the other bikers/walkers in the park), but it took a lot of the fun out of riding in the park. I still remember the first time my trainer deemed I was ready to gallop through the woods out there on the jumping trail! I used to gallop polo ponies out there too, but that got harder when they restricted the trails. There used to be baseball fields where the frisbee golf course is now.

                            I hope there is at least a little freedom around the lime pits. That was my backup gallop trail. There are some great views of the city back there that not many people get to enjoy!

                            Valley Park has come a long way since I first arrived in the valley. It was originally just the one barn (the north barn) and the adjoining arena, and the three? paddocks on that side of the road. The second ring (I'd call it the upper, east ring?) went in a few years after the Longs bought it, and it used to just be a mud hole where the water sat. It's been raised quite a bit, maybe 10 feet? from it's original elevation. It used to be at the same level as the road on the east side of it. After they bought the second barn (which used to be a shakey tail barn named Saquara), the old oval saddlebred ring (where the newest, big ring is now) was a turn out lot for a few years before they put in that nice new ring.

                            When I think of where the Longs started with that place (it was kind of a dump when they bought it), and all they've built there now, it's pretty amazing!

                            Jumpersluck, I'm just guessing that you never met Hans. He used to live in the house where the Longs live now, on the left as you cross the tracks going into the valley.

                            If you know where to look, you can still see some of the ruins of the old Robin Hill stables, which burned down sometime in the 70s, I think. If you go into the park on the gravel road through the real gates (not the back way from VPS), it was on the west side of the road in the woods.


                            • #15
                              Well, I can certainly give you the horsey stories!!!!! I rode down there from 1965 to when I sold my last horse around 1976. I hold the most wonderful memories and even got my name in the paper!

                              I started years ago with Shirley Beakler - she ran a saddlebred barn in Norwalk I believe. I remember my riding lessons going up and down the barn isle! there was NO arena!!!! WOW! But as a young kid, it didn't matter to me. I think I was with Shirley for a short time until I discovered Hans Post. My horse crazy neighbor, Ann, boarded her horse at Hans's. I was SO JEALOUS of her getting a horse! However, I look lessons from Hans. His school horses at the time were Phil, Bento, and a mare - can't remember her name. It was Lady!

                              I met alot of people at Hans. I remember alot of the horses and the owners still to this day at my age! So many wonderful memories and of course a very BAD one - when Robin Hill burned down.

                              We had just purchased my first horse - Stanboley. He came from Robin Hill - NOT the one out in West Des Moines but down in the valley - the original Robin Hill. I remember Wendy Holt and her jumper Moonman - everyone in the grandstands at the fair would holler JUMP MOONIE - including Wendy. Anyway, Stanboley was over at Hans' place and had been for about 3 weeks when we purchased him. Not that long later, Robin Hill burned down. I had just competed in my first show - February 1968 - a walk trot on Bento and I WON it! Won a beautiful silver platterl and a big blue ribbon. That did it for me! I was hooked! I think about 2 years later, Robin Hill burned to the ground.

                              However, a few days after Robin Hill burned, I was on my way to the barn. I was at the corner where you turn right to go to Han's place - if you turned left, it was Robin Hill. I met a rendering truck with all the dead horses in it - that sight I will never forget. I was 16 years old.

                              A few years later, I moved to JonBar - right next door to Hans - maybe to the east? Don Snelling owned it and Jayne Ruan was there (anybody remember her?). The Ruan family was quite wealthy there in Des Moines. Don left not too long afterwards and Bob Baker ran the place. I showed many times at Raccon Valley Pony Club (dont' know what it is called now - Irish Run??? It was then that we discovered you do not have a Saddlebred (he wasn't your typically SB) in hunter classes. Remember, everything is so different now and has been for a number of years.

                              So, we decided to buy an OTTB. enter Hypmotique aka Early Times. Stanboley was sent to the NEW Robin Hill to be sold as we purchased Hippy from them also. I remember my friend and I went to Robin Hill and RODE Stanboley back from their place back down to JonBar - now named Early Times after my horse! I couldn't stand not having Stanboley, and I wanted him back. We just went out there to Robin Hill, grabbed my horse, and rode him back - what 10-15 miles? Didn't even tell the Holts!

                              I got my name in the paper for doing that - riding a horse down Grand- can you imagine a 17 year old riding her horse BAREBACK from clear out Grand Avenue to Waterworks Park - crossing 63rd!!! Geez....

                              My parents couldn't afford 2 horses which is why we decided to sell Stanboley, but in my heart - I wanted to keep him. So, we sold Early times (Hippy) to Bob Baker and Robin (can't remember her last name - she was his trainer).

                              Bob then switched barns again and went to the Racoon Valley Horse Club (Irish Run I believe now). It was the barn to the west of Maggie's. After a period of time, I became more interested in boys than the horse, so we sold Stanboley to a Dr in Florida. I missed him every day.

                              My friends and I would ride in Waterworks Park almost every day. We lived at the barn. Back then Waterworks park was full of hippies - and my friends and I would WOW them by jumping the picnic tables! It was so much fun and we were such daredevils!

                              Up on Grand Avenue around 28th street back then was a Kings Food Host. They had a drive-in. We would ride our horses up there and the darn waitress/car hop would about drop their tray when they saw 2-3 horses parked in the drive in! In fact, the first time, the gal did drop our order!

                              Ahhh, the memories.

                              What happened to Dirk Post? Did he go on to ride too? Is Hans still alive? He was a wonderful trainer - typical German, and he would be harsh at times, but he taught me so much.

                              UPDATE: I look at Irish Run - it is the old Racoon Valley Horse Club. We called it the end of the road - Maggie's place was to the east of that.

                              I remember the board at Hans' place was $60/mo. Alot of money back then.
                              Last edited by gooselover; Jul. 6, 2009, 08:59 PM.


                              • #16
                                Wow! This thread is a walk down memory lane! I don't usually post, but I just could not resist.

                                I rode in Des Moines in the late '70s and early '80s and remember all these places! Is the park that has been mentioned several times Waterworks Park? It was such a treat to ride in there!

                                I started at Racoon Valley and then moved to Hidden Valley (before it became Saquara. They let a few of us H/J people stay when they bought the place). We would go over to Valley Park - the barn right behind Hidden Valley - right?? - all the time for their shows it was wonderful. When Hidden Valley still owned the barn the Mongona Hunt (sp?) show was held out in the hunt field, grass rings of course!

                                Boy do I remember the flooding. All of the barns down there would pack up and go to the Fair Grounds. My horse was always a bit too much of a handful for me on the track at the Fair Grounds.

                                I remember what must be the "new" Robin Hill and the shows they had. It was a treat for us to go there and over to Moffit Lake because we got to trailer out there. With the barns so close we did not have to trailer much (I did mostly local shows at that point before moving east).


                                • #17
                                  Oh my goodness this just made my day. I love hearing all the history! Its so cool to imagine what it used to be.

                                  We're not really technically allowed to ride in the actual waterworks park anymore :[ However, we do sometimes go and get a good gallop in on the frisbee golf course. We ride out on the levees now. The Upper can get quite muddy but is the best one for galloping on. The Lower doesn't get messy but is shorter and has sharper turns. We do still gallop by the lime pile. Unfortunately there aren't any jumps out there.

                                  My horse is boarded in the Saquara (sp?) barn. But the original barn is still in full use! The rings are great, kinda mushy when it rains but hey.

                                  The flooding still comes full force. Last year we had to move our show horses out to Windy Ridge (over by Blank Park Golf Course) right before a show! The rest of the horse go where they can, but its always a scramble to get out before the river crosses the road. And we did major work to clean it up last year a week before our home show.

                                  We still have a pack of barn rats who spend a ton of time down there, myself included. Unfortunately we can't ride up to the drive thru on our horses, but we frequent the nearby fast food restaurants in our cars :]

                                  Thanks for all the history it was great to hear!
                                  Smallhorses - sorry for kinda taking over your thread. good luck searching for barns!


                                  • #18
                                    Murphy 12 - you rode ABOUT the same time I did - mine was the 60's and 70's. More importantly, do you remember Bob Baker? His "rider" was Robin and I can't remember her last name for the life of me. She is a well known trainer, I THINK, somewhere in the Kansas Area. Bob would have been running Racoon Valley (irish Run) back in the 1970's. Do you remember when the barn just down the street from Hans' was Early Times? It was back in the corner.

                                    Remember Danny Goldberg and The spoiler? Or how about Martini - the jumper from Hans' Place. Queen Size owned by the Cummings I believe - her father and Amy? The Froms - Becky? Jayne Ruan and The Net? So many wonderful riders and horses.

                                    What barn is this Saquara? JonBar? Maggie's - what was the original name of this barn so I can picture it.

                                    You will NEVER believe where I am going tomorrow. Des Moines!!!! We have a funeral to go to unfortunately, and guess what i am going to revisit? Yes, the barns after all these years.
                                    Last edited by gooselover; Jul. 7, 2009, 05:08 PM.


                                    • #19

                                      Gooselover, you're thinking of Robin Brightwell. She and Frank Mathews taught at Valley Park when Shirley Beakler ran the place.


                                      • #20
                                        Yes, that was her name. Her and Bob Baker purchased my horse Early Times and named the barn after him - which was the old JonBar.

                                        Do you remember that horse?