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Bay Area CotHer's - Looking for a good barn

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  • Bay Area CotHer's - Looking for a good barn

    My sister lives in Alameda and has had the recommendation of my niece's school that my niece should start riding lessons to help her focus. My niece is very smart and verbal for her age - she is 4 1/2 - and very tall. Can anyone recommend a good place for her to start? My sister is very interested in a A or AA show barn with a lesson program - money is no object here as they are loaded and she will be a trainer's dream if my niece takes to the sport.
    Thanks for any and all suggestions!
    My new mantra - \"Life is too short not to eat ice cream.\"
    ReRiders Clique

  • #2
    Diane Yeager at Westhaven in Danville. I think you can pretty easily say she's tops in the east bay.



    • #3
      Terry Hicklin of Black Dog Farm does a great job with the young ones. Not sure about her contact number but I sure you could google her name and find her easily - she trains in Walnut Creek.


      • #4
        Where in the Bay Area are they moving to? The Bay Area is huge. If they are going to be on the Peninsula, then they won't want to drive to the East Bay (can be over 45min if traffic is GOOD). There are heaps of barns on the Peninsula that fit your needs. If they will be in the Easy Bay or North Bay, the same goes.

        Lots of choices! Finding a superb A / AA barn that has a lesson program too may be harder, but there's high probability that if she finds a place that she wants for her horse, there will be a cute pony somewhere close for the daughter to learn on.


        • #5
          MR, they live in Alameda and it does not appear that they own a horse. See original post.


          • #6
            Also check out Hilary Johnson with Rose Hill Stables in San Ramon/Castro Valley or Stephanie Simmonds with Stillwater Equestrians at Leap of Faith in Walnut Creek.


            • #7
              Originally posted by wanderlust View Post
              MR, they live in Alameda and it does not appear that they own a horse. See original post.
              For some reason, I read the original post as "Alabama" - over and over, I might say. Go figure.

              A great option in the East Bay is Kelly Maddox (http://www.kellymaddoxtraining.com/) in Castro Valley. Kelly has full training A clients - who are *very* happy - and also has a school horse program (which a couple adorable ponies). I know at least one of her FT clients has a young son (under 5) that rides, too. Would be a great place to get your niece started, with the option to move up and up as she gets more experience. Wonderful facility as well (Shiloh West Eq Center) - indoor arena, covered arena, plus 2 outdoor arenas.


              • #8
                Diane Yeager has a good program for people who are teens and up and are showing and own horses, not so much for a 5 year old beginner, it's not set up for "lessons" and they have no ponies or school horses. It's a very adult barn, and Diane is rarely at home.

                If I had a 5 year old and I was looking for a place for her to start, I would go to Leap of Faith in Walnut Creek. I was just out there last weekend, and they have true lesson programs with good teachers and really nice school ponies and horses. The facilities are the best in the area, and there were a ton of moms and kids out there last weekend. They do private beginner lessons, and have small to large group lessons with all levels of riders.


                Edited to add that Terry Hicklin IS very good. If she is in the Walnut Creek area now and has access to good school ponies for a 5 year old, she would also be a good choice.
                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                • #9
                  horsestablereview.com is a growing website with barns by map! there are several listed in northern california. i always suggest this site because it's such a good idea for us to all have one common resource...


                  • #10
                    Gry McFarlane at Windfall Farm in Danville. I don't know if she has lesson horses/ponies. windfallfarminc.com


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MR View Post
                      For some reason, I read the original post as "Alabama" - over and over, I might say. Go figure.
                      Lol. Well, I entirely missed that the kid was 4 1/2. I was thinking she was 8 or 9. That'll teach me.

                      Perfect Pony is right, Diane's isn't the place for that. I'd probably be looking for a place that has a lesson horse or two, but also has lots of pony kids in the program. Off the top of my head, the only one I can really think of with lots of kids and ponies around is Hilary Johnson/Rose Hill, although there are probably others I'm not aware of.


                      • Original Poster

                        Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions! I am going to be out taking care of my niece at the end of July, and if they haven't chosen a program by then, we will be out looking at barns.
                        Thanks again everyone!
                        My new mantra - \"Life is too short not to eat ice cream.\"
                        ReRiders Clique


                        • #13
                          I'll second Gry at Windfall Farm and Stephanie Simmonds. Both amazing. Stephanie was an assistant at Windfall years ago and gave the most amazing lessons. Gry always had a nice barn full of horses. Big thumbs up for both.


                          • #14
                            I ride at Crystal Image Farms with Denize Borges. The barn is located in Sunol. Denize and the assistant trainer, Rachel are awesome. They teach great lessons. Not to mention the whole barn is a really friendly, welcoming place. I'd definitely check them out. We have tons of lesson horses and there are actually quite a few young kids who ride there.

                            I thought this might be interesting to add. Some of the teenage girls at the barn really like making YouTube videos. Here is one they made of one of the younger riders at the barn, Aisha. If I recall correctly, she is 8 years old but has been riding here since she was 5. The pony she is riding is one of the lesson ponies.