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Training/Sales barn in Northern CA?

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  • Training/Sales barn in Northern CA?

    I am looking for recommendations. I have a perfectly wonderful 4 y.o. young mare that is going great under saddle, has a great mind, quality gaits, trainer loves her, well-priced, bloodlines etc, and yet nobody has made the admittedly long trek to our remote location in Northern CA to even try her. This is a shame, quite frankly, as she is exactly the kind of horse I set out to produce as a breeder. Now that Winter is nearly upon us, I am looking for a quality dressage training/sales barn location closer to a major airport or metropolitan area in the Northern CA area where it will be more likely that this mare will be seen and tried. Can anybody offer some recommendations or referrals? She's getting quality training now, that's not the issue, but having her in a more accessible area is. I posted in the Dressage forum too. Is that OK to do?
    Last edited by Indy-lou; Nov. 1, 2012, 11:44 AM.
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  • #2
    I would love to find such a barn too. Hopefully someone knows one.
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses


    • #3
      Most trainers I know will take sales horses - it just means you are paying training plus a commission when the horse sells. There are several in the Bay Area (esp East Bay and North) and several in the Sacramento area (around Wilton).

      What about Beth Mounce for you, Clint - she's East Bay (and on COTH). In the Wilton area, I know Sandy Savage and Rachel Gill Wade both take sales horses in training at PEC. I'm sure there are others too. Pretty sure Christiane Noelting does at CNDC, and I know DG Bar does sales horses.

      BTW, I checked your sales ad - your trainer is a lovely rider - I remember seeing her clinic years and years ago on a Grundstein horse - and admired her riding then!
      Last edited by MysticOakRanch; Nov. 1, 2012, 01:47 PM.


      • #4
        I'm not familiar with Beth Mounce. It isn't an urgent matter for me right now because I don't have a sale horse, but knowing who to send one to is always a good thing.
        Mystic Owl Sporthorses


        • #5
          I'm a H/J rider but have been very impressed with dressage trainer Brian Hafner when I boarded where he trains in Petaluma, CA. This is not far from Oakland or SF airports and there is also an airport in Santa Rosa. There are several big H/J shows nearby at Sonoma Horse Park, and I have seen Brian coordinate wonderfully with a local H/J rider to expose his sales horses at H/J shows. He brought along his current Brentina Cup winner from a youngster.

          Matt Brown, an eventer in Petaluma, is also very good with youngsters and very respected in the area.

          Hope this helps, keep us posted on what you decide as I have a two year old so have been casually considering who to send him to. Brian tops my list.
          Last edited by drkarins; Nov. 1, 2012, 03:23 PM. Reason: clarify


          • #6
            Well, I'm in SoCal and can highly recommend Sarah Lockman Dressage at Shadow Ridge Equestrian Center in Highland. It's very convenient to the Ontario airport, and centrally located for peeps from San Diego to LA and the coastal cities. Also to Vegas and buyers in Arizona.


            • #7
              Well, not northern Cali but Villa Rosa Dressage are amazing to deal with, I would highly recommend them.

              "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


              • #8
                I know most of the people mentioned here. I think Rachel Wade is a ridiculously good young horse rider but I'm not sure how she is with sales. None of the others I would trust with any horse I owned.

                Probably one of the best young dressage horse riders in the North Bay IMHO is Caitlin Casey. I had my young pony with her for a few months and she is fabulous with the horses and a nice rider, and she has sold several horses for VERY good prices that I know personally.

                BTW are you talking about your BIG mare? I loved that mare and would have traveled many hours to see her had she been a hand smaller.
                On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                • Original Poster

                  Keep the info coming, I really appreciate it. MysticOakRanch, yes, Kate is a wonderful rider and my mare is getting really good training with her, which she agreed to do as a short-term favor to me. We both thought she'd be sold by now. Kate really doesn't have the time right now to take on horses other than her own, but she likes this mare, and is liking how well the mare is doing in her hands, and really doesn't want to see her go to another barn, but she understands the difficulty as it is the same for her; we live in the same area. Maybe there is a weird psychology here: I think I'm offering a nice horse at a nice price for a timely sale, but I also believe the market is very down for horses without a show career right now, (unless they are at a giveaway price) or at least that is what I've been told. But someone bid 30k at the recent auction for a mare that had been advertised in BAEN shortly before at a reduced $25k and didn't sell at that price (I thought the mare a nice horse from the video, btw) Horses at training barns always cost more to purchase; as a buyer, I'd rather go straight to the breeder! Perfect Pony: I know Caitlin, and she's been to my place. Her family lives around Mt Shasta, and she'd be my choice right now, but she just moved to Montana! And yes, this is the RP mare. Oakstable: I have a friend, also a KWPN breeder, who has her horses with Sarah Lockman. Highly recommended, but way away in So Cal! Everyone: Feel free to PM me on stuff if you have real info from personal experience or from someone you know well who had the experience and not just heresay, as I would hate to rule anybody out unfairly.
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                  • #10
                    I mentioned Villa Rosa because we bought a horse from them sight unseen about 8 months ago. Someone had actually booked a flight to come and see this horse but in the meantime my mom was actually pretty determined to buy him and even offered them more money than what he was listed for. They said they couldn't accept because the other woman had already booked a flight. While it was disappointing for us they are clearly honest people who care about their reputation. Thankfully it didn't work out with the other people and we were able to buy him. Once we purchased the stallion they told us that if we weren't happy with him they would gladly take him back. Fortunately it worked out perfectly, the horse was everything they said he was and more. We were all very impressed with their professionalism and helpfulness.

                    So, that was our experience with them FWIW.

                    "Simple: Breeding,Training, Riding". Wolfram Wittig.


                    • #11
                      Villa Rosa is Heidi Gaian and her mother Pm Nelson, both judges. Heidi is a good rider who has proven herself. I have no real personal knowledge of them, but they have a lot of connections and import a lot of horses from Jo Hinneman. I've called Heidi about a horse before. They might be a good choice for their connections and a higher end market.

                      They are about an hour south of San Jose airport, maybe an 1 1/2 from SF, right near where Jeff Moore and Liz Searle (used) to be, and Deb Harrison is. (She has Dutch horses and works with Chelsey Sibley.)



                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
                        Villa Rosa is Heidi Gaian and her mother Pm Nelson, both judges. Heidi is a good rider who has proven herself. I have no real personal knowledge of them, but they have a lot of connections and import a lot of horses from Jo Hinneman. I've called Heidi about a horse before. They might be a good choice for their connections and a higher end market.
                        That is the extent of my experience with them as well. I will say they were pleasant to talk to and actually had nice pictures/videos and replied to emails! They only ever had one horse in my price range I was interested in, but I decided to not go down there.

                        I didn't realize Caitlin left. I didn't appreciate her personality all that much, but I respected her riding and horsemanship and she seemed able to sell horses!

                        Most of my experience comes from being a buyer as well as living in this area and constantly looking for that elusive decent trainer. This area has about a million trainers and horse traders and I have found ONE person I can stand taking lessons from, and she's a "nobody".
                        On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                        • #13
                          Also agree with Villa Rosa. It's very refreshing to deal with such straightforward and knowlegable people! They do have a particular market they deal with but will happily give you recommendations if your horse would sell beter with someone else.
                          Cindy Bergmann
                          Canterbury Court


                          • #14
                            Kristen Aggers is fantastic... I am a hunter/jumper breeder and rider and she has helped me quite a bit and has some really nice young horses that have gone through her barn. She is outside of Petaluma.

                            Specialized Equine Rehabilitation, Reproduction, and Fitness in the Wine Country of Northern California


                            • #15
                              I am Bethe, in the east bay and will take a sales horse in my barn. I operate out of San Ramon and Brentwood, just got in a lovely one yesterday. I know Heidi--would do business with her in a heartbeat. I do fly a little low under the radar. ;-) I pretty much do the young horse thing, I also do some re-habbing, and ride those horses with some "challenges." A busy life!!! ;-) Am new to the east bay, 5 years here next June, people are finding out slowly but surely. ;-)
                              Bethe Mounce
                              Head Trainer, AmeriCan Romance Equestrian
                              Brentwood CA


                              • #16
                                They are more hunter jumper but Rudy Leone seems to move a lot of nice young horses.

                                That or Mary Mullner out of five star down in San Jose does a wonderful job with young horses although


                                • #17
                                  Andrea Barbee at Dreamland farms in Dixon CA does a lot of sales. She specializes in Hunter/Jumpers but I rode at her barn in college and she would also sell Eventers and dressage horses. Great location near Sacramento and San Francisco, and she is a really honest seller and good rider.



                                  • #18
                                    Recommending Brian Hafner as a dressage trainer.

                                    I highly recommend Brian Hafner who currently trains at Woodbridge Farms in Petaluma, California (http://www.woodbridgefarmdresssage.com). He is an excellent young horse trainer having trained his own youngster to GrandPrix level and winning the Brentina Cup at the U.S. Equestrian Federation Dressage Festival of Champions in June of 2012.

                                    In Brian, I have found the perfect trainer for my young horse who is currently receiving some "re-training" because some of the basics were never correctly established by a previous trainer (the "unfinished business" Volker refers to in the video narrative). I am thrilled at how relaxed and happy this horse works under Brian's direction.

                                    Brian trains for the highest quality movement he can get from the horse in a quiet, non-confrontational manner. He doesn't over-face a young horse beyond its current strength/development level. And the thing I like best about his patient training approach is that Brian knows how to "wait" to ask for a movement - to properly set the horse up in its transitions for success. This is a rare quality in a young trainer. More often than not, I see horses tensely rushed from movement to movement in the dressage ring with little or no preparation on the rider's part (especially in the eventing dressage ring).

                                    Here is a video link showing Brian's quiet and tactful approach. The lesson concentrates on strengthening this young horse's hind leg use for future higher level movements in the years to come. Brian trains for 100% lightness and self carriage on the front end - something he is still working on with this young horse. My horse is moving forward again in his training and I am anticipating a very good 2013 competitive year.