Boarding barns around Portland, OR for DIY h/j ammies

Hi. I’m a decently experienced ammy h/j rider who’s been in traditional full-service programs most of my riding career. I’m looking at striking out on my own in the next year or two and I’m trying to get my ducks in a row for such a big change.

Because I know how these threads can go, I’ll start off by saying I’m a reasonably educated rider with lots and lots of humility, so “going it alone” does not mean yahoo-ing around until the horse or I get hurt. :slight_smile: I have good connections for help/advice and I 100% know my limits. So while I get that this is a big change I do believe it’s an appropriate challenge for my skill level (as confirmed by the pros I’ve worked with).

One of the things I’m stuck on is finding the right place to board that allows jumping without a trainer. I will have access to top-level coaching at shows and plan to clinic regularly, but not often enough that I’d be able to get away with just doing flat+cavaletti/pole work at home. I don’t mind doing an occasional lesson with a resident pro but I don’t want to only be allowed to jump in lessons, if you get me. I do need full care with quality feed (or at least flexibility to bring my own), good footing, and safe turnout, which does seem to limit the options a bit. :wink:

Do any of you manage this kind of set up in the Portland area? Any suggestions for places to look? Location is less important than the right fit, but I’m on the south side of town near the river so anything super far north or way out 26 or would have to be worth the hike. I’m also used to paying full-training prices so not anticipating budget to be an issue.

Good luck with that plan. I do have a work around for you however. You can buy private horse owner insurance through USEF at about $200 per year that will include your barn owner as an insured. I have done that but most barns and trainers really resist “jumping without the trainer” option.

This is becoming a really frustrating issue. And before all the usual, “Amateurs will die without a trainer!!!” people chime in, there are plenty of amateurs out there with as much or more experience than most US “trainers” and a lot more common sense. The last 4 or 5 boarding facilities I’ve been at the trainers had no experience past about 1.1m themselves and mostly taught the sub-3’ crowd. They had little to nothing to offer me. It’s nothing more than an insurance/ financial decision at a lot of barns.

OP, you should look for young trainers with their own facilities who will be more flexible, eventing facilities and / or private barns or co-ops. And offer to buy your own insurance and have a grounds person. Even then expect the resident or visiting H/J trainers to strong arm the owner to make you take lessons from them as soon as they realize you are a competent rider with nice horses.


Oregon or Maine?

Oregon! Sorry, should have specified. Adding that to the original post.

Yes, this is my issue as well. Connecting with eventers is a good idea, and I’ll definitely keep the insurance in my back pocket. I do intend to only jump with a knowledgable person on the ground—jumping alone would definitely freak me out!

*edit: should say I know there are plenty of experienced trainers riding at a much higher level than I am in the area, just commenting that I would have a hard time taking a lesson from the type of pro Amberley is referring to.

Ooh! I know where! Jen Wooten just posted an ad for boarding in Beavercreek-- no restrictions on jumping without a trainer! It was on FB- I’ll see if I can find it. email is

(If you are a member of FB page NW Sporthorse Party, she has an ad on there with details)

Hey there! Fellow PNW-DIY-Ammy! Feel free to PM if you want to connect. I have my horse at home (in WA) and do jump schools once a week with a trainer.

For liability reasons I think you may have a tough time finding a facility that will let you jump “unsupervised”.

I’d be happy to help brainstorm training options. First one that comes to mind may be Imagination Lane.

Good luck!

That honestly makes no sense to me. I’m a grown adult, I can ski and skydive and downhill mountain bike “unsupervised” and no-one cares. I can get on a 3yo who’s been in a stall for three days without lunging it and no-one cares. And being a “trainer” requires no training or certification process, you just declare yourself one. It makes no sense for me to pay $60 a pop to school my own horse, that I own, over fences with minimal or actually harmful input and yet thousands of perfectly capable women do it every day in the US. Funnily enough, I don’t see men putting up with this kind of restriction on riding a horse they own very often.


Tell that to the American insurance industry and lawyers. The liability insurance a barn owner carries dictates what can and cannot happen at a barn. I’m sure you can locate a farm willing to let you self-train/jump if you carry your own insurance. Good luck!

Oh, I absolutely agree. I have my horse at home so I jump once a week on my own and then do a bigger jump school once a week with my trainer.

It also could get tricky when a trainer/BO allows one person to jump alone (you, who is capable) & then someone who really shouldn’t be jumping without supervision also wants to do it.

Pm sent