Dressage community/facilities/thoughts for Santa Rosa area?

Hello! I am a trainer looking to relocate to Santa Rosa or surrounding areas. I would love feedback about the dressage community there, which areas would be good for business, and just general thoughts about the area. I was in San Diego for 13 years riding and training but have spent the last year in the Modesto area and am looking for a change. Thank you!

There are a lot of facilities and trainers in that area. What is your experience, and what sort of training are you looking to do?

Santa Rosa is a great place to have dressage horses and has a thriving community. There are quality trainers, lots of enthusiastic riders, and terrific riding weather. The Sonoma chapter of CDS is pretty active.




OP - the biggest disadvantage I would see in such a relocation - there are LOTS of trainers, many of them are very good. In a place like Modesto, there is a need - not many trainers. I can think of a couple in the Turlock/Merced area that do low level dressage and eventing, and one in the foothills east of there that is a successful FEI trainer. So there isn’t a lot of trainer competition :wink:

You go to Santa Rosa, and there are many, many good trainers. And it is expensive. I think it would be harder to start or expand a business there. And more expensive.

If you are not trying to “be a trainer”, it would be a great move - more shows to get to, more activities, more trainers to work with. Some LOVELY facilities. SREC is a good place to start - it is big and the owner is very active in CDS and a good source of info. It is a lovely, lovely area - if you can afford to live there :wink:


I don’t get it - what are you trying to accomplish by posting this person’s CL scores page? Is there something you feel you need to “out” her about? She did not identify herself by her full name, why is it up to you to do so? She will either go to the area and build a business and reputation for herself, or not. I’m not sure what your goal is here.

OP, I agree with Mystic Oak’s assessment of the area. Very competitive for trainers. I’d explore the area to see what you can offer that might be different that what’s already there. There may be a niche for you or there may not be. It is an expensive area to live in . . . way, way, WAY more expensive than Modesto. If you don’t have another source of income it may be a struggle while you get started.

I wasn’t trying to “out” anyone. People asked what this person’s experience is - and as a rider (not as a trainer) - that info is public and out on CL scores. There’s the link. Do with it what you will. If it helps shape your response then you now have more info to go on since the OP didn’t provide it.

Compared to San Diego, Santa Rosa is probably less expensive.

Compared to Modesto, Santa Rosa is more expensive but there are also more opportunities for existing facilities and clientele interested in dressage.

Of course, I would also say that there aren’t clients in the greater Sonoma County area just leaking out of existing programs and ready to be swooped up.

Santa Rosa has an enviable mix of urban and rural that makes it a very nice place to have horses, however, if you can make it work.

Other options for the OP to consider, depending upon her resources and exactly how she wants to proceed, would be Lake or Mendocino counties. Lots of horses, less money, more rural, not so many established and quality trainers. More middle ground might be Livermore or Martinez.

I grew up there, and there are a ton of facilities and great trainers in the area. They are def some new folks around there now, but with how expensive it is I imagine it will be hard leverage new clients.

Could you start as an assistant trainer with someone first to get to know the feel of the place?

Thanks for the responses! Modesto is NOT what I am used to as far as cost of living, competition from other trainers…San Diego is where I built and ran a successful full-time training business for 13 years. So…it is probably more apt for me to compare Santa Rosa with San Diego. While there are not a lot of dressage trainers in Modesto, there are also not a lot of dressage riders and clientele is lacking, the area has horses but western riding is way more popular. So lack of competition may not be a good sign! :slight_smile: It is great to hear about the Santa Rosa area though, thanks again!! I was mostly interested in how you all felt about the Santa Rosa horse community itself. I originally wanted to move to Mendocino Co but was concerned that it was too rural and perhaps did not have enough of a dressage/eventing community, and thought Santa Rosa might be a safer bet. Maybe I was wrong? It sounds lovely though! Here is my website for those that were curious www.sporthorsetraining.com

I live in Mendocino County. If you want to buy a property, real estate prices are lower. Clients will be harder to come by and they will have a lot less to spend in every way. We do have a handful of acceptable trainers who do dressage at varying levels, but no nice english facilities. Most people here own the places they teach out of, or they’re single trainer arrangements. I haul to Sonoma to show and also sometimes to school in better facilities.

There are a lot of back yard horses here.

I think there’d be opportunity to bring in clients who aren’t working seriously with anyone right now, but it is more like the Modesto problem than like the Santa Rosa problem. There are a few people around who do dressage and eventing but not really a cohesive community like there is in Sonoma.

One thing Mendo can work really well for is building young horses. Grass turnout is very doable. If you have enough money to buy a property and build an arena, and enough skill to bring along the young ones, it could be a good base for you.

The suggestion that Napa may have a hole is a good one. It may not be obvious on a map, but here on the north coast traveling north/south is pretty easy but east west, not so much. So, it’s actually a pretty long drive between Napa and Sonoma as an everyday activity.

Thank you Poltroon!!! :slight_smile:


That’s really rude. If people want to look that person up, leave it to them to dig around. It’s terrible that you decided to post that yourself.How classless.

That was really, really, obnoxious.

I wasn’t trying to “out” anyone. People asked what this person’s experience is - and as a rider (not as a trainer) - that info is public and out on CL scores. There’s the link. Do with it what you will. If it helps shape your response then you now have more info to go on since the OP didn’t provide it.[/QUOTE]

Yeah, but it’s not your business to do so. Let other people dig for it. Posting people’s information (even if easy to do) doesn’t speak well for your business either. I certainly wouldn’t even consider purchasing a horse from or even look at a breeder who behaves this way on the internet. Shame on you.