Hello! I am a trainer looking to relocate to Santa Rosa or surrounding areas. I would love feedback about the eventing 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!
So I replied to your dressage thread. The eventing and dressage communities are tightly intertwined in Sonoma County, perhaps with more dressage but a thriving eventing community. Yves Sauvignon still teaches in the area, and many of his students are now trainers as well.
It’s a great place for horses, and the vibe is more dressage and eventing than hunter/jumper. If you can find a slot that works for you, I expect you will enjoy it.
I’m a trainer in sonoma county, a former student of Yves’ as well (among others), and while as a person, I would tell you that SoCo is the best, as a trainer I would say think carefully. There are A LOT of us here! Just off the top of my head: Andrea Pfeiffer/Amber Levine, Matt Brown, David Adamo, Yves, josh Barnacle, Toora Nolan, Jennifer McRonald, Suzanne Brock, Zabou Cullum, Anna Levenger, Becky Cushman is primarily dressage but has a few eventers, but you get the idea, I’ve probably missed a few, it’s a bit of a crowded field.
In addition, one of our larger facilities just announced its closing as a public facility, so finding a place to work out of just got tougher–because in addition to losing that place as a potential base, you’ll now be competing with the five trainers that were there for other barns in the area.
The pluses: more turnout available than other parts of the Bay Area, nice weather, easy beach access for gallops, lots of horse friendly parks, etc. also, even though there are a lot of us, we’re a pretty friendly community. Nothing cut throat, which is nice.
The minuses: it’s a crowded field, and finding a place to work out of is tough. Many of the facilities we do have are for sale, and while they probably won’t fly off the shelf, you would have that looming over you. And despite all the evented here, there is no local schooling course, the nearest ones are about 2 hours away.
Honestly, if you like the general area I’d look into Napa County? The few trainers that were there are gone, I think there’s a trainer opening at American Canyon? There’s a good customer base there, without the competition.
Feel free to PM with questions.
I moved back because I’m from here and my family is here. While I’m happy with my choice, if it had been a cold blooded business decision, I might have chosen differently.
Thanks to both of you for your informed and very, very useful responses! I just might PM you with questions PhoenixFarm I really appreciate the offer.
Hi, I live in Santa Rosa and have both my own private facility as well as board/train at a large eventing barn (the one that’s closing). Feel free to PM me.
What Phoenix Farm says is spot on. It’s a fairly crowded field here for a reason; it’s a very nice place to live and train. Besides checking out the Napa Valley area, look at the town of Sonoma as well as the Vacaville/Fairfield area. Much hotter weather in those areas but they seem to be sort of underserved as eventing trainers go.
Thank you Watermark Farm! Good info and very appreciated
In your other thread, the relative ease of north/south versus east/west travel is spot on. I’m in the north end of the county, and have several clients from the far north 101 corridor, but virtually none from Napa, sonoma, Calistoga, even though on paper the mileage is almost identical or even slightly less.
Op: I’m moving to Napa in less than a month and looking for a trainer close by…closest I know is Natalie Rooney in Woodland and that’s too far on a regular basis!
La Chase I’m about 40-50 minutes from Napa, when not rush hour (which is not 9-5 rush hour, but tourist/wine tasting rush hour. Not a lovely set of roads with a trailer, but closer than Woodland. seriously though, if you want to stay in Napa and want to run any facilities by me, feel free to PM.
La Chasse, my daughter is working for Matt Brown and these people are his sponsors. I noticed they are in Calistoga. You might reach out to them and ask about eventing resources. http://www.blossomcreekfarm.com/
For dressage, Sherry Harker is in Napa and she is a good instructor.