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H/J Barns in SE King County, Washington (or should I try eventing…)

Well, news just came down that my current H/J barn is prioritizing leases + folks that can show for their lesson horses, and I just can’t devote more than 1-2x a week to lessons and much of my work travel lands on the WSHJA horse show weeks, so I’m never going to be a client that goes to a ton of shows, at least not until my son is older (he’s 8, not ok if I add a bunch of shows to my work travel!) No worries, I get it, I’m not the client that fits their business model right now and if I decided to “A - Show - Life” it they are top of my list :slight_smile:

Anyone know of any h/j barns around Maple Valley or no more than about an hour away that has either lesson horses, or partial (less than 50%) leases available without pressure to show? Clinics, I say absolutely YES to, whenever I can get into them. I’m most comfortable jumping under 3’ right now, but years ago I did 3’ and a hair more with the right horse - BUT I will jump 2’ all day long to work on basics, honestly I’m here to become a better rider and horse person. My most recent, favorite accomplishment was a “great job” and a hug the last day of a recent clinic with Bernie Traurig - I have NEVER had a better feeling of accomplishment at a show as I did that weekend learning and riding with him. No blue ribbon or year end high point ever compared to that feeling!

I work from home and am very flexible and can be that “fill in rider” during the week. I can’t really do weekends from December - March (but could do some Sundays maybe) because my son is a ski team kid, and I’m an alpine ski official.

I’m no pro, (that’s an “I’m no Jedi” joke, sorry lol) but I learned on some tough, tough horses early on so for sure can, with coaching from the ground, get most horses to act right and turn on what I call “schooling mode” if needed, as long as the horse isn’t scary. I kind of enjoy that, too, because I’m learning more about being a good all around horseperson than just a rider. I’m overall just a helpful, positive person that likes to have fun and work hard. I would like the option of having grooming help, since I’m coming from and going right back to work after, but not a deal breaker if it isn’t a thing (and would obviously pay for that!). I’ve been with several different levels of trainers, big name, A, B, C and in between. I’m more into learning and good horse care, and a nice, covered arena with no boulders, than anything else right now, honestly. So all that is to say, I don’t need a “made” horse, I just need one that’s fun to ride and not dangerous. Under the right circumstances, I can lay down some good courses! And that’s a great feeling.

So I’m a super easy going client that just wants to jump around and learn and have a good time. I’d love a show here and there but I don’t want pressure to show, if you can appreciate the difference. Yes, I’m looking for Southern California circa 2010, don’t laugh!

Right now my budget is about $500/month, to increase to $800ish a month for the right program, and probably around 2025 I’d like to purchase something, in which case I’d need full care / training because job (LOL) I understand grooming would be on top of those numbers. Currently paying $40/ ride for tack up / down.

Ask me anything! Seriously. But no Arabs. I tried that. I’m sure lovely, Arabian h/js exist, I’ve even seen a few. But not sure I could go back to that. Willing to consider eventing, even though I’m not much for dressage and solid jumps scare me (I know, I’m sure the right horse would change my mind. Super mare got me to 3’3” and it was fun, not scary!)

I’m also a contracts attorney married to an electrical contractor and love trades. I have a BIG truck and can tow stuff (F550). I have a camper and stay at the show grounds and can do night watch + evening feeds so trainer can go to bed (mornings…I can but I’m not a morning person lol). Need a show mom for hire? I’m hella good at that and have references.

I love the barn, I just finally found a barn home I love, but finances (mine) and business models (theirs) dictate I find something else to do. Video and references upon request (LOL I sound like I just wrote a sale ad for myself. Takes a joke, very teachable, sweet on the ground. Brings treats and scratches. Somewhat nervous due to previous owners (not the most recent one, before that) but just needs confident coaching. Not mare-ish at all. Older, but only maintenance are some NSAIDs after a particularly hard ride.

Ha! I’ll quit now. Help. I don’t want to quit riding again.

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$40 a lesson or just for tack up/down service? If that’s the lesson then you are getting a deal! On the Eastside lessons seem to be $100+ with anyone mildly knowledgable. Only one I know in MV is Morgan Carr then a bit of a drive to Nancy Free. Not sure if either have lesson horses. Sorry I am not helpful.

Oh, no, just for tack up / down service! Lessons are $100/each, but I’m fine to pay more to be able to continue to lesson and be able to push off a purchase / lease a little longer.

Anyone know anything about these folks? They are close to me and look pretty chill, with published rates I can swing.

So far I have:
Jump Start Training in Issaquah/May Valley (Kira Farler Smith)
Glory Days Equestrian in Sammamish/Issaquah (Anna Steiner)


When I hear Maple Valley, I think Hunter’s Run. Sorry - I know more King/Snohomish County barns and trainers.

I’ve heard of Anna - they do the local (and wonderful) LWSC shows. There’s one this weekend - do you have time to come watch? Maybe there will be a trainer there you could connect with?

Good luck in your search! Switching barns, especially from one you love, is never easy.

Encanto Valley Farm and Hunters Run are the only h/j barns in Maple Valley that I know of. Michele Pestl, who does mainly Eventing, has a new beautiful facility in Maple Valley and recently listed a horse available for lessons/partial lease.

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Just wanted to say - wish you lived near me (I used to live in NW Washington but North of Seattle) - I could commiserate / help.

You’d be the best show mom (I can’t drive a rig safely with my visual disability) to welcome to any barn. I felt like I was reading something I myself would write 2 years ago except I was a dressage junior turned show jumper, I’m 33 & I don’t have kids - but I, too, had a Super Mare (2 of them actually as consecutive leases) and my proudest moments have also been clinics! My work travel has calmed down a lot & you and I have the same timeline (2025/ 2026) ish for a purchase.

I’d recommend an eventing barn - that’s where I ended up in SoCal now. Dressage & stadium is fun - they’re working on getting me to want to go xc (not yet, too scary right now for me).

I bet there are a fair few working AA Eventers would LOVE you to 1/3 lease aka take 2 lessons a week and get their horse to school flat rides, dressage, small fences & hell even drive them in your rig to events where they typically DIY and don’t often have any help. Also some event barns keep some aging old competition horses who are stepping down and down and down levels as they age into their 20s - some with some serious dressage buttons that would cart you over a small solid fence.

Also Eventers dgaf if you are in a program / show / compete and they typically have a flurry of clinicians rotating through due to the 3 phase nature of the sport.

Just this summer alone my new to me barn has had Boyd Martin, Amelia Newcomb, Liz Halliday Sharp, and others!

I vote go meet some Eventers and see what they’ve got for you!

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I’m not sure if they have a lesson program, but you might look at Klearmont Farms in Lakewood or Fuerza Equestrian in Lake City. You could also post in the NW Sporthorse Party fb group.I’ve seen plenty of posts of people looking for part leases.