H/J Boarding Barn Near Chicago

Hello everyone. I recently moved to Chicago and am looking for a new barn to board my horse and hoping for suggestions. We live in the West Loop- easy access to 90/94. Willing to drive up to 1hr.

Currently have an OTTB so good turnout is a must. Would prefer a place without a riding school but with good access to training. Have been with hunter/jumper farms in Northern NJ for over a decade & hoping to find something with a similar feel. Would love any suggestions you have. Thank you!! (also any tack shops, good vets, farriers etc- any suggestions are more than welcome!)

Check out Freedom Woods! I’m not sure if they are close to you but they have a great facility and training program. They are a pretty competitive barn at shows and the trainers are super nice.

Well, Freedom Woods doesn’t have good turnout. Just dry lots for an hour or so a day. Plus, they have a large schooling program for lower level riders, so busy arenas with kids, etc. Not what the OP is looking for…

You may want to look at these places:



Freedom Woods would not be appropriate for an OTTB needing lots of turnout. I have not been to Glen Grove but I suspect it is a similar setup. Do you want to be in a capital-letters Training Program, or more have access to a trainer once a week?

It’s been a while but I recommend Daybreak, Millcreek, or Matchmaker.

All have good turnout, Millcreek was a former TB starting facility. PM me for more details.

For various reasons, I would not recommend Freedom Woods or Glen Grove.

If you’re willing to go out 55, I recommend Camelot Farm in Oswego. Sue Kovalik runs an incredibly friendly barn, more than enough turnout for my OTTB, and she has both a beginner lesson program with school horses and an advanced show program for boarders.

Check out Spring Willow Farm. It’s a little bit over an hour drive from Chicago, but the turnout and care is great. There’s no riding school or required training program, but there is a trainer who is great with OTTBs.

Camelot is a nice program, and Sue is a kind teacher and good horsewoman.

I would look into Bull Run in Elburn. Rolling grass turnout (all day) and a beautiful facility (big, bright indoor, nice sand outdoor up on a hill, and a small hunt field). Decent trails abutting the property, too. IHJA A, AA and NIHJA showing plus fox hunting with Wayne-DuPage.

Daybreak Farm is now Independence Farm. There are 3 training operations there that you can look into online. PM if you have further questions.


kreis, can you give us a bit more detail on what you’re looking for?

Hunter or jumper?
What level do you ride?
Do you want to show and if so, A’s or local?
Is there a budget?
How much do you prefer a DIY situation vs full service?

Thanks for the recommendations and input! Looking forward to finding something.

A friend recommended Stanley Luke Farm, which is about 30 minutes from the West Loop.

If you’re looking for more extensive turnout, you’re going to probably end up at a barn in the 1 hr commute sort of range - the general rule is that turnout increases the further you get from Chicago. Most places closer than that get the horses out for an hour or two in the morning and that’s about it.

Bull Run is lovely but the drive from West Loop would be an hour+ with no traffic. Factor in Kennedy Expressway afternoon or rush hour traffic and you’re looking at well over 90 minutes one way. Kennedy traffic always has to be accounted for in commute times for Chicagoans.

OP, let us know in more detail what you’re looking for and we can help a little more. Are you looking to show the A’s? Do you regularly want training rides put on your horse? What hours do you need the barn open to ride?

Bull Run! Great facility, great turn out, great people, great training

Not to hijack this thread but I am also looking for a h/j barn to ride at around the Chicago area. I just sold my hunter so I am currently horseless right now but would like to purchase something in the next couple of months.
What is Canterbury Farm like? Feel free to PM me too.

Welcome to Chicago!!!

Another rec for Millcreek. Amazing turnout (groups of 2-3 horses are turned out in 4-8 acre grass pastures for 7 hours) and a great program. Lesson program is small as well – plenty of time to find an empty arena even in winter.