Highland Acres In Cincinnati?

I haven’t ridden a horse for a few years due to confidence issues (thus I have like no confidence left, like at all, but I want to start riding again and gaining at least some back). I found a barn close to my apartment. Based on their website, their lesson rates are reasonable (maybe too reasonable?), they have lesson horses, and while they go to local shows, they don’t pressure you to compete. It is a hunter/jumper barn, which is what I’ve been doing since I was 10 years old (and up until I ultimately left), which is also why I am posting here. I did some Googling and I only found like 1-2 reviews and both were 5 star ratings. The website said the barn has been operating since 2004, yet, I can’t find much on the barn or trainer except for their website.

COTH, tell me. Is this too good to be true? Is the trainer reputable? Is the barn reputable, good? Has anyone ever at least heard of this place? How is the trainer with horseless and timid AAs, anyone know?

Ultimately, I want to research the barn a little more before reaching out to them and scheduling a visit or lesson. I also have a few things in my personal life to sort out first too, but I thought it was worth popping the question. I don’t mean this to be an ill intended post, just trying to do some diligent research. Thanks everyone!

No idea on the area. But honestly there is no substitute for visiting a barn, watching some lessons, and then doing a trial lesson. There are many ways a barn can be a mismatch, even if the barn is within decent professional parameters. And sometimes a barn can be a good fit for a while even if some aspects are lacking.

You don’t have a horse. You have no commitment. Go see. Pay attention to horse condition, footing, stall condition, coherence of lessons, any red flags or over promising etc.


That’s on my list of things to do, I’m just looking for insight on the barn first. I don’t want to be a tire kicker and waste anyone’s time.

IME, getting upset at “tire kickers” for their lesson program is a red flag.

The first time I reached out to my old barn, the trainer asked me to come watch some lessons, look around, chat with her etc. before I even had a chance to ask. Turned out to be a great barn and I wish I still lived in the area. For her, it helped her weed out (or at least have a heads up) clients who won’t be a good fit for her program for whatever reason. No one likes to fire clients and it’s usually easier to head it off at the start than go down that frustrating path.

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IME noone does reviews for their barns. And I don’t really trust reviews at all.

Honestly a no name coach who has been noodling along under the radar with a lot of beginner kids is quite a decent match for a nervous adult returning rider. If barn has been in operation for years it doesn’t mean the same coach.

Plus online representation of a barn tells you nothing. Some good barns have bad SM and some dodgy barns have nice SM. You always have to go look.

I don’t have actual experience with this barn, but I did tour it and decided against boarding with them. I talked in depth with the “trainer” and personally would steer clear of this place.
Happy to go into detail over messages.

Thank you for the insight! I’ve actually never had a trainer ask me to go watch a lesson, I’ve always been the one to ask. Ha!

Thanks for the insight. Part of why I posted here is because I’m not sure how much I trust reviews either and thought COTH would be the place to ask, considering everyone uses a screen name (and it’s not as ‘public’ per say) as regular Google. I like the appeal of how small the barn seems, it just seems they’ve been around since 2004 and I can’t find anyone that’s even heard of them. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing, but maybe I’m thinking too much on it?

I did check their website and the website makes it out like it’s been the same trainer all these years. I know I have to look. I’ve said it in my original post and my first reply back to you.

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I’m in Cinci, too. With as many barns as there are in this area, I believe you could find a better fit :slight_smile:

What part of town are you in/how far is ideal for you to drive?

Really late on this thread but like to add I was in that area for years and am familiar with the trainer who, indeed, has been there for many years

Depends on what you want. Nothing nefarious or particularly dishonest I ever heard of there or saw at the shows but not a place to advance your skills beyond very beginner levels. Mind you, speaking of just taking lessons in a schoolie to get back into it. There are better places but there are a few that are much worse in ways you cant see from the outside.

Most of the better places are outside the 275 loop, mostly on the northeast side in Warren or Clermont Counties and a few in Butler County.

There are local schooling shows starting up in the next couple of months and spending maybe an hour watching the local level trainers prepare and coach their students and horses will prove be your most valuable tool in finding the right place for you to get back into the irons. Costs nothing and you can be anonymous.

Try the googling Ohio Hunter Jumper Association for their show calendar. Kentucky HJA too, same people at those shows.

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