Hunter/Jumper barns in Chicago area

Hi Everyone!

I recently moved into the Chicago area and I am looking for a place to ride/take lessons. I have done Hunter/Jumper all my life but would like to start out maybe doing some dressage to get my flatwork skills back up. I am a horseless rider so I need someplace that has school horses. I live in the city but I do have a car so traveling is not an issue. Any advise would be appreciated.

One place I found was Oakbrook Farms. Anyone have any experience with this place. I know it is a dressage only place but that is all I know.

Thanks again!

Where in the city do you live? Traffic is bad enough that your proximity to expressways will greatly affect commutes and which barns are within reasonable driving distances.

Are you looking to show? A circuit/B circuit/NIHJA? Potentially buy or lease a horse or do you just want to jump around on some schoolies a couple times a week?

The Chicagoland area has a vast and diverse array of h/j barns to choose from with all different price points, type of instruction, showing schedules, etc. So it can be easier to give recommendations after knowing more specifically what you’re looking for.

^this. Ready to help, just tell us where you’re working and living, how far you’re willing to drive, and what kind of program/opportunities you’re looking for.

More info

So I am living in East Lakeview and I can get to 90/94 pretty easily. I don’t really want to go anymore then an hour. I work 4 days a week so I would want to ride on my 3 days off. I would like to start off by just taking some lessons and eventually buy or lease and start showing. I have been off for about 6months so I need to get back into horsey shape.

Im not looking to show A circuit right now and I do prefer jumpers to hunters. I am looking to pay reasonable prices (50-60 lesson) but not BNT prices.

There are a string of barns along 94, but they are mostly in Lake County. Glen Grove and Freedom Woods are right around the corner from each other in Morton Grove, and are the closest I know of to the city. I have been to Glen Grove to visit a friend’s horse and I know they have school horses but that’s about all I know about them. Both people I knew who boarded there moved to places with more turn out. Obviously being tucked in a suburb they don’t really have pasture.

I’m in the west burbs, so my knowledge of points north is limited. About a decade ago, my old horse was at Daybreak in Libertyville (beautiful facility, though I haven’t been there recently). I’m familiar with the Morton Grove farms mentioned above; they seem to be a go-to for city-dwellers looking to lesson, but many will eventually move on (and further out) to secure better turnout as PP mentioned.

I’m afraid that’s about all I’ve got. When I rode up in Libertyville, I, too, was living in Lakeview (west of you, though-- Southport and Addison). The drive could take me 45 minutes to upwards of an hour and a half depending on time of day and traffic.

Check your PM’s!

I’m afraid that’s about all I’ve got. When I rode up in Libertyville, I, too, was living in Lakeview (west of you, though-- Southport and Addison). The drive could take me 45 minutes to upwards of an hour and a half depending on time of day and traffic.[/QUOTE]

Yep. I live on the northwest side in Chicago and found that getting to the west burbs to ride takes usually 45 minutes to an hour in the early afternoon before rush hour. Only a half hour back in at night.

Just as a general piece of advice of location advice from a barn search that I did a few years ago…it’s often easier to stick to north and west of the city. I found that trying to get to a barn in the south suburbs can be damn near impossible from the north side - the Stevenson is terrible. I had to reduce my barn search criteria to west on 90 or north on 94 to ride. Since it was mentioned before, a friend of mine rides at Glen Grove off 94 and I know the drive is pretty quick for her. They do a lot of in house schooling shows and did quite a few B shows last year. They have good schoolies to ride and I know also do some leases.

OP, you can pm me if you’re interested in knowing about where I ride. We’re mainly an A circuit h/j/eq barn although we take a few horses to the B shows. A lot of times, finding the barn and commute that works for you around here is plain trial and error. You might be better off grabbing a couple names you’re interested in and then asking the coth hivemind what they think.

Shannon with Infinity Sport horse! She is at valley view acres which is in Crystal Lake.

I have been riding at Glen Grove (GG) for almost 4 years really enjoy it. I was a competitive junior and children’s hunter rider in Zone 7 in high school, didn’t ride much through college and came back after graduation. I work in the West Loop, live in Logan and have found that GG is by far the most convenient to get to if you’re not interested in driving for 45 mins+. Paula, the head trainer, is very knowledgable and does a great job with fixing bad habits and reinforcing positive and thoughtful riding. She teaches hunter/jumper as well as a number of dressage adult riders. Yes turnout is limited, but the horses are well taken care of and the staff at GG works very hard to make sure every horse gets out every day. As long as you aren’t feeling like you’re, “too good for school horses” the GG lesson program is really great. If distance is not a problem to you: Daybreak is very nice, Palladia Farm, Judgement Farm and the Glen Grove’s sister barn Messenger Hill are all “fancy” A and AA show barns. I don’t know anything about Oakbrook but it looks pretty nice. If you’re looking to ride for fun, maybe do an in-barn schooling show (or B show) GG would be the way to go. Send GG a message on Facebook! I know the girl who runs it.

Strongly disagree with one recommendation made. PMed.

Wherever you end up I’d recommend taking a few lessons at a few different places first too, to make sure it’s what you want. I live right on the Cook/Lake county border and I board my horse in Wisconsin right now. I’m there for the care and training, but the drive is hard on me. I also don’t have a lot of the community feel I was used to riding at some of the bigger barns like Red Coat (Hawthorne Woods) and Daybreak (Libertyville)

I should mention that getting north/south in the Chicago suburbs always takes less time than the same distance west/east, I’ve found.

Thank you all for the advice! I really appreciate it. I will start looking at all of these places and post questions as I have them.