Hi everyone!! I have seen a lot of older posts on relocating my 9yo Grand Prix prospect jumper to Arlington, VA area, but nothing since 2019. Who are the best trainers/barns for an adult ammy jumper doing the 1.15 to 1.30+? I have my own horse and am looking to move in mid-May. Would love any advice on great barns/horsemen/trainers. My job would be in Arlington but we haven’t decided on houses yet so I am flexible on my personal location. Thanks in advanced!
So I work in Arlington but mostly remote now. You need to decide if you want a longer commute to work or longer commute to the barn plus how many remote days you have plays a factor. Traffic dropped off during Covid but with many coming in 2-3 days a week now, traffic is getting back to the way it used to be.
The areas you should look to board at are MD or Middleburg/ Aldi area. My advice is to live either close to work or between barn/work. But living in NoVa is $$ right now if you can even find a rental.
I was definitely looking at barns first. Right now I have a similar situation and live close to the barn and have a longer commute to work. My priority is finding a great coach and facility for my horse and I’ll likely go into the office 2-3x week so I don’t mind one being a longer commute.
Katie and Henri Prudent are in Middleburg, for starters.
Jennifer Lee is in The Plains.
I would definitely recommend looking on the Maryland side of the river. There are a ton of barns in the Poolesville/Boyds/Dickerson area that are a relatively easy drive to/from Arlington. I live in Arlington now and ride in that part of MD, and I can get to the barn in under an hour consistently at any time of day because most of the drive is off the highway and basically immune to rush hour traffic. Jet Stone, Beyond a Bay, and KMH Sporthorses are all in that area and do the jumpers but I’m not familiar with any of them myself.
FWIW you couldn’t pay me to drive between Arlington and Middleburg/Aldie during rush hour even just a few times a week. The highways you have to use are just so unpredictable and even the usual traffic is pretty bad. If you’re not familiar with the area, just know that something that should be a 30 minute drive without traffic can easily take 1-2 hours before 10am or after 2pm. Horse country in VA has gotten pushed farther from the city every year, and finding somewhere to live that’s convenient to both Arlington and a good barn isn’t easy. Most likely you’d end up somewhere in the middle where work and the barn are both 45+ minutes away from home in opposite directions. You can find a much better balance in MD. I like living in Arlington and being close to the city, but I’m considering moving to the Bethesda/Rockville area in a few years just to be closer to the barn.
This thread has some good info for you to consider if you haven’t already seen it: Best horse-friendly area to live within 2 hours of Washington DC
Thank you!! This is super helpful and I appreciate the details on driving and commuting to the barns too.
Sure thing! Feel free to reach out if you have any more questions. I really like living in this area, and I think it’s a GREAT place to have horses. People complain about the cost and the traffic (and they’re not totally wrong) but it balances out when you consider the sheer volume of great barns, trainers, rated and unrated shows, clinics, tack shops, etc. I love that I can string together a complete show season without going more than an hour from my barn. Plus outside of riding there’s everything going on in DC, great hiking, and winery/brewery country. You will end up spending time in your car no matter where you live/ride, there’s really no way around it, but I’ve never lived anywhere that wasn’t true so maybe I’m just used to it!
I have always been used to driving 30-60 minutes to my barn my whole life. What I’m not used to is the sheer amount of great facilities and amount of trainers in an area. There is only one really good barn and facility near me that I’d trust in ATX!
If you can go at non-rush times (and really a lot of times), Poolesville (Jetstone and others) and Brookeville (Rolling Acres) are pretty easy from Arlington (less than 50 minutes) with some great amateur jumper action! Depends on where in Arlington, though. North Arlington (close to DC, 66, and then to beltway, or close to GW parkway to beltway) is very convenient. Very expensive too, though. I agree with posters above that Arlington to Middleburg is awful most of the time.
Agree with the posters here and having lived in Alexandria, worked in DC, and ridden in VA and MD it was easier for me to ride in MD. I’ve since moved to Maryland so now work live and ride in MD. In the Poolesville/Boyds/Dickerson area for jumpers I’d look at KMH Sporthorses and Dream Catcher Farm (Adamstown) and also CB Farm. Jetstown probably the closest. Some of these are on the road a lot more than others, so that may be a factor. Alan Lohman and Beyond a Bay are also good options. If you goal is higher level jumpers I’d probably look at Jetstone and Dreamcatcher, also Rolling Acres which might be a little further. Then also a further drive
I’m always curious when I see this suggestion — do you cross over into DC and then head up along the Clara Barton Parkway? I used to occasionally drive the GW Parkway during rush hour and the American Legion Bridge traffic was always causing backups.
I take the GW parkway, get on the Beltway for about 5 minutes, and then get off on River road. Crossing into DC requires going through Georgetown which is usually a mess. The current construction on the GW is messing with things a little bit, but if you stick to the left lane most of the way you should be fine. I really haven’t had a problem even with the new construction, and when I look at what it would take to get to Middleburg or Leesburg I’m totally fine with my current set up
I lived in Arlington for 5 years up until a few months ago. I lived close to work, and tried a few different options for riding, all involving a commute in evening traffic. All were horrible. The drive out to Aldie, Great Falls, Middleburg took a solid 90 mins to 1:30. Despite how nice the programs were, I wouldn’t recommend that unless you can shift your work schedule to ride during the day so your work commute is during non-peak hours. I did the MD drive for a shorter period and that didn’t seem as bad honestly. Not great, but better. I didn’t try boarding South, but that might be worth looking at as well.
I think next time I’d try to live closer to the barn and do the commute into the city for work, as opposed to living near work and doing the drive just for riding. I thought it made more sense my way, figuring I’d be driving to work 5 days a week, and only driving to ride 2-4 weekdays, so = less driving over the course of the week, however what it really did was disincentivize me to go to the barn. At the end of a long day of work, the last thing I wanted was to go sit in traffic when my PJs were a shorter drive in the opposite direction.
If your new job is off a metro line, look into housing near the end of that color line, and then look for good barns near that neighborhood. I needed the flexibility of my own wheels for a few reasons, but if you can multi-task on public transit, the longer commute will be less odious. Audiobooks saved my sanity.
BL: There are a lot of really great H/J programs in VA, NOVA, and MD. But the traffic will suck the life out of you. Finding the right commute option will make/break your will to live.
This is exactly what I did for the better part of a decade, from both upper NW DC (Mass Ave out to River Rd) or Alexandria (GW to 495 and either Clara Barton/Macarthur or River Rd depending on how backed up the beltway was). I could do this weeknights at rush hour and still get out to Poolesville in under an hour… when i briefly had the horses in Middleburg/Aldie I just didn’t go out during the week because the traffic was so bad.
Definitely hearing a lot on the theme of riding and traffic. Thank you!
In my current setup I also live close to the barn and further from work. I’m just trying to figure out my horse’s situation and then center my housing search around that plus the commute. I’ll likely only need to be in the office 2-3 days a week. So ride Tues/Thurs/Sat/Sun and then possible hack after work on the days I commute if there is time (if I can leave the office before 5).
Is your job in Arlington VA, and much of the whole commuting issue depends on where in Arlington you work and/or live. If it’s closer to the river, MD is probably easier, if the Arlington location is further out towards Fairfax, then the barns out towards Middleburg/Loudoun County are probably best. As others mentioned, if your schedule is somewhat flexible, that can be a game changer.
Agree with the comments on commuting. If you do go out VA direction Guy and Tiffany Cambria at Code Four Show Stables are awesome but are out in Upperville, so even a bit further. Another thing to think about is if you go to Florida or not - if not there aren’t as many indoors in VA/MD as other areas of the country so you may also want to factor that into your training considerations if you find multiple trainers to meet your needs.