Lesson programs or part-lease near Ipswich, MA?

Hi all,

I’m moving to the Ipswich, MA area for a job in the next month or so, and am looking for a barn which has lesson horses available.

I have a great situation where I am; I get to lesson with a wonderful instructor, often with other adult amateurs. I ride in lessons twice a week, and school a few horses for my instructor outside of lessons a few times a week. I do a few low level event shows a year on school horses. I know I am very, very lucky, and I likely won’t be able to replicate all of the aspects I love about my current barn.

I will be working in Ipswich, and have not found a place to live ( :grimacing:), but plan to be within 30 minutes of my work there. I’d like to stay in eventing if possible, but dressage/some jumping would be a backup. Most of my riding is dressage these days, as I mostly lesson on an older horse.

I don’t need anything fancy, and a relaxed atmosphere is a huge plus. I would need a lesson horse, as I am horseless at the moment, and being able to ride outside of lessons, such as a part lease option, would be another bonus.

Bottom line:
Does anyone know of any eventing/jumping.dressage barns in the area? Any other input on being a rider in the area? I’m from about 4000 miles away, so any advice is greatly appreciated!

Thank you!

I would have suggested David Wilson at Flying High Stables in Essex, but it looks like they just retired their lesson horses. He might have suggestions, however.


I would have said the same – Dave Wilson – but without lesson horses, it’s tough.

COTHer frugalannie has a barn in Ipswich. No lesson horses, but she also knows everyone.

Be prepared – lesson horses are disappearing around here, because it’s such a high-cost area. A fair number of people do part-leases with a once a week lesson requirement. If you’re already a good rider, you might look for that sort of setup; there are horse owners who work too many hours to ride enough to keep their horses fit. It can be hard to schedule around regular workday hours.

I boarded my mare in Ipswich for 5 years, and loved it. The trail system is fabulous and it’s a horsey area, though subject to development pressures like a lot of places. I retired her and moved her to Groton, MA last year.

One more suggestion, if June rolls around and you are still looking, come spectate at the Groton House Farm Summer Classic (not in Groton, in Hamilton which is right next to Ipswich), and maybe you’ll be able to talk with some folks there. It’s unrecognized Elementary and BN, but they have not posted a date yet. Some years they have a 2-phase in May, too.


Does Mike Robbins / MKR Equestrian have any? I think he is right in that area. And maybe Pine Tree Equestrian? They have a crew that events as well.

Joan from Flatlands


Congratulations on your new position and upcoming move.

I would have seconded – thirded (?) – Dave Wilson. I rode with him a few times when I was between farms and he was fantastic. I’m sorry to hear he’s retired his lesson horses. He is worth a call, a great guy and was always so kind, I’m sure he can give you some local suggestions.

Ipswich is a very horse-centric area like Quietann said, but most of it seems to have converted to more private facilities w/o lesson strings. The trails are incredible and you are geographically next to one of my favorite beaches to ride on, Crane Beach!

Definitely check out the Groton House Summer Classic – and their twice yearly hunter paces, if you can. They are a must for anyone who wants a taste of Area 1, even though GH does not host recognized events anymore.

I tell everyone moving to this area to be prepared for sticker shock. Rent is quite expensive, and board is typically proportionate to rent cost[s] in a given area. If you haven’t set your heart on it already, see if you can figure out your living situation first before you narrow down your barns. MA is unique (or maybe this is becoming less unique as population grows) in that 30m as the crow flies means nothing in terms of commute times – what MapQuest (dating myself, oops…) or your phone say should take you 38 minutes might just take you over an hour during peak traffic times.

I’m live the next town over from Quietann, so if you find yourself out this way anytime soon shoot me a DM. Always down to meet up with COTHers. :smile:


Thanks for everyone’s feedback! I’m definitely getting renter’s sticker shock, although oddly the homes are more affordable to buy than in the big city PNW. I’m hoping to rent for a few months before buying, but it has been quite the task to find a place.

It sounds like David Wilson would have been perfect; maybe I can reach out to him. We’re facing the same situation out here with the lack of lesson horses, so it’s not a complete shock, but as someone who grew up riding mostly-feral lesson ponies, it’s sad to see.

That’s certainly an ideal situation for me, and I’ll probably also be that person when it comes time to buy a horse.

I will definitely check out the Groton House shows! I love hanging out at local events even if I’m not riding :slight_smile:

It does look like they have lesson horses! Thank you!

I would reach out to Mike as well. I believe he is south for the winter but he might know some others w schoolies in the area!


Darn, I guess put me down as #4 who would have recommended Dave Wilson. He’s still worth a call–if you’re open to a part-lease a lot of barns have horses who need more work and maybe you can work something out.

It’s a great area for eventing and dressage barns in any case, but even in places with school horses there was a huge amount of interest during COVID and getting in the door might be hard. For a while my barn (in south central NH, has school horses but not a reasonable commute from Ipswich) was basically flat-out with no room for anybody not already a student.

PS: if you’re looking at buying a house, note that home sales around here are fairly seasonal, and spring is the big season. You will see many more listings in a few weeks/months than now!

That would be perfect for me, and much more what I’m used to.

We had the same thing here with Covid; my current barn still has a long, long wait list!

At this point I think it will be much easier to find a part-lease than a lesson program.


I agree. in Metrowest I think that Verill Farm still has lesson horses, but that may be the only one.

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Advice taken and title changed!

I don’t have a lease signed yet, but I am “looking” at a house to rent in Beverley until I’m ready to buy. A house that is, not a horse. The adult in me is forcing those priorities.

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Believe it or not I only just saw this. Have you found a place to ride? Living situation? FWIW, I have more suggestions for the former than the latter.

Contact Ferial Johnson at Ledyard. It’s in Hamilton/ Wenham, but she’s a terrific eventer and wonderful teacher. She doesn’t keep a school string but may know of a half lease. And Ledyard is, well, Ledyard. Some of the great old jumps are still there, and there are some newer complexes. They don’t host competitions, but there is schooling.

He’s not an eventer, but Jerry Kinney at Ascot Farm in Ipswich is a fabulous horseman, and he does have a school string (or at least he did last I knew). He’s in Ipswich, and if you have the chance to ride with him or anyone who teaches there you will have some great learning opportunities as well as fun. Jerry believes that riders shouldn’t just stay in the ring and his riders get to go to the beach, hack out, even do a hunter pace AIR.

You could try Myopia Hunt. A wonderful horsewoman, Samantha Stevens just became the huntsman, and she knows everybody. They used to seek out riders to keep horses fit for the hunt and did some lessons. Not sure what the situation is now, but worth investigating.

Glad you (maybe) found a place in Beverly. Look in Essex and Rowley when house hunting as well as Ipswich, Topsfield and Beverly. Word of mouth is the way to go: once a place hits the market, it seems it’ll be gone in a flash. Although there’s a nice little horse farm on the Hamilton Ipswich line that’s been on the market for a few weeks, just in case you have three million hanging around. If Beverly doesn’t work, check out AirBnB in the area. Sometimes people will do a longer term rental for less than the ABnB rate.

And yes: PM when you get here. Always good to meet a COTHer!


Thank you so, so much! I’ve reached out to a few places/people, but either gotten that their full or have not gotten responses. I will check into every lead you’ve listed.

The place in Beverly did work out for the time being! When I was casually looking at houses for sale, just doing a bit of market research of the area, I did see quite a few nice places in Rowley in particular, which would be ideal for my compute to Ipswich and the local bird watching scene.

I will definitely reach out to you! I know zero horse folks in the area (and really only a few people in the state), and love to meet horse folk.

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Helen O’Reilly reopened a lovely barn on Waldingfield road. She may know of lease or half lease situations, and is great fun to talk to. I’m boarding my horse there, and the hacking is terrific. Welcome to the North Shore!


Can confirm Ascot is a wonderful place to take lessons (or at least was 7 years ago and appears to still be going strong). They offered multiple beach rides, hunter paces, and trail rides even to their lesson students.

Local bird watching is terrific. Wonderful raptors, interesting migrating birds, waterfowl and LBJs. (Little brown jobs). We have lots of owls in our neighborhood including snowy during the winter, Great Horned and Barred There are eagles, a pileated woodpecker and other “wow” birds. Check out Mass Audubon on the Ipswich River and Joppa Flats. They have a great volunteer program that friends have been involved in and recommend highly.

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Did some snooping and wow, she is on the old estate! That is just about an ideal location for trails, hunt, etc. Rode there many times from just across the river.

@SMK Im one of the folks mentioned by Frugalannie- drop me a PM, might have some (horse) situations that would appeal to you!


Oh, try Dove Hill in Amesbury. It is a new place and the owner, April, is a beautiful rider. I think she is starting a lesson program and I know has some new ponies. I think there might be a couple hunter or jumper horses available for lessons. Worth a call! Oh, and it is next door to a gorgeous eventing facility with an XC field.

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