Lessons Near DC

Hi all,

I searched the board and couldn’t find anything recent. I am looking for a nice friendly barn near Washington DC that offers lessons on their own horses. I was an avid and competitive hunter/eq rider until college graduation and now haven’t sat on a horse in a decade but looking to get back into it. I would realistically only be looking for a once a week lesson due to my work schedule and living in the heart of Washington DC.

Please let me know if you have any recs or its to google I go back! Thanks!

Meadowbrook in Chevy Chase is the best/only option that satisfies the criteria you set out. Their main lesson program tracks the school year - you sign up in the summer (after an evaluation ride), start in September, and the program runs through May/June. They do have a summer program as well - check their website for details on how to sign up for that as a new student. Well-run facility, well-cared for and lovely school horses, and group lessons pitched at a nice level for the returning adult amateur. Pricey but you’re paying for all the things that I just listed.

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Geographically speaking, which direction is going to be the most feasible for you traffic-wise?

Honestly, I am pretty smack dab in the middle and could go either way. The bridges towards VA are always a bit more annoying but not annoying enough that I would want to rule anything out there that might be a good fit!

Thanks good to know! I couldn’t tell if it was going to be a very young group there based on the website, not that it’s a dealbreaker.

They have some adult-specific lessons, if that helps. But in my limited experience, on a typical weeknight, the environment is not overly “young”; yes, there are teenagers and kids there getting ready for lessons, but a lot of adults too. To make myself sound like a real curmudgeon, the barn aisles do not feel overrun with unsupervised children (unlike some other barns in the area, where I have gotten that feeling).

I have no personal experience with them, but the Wheaton Park Stables are within 2 miles of the Glenmont Metro Station, if that might be helpful. I don’t think it’s as much of a show barn as Meadowbrook, but if you’re just looking for a place to ride once a week, it might be a good fit. They also have trail access.

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How far are you willing to drive? When would you be driving - after work, during the weekends, etc? There are a lot of great barns around if you’re okay with a decent drive.

I think I assumed it would be at least an hour each way, I could do after work if that was the best option but weekend would be easier but I am willing to adjust for a quality experience.

You’ve got a good perspective on how long it’ll take to get out of the city :slight_smile:
Free Rein Farm and Walnut Pond Farm might be good options for you. Both have their own lesson horses and teach adults. They both do local & rated shows but also have plenty of clients who just ride. They’re both up in the Brookeville, MD area. From very NW DC, I could get up there in about an hour-hour 15min after work if I left right at 5 (longer after that depending on traffic) and the weekends it’s about the same.

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One thing to ask about when you try places (or before driving out to try them) is whether they have a robust evening schedule. I have found that some smaller places, particularly in the winter, really want you to come during the day.

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Most people I know in DC are only driving to Brookeville and Poolesville to ride at traveling show barns on their own horses or lease horses. For lessons and local showing, I don’t think that is necessary, but to each their own!

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This has been consistent with my experience - the longer drive is not strictly necessary until you’re looking to lease or compete. But yes, to each their own.

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I was in a similar position a few years ago. I highly recommend Reddemeade Equestrian Center to get back into riding. They’re in Montgomery County and there were a number of adults that lived in DC that rode there. They had lessons later in the evening and weekends which was great. I also participated in their Equishare program which lets you ride on your own whenever. Be careful, because once you start, you may find yourself back in the horse world :wink: I now have a horse I board in Anne Arundel county and event. Going east out of the city is definitely easier after work and there are a number of good options. Good luck! It is doable to live in DC and ride.

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Definitely Meadowbrook. Good knowledgeable people, nice school horses and close by. Great way to get back in the tack.

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Wow, this place looks great!

FWIW, I tried out Reddemeade more recently (in the past year) and left with a different impression. Happy to discuss by PM with anyone trying places in the area.

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Living in the " heart" of DC means what exactly in location - as depending on what you mean by heart of the city - if location is close to Capitol Hill - then heading out to PG County stables makes sense vs NW/G’town heading out to Poolesville, Mont Co is good, and then thee’s Howad County if location is 16th St/GA Ave.

Meadowbook is the best location but does it give you the options you need/want - I don’t know how flexible /accommodating when it comes to woking adults whose schedules can change without a lot of notice - like ending up having last minute meetings o calls come up.

If the OP can give an idea of location, more places can be suggested to them

I am in almost the exact same situation as you - rode competitively growing up, now living/working in DC and looking to get back into it after almost a decade away. I’ve been researching, touring, and doing evaluation rides at local barns and there just aren’t many lesson barns in the area unless you’re an actual beginner. Meadowbrook is probably your best bet if you’re sure you only want to do lessons and can wait until their next session starts in June. You might also want to check out Clairvaux in Leesburg. They do lessons, but it felt a little young to me (could’ve been the time I was there on a Sat morning when everyone down in FL). And if you’re open to a half lease, you might want to check out Cavallo, also in Leesburg. Their rates are very reasonable. I also really liked Rolling Acres, in Montgomery County, and TuDane, in Middleburg, but need to decide if I’m ready to go all in again because neither farm just does lessons.

I agree with @gottagrey - if you’re really around the middle (e.g. around WH, Capitol Hill or surrounding areas) I’d strongly urge you to consider options in SE MD, perhaps around Prince George’s county, as that would be much more feasible than driving to Leesburg/M-Burg/Gainesville areas. We used to live very close to Capitol Hill and getting to barns in that area in morning/evening could take anywhere between 25 and 45min depending on traffic. Middleburg on the other hand was a bit over an hour on a weekend. My doctor was located in Chevy Chase (direction of Bethesda) and I gotta say the traffic is awful there, I’d never get there in shorter than 40min no matter what time of the day. It’s also city driving (to Bethesda) vs. not too congested highway (towards SE MD), which makes a huge difference in commute quality.
I’m sadly not in the knows of pure lesson barns (as we were boarding), but can recommend this show barn http://www.bayviewfarm.org/, which I think has a couple of horses that they teach on. The trainer, Alison, is really nice and from what I can tell very competent (her daughter did GP jumpers). It’s a good place if you’re interested in getting back into the show ring. I’ve seen Liberty Ridge Stables in that area offering lessons and half leases too, but I believe they don’t have an indoor so that might be a no-no for you. Looking at their sales videos though, again, I’d definitely check it out if I was getting back into the swing of things.
All of this might change if you live in Georgetown or even more West.