Moving to Portland - trainer recommendations for a kiddo

My husband has accepted a job in Portland, and we’re moving to the Cedar Mill area this summer. Now that I’ve figured out housing and schools for the human family members, I need to figure out housing and training for the equine member of the family (though my daughter argues that her horse should have been higher on the to-do list :wink:.)

Where would you recommend for a late-elementary age kid and her hony? She rides hunter and equitation and is in her first summer of rated showing. Kiddo has dreams of medal finals someday; parents are more concerned with a solid program that will help her develop both horse and life skills, prioritizes kids well-being (mental and physical) and is fun, while also advancing in her riding. Other kid-riders and a trainer who is positive and good with kids are priorities, as is having a trainer at home when others are away at shows (school doesn’t allow for a ton of travel shows between September and June.) Also a trainer who can do schooling rides with the horse, since in my experience that’s essential for a kid’s horse. And, of course, excellent horse care that also prioritizes the long-term well-being of the horse.

Finally, I know geography complicates this. There seem to be more options south and east of the city v. to the west, where we’ll be living. When I map some of those commutes it’s daunting, especially knowing that for most of the year we’ll be needing to fit in homework and family life, too. Ideally we wouldn’t be driving more than 30 minutes each direction after school (and even less is better), when, of course, traffic also picks up.

Thanks for any info you can share! Our current trainer is also putting out feelers in her network, but I’m trying to cover my bases.

Welcome to Portland! We are a fun, small community.

For medal final dreams and horse/rider development I would suggest Shelley Campf at OZ inc. Hands down the most successful and most professional business and very affordable.

However given your area, it would be a 40 minute drive one way. There are other programs in the Wilsonville area, but they will all be a bit of a drive. Some programs that may be closer are Cornerstone, BEE (Vancouver) and Savin Hill (Newberg).

I second most of recommendations. I will add that unfortunately cedar mill commute wise is really like Beaverton since it’s that far west. If possible, I would highly recommend looking at barns in the Wilsonville/Newberg area rather than the Estacada/Oregon city side. Most barns are on the outskirts - except for the ones mentioned nearly everything will be 30+ min away. It’s not ideal, but it is doable. Doing the commute from Beaverton to Estacada gets old really quickly so I’d recommend staying on the west side.

If you’re looking for a giant list of programs, the Flying Changes magazine (and website) lists nearly all of the main programs in the area and can help you get a feel for the options.

Edit: I forgot about the SafeSport ruling.

Make sure to check out Gallops Saddlery in Wilsonville. A great store!

I’d be checking the Safesport list before sending my child to that barn… https://www.chronofhorse.com/article/jeff-campf-suspended-by-u-s-center-for-safesport

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Giddyup503 is right. If your kid wants to do medal finals, Shelley is the one to get her there. If you’re really interested in that barn, I’d disregard the SS stuff anyone here posts and talk with her about it.

However, even if medal finals are her end-game, sounds like she’s young enough that she may not need to pursue that goal right this second. There are plenty of trainers in the Portland area that would be very good and maybe a bit closer to you. Kaitlyn Eigner (Charlton Ridge Farm) comes to mind, I think she’s in Newberg but I’m not sure if she has an assistant that stays home. Swan Training is farther south in Wilsonville but has a big program. Quiet Rein turns out some great riders and seems to have a really strong community of hard working kids but is Oregon City area. Lionheart Training may be an easier commute; I think they’re focused on jumper development and travel pretty regularly - I may be wrong though it could be worth a call.

Kathy kerron at echelon is good.

Disregarding “SS stuff” is terrible advice if you have children, but I’m sure Shelley has a great cover story.

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Swan Training, Charlton Ridge, Flipside, Imagination Lane, French Hill/Stellar Sporthorse/Akiko Hamada-- if she truly wants to show on the A circuit and get to Medal Finals, there are other excellent choices beyond Oz/Shelley Campf (and the Jeff situation). Unfortunately, commuting is a way of life for those who choose to ride in the PDX area. Time of day really makes a difference in traffic, but expect to drive 30+ minutes to most programs. The closest to you would be Cornerstone in Bethany/Beaverton-- not sure how ‘big’ that barn is anymore, program seems to wax and wane lately.

Reading your list of requirements- I’d check out French Hill/Stellar Sporthorse Akiko and Charlton Ridge. Both have excellent programs for kids. Quiet Rein has a nice group of kids who compete very well but that’s a hike from Cedar Mill.

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This is an odd recommendation, considering the safesport situation the recommended trainers have landed themselves in. This has been an “open secret” in the area for decades.

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Apologies if I was was unclear. I don’t mean to "disregard the safesport stuff’ as it’s an important program. I meant to suggest that this forum can sometimes spread incomplete or wrong information, so it’s best to either go to the source or go to a trusted source. Shelley isn’t on the SS list so I’m not sure why there is a suggestion that no one should ride with her when her husband is the one suspended. Tainted by association…I guess?

I left off Akiko but agree with everything @Calvincrowe posted. Giddy up for a long drive.

Considering that people have been paid off by the Campf’s for exactly what he is on the SS list for, I’d stay far far away - junior or not.

Imagination Lane would be my recommendation.

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That illustrates my point perfectly because your statement above not true.

Imagination Lane is the only other PDX barn that I believe had gone to medal finals recently so they could be a good option.

Flipside has a strong program right now too, but they have a heavy California schedule so not sure if anyone stays home during that. I know people there and they seem really happy.

Oz …… nope. I would never, ever recommend that anyone send a child there. Or an adult, a horse, a worst enemy. BTDT with one of their assistants. That person deserves their own spot on the SS list. Please……no.

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Another vote for Imagination Lane. Surely wouldn’t send my teenage daughter to Jeff Campf! The statement above about paying off the junior rider is most definitely true.

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Thanks, all, this is helpful. I’m going to make some calls to places that seems like they might be a fit and see about setting up some visits. I think we’re going to look for a for-now place (with a priority on, among other things, hopefully a shorter drive) and keep an eye on Imagination Lane as an option down the road if my daughter continues on her current path as she hits the teen years. Oz is not an option we would consider for a variety of reasons, but the history with SafeSport (which I’ve followed on here and through other news sources) is a definite deal breaker for our family.

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Best of luck - there are so many good options I’m sure you’ll find a place that’s a good fit. Welcome to Portland!

If you’re looking for something for now, look at Phoenix farm. I don’t think they do lots and lots of shows but they show on the A circuit with a very nice program and it’s only about 10 minutes from your area.