Nor Cal East Bay Dressage Trainers

We’re making a move to nor cal and I’m looking for some recommendations on dressage trainers. Any insight?

thank you for the reply! Currently riding second level but schooling some third level movements. We’re likely going to end up in the Orinda/Lafayette or Danville area … I know that’s quite a range. I have a trailer so hauling for lessons on the weekends isn’t a problem to try and find a program that works for us. I’d really like to find a place that has stalls with paddocks and turnout avail, mirrors, ability to ride at night (so arena with lights), but most important is a place where the horses are well cared for in a healthy environment.

I assume you have a lot of money if you can live in those areas. Board in general not cheap.

Orinda/Lafayette has access to Briones and there are a lot of nice places. It’s a bit of a drive. Heidi Riddle would be a start. Danville is accessible to everyone in Danville, Pleasanton, and Castro Valley. There are many, many “options” depending on what you want. Almost all barns the horses are well cared for. Healthy depends on your definition. Some places horses are in stalls with no paddocks 24/7. Some never get out of the arena. There are plenty of places to look at. For trainers, personally, I would make sure they have a legit. background of actually training and riding at least above the level you want, and not just riding other people’s made horses, and you can see them ride and explain.

Another vote for Heidi Riddle at Half Halt Farm in Briones. Horses are well cared for and get turnout. 3 arenas, 1 covered. Nice friendly group of adult amateurs. Also, Nick Onoda is moving into the old Poplar Place but I don’t know the timeframe for when he’ll be open for clients.

For trailer in lessons, Jill Munro, Wedgewood Farm, Livermore, CA. A very nice person. Has all her medals, an excellent instructor.

I should also add she does travel for lessons and teaches at Hossmoor in Martinez, for one.

I would narrow down where you are living before committing to a barn. The two locations you listed are on opposite side of Walnut Creek which can mean major traffic even if they look close on a map. I’m assuming wanting night hours means you work for a living so you may be driving to the barn during rush hour. I recently moved here and really underestimated the amount of inter-suburb traffic.

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If you’re looking in Danville, I would recommend Nadine Pestana at Iron Horse - fantastic trainer who has coached many juniors and amateurs through the levels, including FEI. Horses have stalls with paddocks, plus daily turnout is available. 4 arenas, including 2 with lights (one is covered)

Yep, but just board there is $1100 I believe. Not cheap. I’ve known Nadine about 30 years–good person. Jill is good, too. Also known her about 30 years. She brought her own horse to GP, so had done it.