NorCal Dressage Barns

So, I’ve posted many a thread looking for barns (I should probably stop posting on this subject. May be pissing some of y’all off :D), and we’re finally taking the plunge and moving. My horse will be in groundwork training for now, but after that, if he’s deemed suitable for his job as a para dressage horse, we’ll be looking for somewhere new to move. If he isn’t suitable, we may keep him but I’ll lesson on or lease a schoolmaster. Which of these barns either have full or part time training, or schoolmasters? We’re looking at Christiane Noelting Dressage Center, Wyvern Farm, Half Halt, Rancho Del Lago, and possibly North Peak. What are your experiences or opinions with these places? If you want to suggest something, we’re looking from Walnut Creek all the way to Winters. COTH, come together for me!

Half Halt might be a good fit. Heidi Riddle is a good person. Wyvern is expensive, Del Lago can be all over. Noelting I would imagine is very expensive.

What are prices like at Half Halt?

Since most of these places are around the corner from your current location, why don’t you go there yourself and investigate. Call them. Get their prices. Take a lesson. Find out if they’re even taking new students. That seems like a more straight forward approach than relying on a bunch of strangers to give you advice.

I don’t know. I don’t think cheap.
http://halfhaltfarms.net/

And if you go with Noelting, be prepared to go with/resist being pushed to purchase a $37K+ horse that “would be a perfect fit for you.” (Actually, that figure is from over five years go, it’s probably more now). Not that they aren’t nice horses, but I have several friends who took schoolmaster lessons, and then were really pressured to buy, even though they’d clearly stated that either they weren’t prepared to buy at the time, or if they were prepared to buy, that was well out of their price range.

How much turnout would you like your horse to have? That is going to be one of the biggest issues in Nor Cal. Some places consider “turnout” to be a few hours outside in a pen that is big enough to walk and maybe trot, but nothing more.

Well I have boarded at or trained at all those barns except Wyvern and Christiane Noelting. I have not boarded at nor trained with them for a reason, although I know them both.

Half Halt is the only one on your list that is reasonable price wise and would have suitable lesson horses. I love Marie at RDL but it’s more of a kids lesson barn. Great for boarding (the ONLY place with all day or night turn out) but mostly ponies for lessons and camps. I think Heidi and Janelle at Half Halt are fabulous, but IMO the facilities leave a little to be desired.

I would go visit them all, take a lesson if they offer.

Half Halt is a very good quality barn in that particular valley, in terms of instruction and nice people. Perfect Pony is right that it’s not the fanciest facility ever, but I used to work at one of those Briones Valley barns and if I ever moved back to the area I would look at HH first.

If you’re willing to come all the way to Winters, check out Somerset Farm. Boarding is as DIY or as full service as you like, the facility is very nice, including a huge covered arena with lights, in-house trainer Susan Treabess (Winterhaven Dressage) is heading to WEG next month and is GREAT with youngsters. There are also multiple types of boarding setups including small private paddocks with 6 hours daily turnout onto IRRIGATED private pastures - so lots of options for different price points or horses with specific needs. I will say, it’s a low-drama barn so not the place for people who can’t cooperate and play nice with each other.

We have jumps (including some xc fences) and miles of trails, too. And a magical cowboy who comes a few times a year to help start the youngsters and work on any problems anyone is having - he’s the reason I can hack my horse out alone now!

[QUOTE=Promise No More;7686702]If you’re willing to come all the way to Winters, check out Somerset Farm. Boarding is as DIY or as full service as you like, the facility is very nice, including a huge covered arena with lights, in-house trainer Susan Treabess (Winterhaven Dressage) is heading to WEG next month and is GREAT with youngsters. There are also multiple types of boarding setups including small private paddocks with 6 hours daily turnout onto IRRIGATED private pastures - so lots of options for different price points or horses with specific needs. I will say, it’s a low-drama barn so not the place for people who can’t cooperate and play nice with each other.

We have jumps (including some xc fences) and miles of trails, too. And a magical cowboy who comes a few times a year to help start the youngsters and work on any problems anyone is having - he’s the reason I can hack my horse out alone now![/QUOTE]

Have checked out Somerset, love that barn and Susan. She says they aren’t really looking for new clients at the moment :frowning:

Oh, shame. I suppose with her leaving for WEG in a week and buckets full of youngsters to get rolling when she comes home, maybe she is pretty full :(. I am sure you’ll find a great place but if you’re still looking in a few months it can never hurt to check back in! Good luck with your search!

That’s too bad about Somerset and Susan. I’d avoid Rancho Del Lago for personal reasons and Christiane for the above mentioned reasons. I always liked Heidi Riddle at Half Halt.

Out of your search area, but I’d look at Sandy Savage.

If you are willing to look at Sandy Savage, another one to look at is Colleen Reid. She has worked with at least one para rider that I know of.