New to OC & rusty on horseback, looking for a good riding place - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 11-15-2014, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2014
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New to OC & rusty on horseback, looking for a good riding place


I'm sorry for a long post, but I feel like in order to explain what exactly I am looking for I need to tell you a part of my story.
I moved from another country 5 years ago. Back there, I was close friends with a person in the horseback riding business for a long time, and that's how I got my horseback riding 'education'. Back there, it felt like I was part of a family, mostly I guess because I was friends with the owner more than I was someone to her to get money out of (although for most of my lessons I still payed, she still gave me fair discounted prices until I started working with her). I really loved it that way, but since I came to Cali horseback riding never felt the same. I lived in bay area, and the few places I went there during the past years were not very welcoming. To be honest, I just felt used for my money -- the people at those stables didn't care enough to be nice to me, let alone to become my friends. Like seriously, they only smiled when they got to swiping my credit card. That is, I guess, the main reason I stopped riding altogether.
But now I moved to OC, and I'm thinking about giving horseback riding businesses another try. I know my way around horses, but, unfortunately, I'm unfamiliar with the riding styles in the US (which seem to be a big deal around here). I'm looking for a place with nice people to take lessons from, people who ultimately care about horses and not just how much they can charge me. I know my English horseback riding vocab is pretty limited, but I'm not new to horses (like I said, I used to work with horses). I'm looking to catch up and learn the 'American' way of horseback riding, get back to being on a horse, and to make some friends. Maybe it's not the way horseback riding is here, but I guess I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I didn't try to get back into my used-to-be favorite activity.

So yeah, what I'm asking is whether any of you guys are from around Newport Beach - Irvine area and know places around here that fit my probably high expectations? Or if not, just let me know the way it is around here...
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-16-2014, 02:18 AM
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: california
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you should google riding lessons in the area you want. You may have to travel outside of OC.
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post #3 of 5 Old 11-16-2014, 07:53 AM
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Agree with the above. It can take time to find a good fit. You may have to shop around and spend some time in the places you feel are worth a second look. If you are comfortable with your experience maybe just voluteering at a therapy place will get you in a position to meet and network with horse people that could help with what you are ultimately looking for.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-17-2014, 02:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: California, USA
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I'm actually from around the same area as you! I have rather limited opinions about a large amount of stables around here and I don't know if they'll fit your standards but I know a friend who takes lessons at the Huntington Beach Central Park Equestrian Center and have had good experiences. The Costa Mesa Fairground Stables have a lot of different trainers too and another friend of mine took English Riding Lessons there for some time. I know the Country Trails Riding School in Irvine and Peacock Hill have good riding lessons and I know the Anaheim Equestrian Center is a little far from Newport/Irvine area but Hunter's Pointe is absolutely fantastic for English Riding Lessons. I hope that helped at least a little and I hope that you have a fun time getting back into Horseback Riding because I know most Californians are great and would love to make a new friend!
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post #5 of 5 Old 11-17-2014, 10:33 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
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I'm in OC as well. The poster above named most of the ones I would have listed. If you are looking for specific instructor recommendations, PM me and will give you some folks I would recommend for your level and the type of friendly atmosphere you are looking for.

The OC Fairgrounds are probably going to be closest to you, though if you are in the Southern end of Newport/Irvine, Serrano Creek in Lake Forest may be just as close. A lot of higher end English barns down in San Juan Capistrano (after all, The Oaks are in that hood). My horse is in Orange Park Acres and there are a couple smaller, homier training barns in the residential area. And then, as the poster above mentioned, Peacock Hill inside Irvine Park. I boarded my MFT there way over 20 years ago and it used to be a western barn, but now has some well known Dressage and Jumping instructors based out of there.

Good luck. We don't have the type of equestrian space in OC we had while I was growing up, but it's still out there. And some nice peeps too.
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