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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading the forum for a little while but I don't think I've ever posted. I'm an adult beginner looking for a place in eastern MA to take lessons. Until a few months ago, I was taking a weekly lesson. I'd like to get back to it, and I'm looking for the closest thing I can find to word-of-mouth recommendations from anyone here who might be from the greater Boston area.

I'm looking for a low-key kind of place that is genuinely adult-friendly and isn't going to try to pressure me into buying a horse before I'm ready or showing when I'm not interested. Discipline is less of a priority than good instruction. South shore area would be best. (I'm not on Facebook, so while I think there are local Facebook groups that might be a good place to post, it's not an option for me.) Thanks for any help.
 

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Tagging @IRideaHippogriff and @redbadger who might have some Eastern MA ideas, though I don't recall exactly where they are in relationship to Boston. I'm in southern VT and more familiar with Western MA. Good luck getting back into riding! Here's hoping for an early spring 馃惔
 

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Other than FB, an option would be to join whatever is the closest riding club to you. I think the way to find these most easily is in one of the advertising magazines for New England usually found tack and feed stores.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the replies and tagging MA people. @Avna, what is a riding club? It sounds like a dense question to ask, but is it simply a group for horse owners who want to ride together? (I'm assuming you don't mean a hunt club.) Everything I've experienced in my few years of weekly lessons mainly exposed me to people who board their horses and generally stick to within that barn community--doing small shows, or maybe a couple people riding down the road together.
 

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Thanks for the replies and tagging MA people. @Avna, what is a riding club? It sounds like a dense question to ask, but is it simply a group for horse owners who want to ride together? (I'm assuming you don't mean a hunt club.) Everything I've experienced in my few years of weekly lessons mainly exposed me to people who board their horses and generally stick to within that barn community--doing small shows, or maybe a couple people riding down the road together.
It depends on the club. The club I belong to is called Hampshire County Riding Club, they have a grounds with large turf arenas, an obstacle course, and paddocks. The club sponsors fun days, lectures, camp-outs, 4-H shows, clinics, group trail rides with a leader at local parks and preserves, stuff like that. There is a governing board, and membership dues and a requirement to volunteer to help out at least a little. I think different clubs have different emphases. Bay State Trail Riders Association is a trail riding group. NEECA is a another club, based in Athol, they have a big equestrian grounds, a drill team, and put on shows and fun days. Those are some examples I know a little about personally. Bearing in mind I only moved here three years ago and various challenges ranging from horse accidents to poor health have so far kept me from participating as much as I would have liked.

I think having your own horse, and a trailer, or knowing someone who does, is pretty much a requirement for participation in a riding club.

Personally, if it was me? I'd join Facebook, join the group Massachusetts Horse People, and post an ISO detailing what you are looking for and location. You'll get LOTS of answers. Find a lesson barn you like and quit FB. Truly, that is the fast, straightforward way.
 

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I agree with Avna on looking on Facebook for recommendations! I would otherwise have just said a google search - find some websites that sound like they offer what you're looking for and are in your price range, and then check them out. That's what I did to get into riding as an adult beginner. It did take me a few barns until I found the "right" fit for me at the time (and then I moved again when that wasn't the right fit either.) You should probably stick to one with an indoor so you can keep riding throughout the winter, too.

I'm from Southeastern MA originally, but never actually rode when I lived in that area. (I know there are good options around Middleboro/Lakeville as I had a friend that rode in that area in high school, but guessing that's might be too far south for you.)
 

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I live about 15 minutes west of Boston, and ride in Grafton. My impression is that many of the places closer into the city are geared toward a) kids & teens and b) competition. There are, however, quite a few barns. The one I ride at is not holding lessons right now because winter (no indoor arena) and no suitable lesson horses.

There's a place in Sherborn called Full Circle Stables that bills themselves specifically for adult beginners/riders, and appears well reviewed, but I have no personal experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
@IRideaHippogriff thanks for commenting. I was reading along when you were horse shopping and have been really interested in how things go for you. I'm looking for the right fit after too long at one place which has resulted in an expensive, bummer of a situation. The expense and dishonesty in the horse world is really depressing, especially when I'm the prime target demographic: adult female with some disposable income. The money loss is bad, but you sort of know going in that that can happen (while hoping it doesn't). But the trust busting is really tough for me. It's a huge confidence killer in multiple ways. I finally faced that it was time to get out when I joked to two different friends, "Sometimes I think I have Stockholm Syndrome" and each basically said, "It sounds like you might."

@redbadger I think you're right about kids and competition being the priorities for barns where I am. I'll checkout Full Circle Stables.
 

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There are so many barns in the area that I think you'll find one that suits you - it'll be easier, I think, to sift the handful of low-key places and instructors from the more high-key places. Go with your gut, cut out any places that look clearly aimed at kids. Most places in eastern Mass. are on the expensive side, but so's everything around here.
 
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