There are many barns in the area where you can take lessons and board your horse. Why choose Willow Creek?
Many facilities have multiple independent trainers sharing the same facilities. This can lead to conflicts and a sour barn atmosphere. Willow Creek is run solely by Lisa Halterman, a well respected industry veteran. In addition, Lisa has several other full time trainers on staff resulting in full lesson coverage even during show weekends when many show barns simply cancel lessons.
We have two very large rings and a round pen used by beginners. This really helps during the "rush hour" of after work or school to fit in lessons.
Willow Creek's owner is a "barn dad". His kids train at Willow Creek and are customers of Haven Farms' training program. As an owner/user, this means that facilities are kept in top notch shape. Too often at other barns the owner simply collects rent from the trainers and the trainers are left to fend for themselves to eek out improvements here and there, if they can afford to do any at all.
We drag and water our rings twice a day. Believe it or not, some barns don't even have a tractor. Without proper ring maintenance you end up with a hard compacted surface, uneven footing, and even "holes" in the underlying base. This directly leads to shortened useful life of the horses and increased chance of injury for the rider.
All the horses at Willow Creek are under Haven Farms' full training program. This ensures that all horses are exercised properly, rested appropriately, fed the right amount of hay and supplements, and blanketed correctly. Our covered large six horse walker ensures proper exercise even while it is raining. Without this high level of attention, horses can get too high or show uneven temperment. While experienced riders can handle such horses, beginners need even tempered horses so they can focus on learning what they need to learn rather than dealing with a balky horse.
Winter is a blessing and a curse in San Diego. The temperature is ideal for riding, but it still does occasionally rain. One rainfall can stop riding at many barns for five days or more depending on the age and maintenance of the ring's base, footing, and drainage. With our new installed base and footing, our big ring is often ready to ride two days after a rain, while our top ring has it own rain tarp, meaning it is ready for riding the very next day after a rain.
Our young riders really like playing with our barn hens. Adults and kids alike use our common rec room with pool table and big screen TV. And everyone likes our occasional evening wine and cheese socials.
We border several trail systems, allowing our customers to get into the backcountry and have fun.
The bottom line is that there are cheaper places to get horse riding lessons, but very few that match the world class facilities and trainer professionalism that we have at Willow Creek Stables.
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