In the arena

Off Garrod Drive, across from the Vet School
Equestrian Center site

The UCD Equestrian Center had some wonderful changes and upgrades in fall 2007. The center installed new gravel throughout the property along with proper grading and drainage installation. The enormous indoor arena is finally up and running. The 3 barns (Cypress, Sycamore and Poplar) have all been renovated and include individual tack lockers. There are also 2 new paddocks and new shelters in all the paddocks.

They are set up for boarding as well as lessons. The UCD Equestrian center is directly across the street from the School Of Veterinary Medicine Large Animal Clinic, and UCD VMTH Farrier Shop. If your horse requires frequent vet care or specialized horseshoeing this may be a factor in your choice of where to board a horse.

The fencing is mostly brand new corragated steel corral pipe fencing. It's location is between 113 and I-80 as they meet. It can be scary for a new horse because trucks go by on the freeway just 30 feet from the arena, but most horse become accustomed to it quickly. There is a waiting list to board your horse in a stall or pasture and if you want a spot, plan to be on the waitlist in advance. Due to a very recent policy change only registered students, not staff, faculty or alumni (unless they are current registered students) are allowed to board a horse at the equestrian center.

There are two outdoor fenced arenas and a huge new 4.4 million dollar indoor arena with lights, opened fall 2007, a dressage arena (new footing Nov 2006, drains well), three round pens (2 with corral fencing and one braqnd new one with high wood walls, and a large grass riding field with a riding track around it. There are cross country fences set up on the field and include hanging logs, different size ditches, a log cabin jump, multiple coups, and a up/down bank. The indoor arena and the large back arena are well lit for night time riding. There are three restrooms, one permanent one attached to the main barn, and a semi trailer with mens and womens' stalls. There is also a large wash rack that has hot and cold water! The last of the old facilities (the old pipe stalls and pasture with white fencing) is still yet to be renovated. Options for the use of the new space are more turn-outs, another arena, or possibly another barn.

If you are leaving for the holidays or just have too many projects due, go into the office for help. The EQC offers services like turn outs, hand walking, lungeing, and medical services (if your horse needs medication or to be wrapped daily). The staff is very friendly and well trained. Currently there is four residents that live full time on the property to take care of the horses and several other staff members.

The hours of operation are 8 am to 8 pm everyday except some holidays when the center closes for a few hours in the middle of the day. The office hours are 8-5 M-F.

Boarding Options

Sassi, one of the lesson horses, in the Main Barn

These prices are for Fall 2010

  • "Pasture" boarding — $250/month, feed and cleaning included.
  • Barn Stall —$415/month, feed, shavings and cleaning included.

Each barn is brand new and includes corner hay racks and automatic waterers. There are different options for barn stalls. Sycamore has all inside stalls and the barn ailse is concrete. Like all of the barn stalls, they are separeted in the middle by a wood pole to keep shavings in the front. Cypress and Poplar offer in and out stalls with middle sliding doors to keep horses inside; the barn aisles are of rubber matting. All stalls have sliding doors.

The Equestrian Center also offers riding lessons. The horses are all donated, so their abilities vary. The instructors are all UC Davis students, but they're always very experienced. Really, it's a great deal for the beginning rider. Lessons typically meet once a week for four week sessions. There are two different lessons, Introduction To Riding and Riding 101. Intro to riding is a great lesson for those who do not have much experience with horses. Lessonee's are taught how to groom, tack-up, and ride at a walk/jog. In Riding 101, lessonee's learn further information about tack and horse care, and practice their skills at the jog/trot. Keep a ear open for private lessons being offered. Because of the budget cuts, the private lesson program was cut, but during breaks, private lessons will be offered. You can sign up for lessons online or come by in the office.

The Equestrian Center operates an affordable, extensive year-round program in English and Western riding, beginning through advanced levels. Offers successive, week-long summer camps for kids that include riding and games. There are four intercollegiate teams, Western, Eventing, Hunter/Jumper and Dressage. These teams are coached by experienced trainers and compete against other schools like Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Stanford. The dressage and Hunter/JUmper teams use the UCD horses for their lessons and competitions. The western team uses a mix of the school's horses and the coaches horses, and to be on the event team you must own a horse. These teams require yearly dues and vary between teams. Call, email, or come by for more information.

Group Lessons:

  • UCD Student: $140 for four weeks
  • General Public: $170 for four weeks

They also offer semi-private and private lessons, please call for information.

Private Lesson-UCD Student: $50, Public: $60 Semi Private Lessons-UCD Student: $40. Public:$50 Trailer-In Fee (per day)- UCD Students: $20, Public: $25

The facility offers the unique service of a barn supervisor on site several hours per day who is usually an undergraduate student majoring in Animal Studies or Equine Health (pre-vet). The Barn Supervisors turn horses out daily, blanket and otherwise perform services for the horses. There are set daily fees (roughly close to $5-15) for each of these services. Monthly blanketing is $60.00 and monthly turnouts are $60.00 (3 X week). Turn out services include basic or premium service. Premium offers putting on boots and grooming/picking out hooves after the turn-out. This service is $80 a month.

Random Noting-

Every single one of the lesson horses are donated.

Here's a list of current & past lesson horses, which is hopefully accurate: UCD Equestrian Center Horses

The property the equestrian center is built on used to be a polo field


Read a story and see photos about the UCD Equestrian Center in the June 09 issue of Davis Life Magazine.



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2008-09-22 22:21:24   The EQC should not lure you in with its convenience if you are a new student coming to Davis. It might be convenient if you don't have a car, but ultimately a bad choice. For boarding: Only registered students are allowed to board. You are only allowed to board one horse. The waiting list to get into the facility is quite long, and they don't really keep it updated. THEY NO LONGER HAVE PIPE PENS, and rates have gone up. Pastures are now $190 (and ALWAYS full) and stalls are $300+. There are no other options. When I was looking in to boarding my horse here, they did not offer discounts for mucking your own stall. Also, the tack storage situation is horrible. Plan on keeping your stuff in your car, because you will have almost no space to keep anything at the barn, and being the nature of the high traffic stable, stuff WILL get stolen. IF YOU ARE THINKING OF TAKING LESSONS: Don't. The "instructors" are 18 year old freshman college students who barely know how to ride themselves. It is not hard at all to get hired as an instructor, and the turnover rate is so high that there is no consistent teaching style or quality. The lessons are crowded and you will barely learn anything. The horses are jaded lesson pony that you will learn very little from. Instead of taking lessons here, see about getting a cheap lease on a horse and finding a private, QUALIFIED instructor. —quarabaloosa

2009-01-10 18:52:21   First of all, boarding is limited to registered students because they are the ones that pay tuition money (which in part goes to campus rec programs i.e. the EQC and helps maintains the facility). It is also limited to 1 horse per boarder because there is such a long wait list already. We would rather have as many people here as possible. The waiting list is so long because it is a very convinient location for students. The waitlist is kept as updated as possible. Pipe pens and self-clean stall are no longer available because a lot of students do not have the time to clean their stall everyday and the stall gets disgusting! Are you really going to out there mucking in the wind, rain, and cold when you have a 12-page paper due the next day anyway? Pastures are always full because they are priced so much lower than the stalls, duh. The tack lockers aren't that bad. There are two racks for saddles and lots of places to hang stuff in it. The traffic does not bother the horses. I have never had one spook on me due to the freeway. Things will get stolen pretty much everywhere you go so just be sensible and keep your stuff locked up in your locker, not out and about and all over the place. The instructors do well for what they are. Students teaching other students. They aren't high level trainers that did Rolex so don't expect them to be. We have a lot of great little ponies. Yes, some of them get a little jaded since they have to put up with a lot of beginner riders but they do their job well. All of the ponies are donated. We are not allowed to buy any so we work with what we can get. They go through an intensive 90-day trail period where they are evaluated many times. We never accept horses that are not safe (for a horse anyway). There are lots of upgrades still in the works like more drainage grading, new fences going up, etc. Of course we have to wait on the university to give us money and that tends to take some time. All in all, the ECQ is a great place to board your horse! —Desire

2009-04-27 11:45:22   The EQC is a nice facility. they have several horses in varying abilities (some are jaded and others are very high strung). their outdoor arenas dont have the best footing (sand) but overall they're great. the cross cuntry course is nice and they have newer show jumps. the traffic noise is not tht bad. however, some of the stalls seem kind of dirty and i did not see any place to store tack and su[[lies. the staff is very nice and i would highly reccomend the EQC to riders. —pompomcakes

2009-07-12 02:00:11   I recently took a lesson at EQC and had a WONDERFUL time. I would highly reccomend EQC for many types of riding —pompomcakes

2009-07-24 22:38:26   The Equestrian Center is a great resource for UCD! Okay, it isn't the flashiest or fanciest barn I've been to but the horses are well fed, well cared for, and not overworked. The students who work for the EQC are (for the most part) wonderful and caring individuals who love horses in general and love the quirky ponies who get donated. They work in extreme (for Nor Cal) weather conditions to teach lessons (and make bad pay, I assume, as student workers) and the barn supervisors give up their weekends, mornings and evenings to be there to ensure the safety of the riders and horses. Three cheers for them! I've had some mediocre student instructors but I've also had some outstanding instructors who helped me grow as a rider and helped me achieve goals in the saddle I never thought I could do and who show great commitment to being good instructors even with sometimes less than ideal circumstances. The center is making some slow but good renovations re-doing pens, barns and planting trees. The horses provide good hands-on practice for the vet students, too, who also work really hard to keep the ponies healthy and happy. Because they are donated horses many do have some bad habits or odd issues but thankfully this program exists because the alternative for many of these horses who are no longer useful or wanted by their owners could have been much worse. This is a nice gig for them, their work hours are tightly monitored and they are limited to working in courses that won't exacerbate any issues they might have. The guardian angel program where you can adopt a horse is a great way to spend extra time with the horses and give them extra love and attention. All in all, the EQC is one of the best things about UCD and has a great group of workers who really seem to give their all to the center. —dandysgirl

2009-08-12 18:55:56   Please correct the photo caption of the black horse if it's not Sassafras. I'm making a guess based on markings & what looks to be 'Sassi' on her white board, however it's possible that that's one of the private horses, or a horse that was on trial. Sorry if there's a mistake! —KokoSorensen

2010-12-14 14:16:40   The equestrian center is a great place for student boarding. The facilities are almost all brand new. If you've had your horse boarded in Davis before, you know that in the winter the footing for corrals and arenas are horrible. The EQC is the only place where you'll find pastures without deep sloppy mud mid January. All the arenas are groomed daily and are very large. This place is run very organized and professionally. Although, since the boarders are students, they tend to be girls between the ages of 18 and 25. This means that a lot of them develop really strong opinions that arent very accurate. Drama, its what happens at every barn. Compared to others, this one doesn't have that much. Most of the girls are on teams with eachother and are all friends. As far as prices go, this place is still under priced for the facilities and services offered. These boarders are so spoiled, but as you can see, nothing will ever be perfect. As far as things getting stolen...what? i've been here for a while and i don't know anyone who's had a problem.... If you are an experienced rider looking for lessons, OBVIOUSLY you wouldnt go to the beginning riding group lessons. The instructors are college level kids because they are just teaching beginners.....The coaches of the teams are all well qualified so go to them if you want lessons here. The lesson groups only allow up to four people...soo uhh no they're not crowded. Overall, for being having a private/hobby program mixed with a governement/school operation, this place is awesome. The place opens and closes on time, the horses are fed the same time every day, you're stall will be cleaned early in the morning every day. The staff knows every horse on the premises and the owners. You may have to wear a hemlet when you jump and you cant let your dog off the leash, but those things are given on any school property, so why should it be different here? come on people use your brains. Thumbs up for the EQC. —horses010101

2012-05-16 16:32:55   I have been riding in UC Davis Equestrian Center since last year in May, starting from introduction to riding, riding 101a, riding 101b (twice), and riding 101c (third time now). I heard about the budget cut but since my riding started last year I have no way to compare my experiences between before / after the cut.

From my personal aspect, I would say UCD Equestrian center is a perfect place for anyone who want to get to start horse back riding in the area. I did a little riding six year ago (I could trot back then), and the Equestrian center definitely improve my riding to a new level (I can canter now).

Instructors: the instructors I have been having lessons with are Teresa, Samantha and Hanna. They all are well-experienced and patient instructors who work me through all kinds of problems or issues in riding I have. The only problem I can think of about the group lesson is that within 1 hour 30 min time period (that usually includes tacking and untacking the horses) and maximum four students (usually 3-4 ppl) in the same class, the attention and time you can get from instructors is somehow limited. Besides that, the quality of a group lesson is also highly related to (1) the skills of you and your classmates, (2) the mood of the horses today, and (3) the weather and the surroundings in the arena today. But I have to say that instructors are kind and nice and enthusiastic in horseback riding that they are really open minded to teach you all riding aids for different speed of gaits. I myself as an international students, thought it was difficult for me to understand the instructions and terms in the beginning, especially when everyone is moving and the half arena is kind an open space to hear each other, the instructors are really kind and patient to me as always.

School horses: there is a same group of horses for schooling, and each of them has their own "horse-personality" you need to know to riding with. I have been riding with Duke (the calm and lazy guy), Bell (the girl who would challenge the rider at the first few minutes of the ride), Shinto (really good girl), Miss (the very sensitive girl), and CR (an old and clam guy; he is not around lately). They all are pretty calm to beginning riders, and they tend to move slower rather than faster, which makes them good and safe choices for schooling. The horse you will get for each lesson may vary depending on the availability of them at the time. In summer sometimes some of them are away for their summer camp. You can ask instructors to assign you the horse you prefer before the lesson sometimes, but I think it is good to have different horse rotated between lessons so you get to know how to accommodate yourself to different ones, which is also important in the horsemanship. The more your ride with EQC the more you understand these schooling horses. There is no "the best" horse to ride with in different lessons, since some of them may be good to trot but not so good in cantering. It really depends case by case. Usually the EQC will assign the ones that are available at the time and all right with the practice today. Ask your instructors to know more about them individually cause the instructors know a lot more about them.

The EQC has the "guardian angel program" if you want to stop by the barn and take care of the horses owned by EQC sometimes during the week. You are not allowed to ride them in this program though.

Overall, I would strongly recommend anyone who wanna understand a little bit about horseback riding to try the first level class (Introduction to riding) to get a feel about this activity, and if it seems interesting then you continue the rest of riding 101 lessons. During the winter/summer breaks or the gap between quarters, the private and semi-private lessons are available too, which are good way to focus on improving your controlling and riding skill since you get much more time with your instructor. —yuhsuanchan

2015-01-20 00:49:06   The UCD equestrian center has a pretty nice facility (it is dumb that all the footing caters to english disciplines). Don't let their advertising fool you.This IS NOT just a regular boarding facility, if it was, I probably wouldn't be so completely disappointed with it in the year and a half that I boarded my horse there. The staff are drama! The barn supervisors poorly communicate with each other, many are young and immature, often unaware of fees and rules that are written out clearly in the boarding contract. The supervisors are inconsistent, one will tell you something is fine and another will jump on you for it. First of all, in the boarding contract it says that you can be at the facility after or before hours with scheduling, the vagueness implies riding, not true. The hours are strict and 8am to 8pm and then if you must come pick up your horse before or after hours, they will charge a $25 fee to open the gate for you (even if you want to just walk your horse in). Ridiculous. Also, they say on here that you can trailer in if you like, and so did a barn supervisor. I'm warning you that it is $25 stinking bucks per horse not per trailer AND because supervisor shifts only last so long you will undoubtedly get the next barn supervisor(s) on duty walking out to grill you because they weren't aware that people could even trailer in in the first place. They over charge you AND they and boarders look at you like you're some kind of alien that dared to step on their precious sacred private facility grounds. That is not how you treat a customer who is paying to use the facility, that doesn't fly anywhere, sorry. Also, unlike a regular boarding facility, everything has a form. If you want to take your horse somewhere, it is not just a "heads up, my horse will be gone for three days," nope, they have a form that you must fill out ahead of time. This might not sound so bad, but then you have to track down a supervisor to fill out the needed form and then on the day you are leaving, the supervisor on duty is likely not aware that you were leaving so they have you go to the office and fill out the form again--the very same one that you skipped out on a study group you usually go to or office hours you usually attend JUST so you wouldn't need to do this last minute. They are SO disorganized. Tack rooms are super crowded too, they offered me a spot that had someone else's big storage bin and stuff at it, saying that I could just move it. They give you a lock code, but the doors to the tackrooms stay open all day, so what is the point? who knows who would have the opportunity to walk off with your stuff. I kept my saddle and brushes in my car always. Someone stole a brand new fly mask off my horse there and the only thing that kept the next fly mask from getting swiped was that I marked it up with my horse's name and mine. Hanging all over are signs that say 'ride at your own risk when there is no barn supervisor on duty' but that is just it, there is never no barn supervisor on duty and if there isn't one on duty, you're not allowed to be there. More than several of their signs and rules hint that this is not the case and that they will allow you to ride at your own risk if this fits your schedule better, such dishonesty about this. Also, the barn supervisors will whip rules out of no where often and this will make you go take a second look at your boarding contract for these rules, but you won't find them or a clause that supports the barn supervisor's enforcement. A boarding facility is a place that allows you to come and go when you please, and if they have hours they typically start very early and go very late. A boarding facility allows you to take your horse in and out whenever you please typically and a boarding facility advertises their trailering in (with a reasonable fee) so that you can have friends or a trainer come to the facility. They also make sure their management is well versed in these rules or fees and do not in any way treat customers like trespassers. UCD equestrian center is not a boarding facility, it appears to be a babysitting facility for four to five barn supervisors because they don't seem to know what is going on, so surely they have parents that do. —bcbrooklynn