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View Full Version : Suggestions for DC area horse farms if commuting from downtown?



ClevelandEventer
Nov. 7, 2008, 11:44 AM
Hi out there. First time user of the COTH forums.

My boyfriend and I are discussing the possibility of moving to DC and that means barn shopping time. I am currently living in Cleveland, boarding out my 2 event horses and am looking to board them again in DC.

My major priority is turn out, preferably not in a group. I would ideally like them to go out setparately but next to each other. I would be ok with just the two of them going out together.

If anyone knows of anything, I would GREATLY appreciate any suggestions! Here is what I'm ideally looking for.


Under 45 mins from the city
Full board - blanketing, etc. (tricky, I know...)
Help with turnout
Nice jumps - I'm trying to move my horses up to advanced so I will need proper training facilities that is mindful of the footing, access to galloping lanes where I can condition (or at least just a big enough indoor that I can make work)
Cross country schooling nearby would be a bonus
Indoor arena
Responsible management


Thanks so much!

KSevnter
Nov. 7, 2008, 12:15 PM
It will really depend on where in the city you choose to live. Since you are moving up to advanced, I would suggest trying to live on the side that allows you access to Virginia so that you can get out to the Middleburg/Leesburg area. It will not be 45 minutes or less in traffic simply because that is how DC is unfortunately. I have a friend at Aldie Equestrian Center (I think that is the name of it) and she is pretty happy with the care there and you can trailer out for lessons.

I live on the Maryland side and I was never really happy with any of the full board situations until now, and that is because I am at a private barn owned by a former vet tech. Additionally, the majority of the coaches are in Va, so I was getting up at 3:30 am to haul my horse for lessons when I was doing Int.

bambam
Nov. 7, 2008, 12:46 PM
You should do a search on this because the topic has come up numerous times but here are my 2 cents:
I work in DC and used to live in NW DC and you could not pay me to board in VA and live in DC although I know there are people who do it- bless them :lol: but I am also not looking to move up to advanced (just prelim) and so my needs are different. Unless you are going out to ride at off-times, it is extremely difficult to have a reasonable commute to a VA barn (i.e., under an hour) especially if you are talking the areas that are populated with upper level coaches and courses like Middleburg, Purcellville, Aldie and Leesburg. But that area is the mecca with the most boarding/coaching options for eventers and so may be where you need to go.
Do you need an UL instructor on the property?
If so, I think Waredaca would be the only one within an hour of downtown DC during the week that I know of (takes me 50 minutes in non-rush hour or tail end of rush hour to get there from NW DC and 35 minutes from very north NW DC in non-rush hour to get there). Waredaca is well run, has xc course on the property, nice people and UL instructors but only group turn out and a wait list.
Otherwise if you need an UL instructor of quality who I would rely on to move me up to advanced (i.e. someone with a clue), I think you may have to resign yourself to hauling your butt out to Middleburg, Aldie, Purcellville area and spending a lot of time in your car. There are a few UL instructors in MD only a bit further than Waredaca, but none that I can think of that I would trust for training me at the advanced level but that is just my opinion.
Juts my 2 cents.\
If you do not need an UL instructor on the property, you have more options both in MD and a little closer in in VA.

sid
Nov. 7, 2008, 01:00 PM
Deana Vaughn's facility in Aldie, VA (Tailwind Farm) is a serious eventing barn, concentrating on adult, competitive event riders. The care is outstanding, but I think you need to stay in some sort of training to board. You might contact her about her place or a recommendation.

Stacie
Nov. 7, 2008, 01:20 PM
Consider living in Va and using metro or the train to get into work.

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 7, 2008, 01:46 PM
I don't need an instructor on grounds. I know all about everyone in Purcelville/Middleburg, etc. and was hoping to just board somewhere closer into the city and haul out to them for lesson.

Oh, believe me, I've searched and googled my brains out. Copy pasting every farm address I can find to see how far out of the city it is.

I guess my question is: Is it possible to live in downtown DC and still ride? Keep in mind I'm use to a 30-40 minutes drive and a full time job with 2 upper level horses.

I will check up on the couple that were suggested!

Ever hear of this Millhaven (http://www.millhavenhorsefarm.com/) farm?

Thanks for all of your suggestions!

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 7, 2008, 01:50 PM
One last thing...

Is there a difference between the MD and VA side as far as commute/the quality of farms goes?

KSevnter
Nov. 7, 2008, 02:14 PM
I don't need an instructor on grounds. I know all about everyone in Purcelville/Middleburg, etc. and was hoping to just board somewhere closer into the city and haul out to them for lesson.

Oh, believe me, I've searched and googled my brains out. Copy pasting every farm address I can find to see how far out of the city it is.

I guess my question is: Is it possible to live in downtown DC and still ride? Keep in mind I'm use to a 30-40 minutes drive and a full time job with 2 upper level horses.



This city is waayy over populated in every direction so no matter where you try to go it is going to be a trek. You could try and find a place in Poolesville in Montgomery County, but I never had that much luck finding anything there. Even then there is really only one way in and one way out.

I drive from suburban maryland to another part of suburban maryland every day for work and it takes me over an hour on the beltway.

I was actively campaigning one horse at the Int/** level and had a full time job and it was doable, but I rode at funky hours. When my horse was in middleburg at my coaches farm, I lived in Fairfax and would get up at 4 am and ride before work. When I kept my horse in Maryland (25 minutes away from me) I would ride/gallop at 5 am and then 2xs per week I would do the 3 am trailer to middleburg thing. Sometimes he would stay overnight there and I would get 2 days worth of lessons, shower there and go to work.

The only way to do it is to do it in off hours, either through job flexibility or just getting up super early and getting it done that way.

bambam
Nov. 7, 2008, 02:21 PM
I would not recommend Millhaven for a serious eventer or frankly any eventer. If you want to know more, you can PM me.
In that same area, you might want to check out Taylor Made- used to be mainly a foxhunting barn but now has a hodge podge.
Evergreen is primarily a dressage facility but good care and close enough to haul to Waredaca or a couple of the other places that VA UL eventers come regularly to teahc at (i.e. Sharon White comes every couple of weeks to to do jumping lessons at Reddemeade and also at A Bit Better). I would not recommend Reddemeade for a serious eventer and A Bit Better is full with a waiting list that is likely to be very long because it is small and all the current boarders love it there.
Windsor Manor- primarily dressage facility, conveniently located, well run. has jumps on the property- easy trailte ride to Waredaca.
Periwinkle- small, dressage focused facility that has jumps on the property. Easy trailer ride to Waredaca area and could hack to Reddemeade.
I am mentioning several dressage facilities because they are more likely to be amenable to your individual turn out preference.
Brooke Grove Farm is a good place (hold a nice local HT there and are the base for Redland PC) but I do not think they have the services you are looking for (definitely no individual turn out and don't do things like bring in for farrier during the day).
When you ask about difference in commute to for VA and MD- do you mean to DC to work or out to the barn. I definitely think the commute out to the barn is better for MD but there are fewer high quality eventing barn choices within a decent distance of DC. In terms of commuting into the city to work- I don't think they are very different.
I don't know about keeping 2 UL horses going, but I have an extremely demanding job and a much more than 40 hour work week and I ride anywhere form 4-6 times a week and the weeks where it is only 4 that is because of work. I personally cannot keep 2 horses going but again that is because of work and not logistics of riding and boarding. I actually think it is easier to get out to nice farm areas in the DC area than any other major city I have lived in (Boston, Atlanta, Philly).

flyingchange
Nov. 7, 2008, 02:23 PM
You could try Denise Rath. Her place is in Great Falls. I don't know if she boards other people's horses, but you might just ask. Other than her, there is Packy McGowan's place, which is a fair drive from DC up 270. But he does it every day (he is a lawyer now and works in DC). His Mom is a dressage trainer too.

I would recommend Waredaca but I don't know if they would be able to satisfy the individual turnout thing.

flyingchange
Nov. 7, 2008, 02:31 PM
Periwinkle is very nice. I boarded there for a few months several years ago. My only problem with the place was the lack of turnout. They have lots of beautiful small paddocks, but they keep them beautiful by never ever turning out if there has been a drop of rain, or if the ground is at all wet. They have some bluestone sacrifice lots that they mill the horses through ... most horses are lucky to get out for an hour. They MAY have changed that though. Other than the t/o policy, the place is FABULOUS. A beautiful barn, an indoor and a very large outdoor. It is kept pristine and they take really good care of the horses. My only beef with them was t/o.

bambam
Nov. 7, 2008, 02:42 PM
They MAY have changed that though. .
Doubt it since that was also the policy when I looked at them 6 years ago :)

Sonic Boom
Nov. 7, 2008, 02:49 PM
Packy's place is a good suggestion. A long drive, but may meet your needs.

A little closer in, but not much, is Matt Flynn in Poolesville. An eventing farm and a very nice one. No doubt your turnout needs could probably be accommodated there. He has excellent jumps and gallops as well. PM me if you want more info, but I highly recommend his facility.

Yes, it's a long drive, but no worse than any other direction (and better than going out 66, IMO). I did it for a while (downtown to Mont. Co) and it wasn't terrible.

flyingchange
Nov. 7, 2008, 02:50 PM
aww man. my horse would whinny at me somewhat hysterically when I pulled up as I was his only hope for t/o most of the time - they'd let you turn your horse out while you were there.

that was when I gave up all hope of finding a decent barn that would work for me in the dc area. I couldn't do group t/o either with this horse.

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:01 PM
I am in that situation now (I have to turn my horses out myself while I'm there) and it just doesn't work for me. I need help with turn out.

So I am gathering it's really just too difficult? It's just really not doable to live downtown and ride? I'm not understanding if the places mentioned are close? What about living in a suburb halfway in between town and the barn? Is it too hellish to commute into town then?

I was also wondering about Matt Flynn's place. I wasn't sure if he had boarders though. I'll PM you BamBam.

yellowbritches
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:06 PM
We are close in to DC (depending on WHERE in DC, 30-45 min), are an eventing barn with lots of hacking and good care and loads of experience in caring for eventers of all levels. Without bragging too much, I think we offer some of the best care there is within a reasonable driving distance from DC. We CAN accommodate the turn out in some way (he'd have to talk about it some and do some math), but we don't have an indoor (lighted ring with lots of jumps). We have access to literally MILES of trails, with room for trots and some easier canter work. There is a good gallop 20 minutes away. Lots of nearby xc schooling, and we are building a small but functional schooling area over the winter and lots in the spring. And while you say you don't need an instructor on site, but at least here you could have some help or at least some eyes on the ground at home.

I'm sure you've been around long enough to know that you've got to figure out what you can live with and what you can live without. As you're already finding out, you might be able to find everything you need...an hour a way, or find everything you need EXCEPT xyz. Such is life in this area.

If you want a bit more info or want to chat a bit more, PM me. I do know of a place right around the corner from us, with an indoor, but I don't know if they'd accomadate the turn out issues and the care isn't good enough for upper level horses (I think, personally).

yellowbritches
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:12 PM
PS- The boss does trailer too Leesburg and Middleburg for lessons, so we can combined forces and have a better team for all involved!

bambam
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:19 PM
I'm not understanding if the places mentioned are close? What about living in a suburb halfway in between town and the barn? Is it too hellish to commute into town then?

All of the places I mentioned are under an hour during semi-normal traffic from NW DC. With the exception of Taylor Made, they are all close to DC than Waredaca.
When I say NW DC, that covers a huge hunk of where most businesses are in DC.
As to your second question- if you live near a metro stop, commuting into DC can be relatively painless.
I currently live in Bethesda and work in Georgetown- commute to work and barn is very doable.

bambam
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:20 PM
I'm sure you've been around long enough to know that you've got to figure out what you can live with and what you can live without. As you're already finding out, you might be able to find everything you need...an hour a way, or find everything you need EXCEPT xyz. Such is life in this area.

I think this about sums it up

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:23 PM
Thank you so much for listing these places. I've got a huge list i'm googling like mad.

Sonic Boom
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:26 PM
Matt does board a few horses, but it's training board. Perhaps you could speak to him regardless. I boarded with him and can't say enough good things.

Everyone is right when they say it is doable, etc. But not easy. It would take me about an hour and fifteen from downtown to Western Mont. County. I'm now in an "in between" suburb and still commute to Poolesville for the horse - still takes me 45 min. :) Just kinda have to figure out what works for you!

AKB
Nov. 7, 2008, 03:36 PM
Southdown Farms in Great Falls, VA is close in to DC. Gunnells Run Farm on Arnon Chapel Road in Great Falls has has excellent turnout, meticulous care, and a nice barn, and is also close to DC. The Southdown barn is old and a bit cramped, but there is a lighted ring and a small indoor. Gunnells Run Farm has a nice barn and ring, but limited access to an indoor. There is a park (Turner Farm) in Great Falls with some cross country jumps and a huge new ring. There are a few local ULRs/instructors (e.g., Denise Rath, Gillian Clissold, Yvonne Lucas) who teach in Great Falls. You may find that there is a waiting list to get a stall in some of the barns in Great Falls.

You need to figure out where you will be living and and where you will be working. Some parts of DC are much closer to Northern Virginia. Other areas are much closer to Maryland. Living and working in DC makes owning upper level competition horses difficult, although certainly not impossible.

Moody Mare
Nov. 7, 2008, 04:46 PM
You could try TewksburyManor.com. They are within 2 miles of Waredaca and have a few more eventers there now.

Lori B
Nov. 7, 2008, 04:55 PM
I moved here from the midwest 17 years ago, and if you haven't spent much time driving around here, it's going to be a shock to your system. The critical fact regarding MD vs. VA is that there are a very small number of bridges across the Potomac, and going back and forth from VA to MD or MD to VA in anything like rush hour can be a complete and total nightmare. Do not get yourself in a situation where your life hinges around crossing the river 4x a day. I am not kidding.

Is your work actually in DC, or in one of the close in suburbs?

RoyalTRider
Nov. 9, 2008, 11:06 PM
My family's situation is one half-way between the barn and the city. Even driving to and from work together every day so they can take the HOV lanes, my parents' commute is almost unbearable. It just takes a toll to drive for that long, in traffic, five days a week, two times a day.

Also, check roads with the locals here after you Mapquest/ Google map distances. Several of the roads once you get into VA are going to be stopped throughout the afternoon. Definitely do the legwork you're doing with distances, but don't settle on anything until you've checked how long it will take realistically. :yes:

joe2
Nov. 10, 2008, 10:01 AM
Hello, i am in a similar situation...moving to DC, work downtown but need a barn. I am thinking to board somewhere in N DC area/MD and find a house in between (i.e. petworth, takoma park). where did you end up? any help on identifying the commute to the barn or any good barns?

thanks!

Lori B
Nov. 10, 2008, 10:39 AM
joe, there are really, for the most part, no barns inside of 'n DC'. And real estate is too dear for open space to be kept for horse boarding in most of the close in suburbs as well.

If you are unfamiliar with the area, get here and drive around before you make housing choices. Have your realtor show you what rush hour really looks and drives like.

This topic has been discussed at length in the eventing forum and in off course. Good luck.

Janet
Nov. 10, 2008, 10:43 AM
Don't forget that "rush hour" in the DC area runs for 5 AM to 9:30 AM and 3 PM to 7 PM.

GotSpots
Nov. 10, 2008, 10:49 AM
I think it's much more doable if you have semi-flexible work hours and can plan on riding in the morning and starting work around 10. With the horses in Middleburg/Upperville, it's about 45-50 minutes against traffic from Arlington/Falls Church/Vienna area out there in the morning, and then I can usually get to work in downtown DC in about an hour to an hour-ten if I leave the barn just before 9am (missing most of the traffice jam, and dog-legging up to the toll road). Plus, if traffic's really stopped, you can park at Vienna or WFC metro, and take the orange line in. Trying to ride in the afternoon is the pits - you will be fighting traffic the entire way, and heading out to VA from downtown DC adds 10-20 to your commute, depending on your proximity to 66. I know not everyone has that option, but it was pretty workable for me this fall as I did my 3-day prep, plus I knew that the beasts have great turnout which is one of my deal breakers in terms of boarding.

Trixie
Nov. 10, 2008, 12:02 PM
So I am gathering it's really just too difficult? It's just really not doable to live downtown and ride? I'm not understanding if the places mentioned are close? What about living in a suburb halfway in between town and the barn? Is it too hellish to commute into town then?

That depends.

It's DOABLE, if you want it, and you're willing to sacrifice something one way or another. You have to be flexible.

I will say that it's pretty damn unlikely on the Virginia side for you to find a barn 35-40 minutes from Washington WITH ample turnout WITHOUT *AND* an indoor, galloping lanes and full care. If you were to find something like that, which let me reiterate (not to dissuade you, I'm sorry, I'm sorry) it will be hugely expensive. Many have wait lists.

Traffic is a bitch, and they overdeveloped without planning for it, so there are a lot of open space and gridlock issues.

I know less about the Maryland side, but I know it has many of the same issues. You may just need to be a little more flexible on the commute.

Fergs
Nov. 10, 2008, 12:10 PM
I guess my question is: Is it possible to live in downtown DC and still ride?


It's possible, but it will require a ton of time in the car. I used to live in Ballston, about 2 miles across the river in VA, and kept my horses in Purcellville. It was an average of 1.5 hours each way during the week, and yes, it sucked! But it is doable.

Classic Melody
Nov. 10, 2008, 12:42 PM
The key to my sanity is the fact that I take the metro to work so I only have to battle traffic on the way to the barn. I work downtown and live in suburban Maryland on the red line, and then have a 35-minute commute to the barn in the evenings. It is manageable. I currently keep my horse near Olney, but I used to be in Poolesville. Honestly, if you can wait to go to the barn after rush hour (approx 7 pm) then the MD side of the beltway is fine. Avoid, avoid avoid 270. Driving to Poolesville, while a 24 mile commute, only took 30-35 minutes. Now I’m only 16 miles to the barn but it takes just as long because I’m on local roads and not the highway.

I used to live in Northern Virginia. I would absolutely NOT recommend living or boarding there if you work in DC and you have to go anywhere near a car. It’s simply a clusterf*ck.

Something no one has mentioned here is cost. Since you’re seriously involved in eventing, I presume you want very nice facilities. Be prepared to pay at least $600 for a good barn with turnout, and up from there.

I would suggest working the phones and visiting a ton of barns when you come looking for a place to live. Good luck!'

Edited to add: It's not all bad news. This is a GREAT area for eventing with access to many XC courses, competitions and top trainers. You will love it!

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 10, 2008, 12:45 PM
The information on the rush hour traffic has been really helpful. I certainly won't be settling on anything soon. This is the beginning of my search for a life that will work for me in this area which includes, job, apartment, and barn. I will be completely starting over looking for a new job if/when we move. I am 25 so I'm looking at entry level jobs. My boyofriend however is a lawyer and would be transfering to the DC branch of his law firm or possibly starting with a new firm so he may have to live downtown but I could get my own place in N. VA. So I am flexible in regards to location of my housing, although originally we were thinking about trying to move in together to minimize expenses.

I'm thinking the best way to do this is to come into town, go to all the different farms, narrow down the selection, based on commute then pick a place in between. I am 100%committed to the horses and getting to the advanced level, that's actually the #1 priority right now. Not to say that won't change in a few years. But that's what it is right now. It's already a challenge for me in Cleveland with a Prelim and a 2* horse, 30 min. drive, full time job. But it will be a whole closer for me to haul out to Middleburg to get help on the weekends. An hour + some drive to middleburg is a whole lot closer than 8+ hours from Cleveland plus it should put me in closer range to the horse shows.

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 10, 2008, 12:50 PM
Sounds like you've been there done that. Thanks for the "straight talk". (Sorry for the political pun.) Any other advice on barns/a convenient area to look into living would be awesome! I'm basically looking for convenient commute suggestions at this point. Anyone that may have a similiar situation that's done it that could suggest anything is who I'm seeking out.

I currently pay $560 board with no turnout included. $600-$650 is doable for me especially if I can get t/o. As far as facilities go, yeah, nicer the better but functional will do as long as it's safe.

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 10, 2008, 12:51 PM
(I was referring to Classic Melody above)

fordtraktor
Nov. 10, 2008, 12:58 PM
I live in Friendship Heights, and horse lives in Poolesville. I think it is very doable. I work in a downtown DC law firm, and the commute (Metro or driving) is very reasonable to home -- half an hour. We lived in DC for a while, but liked the suburbs better (house, grill, etc.). I feel safer and you get more for the $$. We have shopping, restaurants, etc. within walking distance, so we don't feel like we are missing out on the city life. Also, my husband and I both work downtown, so if we want to see folks downtown we just go after work.

Mornings are the best for riding. River Road is workable any time of day, though it is slow in the mornings when coming back in from the barn. I get up at 5, am on the horse by 6, then try to get back toward the city by 7. Leaving Poolesville before 7 or after 8:30 is your best bet traffic-wise.

I think MD is easier than NoVa for commuting. During the summers in law school I lived in Leesburg and commuted to the city. Coming in was fine if I was in the office by 7, but going home was a 2-hour mess. I've never experienced that on River Road.

Feel free to PM me if you or your BF want to discuss DC firms, etc. I'm happy to share what I know.

technopony
Nov. 10, 2008, 03:24 PM
For many years, I lived in NOVA but kept my horses in Montgomery County, MD. Montgomery County has more open land closer to DC than NOVA - board is generally cheaper, turnout better, and there are many shows and events close by. However, I just can't take the commute anymore, and am keeping my horses at one of the few nice facilities in McLean/Great Falls. It is full care with good turnout, but there is not easy access to trails, no indoor, my horse is turned out on 4 acres instead of 30, and board is about $300 more expensive than my old barn in MD that did have all of the above. There are Prelim/Intermediate eventers who board in this neighborhood and do fine, but they sometimes have to haul out for lessons and conditioning.

Another one to look at is Rolling Acres Farm in Brookeville, MD - they are a hunter/jumper barn (top notch) but an eventer friend of mine boards there. From what I hear turnout and care are excellent and it has a Grand Prix show jumper rider/trainer - there is also ample room and hills for conditioning. I am not sure if they would take any random person that calls, but its probably worth a look.

bornfreenowexpensive
Nov. 10, 2008, 03:39 PM
I don't need an instructor on grounds. I know all about everyone in Purcelville/Middleburg, etc. and was hoping to just board somewhere closer into the city and haul out to them for lesson.

Oh, believe me, I've searched and googled my brains out. Copy pasting every farm address I can find to see how far out of the city it is.

I guess my question is: Is it possible to live in downtown DC and still ride? Keep in mind I'm use to a 30-40 minutes drive and a full time job with 2 upper level horses.




possible yes...easy...no. I went to law school in downtown DC. I kept my horses in Leesburg and chose to live near them....NOT in the city. I decided I was going out to the horses 7 days a week and only had to be in the city 5 days a week so it worked better to be near the horses. I had to ride at odd hours....very very early or very very late. But at least the turn out was good and there was space to gallop and hack.

good luck....but I recommend living closer to the horses not work. That is what everyone I know who has made it work did.

eta: Leesburg has changed a ton since I lived there so I do think the MD side of things would be easier. My friends in Leesburg are now heading even further out (think near West VA) to get to affordable open space....and commuting to DC from there. Trying to talk them into moving up to PA instead ;)

LexInVA
Nov. 10, 2008, 04:04 PM
Stick to the MD side of things. It would be MUCH easier for you.

Trixie
Nov. 10, 2008, 05:21 PM
I have to reiterate those who said AVOID AVOID 270. Really. THEY ARE NOT KIDDING.

This means, don't board in Frederick, or anywhere in that direction, if you can by any stretch avoid it. My roommate did that commute keeping her horse in Keedysville for about 6 months and it was absolutely horrid. My receptionist commutes from Germantown to DC every day and it takes her 2 hours each way.

Rent is far more expensive here than where you are, unfortunately.

asterix
Nov. 10, 2008, 07:10 PM
I'm going to vote with the folks suggesting living on a metro line in upper DC/lower Maryland (Friendship Heights, Bethesda, etc.) and boarding out in Poolesville or over in Olney/Damascus way. I live on Capitol Hill and board at Waredaca, and it is an EASY 45-50 minute drive (easy as in mostly very peaceful, not stop and go). But. I work flexible hours from home and rarely have to go during rush hour. If I didn't, I'd look to live over on the Red Line in DC/Maryland, metro to work and back, and then drive to the barn that way. I think VA is a nightmare, frankly, when it comes to commuting.

Waredaca would meet all your needs except for your turnout needs. THey do have a couple of small paddocks but those are usually in use by either the BOs horses, horses in for training, or layups. It might be worth talking to them, however.

joe2
Nov. 10, 2008, 08:52 PM
this looks like what i am looking for...living on the red line to commute to work and drive to the barn in the MD area, brookeville, olney, etc. so it is good to hear that it is doable. which barn to you board at? i am still looking at several options. thanks!



The key to my sanity is the fact that I take the metro to work so I only have to battle traffic on the way to the barn. I work downtown and live in suburban Maryland on the red line, and then have a 35-minute commute to the barn in the evenings. It is manageable. I currently keep my horse near Olney, but I used to be in Poolesville. Honestly, if you can wait to go to the barn after rush hour (approx 7 pm) then the MD side of the beltway is fine. Avoid, avoid avoid 270. Driving to Poolesville, while a 24 mile commute, only took 30-35 minutes. Now I’m only 16 miles to the barn but it takes just as long because I’m on local roads and not the highway.

I used to live in Northern Virginia. I would absolutely NOT recommend living or boarding there if you work in DC and you have to go anywhere near a car. It’s simply a clusterf*ck.

Something no one has mentioned here is cost. Since you’re seriously involved in eventing, I presume you want very nice facilities. Be prepared to pay at least $600 for a good barn with turnout, and up from there.

I would suggest working the phones and visiting a ton of barns when you come looking for a place to live. Good luck!'

Edited to add: It's not all bad news. This is a GREAT area for eventing with access to many XC courses, competitions and top trainers. You will love it!

evntr06
Nov. 10, 2008, 10:06 PM
I second that commuting from DC to MD is relatively easy, however, commuting from VA to MD is a nightmare, just because there is only 1 bridge on the west side of town on the beltway, and EVERYONE is driving there in the afternoon. Just a note on 270(I agree its a nightmare but only in certain parts) - I am used to driving it every afternoon and familiar with traffic pattern - there is a bottleneck on 495 before you get to 270 split, after you actually get on 270, the traffic usually moves at speed (even in full rush hour traffic), until you get into Gaithersburg, where it basically stops. So, if you have to get off 270 before Gaithersburg exits (River Rd or 28 for Poolesville), traffic won't be nearly as bad as if you were going to barns in Germantown or Clarksburg.

ClevelandEventer
Nov. 11, 2008, 02:13 PM
Incredible help from all of you! Thank you so much!

Since you all keep emphasizing how much easier it would be to have a flexible job, anyone have any suggestions in that regard.? That really seems to be my biggest dilemma right now. I'm curious to hear how everyone else is supporting their eventing habits. Especially at the upper levels.

I'm young (25) and at that horrible in between college and a career phase. I know you all know what I'm talking about. Living every day just dying to have some sort of clear vision for how the hell I'm suppose to make money to support this black hole momey pit of a "hobby". It's so scary out here in grown up land.

If only I had had the opportunity I have now when I was in high school or college with the 2 talented horses I currently have. In reality I am looking at moving up to advanced next year (knock on wood) away. I can't very well settle now. You know? Some people never get that horse, (I never thought I'd get it) but I am lucky to have the stars align for me and I have 2 going at the same time and it's all just an arms reach away. That's enough to put off "career plans" for a while, right?

What kind of flexible jobs do you have?

gottagrey
Nov. 11, 2008, 02:35 PM
VA and MD governments are big into promoting incentives for employers to offer flex time/schedules to meet traffic and now financial demands - plus flex hours helps w/ employee morale, however I happen to work for a company that doesn't seem to believe in flex hours; alot of it depends on what type of industry you want to get into and also because of the state of economy many companies are laying off rather than hiring; on the plus side with a new administration moving in one would think there should be job openings; living in DC itself can be quite expensive, MD a little less expensive rent-wise; MD has a huge biotech industry which happens to be close to alot of riding facilitlies - the 270 Corridor/Shady Grove area is big w/ biotech which is in close proximity to Waredaca; Poolesville - The Mont. Co. area is also a good commute to many Area II events.

bip
Nov. 11, 2008, 03:28 PM
Ugh, pay is sooo low in DC. Everyone is running around with a Phd and making $20k a year until they either go back where they came from (taking back valuable experience), or finally move high enough up the experience scale. At the same time, there's a lot going on so it's a good place for you be while making career decisions.

KSevnter
Nov. 11, 2008, 04:51 PM
I don't know if they are hiring right now but IT sales companies have pretty flexible work out of the home type of jobs, not requiring a MBA (at least at the entry level in order to move up into management you need one). The base salaries are good (you could live in this area on the pre-commission salary and pay board etc.) and the hours are flexible, plus as I mentioned you can work from home. In this area a lot of the sales are to the federal gov't which is always growing despite the economy so if you get into a gov't contracts or military contracts position with one of these companies it offers good security. A friends husband is in this area and works from home at least 4 days a week. The companies I am thinking of are IBM, ATT, Verizon etc.

linquest
Nov. 11, 2008, 05:49 PM
You can also consider boarding in Howard County, MD. This summer, I lived off the Blue/Yellow line in Arlington, VA and commuted to the K street area (known for lobbying/law firms) for work. I looked into riding in the Great Falls/Maclean area which was very close but also beyond my budget (this was just for lessons though, but I'd imagine that boarding would be likewise very expensive). I ended up sticking with a dressage trainer in Howard County, MD that I'd ridden with before. Typically, I'd leave my apartment between 6:15-7:00PM and be at the barn within an hour. Didn't have to go up the dreaded I-270 though, but rather went up through and around the East side of DC on DC/I-295.

In Howard County, you might check out Sunset Hills and Hopkins Spring Farm (no personal experience). You can also easily get to barns in eastern Montgomery County. I've also lived/ridden in Silver Springs and agree with the other posters that living off the Red line is a great option.

bambam
Nov. 11, 2008, 06:20 PM
My understanding is that Sunset Hills is for sale and they are shutting down the boarding operation and their on-site trainer will be gone as of 12/1- I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure I am not.

pharmgirl
Nov. 11, 2008, 06:34 PM
I agree with bambam, I would stay away from Sunset Hill.

As far as jobs go, a federal govt job is a good option. They have all sorts of stuff from IT to secretarial to science jobs to PR/marketing type stuff. As another poster said, they are really promoting flexible work schedules and the ability to work at home (if your position allows for that). I work for the fed, and now I am only in the office 2-3 days/week depending on my meeting schedule. That really helps for being able to make it out to the barn during the day, and then finish up working at home later.

Lisamarie8
Nov. 11, 2008, 09:19 PM
Cleveland, I will second the "try to avoid Va --> MD commute" chant. I just moved BACK to the city after living in SW Virginia for 7 years. It was BEYOND imperative to me that I try to keep my commuting to a minimum. I lived here for 20 years, I know the hell that is DC. I'm a chill person, but damn if the beltway doesn't crush my zen. :uhoh:

Depending on WHERE in the city your BF is going to work I suggest a MD "suburb." Like I said, I live in Silver Spring and I'm a long walk or a short bus ride to the metro (you can EASILY live walking distance to a metro in Silver Spring).

I am a psychologist and I work in Baltimore. I then commute from Baltimore to Damascus to where Woods is boarded. The other secret to surviving is try to work out a reverse commute if you can. My drive to work is 30 minutes because I'm going against traffic UP 95 and I'm on the road by 7:00 at the latest.

My drive to the barn is just under 40 minutes because of my hours (I'm usually done at work by 3:30), and then by the time I leave the barn I can normally make it home in 45 minutes if the beltway hasn't turned into a parking lot because some idiot got distracted by something shiny :sigh:. If I don't get distracted hanging out and having a beer after I ride :D, I'm usually home by 7:00.

As far as a job with flexible hours, you may want to consider working for the school systems. Granted, because of the drop in housing prices a lot of the local districts are on a hiring freeze, but it might be worth taking a look at. I don't know what sort of training you have or what sort of money you need to live on, but it's something to think about.(you won't be making much depending on your qualifications, but the breaks are lovely and summers off are hard to beat).

Good Luck!

flyingchange
Nov. 12, 2008, 08:37 AM
From reading everybody's responses, and looking back on my own experience when I moved to DC ... it just seems SO hard to make it work.

Cleveland - if I were you, I would just NOT move to DC or the burbs around it. If that is possible. I lived down in Durham, North Carolina for several years before schlepping up to DC and I highly recommend it to somebody like you. The commute to jobs is friggin EASY, there are EXCELLENT barns (Holly Hepp is now at Equiventure, where I used to board when I lived there, and I can tell you it is an AWESOME farm with everything you need). Cost of living is cheap compared to DC. Quality of life is much better. Southern Pines is an hour away. Aiken is much closer. And their are LOADS of jobs for people like you. I had a GREAT job in the Research Triangle Park when I was there. UNC and Duke are there with loads of jobs too. DC is 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive (depending on how you drive and traffic) and there are shuttle flights between RDU and Reagan airports daily.

Seriously, I would just really reconsider moving to DC if you don't have to....

eponina
Nov. 12, 2008, 08:53 AM
Your work isyour life in DC. People come here to work, not because of the quality of life. I think it is very hard to come here if you want to focus on anything but your career. That said, if you do move to DC, I would suggest you focus your home/barn search based on which part of the city your job is located in. If you are in SW DC, NOVA is your best option. NW DC, try lower Montgomery County. NE or SE DC, PG County or AA County. Also look at the entry points into the city (both Metro and Road). In NW DC, its Wisconsin and Connecticut Avenues, Beach Drive, RockCreek, and Cabin John Parkways and the redline metro. In SW, 395, route 50, orange and blue lines, etc. If you do not want to spend your life commuting, do not plan to live more than 5 minutes in rush hour from your primary point of entry into the city. Ideally, if you want a good commute and plenty of access to horse farms close in, I would suggest SE/SW DC (that includes most of downtown - ie Metro Center/Smithsonian/Federal buildings etc) and look for a house/barn in either Southern PG County (ie Upper Marlboro/Croom area) or Southern AA county (ie Lothian/Harwood/Davidsonville). Most don't have websites or advertise except sporadically (check PVDA classifieds, the equiery.com etc) but there are many eventers out there (Stuart Pittman in Davidsonville, Valerie Vizcarrondo in Harwood, etc). You also might try some of the racing barns/steeplechasing barns in the area as they would likely have the types of conditioning facilities you are looking for - maybe Larking Hill in Harwood.

My two cents from a lifelong DC resident....

flyingchange
Nov. 12, 2008, 09:03 AM
Ugh. That's why I didn't make it in DC. Quality of life was and is just way more important to me than any job, no matter what the pay or benefits.

Everybody in the RTP (Research Triangle Park) warned me about moving up there, but I had to find out for myself. Lots of them were DC and NYC regugees. Many of them turned down really good job offers in DC while I worked with them - because they refused to go back to that life.

That said, there certainly are some people, like asterix and bambam who have made it work and don't seem any worse for the wear. But for me it just didn't fit my personality and I came to realize it was not my only option, so I left. I just wouldn't recommend it to someone who has a serious commitment to advancing in UL eventing and who is young enough that they have options.

Koko
Nov. 12, 2008, 10:28 AM
Flyingchange - You're making me nostalgic. I grew up in Durham, NC, went to UNC and loff it there. I've been in DC area for the last 15 years (law school/biglaw practice) and am DYING to move back home. I'm burnt out on law practice and currently wondering what I could do to get back to my home area. Any suggestions welcome. I agree that Equiventure (Quail Roost) is an awesome place.

Best, Koko

Lori B
Nov. 12, 2008, 10:46 AM
Another answer is to move to the Baltimore suburbs, hon. (or, Bawlmer, as it were)

I live in Catonsville, horse lives in Howard Cty nearby, I work near Columbia, and never have to deal w/ EITHER beltway. MD has so much going on ridingwise, although of course as a much more advanced rider and competitor, your needs are more specialized. Baltimore real estate is cheaper than DC, and the city as a place to live is less obnoxiously career-obsessed. It can be done, but you need to be creative. There is a train from downtown Baltimore to DC. There are cool downtown neighborhoods where your housing dollar will go far in Baltimore, if you can deal w/ some sketchiness. If I hadn't lived in a dirt-cheap Bawlmer apartment for 5 years, I would not be a rider of any kind right now. It literally made the difference for me budgetwise, and the commute out of Baltimore west to barns is some distance, but not as evil traffic-wise as DC-VA, which I would avoid unless I owned a helicopter.

As has previously been noted, a reverse commute can be a life-saver. And I second the recommendation for Silver Spring being pretty livable. (PM me if you and boyfriend are interested in RENTING a nice house in SS before you commit to a location.)

linquest
Nov. 12, 2008, 11:10 AM
Ugh. That's why I didn't make it in DC. Quality of life was and is just way more important to me than any job, no matter what the pay or benefits.

That just depends on what "quality of life" means to you. I love the cultural diversity of DC, the amount of museums and historical sites to visit (most free), the climate, and the unique professional and personal networking opportunities. I've lived in a lot of places across the country and feverently hope to be able to settle near DC. On the other hand, you couldn't pay me enough to move back to NYC or the NC Research Triangle. Different strokes for different folks.

pharmgirl
Nov. 12, 2008, 11:19 AM
You can also have a decent quality of life in DC, it may just depend on who you work for. I have been fortunate to work in industry and now the federal government where my bosses and the culture have been supportive of a life outside of the office.

FrittSkritt
Nov. 12, 2008, 11:24 AM
Another answer is to move to the Baltimore suburbs, hon. (or, Bawlmer, as it were)


Lori B has a good point. If you lived between B-more and DC, you can probably find a good boarding location and use the MARC train (http://www.mtamaryland.com/services/marc/schedulesSystemMaps/marcTrainSystemMap.cfm) to get to/from your job, depending on which city you decide to work. in. :)

FairWeather
Nov. 12, 2008, 11:41 AM
I'm sitting here looking at 270 right now and while I'd say Yes, it's an awful road, I'd take it over 66, 7, 15, etc with all the traffic lights.
I drive up a good stretch of 270 daily to see my horse (from Rockville to Damascus) and as long as i'm on the road by 4:30 I only have brief slowdowns.
If you try to commute north after 5:30? MESS.

flyingchange
Nov. 12, 2008, 05:03 PM
Flyingchange - You're making me nostalgic. I grew up in Durham, NC, went to UNC and loff it there. I've been in DC area for the last 15 years (law school/biglaw practice) and am DYING to move back home. I'm burnt out on law practice and currently wondering what I could do to get back to my home area. Any suggestions welcome. I agree that Equiventure (Quail Roost) is an awesome place.

Best, Koko

KoKo - You and me both! I would love to get back down there. My husband and I talk about it every once in a while. I didn't realize how good I had it at Quail Roost/Equiventure until I got to DC. Wow, were we spoiled.

If you want to get back there, then as they say, "where there is a will there is a way." Go back to school, ha ha ha, get a PhD. Or go work for Legal Services. Or look into working in the Park. Lawyers are needed everywhere! :)

OneDaySoon
Nov. 12, 2008, 05:22 PM
Cleveland Eventer - could you please post which job areas you might be looking for a college-career transition?

I also encourage you to look for something in Montgomery County (MD) and try to stable at Waredaca or with Matt Flynn.

There are jobs in biotech, medical, IT, Montgomery County and City of Rockville jobs...that are not too far from either of these stable locations.

I think you've got to simplify the logistics especially taking on your riding goal. Commuting into DC and to the suburbs is really going to cut into valuable riding time, plus there is the cost of commuting. Lots of excellent folks on here do it, but often they are more mid-career and therefore may have more work flexibility and a higher income to support their commuting and riding lifestyle.

Have you contacted any headhunters? I can send you a list, but if you tell us the area you want to work, then that will help all of us contribute to your search...not just for a good eventing facility, but an appropriate career position.

FairWeather
Nov. 12, 2008, 08:06 PM
Everybody in the RTP (Research Triangle Park) warned me about moving up there, but I had to find out for myself. Lots of them were DC and NYC regugees. Many of them turned down really good job offers in DC while I worked with them - because they refused to go back to that life.

I hope to be one of those defectors before spring to RDU!

galwaybay
Nov. 14, 2008, 12:26 AM
Don't want to be the gloom and doom report but um unless you are applying for a job w/ Obama's (7 page application and don't forget to include anything or any person/email/text message that might embarrass the "Administration") the job market is pretty tight. My company was going great guns last year - now 8 mos later they are considering layoffs. But - the biotech/health field I think is still quite strong (Mont. County - 1270 corridor - close to barns bonus), accounting is always pretty safe. I believe most local governments are cutting back -

I am giving the gloom and doom - another bad thing about DC to VA barns - the wonderful HOT lanes they are doing and the metrorail extension - all great plans if and when they get done but most likely major traffic jams during the construction phase.

So my recommendation would be skip working in DC - live and work and Mont. Co Maryland which would put you a great area for several choices of really good event barns and you would be close enough to DC for all that it has to offer in terms of social life outside of work and horses !

SaddleFitterVA
Nov. 15, 2008, 11:04 PM
A little different in my approach...but those who know me expect nothing less than different, if not plain bizarre!

I have spent almost my entire 18 years working in VA, just outside the beltway for many years, and most of it on the Dulles Corridor.

But, I don't board. I have my own farm. The old farm was in WV. And after 12 years, the commute got to my husband, so we sold that one and moved closer. Over the years, with a couple of minor exceptions, my work has ended up in Tysons (icky)/Chantilly (not bad)/Reston/Herndon (great for carpooling w/ hubby).

In 2001, I did end up in gov't contracting, and it has been kind to me for the most part.

I really enjoy this area, and my husband absolutely loves it.

But, I tried a job in Crystal City, and lasted 3 months, since the manager decided that he was going to set different hours than I agreed to when I hired on.

I will add to the cautions, you do NOT want to have the Potomac River between you and work. So, I agree that if you are working in DC and have a horse, Maryland is likely to have more options.