PDA

View Full Version : Best army posts for eventers?



mg
Sep. 23, 2009, 08:42 PM
So this isn't an urgent question since I have a little while before this comes into play...Soon-to-be-fiance is returning to West Point and I'm wondering what posts are the best for someone who wants to keep riding (and hopefully eventing!) actively.

Right now I like Ft Bragg in NC (Southern Pines, woo!), but not a big fan of an airborne division who gets deployed a LOT. I also like the looks of Ft Rucker's facility.

Any suggestions? Or advice in general about riding as an army wife? I'd like to try to mentally prepare myself as best I can before I have to deal with the reality of it!

Thanks :)

Lucky_Break
Sep. 23, 2009, 09:34 PM
Hey MG,

I would vote for the bases in NoVA as that is a real mecca. There are many international level riders within a short drive and probably a dozen or so events (recognized and otherwise) within an hour or so of that area as well.

I have heard from several people that the stabling at Ft. Campbell in KY is nice and I would think it should be an excellent horse/eventing location (but I haven't lived there).

I have had horses and a military spouse for many years. It is totally doable, but hard when the relocation comes. Not all bases offer boarding (and those that do often have wait lists). I have found that most of the boarders at military facilities have horses sort of as a pet. They don't ride and really don't spend any time or care on their horses. This was always a huge disappointment to me. My experience has been that about 75% of the boarders at the military stables I've used are that way. There is always 'drama' that is just up one notch from regular barn drama (what is YOUR rank, what do YOU do, etc.).

On the upside I have found military facilities to be cheap and usually offer good amenities (ring wise).

Sorry I rambled. I hope this helps a little. :D

Mach Two
Sep. 24, 2009, 12:54 AM
Don't know if Fort Rucker still has XC fences, but they used to host a nice horse trial there, and have quite nice arenas...and good, sandy footing!

kimbrawner
Sep. 24, 2009, 01:45 AM
Though Ft Benning no longer has on-post horse facilities, you are surrounded by nice venues! Poplar Place, Big Bear, Chattahoochee Hills and many others are within driving distance!

If you went to Hunter Army Air Field or Ft Stewart, Ft Stewart still has an on-post barn, and Aiken isn't too far a drive for competing, but as far as local schooling or an active Eventing crowd, the area is lacking. More Hunter and Dressage barns in the coastal plain.

Good luck on your next PCS!

LisaB
Sep. 24, 2009, 07:54 AM
Fort Bragg is right next to Southern Pines, a HUGE horse mecca and plenty of trainers and facilities. And Fort Bragg is HUGE itself. There are lots and lots of different things going on there. And yes, it's a place to get ready to get deployed but there are also permanent positions there too.
If he goes into the intel world, he can look into Rivanna Station (NGIC)
The easiest post he could get is at Fort Belvoir and Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The DC area basically and you can find a ton of places there, it's just really expensive to live and have horses.
Having said that, you will be expected to move around a lot. And not until he gets a foothold in the military will you guys have a say on when and where to go. Expect to go to bum-f- Egypt and stuff. And suck it up and deal with it. There will be times when you have to put eventing on hold.

mg
Sep. 24, 2009, 08:21 AM
The easiest post he could get is at Fort Belvoir and Aberdeen Proving Grounds.

I absolutely love the look of Belvoir...always have. If it's an option, it's definitely on the list!


And not until he gets a foothold in the military will you guys have a say on when and where to go. Expect to go to bum-f- Egypt and stuff. And suck it up and deal with it. There will be times when you have to put eventing on hold.

Since he'll be getting his commission from West Point, he will be a 2nd Lt, so we do get a bit more choice than if he were just enlisted. At WP they get to list their preference for branch and posts and they're given priority based on class rank. He has a very high class rank, so we're in a good spot as far as that's concerned. Of course, nothing's a sure thing, but it's not a bad place to be in! :)

pegasusmom
Sep. 24, 2009, 08:57 AM
Well. . . speaking as an Army wife of 32+ years. . . with the op tempo the way it is, anywhere you go your husband will get deployed. It's nice to assume he will get his pick of branch and posting, but if he is high up on the list there will be pressure to put him where the Army thinks he can do the most good. My husband retired last summer (as an O-6 former brigade level commander) went right back to work for the US Army as a DA civilian. . . and guess what. He's deployed again.

Ft. Bragg. Great horse community on the Southern Pines side with tons of opportunities to train with really good folks, centrally located to go either north or south. Within five hours we can do about 20+ events a year. Relatively inexpensive compared to the Virginia posts. Having boarded at military barns, you may not be happy with what you find.

gardenie
Sep. 24, 2009, 09:06 AM
What Pegasus mom said! Good luck! I think choice of posts at this stage is the least of your worries.

LisaB
Sep. 24, 2009, 09:09 AM
mg,
listen to Pegasus.
And wake up!
Your life will not be your own, and especially his. No matter how high he goes in rank and how well he does, the army owns his ass and will do with him what they please.
To survive, don't get stuck on where you are at the moment. Because it will change. Just make the best of the place you're at now and don't get stuck on the eventing bug. If you're located in TX or someplace like that, pick up western or endurance. If you get stationed in Korea, well, you're screwed but make the best of the place where he's stationed.
And for his sake, do NOT distract him from his career path by bitching on where he has to go. You will lose that battle.

MajMeadowMorgans
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:04 AM
Though Ft Benning no longer has on-post horse facilities, you are surrounded by nice venues! Poplar Place, Big Bear, Chattahoochee Hills and many others are within driving distance!

Ft. Benning does still offer boarding. I was there for 5 years and have several friends still there.They are really low in numbers right now. Normally they have a waiting list. Not the fanciest facility, but it has a small arena, a large arena, a dressage arena, a jump arena and miles upon mile of trails.

tle
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:10 AM
don't forget assignments on joint task forces which put you at other service bases. We used to have a nice barn here at Wright-Patt AFB. I boarded there (low numbers = reservists allowed) for several years and we did a lot to fix up the barn. Unfortunately, I heard during a freak heavy snow storm a couple years ago the indoor arena roof semi collapsed and instead of repairing it, the powers that be opted to close the barn later that year. Shame. I haven't been out there but I'm sure the land has been gobbled up by the golf course next door. :-( that said, this area is a nice one for eventing. There are probably other non-Army posts that are nicely situated as well.

What branch is hubby going for? I was AG.

P-pot
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:11 AM
Hello,

Actually if you wind up at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, or Fort Hood in TX, there are a number of registered events, and at least one more in the works in Area V. Fort Sill is close to Norman, where Feather Creek has returned. There is also a myriad of schooling events around. It depends upon your perspective, no you will not have a number of events to choose from within a two hour drive, but many of our riders frequent events around the country.

Good luck.

Catalina
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:14 AM
I was stationed for 3 1/2 years at Ft Detrick in Frederick, MD. It was the best place EVER to be stationed. Horse mecca, close to TONS of shows and trainers and everything. I liked it so much that instead of re-upping and getting sent somewhere else, I got out and got a job in Frederick, where I still am today.

Anyway, everyone is correct when they say that the Army totally owns his ass and that the he WILL be deployed and he will do time overseas and you will wind up somewhere where eventing will have to be put on the back burner. The Army will tell you whatever it needs to to get people in. Sure he might have his choice of duty station for the first tour, but after that, all bets are off.

SLR
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:24 AM
First off, what the others said, esp Pegasus Mom. She has a wealth of experience in this. ;) In my humble and aged experience. He may want to keep you happy by saying he has the pick of assignments, but his pick will probably come down to what is best for his career. I got the call from darling fiance 36 years ago after his draw.... "So how do you like Kansas?" My friends found a Wizard of OZ poser to hang on my dorm room door. Culture shock for a Jersey girl. Keep your sense of humor. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful places, home of the Cavalry School, steeped in history, and horse lore. It all becomes what you make of it. We"ll be back at WP this year for his 35th reunion!

Ajierene
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:59 AM
I would strongly suggest avoiding Ft. Bragg for completely non-horse related reasons. Ft. Bragg has been known recently to be a bad base to be stationed at. Some people call it the ghetto of the military. Higher crime rates, including spousal abuse and domestic violence - which includes people getting caught in the cross fire.

You husband will probably be away a lot, no matter what job he has, so going to a community where the people are likely to be friendlier is just as important as finding a good community.

Aberdeen Proving Ground is gearing up to bring a lot of jobs in, they are going through a BRAC right now. It is in a very nice area, both for people and horses.

KSevnter
Sep. 24, 2009, 11:00 AM
The easiest post he could get is at Fort Belvoir and Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The DC area basically and you can find a ton of places there, it's just really expensive to live and have horses.


I was also going to suggest these two. My now DH was an officer in the military and his initial station was Ft. Riley, KS (wouldn't suggest that place to anyone, highly deployable (big red one) and in the middle of nowhere). For his last year and a half he was at Aberdeen and loved it. Great spot, outside Baltimore, plenty of barns and close to Fair Hill. He was at the Institute of Chemical Defense which I don't think is ever deployed.

Also, Ft. Leavenworth has a barn on the Fort, there is a pony club there, a hunt and a cross country course. It isn't too bad because it is right outside of KC, although there aren't too many events close by (if you are looking for upper level stuff) but there is a nice little eventing community in the area.

ETA: SLR is correct, he doesn't really have a choice as to where he goes. My DH's stuff was sent to Bragg (his first choice, he too is a Jersey boy and wanted to stay on the East Coast) and got a call at OBC saying he was going to Riley. There is no rhyme or reason particularly with 2 wars going on. His "choices" may not in the end have anything to do with where he ends up.

Rescue_Rider9
Sep. 24, 2009, 12:01 PM
Fort Campbell has a barn and I assume a decent arena becaus they hold a show there (dressage). Umm.. I hate the area (I went to college in cookeville), but if you dont mind being bored all the time when you arent riding then its a good place I guess. There arent many trainers around the area if you want a trainer, but Fox Run Farm is supposed to be decent. Its in Cadiz. I havent ever ridden there personally though.

mg
Sep. 24, 2009, 12:22 PM
What branch is hubby going for? I was AG.

He'd really like engineers or aviation.

To the rest- I'm certainly very aware that I should not try to idealize what life will be like and I know that he won't have control over everything, but it's still nice to learn about the different posts, the opportunities they present, and trying to stay optimistic about it all. His first and foremost concern is to make choices which will impact the career he wants, but he does want to try to be somewhat accommodating for me. Whether or not he'll actually be able to accommodate me, we'll find out. But the intent is still there. I'm very lucky in that he's very supportive of me having horses in my life.

Thanks for all the information! It certainly has been very helpful. It's good to hear actual experience rather than just guessing at what it might be like. I'd rather be somewhat prepared for what I'll face!

SLR- have fun at WP for the reunion! As much animosity as I hold for the place, it still is very beautiful. I have many friends who are graduating this year and hope to make it down for that!

wlrottge
Sep. 24, 2009, 01:35 PM
Rucker has a nice facility that's constantly being worked and upgraded. The barns/"turnout" are not what I would want for my horse, but they are servicable. What you have there is two stall stand alone barns with attached turnouts. They have grass pasture and they rotate horses through it. They run two recognized horse trials per year and a couple of schooling shows. The XC course has BN-P and is pretty nice. It's not fancy like Poplar, but the fences are solid and the footing is good.

There are people that live in that area and keep horse(s) in Montgomery. Susan Wainwright (long listed for the '96 team and 2006 AEC OT winner) runs a great eventing barn (where we are) there. We have people that drive from Rucker and Troy a couple of times a week to get lessons on their horses that are boarded there. Aditionally, we're close to a lot of Area III events.

eventer_mi
Sep. 24, 2009, 01:37 PM
Fort Bragg is that bad? Really? Ghetto of the military? Maybe at one time it was (and probably not too long ago), but I wouldn't call it that anymore, just like I wouldn't call Fayetteville Fayettenam anymore.

I live here. On Bragg, right on Post. I've been here for about 6 years now, and really enjoy living here on post. My horse is currently boarded in Southern Pines - there are NO barns in Fayetteville that cater to eventers. Southern Pines is nice, of course, but expensive, so if your hubby is a junior officer and you don't work, board may not be do-able $$$$wise. My husband is a senior officer, we have a family business on the side, and I work, and we still can barely afford one horse.

Unless you happen to not care about slice-and-dice high tensile wire fencing and drama, the barn on Bragg (it's not really on Bragg - it's about 5 minutes off post depending on where you are) is not for you. I hear they're making improvements, though, but you still have to deal with the drama that occures on a regular basis. Fort Bragg no longer holds their event (sigh), but there are trails around the stabling area. It's DYI - you provide everything except the shavings. Cheap, though.

As far as eventing goes, it's wonderful here. Lots to do, lots to see. Can't complain too much about the weather, either, except for the fact that right now, it's late September and it's STILL 90 degress and humid. Hello, autumn? When are you going to get here?

Eventer55
Sep. 24, 2009, 02:41 PM
Yep, listen to what everyone said. The Army will own you and he and I'll give you my 2cents. I am a totally horse person, I live my horses and even though you will be an officer's wife you may find you have very little in common with the other wives, they are not necessarily well educated and they may not understand your horsey lifestyle.

You as an officer's wife may be expected to do "wifey" things like help host parties for new wives and do dinner things with the other wives. You are expected (at least in the Marine corps) to be a social butterfly. Not my cup of tea. I'm not saying it's all bad, but you will not be picking and choosing as much as you may think. A friend of mine married to a Marine officer has trucked her horses 2xs back and forth from California.

It's totally do-able, but it takes work and planning and you will be alone a lot I think. At least I was. Always have a plan for the horses and you'll be fine.

LisaB
Sep. 24, 2009, 02:44 PM
:yes::yes:
And now lives in the best part of horsey world!


Yep, listen to what everyone said. The Army will own you and he and I'll give you my 2cents. I am a totally horse person, I live my horses and even though you will be an officer's wife you may find you have very little in common with the other wives, they are not necessarily well educated and they may not understand your horsey lifestyle.

You as an officer's wife may be expected to do "wifey" things like help host parties for new wives and do dinner things with the other wives. You are expected (at least in the Marine corps) to be a social butterfly. Not my cup of tea. I'm not saying it's all bad, but you will not be picking and choosing as much as you may think. A friend of mine married to a Marine officer has trucked her horses 2xs back and forth from California.

It's totally do-able, but it takes work and planning and you will be alone a lot I think. At least I was. Always have a plan for the horses and you'll be fine.

wanderlust
Sep. 24, 2009, 02:52 PM
We are at Ft Lewis in WA. The area is actually an eventer's dream, and just a really nice place to live. Cost of living is very reasonable, board is quite reasonable. Tacoma is just north of base, has some nightlife and a couple of good restaurants. Seattle is a really fun city, about 40 miles north of post. Outside the cities, it gets really rural really fast. It doesn't really snow here, but decently good skiing is an hour east. The weather hasn't been nearly as bad as people say it is- the spring and summer were pretty glorious, actually.

As far as barns/trainers/horse trials- Jonathan Elliott and Suzie Pettman are in Yelm, which is about 15 miles from the East Gate. They do boarding/training, as well as holding several horse trials through Intermediate. Donida Farms in Auburn (~30 mins north) has boarding, an event trainer, and runs horse trials through Prelim. John Camlin and Caber Farms are about an hour south (through Intermediate), the Rainier Horse Trials are about the same distance (through Intermediate), Whidbey Island horse trials are ~2 hours north. There is a barn on post, although I've never seen it, and there are quite a few barns just north of Ft Lewis and McChord AFB in Lakewood.

The boyfriend has to travel to Ft Bragg a lot (once every month usually, sometimes more) and he HATES it. And I'm not sure hate is a strong enough word to quite express his feelings about it. He does like Southern Pines, but says it is very pricey and a hike to get there from the main part of post. Your nearest big city is Fayetteville, and I've heard lackluster reviews of that as well (from brother stationed at Cherry Point), although I've never been personally.

Let me chime in with the others, who say that you/he won't have nearly as much control of your lives as you think you will, even when you think you won't have much. I'm coming from a military family, with a brother who is a Marine corps officer, and it has been much more difficult than I had ever imagined. Your bf will be deployed (which is currently a 12-month stint in the army), he will work nights/evenings/weekends, he will be at the beck and call of anyone who outranks him. Which, as a 2nd Lt, will be an awful lot of people. If deployment length is a concern, he might want to try to get himself into a special ops/special forces role. They deploy more frequently but for shorter lengths of time. They do, however, train constantly while home.

Eventer55
Sep. 24, 2009, 03:11 PM
I will chime in with one more idea. Since you have horses and traveling is not the easiest with them. If your SO is deployed a lot and he will be, you might consider figuring out where you want to live for the rest of both of your lives, buy a place there and have him fly in when he's off. It sounds like you will never see him, but you won't anyway. Then when he retires you'll have your dream place with the horses. My husband was deployed 6 mos away and 6 mos home. He got out soon after we got married, but I can tell you I would not have moved and sold the house every few years.

Life is a series of sacrifices to get to the top and horses make it more difficult, but if they're your life don't give them up, you'll be miserable. Also, make the sacrifices, it'll be worth the ride.

KSevnter
Sep. 24, 2009, 03:47 PM
I live my horses and even though you will be an officer's wife you may find you have very little in common with the other wives, they are not necessarily well educated and they may not understand your horsey lifestyle.



Ditto this, I typically can find my way in any social situation but I had a very tough time at military functions. I lived 2 hours away and was in grad school, but when I attended things like the Colonel's Christmas party or BBQ's I was essentially shunned by the wives. They stood in the kitchen talking to each other and even when I introduced myself they wanted little to do with me. There lives were totally different from mine, having to pack up their families and move across country, raise their children for long periods of time on their own and I think they thought (rightfully so) that I couldn't relate.

They rely on each other in a way that non-military spouses don't have to and therefore there is a really strong community aspect to the military and you are either in it or you are not. I would think during this time of high deployment that you will want to immerse yourself at least some in the military community because they will be the only ones who can truly relate to what you are going through.

Good luck with everything!

Eventer55
Sep. 24, 2009, 04:00 PM
Ditto this, I typically can find my way in any social situation but I had a very tough time at military functions. I lived 2 hours away and was in grad school, but when I attended things like the Colonel's Christmas party or BBQ's I was essentially shunned by the wives. They stood in the kitchen talking to each other and even when I introduced myself they wanted little to do with me. There lives were totally different from mine, having to pack up their families and move across country, raise their children for long periods of time on their own and I think they thought (rightfully so) that I couldn't relate.

They rely on each other in a way that non-military spouses don't have to and therefore there is a really strong community aspect to the military and you are either in it or you are not. I would think during this time of high deployment that you will want to immerse yourself at least some in the military community because they will be the only ones who can truly relate to what you are going through.

Good luck with everything!

And ditto this too, I actually felt badly writing what I did, but I see I'm not alone. I now live in a fairly isolated area and go for days without going to the store (my choice, it's not that far.) I am by nature a loner and I cope quite well being alone. I hope you can find someone in the community to relate to. Although I am quite good at social settings, I was definately ostrasized. I'm sure it was because of the horsey thing along with a few other things. You may find that your friends will be out of the military community and a more equine group. Just don't expect that the other wives will warm up to you, so find your way with your horses and don't worry about the rest.

Horse people are the warmest and most welcoming group I've ever known (I'm also totally predjudice.) You'll find your way. . .:) anyway, you have COTH!!!!! 24/7:D:D:D:D:D

JER
Sep. 24, 2009, 04:27 PM
Germany. Anywhere in Germany.

:)

pegasusmom
Sep. 24, 2009, 04:28 PM
It's a mixed bag anyway you look at it. I'm with eventer_mi - in years gone by Fayetteville was Fayettenam. But anymore - no.

And talk about BRAC?? Ft. Bragg is BRAC r us. Just ask the folks in Atlanta currently assigned to the huge command that is getting relocated here in the next two to three years.

Southern Pines horse country is pricey. . . but there are many very nice areas around here where land is extraordinarily reasonable. We don't live on Youngs Road, but have a very nice farm within 20 minutes of the Foundation lands and two miles from the Carolina Horse Park.

I also experienced the "I don't belong" syndrome - first when I was showing dogs, and secondarily after horses entered our life. My husband was airborne infantry for the first portion of his army career, with heavy emphasis on special ops - and was a "charter member" of Special Forces when it became a branch by itself in the mid-80s. SF wives are a breed unto themselves - the successful ones - and I finally found a sanctuary from the "labor pain" discussions that would frequently take place in kitchens during social functions. And the days of Commander's calls, white gloves and social obligations are long gone. My choice not to play the officer's wife game, even when my husband was commanding at battalion and brigade level, never affected his career.

On the other hand, there is a stronger family support system than ever and you never know what you might find.

mg - you have a challenge in front of you and I hope that you will explore and enjoy every bit of it. As frustrating, lonely, irritating, fill in the blank, as the last 32 years have been, I wouldn't trade one moment of it - the experiences I have had, literally all over the world and the friends I have made, the people I have met and the places we have been make it all worthwhile.

Eventer55
Sep. 24, 2009, 04:57 PM
"and I finally found a sanctuary from the "labor pain" discussions that would frequently take place in kitchens during social functions.":lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

SmokenMirrors
Sep. 24, 2009, 05:09 PM
I too was an officers wife but didn't play the white gloves, Susy Home Maker wife crap. I waited to have horses till he made his CW3 rank then had fun with that and like a few others, didn't fit in, especially at gatherings or dinners when I HAD to go. Course, I am a bit of a rebel and when I got into a fight with a commanders wife at the stable we boarded at, it ended up in a fist fight (LONG story there) I gave her a black eye and the BO pulled us apart.

I vote VA for eventing horse shows or to further your riding career if your husband can get stationed here. Great place to be in a good setting with a lot of other folks who can help better you or point you in the right direction. And..guess your husband is now a "ring knocker". :) Congratulations on West Point and your soon to be marriage.

mg
Sep. 24, 2009, 05:19 PM
My choice not to play the officer's wife game, even when my husband was commanding at battalion and brigade level, never affected his career.

phew! We've already joked about how I'm going to make a horrible officer's wife. While it's not nearly at the same level, you can start seeing the snottiness and cliqueyness really come to head in the engaged girls during the last year at WP. I've never gotten along with girls very well anyhow, with the exception of females in the horse world. Then again, I tend to find we're a very different breed!


mg - you have a challenge in front of you and I hope that you will explore and enjoy every bit of it. As frustrating, lonely, irritating, fill in the blank, as the last 32 years have been, I wouldn't trade one moment of it - the experiences I have had, literally all over the world and the friends I have made, the people I have met and the places we have been make it all worthwhile.

Thank you for that :) It definitely sounds like a challenging lifestyle and I'm both nervous and excited for it at the same time.

Sillymoose
Sep. 24, 2009, 05:34 PM
The Ft. Benning stables are still alive and well. Ok maybe not well but they're still kicking. We have our horses there. The facilities are just ok but the area is awesome. Poplar Place is about a half hour away and an easy drive to the atlanta area or even down to florida.

Thats awesome about the WP graduation. My brother graduated in '07. He's an engineer and was able to get his first choice (Ft. Benning).

Anyway, the Army horse facilities are usually cheap and convenient and are sometimes quite nice, however the drama is almost always ridiculous. Our meetings often get heated and we have had fist fights before where the police and ambulance had to be called. We have had our horses on post for 6 years now and it hasn't always been pleasant but we're still there and are decently happy with it now. If you can handle the drama and just stay out of it, the military facilities can be very much worth it. All in all, I'd say Ft. Benning is a great place to be. Even if your horses aren't on post you'll still be in an awesome area for eventing.

eventer_mi
Sep. 24, 2009, 05:45 PM
phew! We've already joked about how I'm going to make a horrible officer's wife. While it's not nearly at the same level, you can start seeing the snottiness and cliqueyness really come to head in the engaged girls during the last year at WP. I've never gotten along with girls very well anyhow, with the exception of females in the horse world. Then again, I tend to find we're a very different breed!



Thank you for that :) It definitely sounds like a challenging lifestyle and I'm both nervous and excited for it at the same time.

WP wives are a step beyond the pale to the other officers' wives - they take cliquey-ness to a whole new level.

Count me in as another officer's wife who doesn't play that game. I keep getting threatened that I eventually will have to ante up and host a coffee, or lead an FRG, or some other nonsense, and I just nod my head and smile and pretend I don't speak English (well, it actually does work sometimes as everybody who meets me thinks that Joe met me in Korea and brought me home). Don't think that would work for you, though :winkgrin:.

It's nice to know that I'm not alone in not fitting in with the other wives. I don't have kids, I DO have a job, and therefore I have nothing to talk about during Hail and Farewells and coffees. I hate them (the functions, that is). I once went to a "slumber party" with a friend of mine who was an airforce officer's wife, and the other wives all shunned me when they found out my hubby was Army. Now I know what an enlisted officer's wife feels like amidst a group of officers' wives.

However, you WILL have a community of sorts because military people are pros at making new friends. We have to - we get shuffled around so much! Whatever you do, DON'T buy a house, thinking you'll be able to rent it out or sell it once you move - in this economy, you probably won't, and then you'll be stuck with TWO mortgages/rents to pay.

Btw, the average price of board in the Southern Pines/Raeford/Vass/Aberdeen area is about $400/month for pasture board, $650+ for full board. Average cost of home with some land - around $300,000 on up. You will pay, on average, $8.00/bale for timothy/orchard grass, if you can buy in bulk. And that is WITH the bad economy. I can't afford anything that I want around here, and my hubby is a senior O-4. FYI.

Arizona DQ
Sep. 24, 2009, 06:02 PM
Since he'll be getting his commission from West Point, he will be a 2nd Lt, so we do get a bit more choice than if he were just enlisted. At WP they get to list their preference for branch and posts and they're given priority based on class rank. He has a very high class rank, so we're in a good spot as far as that's concerned. Of course, nothing's a sure thing, but it's not a bad place to be in! :)

Do you know what branch he is requesting? He will have to go to his Basic Officer Leadership Course and then on to his branch training. As a 2LT (even though he is a WP grad) he will be expected to serve with troops and a troop unit. Places like NGIC do not have many, if any, 2LT authorizations. If he goes combat arms (80% of each class must go CA), you can expect him to go to a tactical unit (think Benning, Bragg, Hood, etc.).

While the WP grads get a choice, the "Needs of the Army" ALWAYS comes first. For instance, if he goes Infantry and asks for Ft Belvoir, it will not happen....

I have over 35 years (military and civilian time combined) with the US Army and work strictly Officer Professional Dvelopment issues and policies. Once you know what his branch is, I can give you a better idea of what his options may be. ;)

pegasusmom
Sep. 24, 2009, 07:04 PM
[quote=eventer_mi;4398281]WP wives are a step beyond the pale to the other officers' wives - they take cliquey-ness to a whole new level.

No kidding. I was the lowest of the low, as my husband was a PFC when I married him. I still laugh about the Officer Candidate's Wives Club we all had to belong to - an attempt to turn us sow's ears into silk purses. . . and how we rigged the prize drawing at the Farewell Luncheon we had to put on. . . times have changed!!

tullio
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:34 PM
Hey, just chiming in as someone only a few years ahead of you in this game. DH is a VMI grad, commissioned right out of school, and is a quartermaster (well, now it's logistics.) We spent two years at Fort Hood and although I grew up doing H/J, I learned to enjoy eventing because that was what was around. I made WONDERFUL friends who were also Army wives - but we had horses in common. I don't own a horse right now but I still found riding opportunities and enjoyed my time there. There are many venues and trainers within driving distance, whether you are looking to learn more or to compete seriously. The post stables are adequate - I think there is a waiting list. Nice big fields to ride in and some cross-countryish jumps to enjoy. Several lovely venues for showing within reasonable driving distance (you can find anything in Texas, as long as you're willing to drive.) Fort Hood is so big that it's easy to get sent there - they've got everything.

Right now we're at Fort Lee for CLCCC and we're in horse heaven. DH is taking lessons and we're foxhunting every weekend (still not owning any horses... I love Virginia!!!) We're in a great area for riding, again, everything is within reasonable driving distance. But, good luck getting stationed here. ;-) Or at any of the Virginia locations... we tried that and guess what, we're moving to Missouri in January. We put Aberdeen at the top of our list, followed by some other east coast locations (even gave the career development guy a top ten list!) and still got Leonard Wood... not on the list at all! So, you can see how much our preference matters. :lol:

That came out a little cynical, but as all these other experienced folks are telling you, that's Army life. We may have it a little better than enlisted folks as far as choice, but it's not done us any good yet. That's actually why I don't own any horses right now - too much chance that we'll go someplace where I can't keep them.

Anyway, my advice is to be optimistic but realistic. You're probably not going to have much say in your location, but that doesn't mean you can't make the best of it. You might not get to follow your discipline of choice, but you might enjoy learning something new. Being involved in horses is a good way to make friends in your new location, and to get out and travel around instead of just sitting at home. I saw a lot of Texas from the truck, pulling the trailer with my friend's horses. ;)

As far as social life... I'm not really friends with all the other wives, either. I work and we don't plan to have kids... so we don't usually have much in common. I don't think there is anything inherently better about officers wives vs enlisted wives, and that alone is enough to make me a social outcast. ;) I do what I need to do to support my husband, just as I would if he had any career other than the Army, and I try to stay open to meeting new people that are likeminded. I found some truly wonderful friends at our last post, not all horse people, but incredible women who taught me a lot about being an Army wife and helped me get through our first deployment. There are awesome people in the Army, you just have to find them.

Anyway, lots of great advice on this thread. Army life can be amazing if you let it - who wants to live an easy, boring life? ;)

mg
Sep. 24, 2009, 10:58 PM
That's actually why I don't own any horses right now - too much chance that we'll go someplace where I can't keep them.

This is where I'm extremely fortunate and why I'm not worried about going into the army wife life with a pony on hand. My pony actually belongs to my grandmother and she has her own private facility (nice 6-stall barn, big pastures, huge outdoor ring) and someone hired to care for the couple of horses there. While it would be very sad to have him stay at home if we relocated to a place where I couldn't keep him, at least I know I have that option and I wouldn't have to worry about selling him either.

I don't care about showing either. I've been content for many years just riding on my own and spent several years not taking lessons. So as long as I can get some sort of riding in, I will be happy as a clam. I guess I just asked about eventing areas in particular because why would I pass up on an opportunity to school some XC courses! :)

kimbrawner
Sep. 25, 2009, 12:46 AM
Interesting thread!

I apologize for my misinformation about the Ft Benning stables being dead and gone!

As an Army officer and former Army wife, I just wanted to add how important the horses can be through a deployment. When you are in a new place and your husband is a million miles away, you will be amazed how much comfort and support your dear animals can provide. If at all possible I would bring mine to the end of the earth with me!

I know everyone sounds cynical, but you really just have to look at your new life as an adventure. It will be exciting, frustrating, and will be a life you will love! Good Luck!

Old Time Rider
Sep. 25, 2009, 08:04 AM
Tullio>Welcome to Fort Lost in the Woods. At least you'll be close to I-44 therefore easy to get to the STL eventing-hunting people. Springfield, MO isn't that far and they are some h/j trainers there but be prepared for lots of trail horses - MO Fox Trotters, walkers, western. At least Ft Leonardwood has scenic beauty.

Ajierene
Sep. 25, 2009, 08:37 AM
Fort Bragg is that bad? Really? Ghetto of the military? Maybe at one time it was (and probably not too long ago), but I wouldn't call it that anymore, just like I wouldn't call Fayetteville Fayettenam anymore.

You would know much better than I, then. I have never been there myself, just heard stories of people that have been there over the years. It might partially depend on what part of the base you live in, as well.





This is where I'm extremely fortunate and why I'm not worried about going into the army wife life with a pony on hand. My pony actually belongs to my grandmother and she has her own private facility (nice 6-stall barn, big pastures, huge outdoor ring) and someone hired to care for the couple of horses there. While it would be very sad to have him stay at home if we relocated to a place where I couldn't keep him, at least I know I have that option and I wouldn't have to worry about selling him either

I was going to caution having a plan for your pony, but it looks like you have one. My local rescue recently took back a horse that was adopted out to a military family. They have recently been told they are being assigned to Germany somewhere and had to give up the horse. So, if you plan on owning, have a plan for the horse. Once officers get to about O6 or so, they do not move around as much - but it is still not out of the question.

armyeventer
Sep. 25, 2009, 01:53 PM
I took my horse to my officer's basic course at Fort Leonard Wood, MO (that's where Engineers, Chemical, and Military Police go) and had a blast with my beastie. The indoor ring was nice and although turnout left a bit to be desired, I had my horse right on post. Since I was in school, I didn't have much time, but we had the chance to compete at Queenie Park, which was a blast. I then moved to Fort Stewart, GA. I wasn't able to keep my horse on post, cause the waiting list was too long, but I was able to find a place to keep my two horses off post. That area isn't really eventing central, but there's lots of stuff to do within a four-five hour radius. I went to Pine Top, Poplar, Jumping Branch, and Full Gallop with an eventer that lives in Port Wentworth, which is about 45 minutes from Stewart, or 20 minutes from Savannah. Now I'm at Fort Drum and was able to find a nice barn in Watertown, NY. It's not an eventing barn, but they take great care of my two horses, and there are several events within a four hour drive or less.

To reiterate what everyone else has been saying, your soon-to-be husband will probably be gone a lot. I finished my officer's basic in October of 2002 and found myself in Kuwait less than three months later. We were gone for seven months, home a year, then gone another year. Keeping yourself happy with lots of things to do will help you pass the time. No matter where you end up, you should be able to find something for your horse.

Please thank your significant other for his service. I wish you both the best of luck!!

mg
Sep. 25, 2009, 05:47 PM
No matter where you end up, you should be able to find something for your horse.

Please thank your significant other for his service. I wish you both the best of luck!!

Phew! And thank you!

JanM
Sep. 25, 2009, 06:15 PM
The link to the Fort Rucker MWR equestrian facility is:
http://www.ftruckermwr.com/equestrian_center.htm

They do boarding, and you can call for availability. They have hunter trials twice a year, and a bunch of open shows. For reasons I won't go into (involving those drank the koolade carrot stick disciples) the boarding contract and reg are very involved and specific. The outside course is basically built and maintained by volunteers who are wonderful. The chances of ending up here if you're not branching Aviation are slim to none. If you branch Aviation and get Apaches you'll be here for two years or so, some other airframes are less time. If he branches Aviation you'll need something to keep you busy, because with the study load I'm going to see him much more than you will (I work in the library and they study here a lot). If he gets the Aviation option then I'll definitely see him (I brief all of the incoming flight students-truly a fun part of my job) and he will be part of the elite-and you'll be seeing Rucker a lot for Basic Course, Captains Course, and maybe as part of the training cadre for a few years at a time or for command tours too. Aviation is tough to get into and tough to stay in, but for those who are truly dedicated and want to fly more than anything it's wonderful. And the aviation community really sticks together. Let's face it, as a military wife when it really hits the fan and you need help you will definitely get it from someone you may not personally have anything in common with, but the 'we're all in this together' attitude is very common. Plus, certain elite aviation units are basically permanently stationed at a few posts and the families stay there while the sponsor deploys-so you really can stay there long enough to settle in.

Plus, wherever they receive their basic branch training at may end up being a frequent posting temporarily or long term. They all have to do a six month or less Captain's course for their branch, and CGSC at Leavenworth, or maybe Army War College at Carlisle, PA eventually. If he branches Infantry or Armor you're talking Benning-Columbus, GA. Signals are Fort Gordon, and Air Defense and Artillery are at Sill. Airborne posts are mostly Ft Campbell, Benning, Bragg. or Lewis. I know I left a lot of places out but where you end up depends on the branch assignment. And during deployments you will welcome something to keep you busy and of course, horses and horse people are a great way to do that. Another factor is if he's just going to fulfill his basic commitment years or go for career (20+ years). Sometimes they also do something like advance degrees (law medicine etc) and stay near that school for their term of study too. Like any other profession the military can take you everywhere, and you will meet some of the best and worst people in the world. The housing isn't always wonderful, but it's clean and safe-plus they're building all kinds of new housing and rehabbing older dwellings. Some places you'll get on post and love it and some places there's no way you'll get on post, but you'll always have a place to call home. I think most of the people (my dad was military and I've worked for the military for many years) you run into will be great, and like anything else you get out of it what you put into it. Other family members are sometimes the only ones who really understand what you're going through, and there are tons of resources on post and online to help you get the information you need. And every post has a relocation office and other people who will be there for you whatever you need.

Mara
Sep. 25, 2009, 06:26 PM
I too was an officers wife but didn't play the white gloves, Susy Home Maker wife crap. I waited to have horses till he made his CW3 rank then had fun with that and like a few others, didn't fit in, especially at gatherings or dinners when I HAD to go. Course, I am a bit of a rebel and when I got into a fight with a commanders wife at the stable we boarded at, it ended up in a fist fight (LONG story there) I gave her a black eye and the BO pulled us apart.

I vote VA for eventing horse shows or to further your riding career if your husband can get stationed here. Great place to be in a good setting with a lot of other folks who can help better you or point you in the right direction. And..guess your husband is now a "ring knocker". :) Congratulations on West Point and your soon to be marriage.

Next off-topic day, you HAVE to tell us about your "cage fight" with the commander's wife!:lol:

katlee
Sep. 27, 2009, 08:52 AM
We are currently at Campbell in KY and I'm good with it. I was looking to anything east coast because of family :)

With a brother and husband who are both Ringknockers, I'll tell you it all boils down to "its what you make of it".

We've had to make choices to enable me to continue riding, I changed careers so that I had a portable profession where I could easily work part time no matter where we were. We've had short notice orders twice now- where we had less than 30 days notice before we moved- which made arranging for our two beasts difficult.

My little brother is an 08 grad and I can tell you that very few grads are getting their preferences right now- esp with op tempo changing as the A-stan plan comes out in the next month or so. I think I read that he's hoping to go aviation- if so, be prepared to not see him most of the time he's in school.

I wouldn't say that I'm your sterotypical "army wife"- although I can bake one mean batch of chocolate chip cookies lol. But I've never had any more issues socially with army people than anyone else. There are spouses and army personnel who attract drama and revel in it, so you learn to recognize them and avoid it. I have friends whose husbands are all ranks, have been an FRG leader, go to coffees, etc etc all while continuing to ride, show occaisionally, and lesson as much as I can. I would advise having your own trailer if you don't already, it can save you many headaches.

We've been through three deployments in just over six years and are gearing up for another one as we speak. After having had my son this summer right smack in the middle of a PCS, I appreaciate that military community more than ever before.

HCF
Sep. 27, 2009, 07:33 PM
We are currently at Ft. Leavenworth and I am extremely fortunate and grateful that my beastie was able to make the trip here (from Va) with us. There are facilities here on post, but there was a waiting list at the time, so my guy is living just off post at a lovely facility. This was the first time in my Army life that we have been so far from family, which has been difficult for me and my two boys. But having my horse and being able to escape to the barn has been a lifesaver!

We will be PCS'ing to Ft. Bragg in December (recently closed on a house in Aberdeen!) and while this is not our first time at Bragg, it is our first there since I bought my horse. I am familiar with the horsie scene in the SP area and aware of the high cost of boarding, etc, so am looking for cheaper alternatives. Fortunately, like the OP, my boy does have a place to go. My family's farm is located less than three hours away from SP in Va and my boy is always welcome there. However, DH will be deploying as soon as we arrive and I am hoping to have my boy nearby to help me get through those 12 long months!

eventer_mi
Sep. 27, 2009, 07:51 PM
Hey HCF - when you get closer to moving to Bragg, let me know! Between pegasusmom and I, we should be able to hook you up with something for your pony, and I'd sure love somebody to ride with!

HCF
Sep. 27, 2009, 09:26 PM
eventer mi - thanks so much! Sending you a PM. ;)

pegasusmom
Sep. 28, 2009, 07:54 AM
There are lots of possibilities that don't involve a Young's Road address. . . :)