View Full Version : A week in Aiken? Help us estimate costs!

Jul. 19, 2011, 03:16 PM
My roommate and I are tossing around the idea of packing up our ponies this winter and heading south for a week. Two horses, one truck/trailer, total budget of about $2500. Idealy we'd head down on a Sunday or Monday, hook up with one or more trainers for lessons, compete the following weekend, then head home.

Our conservative estimate for gas round trip from Maryland is $600. Horses don't need anything fancy. They're pasture mates, so in a pinch I guess we could just rent a small field. We're pretty flexible on human accommodations. Sleeping in a tent or in the trailer is an option as long as we can access a bathroom. I also have a couple people I can network with to see about sleeping on a floor somewhere. A cheap motel is also an option, although the more money we have for lessons the better :)

Also, we don't have our hearts set on Aiken. Biggest goals are 1. warmer than home 2. access to trainers 3. compete.

We don't have a good idea of what the costs will be. Can the COTHers chime in on how to make this happen within budget?

Jul. 19, 2011, 03:59 PM
I'm a marylander also - and I've done something similar for the last 3 years (though it's been one person, 2 horses). I've paid around $15/day for self care board (stall + several hours a day in a small paddock) and stayed in an inexpensive motel - if you shop around on priceline you can usually find some good deals or crash with someone. A big expense that took a big chunk out of my budget was hay - I have a 2h trailer, and...when hauling 2h...I'm limited in how much hay I can bring and usually have to end up buying several days worth down there (and it's significantly more expensive than in maryland). Don't forget to add in expenses for cross-county schooling in addition to lessons - since there are so many courses down there too!

Feel free to PM me for more details - especially since I'm from your neck of the woods :)

Cheval Gris
Jul. 20, 2011, 10:26 AM
Julie Zappapas at Jumping branch takes overnighters which of course can stay a week. 25$/ day for stall and turn out paddock. You can lesson w her and school or there are several farm within a couple minutes of her place that Also have nice courses. She has camping accommodations as well . Good luck and have fun!

Jul. 20, 2011, 12:09 PM
Thank you!! This is exactly the kind of info we're looking for. Another option came up, roommate's old trainer is located in GA an hour from Aiken. She offered $10/day board and we could train with her plus go xc schooling nearby. We could head out Thursday or Friday and hit a HT in Aiken on the way home. Downside would be no access to the BNTs, upside is the price. We might even be able to camp out in her house for the week.

Tarheel, I'm definitely going to pick your brain later!

If we do end up in Aiken, how does one go about contacting a trainer and finding out if they'll work with us for just a week? Is that sort of thing normal, or are they usually too busy with regular clients and horses to take on extras?

Jul. 20, 2011, 02:19 PM
Try Sally Cousins-- I know she does that kind of thing and she's usually there all winter.

I am not jealous of you right now, but I totally will be by then :)

Jul. 20, 2011, 06:00 PM
If you take a look up at the top post of this board, there is an Aiken listing.
And another cost to consider is fuel, if you are shipping out for lessons or schooling don't forget to include that gas, not just gas down and back.

Cheval Gris
Jul. 20, 2011, 08:21 PM
I know Julie responds quickly to emails and if you are flexible with time she would be glad to do lessons all week. She has a very hospitable place and centrally located to 4 or 5 other facilities. Stalls have shavings w paddocks right next to the visitor barn. There may be a small additional fee to camp but it is far less than a hotel. There are so many places to ride there u could go out after morning lessons! I would also suggest full gallop farm, paradise farm, and sporting days...all facilities right there but I am unsure of their accommodations but you can start with their websites! Good luck and have fun!

Jul. 21, 2011, 06:00 PM
If you're going to do it, do it so you all can be IN Aiken...Aiken itself is part of the fun! We have spent time down south a few times, and the best time we had was when horses and humans were all in Aiken. One year we did horses in Aiken, humans at a free house in Lexington. A couple of years we all stayed in Camden (client with a farm there) and shipped to Aiken for events. Staying an hour away makes you feel pretty isolated, and if your time is limited, why not get the whole experience!?

Aiken is a fun little town in and of itself, plus, there is almost ALWAYS something interesting going on, from team training (don't forget, Olympics are next summer, which mean team training will be in high gear), week day shows of all types, clinics to audit/ride in...hell, if you stable someplace like Full Gallop (or just go to hang out), you can probably sit on the rail or help set fences for all sorts of cool ULRs while they teach (and ride with them yourselves). There's only so many hours in a day you can spend riding and caring for two horses, especially with two people. :yes:

I would be against camping, unless you've got a LQ trailer or a camper. It IS warmer than home, but it can still be quite cool at night, and sometimes rather wintery (never lasts long). Look for inexpensive motels, or, as you get closer, ask around (and/or on COTH) for houses to stay in. Sometimes you can even luck out and find very short term rentals (likely to be very expensive and very hard to find).

And ditto tarheel...hay is ridiculous down there and eats up a lot of cash. If you can bring hay from home, DO IT. Otherwise, budget for it, and budget generously. Don't forget to budget for food, coffee (mmmm....New Moon Cafe....), shopping (you are bound to forget something and/or need something and/or find something you must have), and I would urge allowing a little budget for emergency vet or farrier care (hopefully, that's just in the general horse care budget, anyway, but just something to remember).

Jul. 21, 2011, 08:51 PM
Craigs list will net you stuff like this http://augusta.craigslist.org/sub/2483646235.html

And do check with Sally. I had a fabulous time with her last winter

tres grey
Jul. 22, 2011, 12:35 AM
Checkout out http://www.airbnb.com for living arrangements. I'd imagine it'll have more horse related openings once the season draws closer.