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ParadoxFarm
Dec. 16, 2011, 11:04 AM
Sorry for crost post. I posted in H/J but received no response.

I know Aiken is a big area for eventers, but I was wondering if anyone had any insight as to the H/J scene out there. My husband and I are contemplating moving there in about a year. I mostly do local h/j (jumpers) schooling shows. I wouldn't mind a few A shows, but mostly I do schooling shows, around 3' and hopefully up to 3'6" this summer. (Fingers crossed).

We are planning a short trip there in January. Any "must do" things to see, places to go?

Also, when people say the footing is great, is it because of a sandy soil? Does it drain well (quickly)?

I know people say the summer heat and bugs are bad, and I know that. I'm in Mid-TN now, and we get a hot, humid, buggy summer, too, so it won't be a whole lot different. What's a few more degrees?

Any other comments/advice would be appreciated.

Thanks!

Aikenites
Dec. 16, 2011, 07:47 PM
Hi, Welcome to Aiken. I love aiken- there is soooo much to do all the time and from many many disciplines.

you can check out the horse scene a few places:

the aiken horse: www.aikenhorse.com which is a paper that is done every 2 months about the aiken equine scene. You should definitely pick one up at a feed store or horse oriented store.

for the h/j scene: try: www.psjshows.com. They have many schooling/ local shows, combined tests, dressage shows and 'A' rated shows as well. They also have a facebook page with great information.

If your bringing horses down: definitely check out Hitchcock woods.

The ground has great drainage! A few months back we had like 5 inches of rain in 7 hours and there was standing water for the first time I have lived here when it was coming down. But after a few hours of no rain, you could barely tell it rained, but the footing was great. I don't even have footing in my arena, just the local sand. The only bad part is that it gets dusty and you do have to water it. The only other thing is that the sand makes it a pain to grow grass for pasture- you have to lyme and fertilize it a lot and because it doesn't hold water too well, hope that you get the rain you need.

It is a great place. Yes it gets hot in the summer and the bugs are bad in the summer, really the horse flys and nats, but it is a great place if you have horses. :)

ParadoxFarm
Dec. 16, 2011, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the great info. I will definitely check out those resources. For our little weekend visit in January we are not bringing the horses. But I want to check Hitchcock anyway!

Any nice tackshops you would recommend?

Thanks, again. I'm looking forward to my visit.

coloredhorse
Dec. 16, 2011, 08:20 PM
There is a good h/j population in Aiken, as well. Most of my massage clients in the area are eventers, but a handful are active in h/j schooling or recognized shows. The Highfields showgrounds is nice and hosts many h/j shows each year. The links already given should get you to the calendars that will list most of the local showing opportunities.

There is a good-sized tack shop in Aiken that seems to have a good selection (I've only popped in briefly while working in the area ... no serious shopping!). I can highly recommend The Tack Room near me in Camden. Plenty of people make the hour-ish drive from the Aiken area to Camden to visit.

Aiken is a nice area, and the horse folk mostly seem to be friendly and welcoming, even across disciplines. I think you and your husband will enjoy it there! You will find the summer very similar to mid-TN; it just stretches a little longer down here.

Aikenites
Dec. 16, 2011, 08:26 PM
As coloredhorses said, there is good tack store in town called Oak Manor Saddlery, where you can get most stuff you may need especially if you are a h/j. There is also Boots, Bridles and Britches, which is decent selection, and then there is tack also available at Aiken Saddlery feed store.

The Tack Room in Camden is AWESOME! and only a little over an hour drive. It has a huge selection of stuff.

Oak Manor will try and find anything if you need it in particlar. There are 6+ feed stores in Aiken plus one just a short drive in Williston. many hay dealers. And the local shows bring in a variety of tack shops as well in their mobil units like Bit of Britain, Devacoux, and used tack places (i'm only naming a small few , there are many more that come to the area).

We have our own feed mill that IMO have a great selection of feeds for your horse's needs.

equinedriver
Dec. 17, 2011, 01:32 PM
I moved to Aiken 2 years ago from the mid west. We had not moved in 22 years. The thing I like about it is that VERY FEW of the horse people here are from Aiken, so they are very welcoming. You don't feel like the 5th wheel trying to get into an already established group.

I went into shock over hay prices, but have found a way to deal with that. The hunter jumper scene is fairly active, but not on a major scale like eventing. Highfields does a nice job with the PSJ shows so as long as you aren't looking for the big time, you should be quite happy with what you would find there.

chism
Dec. 17, 2011, 09:34 PM
I'm going down there in a few weeks. Can anyone recommend any reasonably priced hotels? I just need a place to sleep, doesn't need to be fancy, just clean and reputable.

fivehorses
Dec. 17, 2011, 09:43 PM
I always have stayed at the Holiday Inn express on whiskey road. Across the way is the fairfield inn, which is nicer, but doesn't allow dogs.
Hope you give me a ring when you are here. Sorry things didn't work with your daughter.

chism
Dec. 18, 2011, 09:18 AM
I always have stayed at the Holiday Inn express on whiskey road. Across the way is the fairfield inn, which is nicer, but doesn't allow dogs.
Hope you give me a ring when you are here. Sorry things didn't work with your daughter.

Hey Five = I'm sorry too. I appreciate you taking the time to show her the place. We will only be there for two days...driving the in laws down, visiting with the kid and flying back. I would like to see your place, not sure if I'll have time this time. I've never been to Aiken, so I hope to be able to go again with more leisure.

wolfmare
Dec. 18, 2011, 11:36 AM
I went into shock over hay prices, but have found a way to deal with that. The hunter jumper scene is fairly active, but not on a major scale like eventing. Highfields does a nice job with the PSJ shows so as long as you aren't looking for the big time, you should be quite happy with what you would find there.[/QUOTE]

Sure would appreciate a PM on just how you managed to deal with the hay price issue! Am heading down on New Years Day- barring any weird and snowy things happening. Was bring a bit of hay in my empty side of the trailer- but just enough to make the transition to a different hay slower on both his stomach and my wallet. :)
OP- if you make it down in January- give me a call, always happy to have a beer or coffee with a fellow COTHer!

mroades
Dec. 18, 2011, 11:38 AM
The Holiday Inn Express is no longer..it is now a Clarion. The Sleep Inn is ok, not anything really cheap in Aiken that is what I would consider clean and safe.

fivehorses
Dec. 18, 2011, 05:02 PM
Chism,
I have the extra bedroom...pm me if you want. I can put you up. Would be good to see a fellow new englander. Plus, I would be more than happy to give you the 5cent tour.
I am sure your daughter knows the area better than me, but I must say, I have put miles on these roads in my search for my property.
PM me if you want.
Hope to see you.

fivehorses
Dec. 18, 2011, 05:04 PM
Chism,
I have the extra bedroom...pm me if you want. I can put you up. Would be good to see a fellow new englander. Plus, I would be more than happy to give you the 5cent tour.
I am sure your daughter knows the area better than me, but I must say, I have put miles on these roads in my search for my property.
PM me if you want.
Hope to see you.

You are right mrodes...they did switch last spring. I have stayed there and also the Carriage House in town(which was lovely). Both are super convenient.

ParadoxFarm
Dec. 18, 2011, 07:01 PM
Thanks, Wolfmare. We'll be there the weekend of January 5 to check out Aiken. Would love to meet up. :)

Thanks, all, for the information!

RiverBendPol
Dec. 18, 2011, 07:30 PM
Wolf, I take my own hay to Aiken with me from here (Saco).....if I don't, I come home to a barn-full and soon it is time to make more! This year I only have 1 trailer going so it will be trickier. My friend Pixie Trix just took a full load of hay down from NY, went home again then goes back to Aiken mid-January. Maybe I have to consider that for this year. Still save $$ by having my own hay down there......

wolfmare
Dec. 19, 2011, 08:36 AM
Not going to have too much room for extra hay, I am going to be pretty full in the truck- I pay $5 up here anyway- but for a good bale- what will I have to pay there Polly? Plus I can feed less than I would here over the winter- I like free feed hay when it is so dang cold. Like today.
Where are you guys stabling this year Pol? Would love to meet up with you too! I will be riding right past Pam's new house going to the Wood- if I remember right which street she bought on!
Getting pretty excited about the trip- heading out new years eve early- and stopping overnight in Flemington NJ to welcome the new year in with my sis- if the weather co-operates!

RiverBendPol
Dec. 19, 2011, 09:31 AM
Hey Wolfie-

We're back at New Bridge again, Feb 1st. Em and I will be sleeping at Gatewood-an easy walk to Maria's! ;-) After our crowd leaves, at the end of March and with luck, we'll be at Stable on the Rail for the first 2 weeks of April.

I cut my own hay here, I fear Aiken hay is beyond imagination. I've always taken my own so am not sure of the cost down there but I *THINK* it is in the double digits. EquineDriver or 5 Horses, can you confirm? I need to get busy with the logistics of this project!

Aikenites
Dec. 19, 2011, 02:06 PM
Depending on if you want TOA, OA, Timothy, alfalfa it can range from $12/ bale to $22-25/ bale.

It definitely is expensive. When I was in KY this summer, picked up a load of TOA for $5/bale- loaded as much as I could.... luckily on 1 horse is on it, the rest are good on the coastal we get locally.

If someone is thinking of getting a full load down of TOA or OA i might be interested in buying some bales...

ParadoxFarm
Dec. 19, 2011, 02:31 PM
What does the local coastal run per bale, average?

ravenclaw
Dec. 19, 2011, 06:10 PM
What does the local coastal run per bale, average?

If you get it from a feed store, I would say $8.00 - $9.00.

If you get it from a farmer, $4.00 - $5.00.

Flipper
Dec. 20, 2011, 06:23 AM
Holy cow!!! How big are these $12-25 bales??

equinedriver
Dec. 20, 2011, 08:45 AM
Alfalfa is $14.25, T/O is $12.50. The good local coastal is $6. Prices will go up when the eventers hit town. This is for the "normal" 50-60 lb bales. The big 125 lb bales are about $35.

I am bringing in a load of Orchard grass, but it won't be for a month or two.

I have been driving about 2 1/2 hrs north by Charlotte and getting really good orchard grass brought down from NY for $6.50 a bale for the last year and a half. I can get about 125-150 bales on a load and for my two horses that lasts about 3 months. Costs me $80 in gas and a day of driving/loading but it's half the price and just as nice or nicer than the $12 hay at the tack stores, so more than worth it to save $500 a load.

Prime Time Rider
Dec. 20, 2011, 09:04 AM
My husband and I are considering relocating to Aiken when we retire (assuming we can afford to retire)! Other than Daniel Geitner, are there any H/J trainers who do the 'A' shows in the Aiken area?

Prime Time Rider
Dec. 20, 2011, 09:38 AM
Also, does anyone out there live in one of the equestrian communities in Aiken, and if so, do you recommend it? We like the idea of living in an equestrian community with shared ammenities such as trails, arenas and having horsey neighbors. We're considering Three Runs Plantation. I would love to hear feedback from folks who actually live in those communities.

wolfmare
Dec. 20, 2011, 10:39 AM
I love Aiken threads- and love how this one has bounced about! I think the hay part was my hijack. Sorry!
Ummm- thank you for the hay price countdown. Now- would anyone care to PM me a farmer to get hay from? I expect my horse will eat but I may starve at those prices. Which may be okay- I was intending this time to get in shape anyway. :D
Finding a good deal and a farmer to buy from may be hard, I expect- any help really would be appreciated!

gahawkeye
Dec. 20, 2011, 10:50 AM
I have developed a couple lots in Steeplechase (SW side of Aiken). It is an 'equestrian subdivision', but not quite as formal as the others. Trails, dirt roads, etc. There is a H/J barn there http://www.greystonefarmsinc.com.

I recently built a 3+ stall hunt box w/1 bedroom apartment, fenced in 4+ acres of 9 total. Hoping to spend more time there this winter, but if not it will be on the market. Certainly enjoy the access to lots of open/common space. Have met a few neighbors (horsey and non-horsey) -- seems all are seeking the 'country gentleman' lifestyle.

Wish I had something like this in Atlanta.

ParadoxFarm
Dec. 20, 2011, 11:06 AM
I have toyed with the idea of an equestrian community...but my husband nixed it. He doesn't want to have to deal with association fees, and not really having a say in much. So we'll be looking for our own place similar to what we have in TN. I'm looking forward to the move, and my little vacation to check the area out in January. Maybe I should bring a load of hay. haha.

mroades
Dec. 20, 2011, 12:09 PM
My husband and I are considering relocating to Aiken when we retire (assuming we can afford to retire)! Other than Daniel Geitner, are there any H/J trainers who do the 'A' shows in the Aiken area?

Yes, there are several. John Abbott, JF Gagne,Stephanie Von Bidder, Wendy Arndt, those are some I can think of off the top of my head.

scubed
Dec. 20, 2011, 12:11 PM
I rented a room from Stephanie Von Bidder last year, really liked her and the farm http://www.daybreakfarm.net/aboutstephanie.htm

equinedriver
Dec. 20, 2011, 12:16 PM
I have been here two years. I intentionally did not do the development thing as I was used to more than my own space in the mid west where I couldn't even see another neighbor so didn't want to be on top of a bunch of other people on "small" lots and have them telling me what to do.

Having said that there is one I would move to in a heartbeat if I could afford it and that's Three Runs. I have met a lot of people in the last two years that live in developments and that is the ONLY one that I haven't heard people complaining about. The only negative thing I have heard about Three Runs is that some people have had frustrations getting their plans approved by the developer but I don't know what the issues were, and I have heard that some don't like the footing in the community arenas. I don't do the hunter jumper thing, so can't be of any help there. I have been told that is the reason that Phillip Dutton won't do the training sessions but makes Mark come to his farm but that is at least 3rd hand so who knows if it's true.

What many outsiders don't realize about HOpeland Farms is that the trails there are not deeded and could go away at any time. They always claim when this is brought up that they aren't going anywhere, and maybe they aren't *for now* but if you don't have deeded access to them, it could and then you are )(^#&)^( as there is no where to ride or drive there if the trails go away but up and down the part of the subdivision that has dirt roads and you can write off a substantial amount of your property value.

There are one or two lots left in Cedar Meadows which I also really like. No community rings etc like 3 runs, but good trails and people seem happy there also.

Mozzafiato09
Dec. 20, 2011, 12:42 PM
I'm heading down to Aiken this year for the first time with the barn I manage. I've spent winters in Wellington (so I'm obviously more of a H/J rider) but our barn is into Eventing. I honestly can't wait from what I've heard Aiken is so much more laid back then the 'Hollywood' scene created down at WEF. I'm also super excited to introduce my Jumper to Eventing mwahaha

RiverBendPol
Dec. 20, 2011, 03:25 PM
Phillip's been in every training session at Three Runs that I've observed in the last 4 years...3 Runs is gorgeous. No idea what it would be like to live there ;)

Prime Time, John Abbot is wonderful. If I was ever going to take lessons from an H/J guy, he would be it. Is there something we should know about Daniel?

Prime Time Rider
Dec. 20, 2011, 11:49 PM
Phillip's been in every training session at Three Runs that I've observed in the last 4 years...3 Runs is gorgeous. No idea what it would be like to live there ;)

Prime Time, John Abbot is wonderful. If I was ever going to take lessons from an H/J guy, he would be it. Is there something we should know about Daniel?

Gosh, no, I didn't mean to disparage Daniel in any way. What I meant by my question is that Daniel is the only H/J trainer I know of in the Aiken area and was wondering who, if any, the other 'A' show trainers in Aiken are.

equinedriver
Dec. 21, 2011, 08:07 AM
I know Phillip rode his lessons at the last training session at his farm, but have no idea why. Like I said, the reason that I was told 3rd hand was the footing, but like I also said, I would move there in a heart beat if I could afford it. Another very telling thing about 3 runs, it's the only subdivision I am aware of in the area where construction is on going at a brisk pace. There were 16 properties under construction there a few months ago. Not many places in the country where that's the case.

Another hunter jumper trainer that doesn't get any "press" so to speak that you should consider is Mike Sharp. He's kind of a pompass ass but he trains Cathy Chambers who wins every show she enters and she swears he is the reason why. $50 a lesson, has a farm out in Windsor with a hunter ring and a jumper ring. I don't do the hunter thing, and maybe it's because they have worked together for so long they obviously know, but half the time I don't understand what he is telling her but I have seen him completely fix a problem for her in about 15 min. The only complaint I have heard is that he doesn't move the jumps around much but the few times I have seen him teach, Cathy and a few others the improvement was visible before my eyes.

scubed
Dec. 21, 2011, 12:25 PM
PM me. I know of an opening Jan - Mar. Can bring a horse

northerngirll
Dec. 21, 2011, 07:50 PM
We moved to Aiken 4 years ago to an Equine Development called Fox Hollow. (south side of town) We looked at private farms, but wanted lots of hacking and didn't want the the expense of building rings and buying jumps etc. We really like it here. We have 3 nice rings ( 1 dressage and 2 with jumps) and 2 are irrigated (necessary in the summer!!) We have a beautiful cross country course with a variety of jumps BN - Prelim, and lots of hacking and some great hills. We have a really good Property Owners Assoc., and some really nice neighbors. The yearly maintenance fees are reasonable, and we are quite happy here!!