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tres grey
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:03 PM
A few months ago, some of you may remember me writing this post (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=314502) about striking a balance between city life and riding. Many of you suggested that I look into smaller cities. It took me a little bit of time realize that I may have to dash my DC dreams and open my eyes to new places. Man, I'm glad I did!

I'm graduating in May, and I'm well into the job search. However, I'm curious to know if I've passed any small city Eventing gems? My only requirements are that they have 2-3 event venues in a 3 hour radius and they handle traffic well. I know I won't be able to breeze through rush hour but knowing that I'll be able to get out to the barn in 30-45 minutes max would be nice. Another important aspect for me is to find a city whose culture recognizes the proper balance between work and play. Let me know if I'm dreaming of the impossible here!

A few cities high on my radar are Charlotte, Minneapolis, and Denver. I've looked at but have yet to research Nashville, Lexington/Louisville, Michigan, Madison/Milwaukee, Kansas City/St. Louis, Cincinnati/Cleveland, and the Northeast/New England.

FWIW, I don't presently own a horse, and I'd like to get back into competition after several years of light riding due to school. My ultimate goal is to compete at a Training/Prelim classic, depending on where I chicken out at. Ha! Might want to venture into Dressage for new challenges when the time comes. I love to clinic. After school plans include a long-term lease with plans to purchase a horse a few years later.

Thank you for all of your time and help!

retreadeventer
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:16 PM
I would say find the job first then make your life around where you'll be living. You can't set everything up perfectly, and you'll be moving several times in your life before you find Nirvana.

By the way, Nirvana is NOT in Delaware. I've been looking here for 25 years for it....

Beam Me Up
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:29 PM
I live in the DC area and while the traffic is bad, there are smaller cities outside of that are still close to events, assuming that you both live and work outside the city (that is what I do--I am about 25 miles west of DC, horses at home, work another 10 miles west of that). That puts me on the fringe of traffic, but the further out you get the better.

Culpeper to the south, Winchester to the NW are still close to the eventing scene. Smaller job markets though, for still a relatively high cost of living.

I grew up in Vermont (Upper Valley Area) and was less than 1 hr away from 5 events, 3 of which still run, and the MA events were very doable. Zero traffic, lower cost of living, but a very small job market. Also a much colder climate/shorter event season.

bizbachfan
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:32 PM
I can only tell you what I found. I am from DC and do like a lot about the area but traffic is so horrible you have to plan your life around the two long rush hours. Plus the cost of living is so high. I moved to Florida many years ago and went back up to DC for a few years and then came back to Florida. I probably won't ever leave Florida but if I did only place I would consider would be coastal North Carolina, just my preference.

Central/North Central Florida offers Rocking Horse and Ocala event facilities. Homes are cheap and no income tax. I love living close to the beach, tons of trails and plenty of horse action in the winter/spring and enough schooling/local action in the summer/fall. Horsey costs are reasonable especially compared to places in NE, Mid Atlantic.

I think people here do generally try to achieve work/life balance. Most people here enjoy some type of outdoor activities and make time for it. (Horses/Beach/Golf/Fishing, etc.) Yes the summers are hot and long and buggy but I just consider mid June to mid September to be our "winter" where we let the horses have a bit of a break. Jacksonville does not have terribly bad traffic.

So you might want to consider Jacksonville, Ocala or some place in between.

scubed
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:40 PM
It has been my impression that the midwest and the south (Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, Nashville, Charlotte, Charlottesville) do a better job of valuing work-life balances than does the Northeast (Philadelphia, Baltimore, DC). The further NE may be better about it (Vermont, upstate NY), but I am such a cold weenie that Michigan is pretty much at the edge of my tolerance. If you can find a job in Wilmington, DE, I would respectfully disagree with Retread because I think it is a great community and lower commuting hassle than many to several great trainers and event venues. Getting outside of DC into Maryland also seems possible, the Gaithersburg area for example would fit many of your criteria. Good luck, but since working will be paying the bills and you will still be spending more hours working than riding (sad as that is), find the great job first and then figure out the rest.

That said, highest on my list would be Michigan (though the job situation isn't so great there these days), Charlotte, Charlottesville, Wilmington, Nashville and Louisville with the possibility of Orlando in there (now that they have a pretty nice new medical center)

LisaB
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:48 PM
In your case, I actually would look into DC. And live in the city. Get your career established first and make that money. Then surrounding DC, there's a ton of riding. Much more than any other city. If you had a horse already and trying to get to ride every day, then it would be more of a problem. But a ton of stables have lesson programs and you'd have a choice.

Charlotte is not small and the traffic is there.

Charlottesville is great if you have a family, already married, looking to retire. Not much in the career market. The goobers I work with that went here straight out school really don't have a lot of experience. And would be in deep kimchee if our contract goes away because of it.

deltawave
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:52 PM
Look at Grand Rapids. An hour from one of the best venues in the midwest, if not the US (Richland Park), 2 hours from Cobblestone and 3 hours from Hunters Run. An active state Eventing Association and 8-10 unrecognized HTs per year. Chicago is 3 hours the other way (Wayne/Lamplight), the Hoosier Horse Park is 5 hours, there are five events in Ohio within a 5-6 hour drive and Kentucky is an easy seven. Traffic in GR is modest to nonexistent, depending on where you live. Decent sports/arts/food/entertainment scence, and see above re: Chicago being an easy, easy trip. And out here in the lakeshore area, you would be 25 minutes from downtown and a hop, skip and a jump from a CCI*** level trainer who is the best! :D

Jleegriffith
Jan. 4, 2012, 12:57 PM
I live in Delaware right outside of Dover, Delaware and I think it's an amazing place to live. The cost of living is much lower than D.C, Philly and Baltimore which are all within a 2 hr drive. There are so many events within 3hrs. Tons of places to xc school and lots and lots of shows. Endless amounts of top level instructors in all disciplines. I can load my horse up and be at a top vet clinic in under 3hrs.

I have a really good job 20 min from my house that pays me very well and gives me plenty of time to fit in my horse business. Traffic..what traffic. Maybe an amish buggy:lol:

I may not be in the mecca but we sell a lot of horses and have people fly in to see them. I'm less than 2hrs from BWI or PHL airport.

Land is also more affordable. I have been able to buy my own farm and afford to build it up all by age of 30!

My hubby is in the Air Force so we could have to move but I try not to stress about it.

jn4jenny
Jan. 4, 2012, 01:01 PM
I can't tell you what to do, but I can tell you that Lexington/Louisville are worth a look. If you move to Michigan, be cognizant of which areas you go to--Metamora, Grand Rapids, and Ann Arbor are the best locations if you intend to work and event. Grand Rapids is a really hip little town and doesn't get enough credit from most folks. Metamora is a sleepy town itself but is within 30 to 45 minutes' drive of some of the Detroit Metro area. I don't know which job field you're in, but of those three cities, Ann Arbor has the healthiest local economy. YMMV depending on job field.

If you're going to event in Ohio, Cincinnati will put you in striking distance of Yellow Springs Park outside of Dayton (home of Greater Dayton HT and Gemwood HT, both very inviting move-up events) and well within 2-3 hours' trailer distance of the Kentucky Horse Park. Cincinnati's actually a pretty hip town, too, the cost of living is decent, and they're well south of the lake effect snow. Cleveland's got a very active eventing community but the weather is brutal (right on the lake) and it's a more distributed, spread-out urban area.

FWIW, I grew up in northern Virginia/DC area. I loved it there. I lived Ann Arbor for 5 years and liked many things about it, but the weather would make me think twice about putting down permanent roots there. I am LOVING Ohio and would gladly stay here the rest of my life. Low cost of living for humans and horses, and as long as you stay close to a major city the folks are pretty cosmopolitan and fun.

FitToBeTied
Jan. 4, 2012, 01:05 PM
If you were to live on the North or Northeast side of Atlanta, you'd have plenty of opportunities. Charlotte would be good. Charlottesville or Richmond in Virginia.

tres grey
Jan. 4, 2012, 01:33 PM
Wow, y'all! Thank you so much for all the suggestions. Please keep them coming.

Ohio and Michigan are sounding very appealing. FWIW, I'm in graphic design, and I know there are a few design firms in Cincinnati and Grand Rapids/Ann Arbor. My career field is one of the things that intrigues me about Minneapolis. Design is literally everywhere there! Despite the cold weather...


If you were to live on the North or Northeast side of Atlanta, you'd have plenty of opportunities. Charlotte would be good. Charlottesville or Richmond in Virginia.

My hometown is actually just north of Atlanta, and while I do enjoy the city, I don't think I could live there. My dad tells me horror stories all the time of his 22 mile, 45-70 minute commute everyday. Getting out to the barn tacks on another 30 minutes to that. The board prices around there are also outrageous. At least $700 to $800 minimum, which I'm pretty sure my designerly budget can't hack. This is one reason I'm thinking of striking out on the abundant DC all together as well and aiming towards a lower key area.

analise
Jan. 4, 2012, 01:51 PM
So why not the Aiken area? I'm told there's a lot of eventing opportunities around here, board seems to be pretty cheap (I'm a field boarding place so your mileage may vary) and you would only be a couple hours from your home town. (Of course if you don't want to be that close to family that's a different thing, LOL)

That and, I just moved to Augusta from Maryland this past summer and I can tell you traffic is nonexistent compared to the Baltimore/Washington corridor.

deltawave
Jan. 4, 2012, 02:21 PM
If GR winds up on your "check out in person" list, our guest room is yours for the asking. :) I can point you towards some of the local barns as well.

bambam
Jan. 4, 2012, 02:31 PM
If you were to live on the North or Northeast side of Atlanta, you'd have plenty of opportunities. .
Lots of opportunities to get stuck in traffic ;)
I found it harder to commute to decent riding facilities in a reasonable amount of time in Atlanta than I do living in DC (and more than when I lived outside of Boston too). Granted it varies based on where you are (I lived on very northern side of city and rode north of the city) but if you are actually working or living anywhere in Atlanta, traffic is going to be a problem.

secretariat
Jan. 4, 2012, 02:46 PM
Minneapolis has limited season/opportunities, tho there's very passionate eventers there; Otter Creek is great.

I'm not a Denver eventing fan, but it's a great area to live in.

Charlotte fits your eventing specifications perfectly, although traffic has gotten pretty bad.

Michigan is good (Richland is my #1 favorite eventing venue in the entire world) but season is relatively short to us southerners and when you have to put signs 10' in the air so emergency vehicles can find the firewater hydrants in the winter ..........................

I'm biased, but I think Kentucky (closely followed by Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee) fit your requirements perfectly. There's some competition EVERY WEEKEND in Lexington from April through the end of October, many times TWO in the same weekend. And we usually show a couple of times a month even in December and January indoors at Lakeside.

So, considering both traffic & eventing opportunities (with a splash of $$ costs) my #1 recommendation for a metropolitan area to you would be Lexington, KY, followed closely by Louisville, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Knoxville.

McVillesMom
Jan. 4, 2012, 03:02 PM
Lived in Cincinnati for 16 years (and can't wait to move back!) and I agree with what others have said...TONS of great events within just a few hours' drive. I was within 2-3 hours from the Kentucky Horse Park, Hoosier Horse Park in Indiana, Flying Cross, Greater Dayton/Gemwood... as well as many smaller events, dressage and hunter/jumper shows, you name it. The farthest I ever drove to an event was 5 1/2 hours, and that was Richland Park in Michigan! Plus you have a number of great vet clinics within a couple hours.

Work-wise, Cincinnati traffic is not great, but certainly doesn't compare to cities like DC. We lived on the northwest side of Cinci, 15-20 minutes from the barn, and it usually took my husband 30 minutes or so to get to work downtown (taking back roads, MUCH longer on highway). I used to haul completely across town for dressage lessons, and it took me pretty much an hour door-to-door.

And I agree with Secretariat - although I haven't lived in Lexington, I've spent quite a bit of time there, and it's pretty fabulous. :)

wildlifer
Jan. 4, 2012, 04:05 PM
I lived in Charlotte previous -- the traffic is horrendous. I still hate every time I have to drive there, it makes me what to poke my eyes out with a dull object.

Raleigh is easy and smaller, I am content with it. I feel within fairly easy reach of a fair bit of eventing, Carolina Horse Park and VA Horse Center keep me busy. If I wanted to compete more often, well, I'd need a different career and a heck of a lot more money anyway.

I grew up just across the river from Cincinnati, that's pretty easy to get around in too, although it has grown a lot since I moved away in 1997. But I go back to see parental units and it still seems ok, if jammed full of more people, bleh. I miss all the old horse farms...

Montanas_Girl
Jan. 4, 2012, 06:57 PM
Nashville is a nice place for eventers and close to several venues but does NOT handle its traffic well. When I worked there, my 35-mile commute regularly took 1.5-2 hours each way, and I was on one of the "easier" sides for commuters. Atlanta traffic is notoriously horrendous, so I wouldn't recommend there...

Of the places I have lived, I'd recommend you check into Lexington and Knoxville. Lexington for the obvious reasons - horse-centric, large enough for culture/career opportunities, very pretty for a city of it's size, and the traffic is for the most part not terrible. Knoxville slips under the radar but is, I'm finding, a nice city to live in and a surprisingly horse-y area. We're within 3.5-4 hours of Nashville, Atlanta, and Lexington. Traffic is nonexistent here compared to Nashville, and the cost of living is reasonable (slightly lower than both Nashville and Lexington, in my experience).

IFG
Jan. 4, 2012, 07:11 PM
Not sure what area of work you are in, but look at Providence. With Brown, RISD, Trinity Rep, there is lots of culture. Never a rush hour. Much lower key than Boston. Overall, a really nice place to live. Access to all of the New England events as well as the NY ones.

fine*and*dandy
Jan. 4, 2012, 08:26 PM
DC isn't the easiest place to live. It has the worst traffic problem in the country (according to the 2011 study) and it's very expensive. Yes, there are tons of fabulous event venues in the area, but IMO, it doesn't make up for daily congestion and costs. I've lived here on and off for many years, and would prefer to live someplace smaller and more manageable.

ThirdCharm
Jan. 4, 2012, 11:04 PM
People who have lived 'up north' laugh at Charlotte traffic. :-). It's a minor annoyance. During rush hour it takes an hour to cover a 45 minute distance.... Maybe 75 minutes. It once took me an hour to travel 7 MILES in Boston, and then there was the time I got stuck on the Beltway outside DC.... Gahhh!

And sooooo many events within 3 hours!

Jennifer

nappingonthejob
Jan. 5, 2012, 12:09 AM
Richmond, VA - lots of barns within 45 minutes of actual real live downtown. Very little traffic in my experience. Easy to get to Charlottesville, stuff in NoVa, and even the VA Horse Park & Maryland horse trials aren't that far. Most of the traffic I've encountered here has been construction related. There are some annoying toll roads. You couldn't pay me to live in the DC area. Richmond has a much lower cost of living, lots of cool, funky neighborhoods, very little traffic, great culture and lots of barns in all directions.

Simbalism
Jan. 5, 2012, 12:26 AM
How about Richmond Va? If you are planning on eventing, the climate here is good( usually not much snow here in the winter). So makes it easy to keep horse going for the spring events. There are not a ton of eventing only barns, but there are a ton of barns which could work if you don't currently own a horse. The traffic is managable.

phoebetrainer
Jan. 5, 2012, 05:47 AM
What career options are you looking at? Could you get a working visa for New Zealand and check it out? ANY place here would meet your eventing requirements. Where I live I'm within 2 hours of around 6 major event venues and also have a number of training venues within 30 mins. I keep my horses at my place but lots of people rent and graze - stabling is rarely needed.

Apart from eventing, with two horses in work, I could compete 3 weekends out of 4 throughout the year, travelling a maximum of 3 hours (at that's for National championship competitions).

I commute 45 mins (around 27 miles) to work and most people think thats far too far! They can't believe that I'd be willing to travel that far each day.

When I read the distance some of you guys travel and the time you spend commuting, I wonder where you get your energy to go on doing it at all.

LisaB
Jan. 5, 2012, 07:01 AM
I wouldn't do Richmond at all. You'd have to go to cville for riding then. There's not a lot in the way of a barn where you can ride someone else's horse. And honestly, I can't stand the mentality there. It's very black and white, if you get my drift.

belleellis
Jan. 5, 2012, 07:25 AM
For everyone who says the traffic is bad in CLT I disagree. I guess it is what you are used to. I lived in small towns growing up and then moved to Dallas, TX for 7 years. Talk about traffic. OMG I wanted to get out and walk - it would have been faster.
I live 14 miles west of CLT, work in S. CLT and ride in east CLT. 20 miles to work in rush takes me 30 minutes tops. If I leave early or late (as I do a little flex time) it takes me about 22 minutes. I can be at the airport in 25 minutes - 18 miles. The barn is 50 miles and it takes me an hour.
CLT's economy is not the best right now with the big banks being in trouble. However I decided to change jobs beginning of July and got an offer by end of August.
If it does get super cold it changes quickly. It can be HOT&HUMID in the summer. On top of lots of eventing near by, you have tons of outdoor stuff! We do a little hiking, biking and kayaking. Mountains an hour, beach 3-4 hours.
I plan to at least keep my little house in CLT no matter where the world takes me (I want to live overseas with work). I have lived in 5 states (a few 2x), 10 counties and 19 houses in 35 years. I consider CLT more home than any where else.
And yes it does have its issues.

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 5, 2012, 08:01 AM
If you can find a job in Wilmington, DE, I would respectfully disagree with Retread because I think it is a great community and lower commuting hassle than many to several great trainers and event venues.


Ditto. I work in Wilmington, Delaware, and live in West Grove, PA (less than 10 minutes from Phillip Dutton's farm). The commute isn't bad at all. People who work in Wimington, live in Delaware, MD, PA or NJ--the surrounding states are very close. I lived in DC first and hated the commute. Wilmington is a very small city but from a work perspective, we do very sophisticated work (legal). But there are also lots of other interesting industries in the area. You are near major cities. Less than 3 hours from cities like Philly, NYC and DC.

I wouldn't be so focused on a city (look in general areas because most industries have left metro areas)...but focus on finding a job that you like...then make the horses work around that.

shawnee_Acres
Jan. 5, 2012, 08:15 AM
I live in NC, 45 minutes east of Raleigh, I feel that this area is a good area for eventers and traffic is reasonable. Personally I would not want to live in Raleigh "proper" but then I am a country girl! But there are LOTS of outlying communities, only an hour from S. Pines with lots of eventing going on, TTC about two hours west, The Ark also 2 - 3 hours away etc. Also quite convenient to Virginia and SC venues.

ISR
Jan. 5, 2012, 08:20 AM
Vote for DC.

Unlike some of the other cities mentioned, there is not a large public transit structure in place. While it's true that traffic in DC is terrible, it's only that way if you stay in your car.

There are buses from as far away as Hagerstown that will drive you to a Metro, or all the way into north Bethesda. Furthermore, the job prospects and economy in the DC metro area are far stronger than many of the other areas suggested.

Additionally, many DC metro companies offer teleworking arrangements, which helps with the work-life balance.

There are some lovely events at Loch Moy, Waredaca, all within an hour.

rhymeswithfizz
Jan. 5, 2012, 08:30 AM
I'm in the Denver area - I live on my own 5 acre farm, commute to the heart of downtown, and my trainer is less than a mile down the road. I am 40 minutes from the office and can ride in my backyard. Livin the dream ;)

The eventing scene here in CO isn't Aiken by any stretch, but it's pretty darn good, with plenty of well supported events within a 2-3 hour radius of me.

In any case, I agree that you should get your career foothold first, or you won't be able to afford to ride anyways. :D

leahandpie
Jan. 5, 2012, 09:01 AM
Hi fellow designer!!! :)
I would recommend moving to as much of a design-center as you can- at least for a few years. Work at big firms, small firms, be involved in the design 'scene' as much as possible. Soo if I were you, I would pick Minneapolis!

The other thing is, design salaries are much higher in places that 'value' good design. Moving from Seattle to Columbus, GA... I almost accepted a job with a salary 1/2 of what I was used to! I decided to work freelance instead- and most of my clients are from Seattle or other parts of the country.

I absolutely LOVED my time working in the city, and it added so much dimension to who I am as a designer. I wouldn't trade that time for anything, although I'm really happy now working for myself and having unlimited time for horse related activities :)

Good luck!!

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 5, 2012, 09:18 AM
Hi fellow designer!!! :)
I would recommend moving to as much of a design-center as you can- at least for a few years. Work at big firms, small firms, be involved in the design 'scene' as much as possible. Soo if I were you, I would pick Minneapolis!

The other thing is, design salaries are much higher in places that 'value' good design. Moving from Seattle to Columbus, GA... I almost accepted a job with a salary 1/2 of what I was used to! I decided to work freelance instead- and most of my clients are from Seattle or other parts of the country.

I absolutely LOVED my time working in the city, and it added so much dimension to who I am as a designer. I wouldn't trade that time for anything, although I'm really happy now working for myself and having unlimited time for horse related activities :)

Good luck!!


I didn't realize the OP wanted to be a designer. I agree...put your competitive riding goals on hold. Get the best job in the best area for your industry as you can. You can keep riding...but may not be able to compete as much. The horses will still be there in a few years.

I had to sell my UL horse and focus on green beans while starting my career. I always rode....but your job should be the priority early in your career. Once you are established...then you can have more flexibility.

Auburn
Jan. 5, 2012, 09:28 AM
I would love to see another Auburnite come to our area. :yes:

Area8 is a very nice area for events. Mary King is speaking at our awards banquet this weekend. :) MSEDA is a great organization for supporting eventers and dressage enthusiasts. William Micklem is speaking at our meeting/awards banquet next weekend. :D

I just went to a Christmas party near Harrodsburg, KY. There are a whole lot of McMansions there. I would believe that there would be some good opportunities for design there.

Having the KHP within a 45 minute drive has been very nice. Within a two hour drive, I can get to thirteen recognized events. This does not include all of the unrecognized events. LAZ puts on an awesome event camp in Indiana, too.

Because my DH was in the FBI, we have lived in Alabama, Memphis, TN, New Jersey, Maryland (near DC), near Cleveland and retired in KY. For horse events, I liked living in Maryland, but the traffic was terrible. I like KY and the traffic is usually (except when 40 cars wreck on black ice just past your exit on I-75 South, like they did on Monday :eek:) pretty good.

I would give this area a look see. :yes:

baxtersmom
Jan. 5, 2012, 09:56 AM
I feel really lucky to live and event in Southeast Michigan. I live in Ann Arbor, used to work there, now work in Detroit. My 40+ mile commute takes me 35-47 minutes, which is not ideal but totally doable. No matter what part of the metro area you work in, there are great places to live/ride near to all of them.

If you can deal with the weather (hot in summer, cold in winter, glorious in fall), we have great people, a super local organization (TEAM), a lot of great events, both USEA and TEAM recognized, a range of venues (easy courses to some of the toughest in the country), and are within reasonable driving distance (<6 hours) to events all over area VIII (Kentucky, Ohio, W. Pennsylvania) and even Chicago etc.

JER
Jan. 5, 2012, 11:28 AM
Nashville -- definitely check it out.

Nashville is a good city for a young person. It has a good mix of business, creative and academic stuff going on, and the surrounding countryside is accessible and gorgeous. Weather is negligible.

There's not a huge eventing scene but there are some COTHers there and, in addition to HTs close by (like the Pony Club one), River Glen and Kentucky Horse Park are an easy 3 hour drive.

subk
Jan. 5, 2012, 12:45 PM
There's not a huge eventing scene but there are some COTHers there and, in addition to HTs close by (like the Pony Club one), River Glen and Kentucky Horse Park are an easy 3 hour drive.
Not a huge eventing scene specifically, but certainly a huge English riding scene and tradition. Most people are completely unaware of how very horsey this area is.

Tres grey if you coming to check Nashville out I'd be happy to help, just PM and let me know when you're coming. (Don't forget publishing is one of our top industries and Nashville knows your education--just having an Auburn book will open many doors here.)

tres grey
Jan. 5, 2012, 01:43 PM
Wow, y'all have given me a lot to think about! Thank you so much for all the advice and suggestions. I also really appreciate those who are designers who shared their experiences.

The midwest sounds like it has some interesting opportunities, both career and riding wise. And I like the fact that it is further north! If there is one thing I cannot stand is hot, hot summers. I like to think that I'm not a cold wimp at all, but I think its by southern standards. Leahandpie is right; if I'd like to a large design mecca it would be Minneapolis. I've never visited there before (or actually any of the midwest), but I'm nervous about the severe temperature change. Northerners, what do you do in the winter time? Indoor arena? Time off? Can you even get out to the barn with ice and snow? I know they clear it, but what about those country roads? I'm sorry for the naivety, but I'm a southern girl born and raised. I have no clue how to handle real winter! Let alone riding in it.

Nashville and Charlotte also sound promising, especially since they're just a little bit further north, but still south. Haha! I'd absolutely love to include Kentucky in there as well, but after some searching, I don't think it has many opportunities for designers. Such a bummer because its completely drool-worthy horse country. I get jealous every time I go up for Rolex!

I know I probably won't be able to fully get back into horses for a few years while I'm starting out. What comforts me is choosing a place to live is where horses will be a quick drive away. I know it sounds silly to some of you who dropped everything riding wise for several years, but I spent a solid 6 months where I did not ride. At all. It KILLED me. (As I'm sure it did you!) I caught myself getting a little moody haha. Riding is a stress reliever, and as long as I'm around it in some capacity, I'll be happy as I build my career. I'm totally cool with starting out with a half lease and working my way up to horse ownership over many years; I just want to have horses somewhat close by. And what better way than to surround yourself with some good eventers. ;)

Deltawave and Subk, thank you for your kind offers. I'll be sure to make contact with y'all if I ever make my way up to your areas.

tarheelmd07
Jan. 5, 2012, 01:57 PM
If you were enticed by the DC area, how about Baltimore? Lots of riding options and nice barns - especially north of the city - and there's a lot to do in Baltimore itself (plus DC is right down the road). I lived and worked downtown and kept my horses north of the city for my first 2 years in the area and it was very do-able (a big key is if you can avoid long stretches of the Baltimore beltway on your commute). As far as access to events - you could compete at a recognized event almost every weekend without driving more than 3hrs...and could have a pretty full season with less than a 2hr drive. Lots of unrecognized stuff too!

I live closer to DC now, and traffic is a whole different story down there. If you decide to come check out the area, I'd be happy to show you around!

Kodidog763
Jan. 5, 2012, 02:02 PM
I live & work in the suburbs of MSP, so I can't really speak to the commute (it takes me around 30 minutes to get from my outer ring suburb to an inner ring suburb in rush hour).

Regarding living with the cold in the winter and temp changes. It gets cold here over the winter. Last year I had one horse at a heated barn with a heated indoor. I rode all winter wearing a vest and long sleeve shirt! My other two horses were at an unheated barn with an unheated/uninsulated arena. I didn't ride them between late December and probably late February, early March. This winter has been unusual - we are in the mid 40's today - I plan to ride tonight. Crazy! We are used to snow here and cities plow/salt the roads pretty quickly. You won't want to go anywhere in a blizzard, but the roads will be pretty passable within a reasonable time after the snow stops.

The summers can be hot & humid in July/August, but it's typically a few days strung together and not the whole month. The uninsulated barn would get quite hot, so I ride early in the morning or late at night. The insulated barn has ceiling fans and stayed quite cool and I could ride any time.

There is a large horse population/community in MN. There are eventing barns on both the east side and west side of the Twin Cities. If you live in Minneapolis, your drive will be longer to get to a barn than if you live in a suburb.

jn4jenny
Jan. 5, 2012, 07:38 PM
Northerners, what do you do in the winter time? Indoor arena? Time off? Can you even get out to the barn with ice and snow? I know they clear it, but what about those country roads? I'm sorry for the naivety, but I'm a southern girl born and raised. I have no clue how to handle real winter! Let alone riding in it.

From a girl who grew up in Hawaii, Tennessee, and Virginia and ended up in Ohio and Ann Arbor:

You board somewhere with an indoor arena, or you pull shoes and give your horse a mental break. You buy a crapton of technical fabrics--wicking microfiber base layers, Wind Pro fleece breeches and fitted fleeces, waterproof winter shell jackets, quarter sheets and good wool or Thermatex coolers for your horse. You learn to ride outside at least until the ground freezes and sometimes thereafter--in Ann Arbor, that was generally around mid to late November. Here in Columbus, Ohio, that is typically toward the end of December. If you are hardcore, you might also foxhunt all winter.

There is, naturally, the problem of trainers going south. But honestly that's a problem in Virginia, Kentucky, and other non-extreme northern climates too. The big names go south no matter where you're from. But someone riding Novice/Training/Prelim can easily make arrangements for the winter--or just work with a dressage and/or jumping specialist for the winter. Or pull shoes and just hack for a few months.

Of course you can get out to the barn in the ice and snow. If you drive front-wheel drive, you go to the hardware store and spend $8 on 70-pound tubes of tubesand to place in your trunk behind your back wheels. My husband has driven FWD for pretty much his whole life, and he's from Rochester, NY so he knows snow. Or you buy a 4WD or AWD vehicle. Here in Ohio, the country roads are almost always paved. That might sound like a sweeter deal than Michigan's mostly unpaved country roads, but you could hack a long way on unpaved country roads without the expense of drilling and tapping.

I am still a moderate-climate girl at heart, but I have learned to deal with the cold. Honestly, I am less cold here in Ohio than I was growing up in Virginia. Virginia is just far enough south to be that wet icky cold, like 30 degrees with a cold sleety rain that chills right down to the bone. You can dress yourself against dry cold; you can't dress against wet cold. My personal tolerance is still about 15 degrees and up, but the existence of many happy Canadian horse owners suggests that you can learn to tolerate a lot worse. ;)

Ibex
Jan. 5, 2012, 10:23 PM
Don't forget about Telecommuting! I live outside the city, close to my horse, and the commute in would be horrible if I did it daily. One day a week? Easy peasy.

lovehors86
Jan. 5, 2012, 10:53 PM
Madison is actually an awesome little town. There is NO traffic (at least not by my Chicago standards). There is a good deal of growth here. It makes the top 10 list for numerous things (most educated, most stable economy, etc.). AND I was able to fit my horse into everything too. There are not many "eventing" barns here, but there are a lot of trainers that travel to the area.

I moved here several years ago straight out of college for my then bf, now husband,'s job. I am shockingly impressed with the city, and I don't foresee us leaving anytime soon.

mademoiselle
Jan. 5, 2012, 10:55 PM
Florida, Florida, Florida ...

I lived in Atlanta and Michigan and while I loved it up there, I would not move back up. No thanks.:winkgrin:

Life is so much more relaxed here, footing is always good, there are many upper level riders to have access to, you can school XC all year long ...
It's a no brainer:yes:

rennyben
Jan. 5, 2012, 11:41 PM
OP -- I appreciate your starry-eyed thinking -- but I think, right now, if you can get a job paying a decent salary doing any kind of interesting work -- count your blessings and just figure the rest out. Meaning -- go for the job - not the horse scene. You'll figure out the horse part once you get there.

--- written by a freelance graphic designer who knows a ton of others looking for work right now.

ps. don't be afraid of the cold. I move to Chicagoland from the south. I thought I was going to die the first couple winters. But you couldn't pry us out of here with a crow bar now. Cold schmold. The midwest is amazing -- what an under appreciated gem.

JP60
Jan. 6, 2012, 09:40 AM
Wow, I skimmed through the posts and from what I learned...home is where the heart is. :)

I used to live in the Northeast in previous life, just outside Wilmington DE and what those folks say is true, but there is a factor of location, location, location. Graphic Art designers are not job one in lower DE, and living can get expensive living in SE PA or Newark if you need to commute to Philly (a place for good jobs). It can get Sticky hot there in the summer, but winters are mild, I moved for job reasons (and I don't like crowds).

Currently I reside in the Upstate of South Carolina, near Greenville. From a city perspective this place is a jewel. They have expanded cultural arts through the Peace Center and BI-Lo arena. The downtown is a awash in art, find dining, and night spots. This is a growth city. It may not be able to match big city dollars for salary, but the cost of living is balanced.

Greenville, is within 2 hours of FENCE, Aiken (hosting three HTs), and only three hours from Pine Top and stuff in Tenn. Did I mention Aiken only a couple hours away where many BNx go in the winter. Anderson, SC boasts one of the best eventing trainers in the Upstate (training up to Advanced), multiple top level dressage trainers, a ton of barns within 30 minutes. Asheville, NC is just an hour away and that is a big art/cultural center in western North Carolina.

I do agree with the thoughts that it is important to establish a career, make some dough for a while, but there is no reason to miss out on riding, even on a budget and limited time.

Final thought, I live @ 18 miles from my office. Even in "bad" traffic it takes 30 minutes to get to work (I own a small farm, work as a software developer). When 385 construction is complete that should drop to less then 20 minutes. Google Greenville, you'll like what you see.

(this ad brought to you by the Friend of Greenville Horse lover's society. Please take a moment to donate a good bale of alfalfa or fresh coastal to help support this fine pers..er, group and horses ;) ).

Trixie
Jan. 6, 2012, 11:40 AM
It once took me an hour to travel 7 MILES in Boston, and then there was the time I got stuck on the Beltway outside DC.... Gahhh!

I can beat that. It has, on more than one occasion, taken at least two and a half hours - closer to three - to travel 7 miles. One time, it was because of a rainstorm (shut down, I kid you not, ONE two-lane commuter route). I am still counting my blessings that I was home sick the day that many people were stuck in traffic for 8-12 hours due to a few inches of snow.


Unlike some of the other cities mentioned, there is not a large public transit structure in place. While it's true that traffic in DC is terrible, it's only that way if you stay in your car.

HAHAHAHA.

Sorry, but that's just NOT TRUE. And I would venture that if you want to RIDE in this area, it also isn't applicable. Most of the good barns - and just about every eventer-oriented barn - are not metro accessible. And buses get stuck in the same traffic as the rest of us.

I commute from Old Town to downtown (by the white house) and my horse is in Fairfax County. I have also boarded in Accokeek, Maryland.

I commuted by driving for almost five years. It is soul sucking. It was regularly a 40 minute drive and on a bad day, longer. I LIVE SEVEN MILES FROM MY OFFICE.

I now metro most days. It is about a half an hour (the ride itself is 20 minutes), give or take, depending. I bike the mile or so to the metro and that's the easiest part of it. The problem? Our public transportation system cannot actually be called RELIABLE.

This week, Metro's blue line has helpfully had massive problems for three out of four days. This, of course, caused massive backups, extreme crowding, and it took me an hour and fifteen minutes to get home last night.

Another time, someone tried to kill themselves by jumping in front of a train at Clarendon metro. Rather than take steps to rectify the problem for other riders, Metro chose not to acknowledge it. They weren't telling anyone getting on the trains downtown what was going on, other than a "delay." This caused everything to back up in the Rosslyn metro station, which they then had to shut down because this happened:

http://www.arlnow.com/2011/10/11/breaking-news-incident-at-rosslyn-metro-station/

FWIW - all those people caused a massive traffic jam in Rosslyn as well, rendering busses and cabs useless. While I understand that metro can't prevent those types of incidents, I do think they could have at least gotten word out and TOLD people getting onto trains, so that they could have tried to find a way around it. Ultimately, I had to walk about a mile and call Mr. Trixie to come get me since there was no other way home and it is definitely not the first time I was randomly stuck on the metro system with nothing moving, because they didn't tell anyone there was a problem.

I then tend to leave that and drive to Fairfax County - another usually 40 minutes or so - if I want to ride.

My advice? I would think very hard about what you can handle.

I am from here - this is my home - but with the transportation issues, the cost of living (I have a good job and am still priced out of most of the housing market) and it's other downfalls, I am very seriously considering leaving here when I can. And my employer is NOT AT ALL flexible about telecommuting or flexible hours, unfortunately, which would save a lot of stress and hassle. That being said, the training and horse opportunities can't be beat.

Everythingbutwings
Jan. 6, 2012, 12:03 PM
today's fun on the Metro blue line - Washington Post:


Original Post:
Blue Line trains are single-tracking between the Franconia and Van Dorn Street stations after a person was struck by a train at Van Dorn Street. Expect to encounter delays.

7:55 A.M. Update:
It appears that this was intentional, according to Metro. They had no additional information yet about what happened. Stay with Dr. Gridlock and we’ll update you as soon as we know something
8:10 A.M. Update:
The person was struck by a Blue Line train at the Van Dorn Street station at about 7:15 a.m., according to Metro.
Blue Line riders should expect delays in both directions as trains continue to single track through Van Dorn Street. To try and ease congestion in this area, every other Blue Line train will run to and from Huntington. But you should expect crowding at Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street.
8:45 A.M. Update:
Blue Line trains continue to single track between Franconia and Van Dorn Street. Expect delays to continue
8:50 A.M. Update:
The person who was struck by a Metro train earlier this morning at the Van Dorn Street station has died, according to Metro. The train is being moved from the scene at 8:49 a.m.
9:40 A.M. Update:
Metro has identified the person struck and killed by a train as an adult woman.
10:05 A.M. Update:
Normal two-track operation is being restored at Van Dorn Street station. The on-scene investigation of this morning’s accident has concluded, but riders should expect residual delays to continue, according to Metro.



The sad thing? I had to search the Post as it is no longer linked in the local news. It's moved off to make room for whatever random weirdness occurs this afternoon in the Friday rush. :(

Wednesday's fun on Metro (http://www.wtop.com/?nid=654&sid=2692345)

Don't get me wrong, I love living in the DC area but I work very close to my barn and to where I live which is 30 minutes (without traffic) south of DC - in that zone where there is relatively poor bus service other than commuter buses morning and evening.

Need to drive on I95, Rt 66 or I 270? It is routine for horrendous backups to occur. If you want to live and work and ride near DC, you must plan what is most important to you. Be realistic and select a place to live that lessens your commute to work as you have to do that every day. The barn, not so much.

My cousin (dressage) lived in Old Town Alexandria and kept her horse across the river in Maryland at a barn with an indoor so she could ride before and after work.

It's a plus if you can work from home or have a flexible schedule so you can board farther out, go against traffic during the rush and avoid the traffic completely on your way to the office. :)

Trixie
Jan. 6, 2012, 12:07 PM
I should also mention that I have sat in traffic for over an hour and gotten maybe a block or two, on more than one occasion. Unfortunately, it's not like you can just park and leave the car.

Typical? No, but it does happen.

Doodlebug1
Jan. 6, 2012, 01:30 PM
What career options are you looking at? Could you get a working visa for New Zealand and check it out? ANY place here would meet your eventing requirements. Where I live I'm within 2 hours of around 6 major event venues and also have a number of training venues within 30 mins. I keep my horses at my place but lots of people rent and graze - stabling is rarely needed.

Apart from eventing, with two horses in work, I could compete 3 weekends out of 4 throughout the year, travelling a maximum of 3 hours (at that's for National championship competitions).

I commute 45 mins (around 27 miles) to work and most people think thats far too far! They can't believe that I'd be willing to travel that far each day.

When I read the distance some of you guys travel and the time you spend commuting, I wonder where you get your energy to go on doing it at all.


Ditto the UK. You could work in central London and meet all your requirements.

Wee Dee Trrr
Jan. 7, 2012, 01:26 AM
I've lived in Indianapolis, IN my whole life and I have recently decided that I really like living here. :lol: (as a young, soon-to-be professional)

I love the city and living in it, and barns are as close as 20 mins from downtown. LAZ's barn is about an hour north from downtown, and Nad Noon's is about an hour south.

We have 2 recognized and many unrecognized events within the state. LAZ puts on TONS of educational activities including camps, clinics, schooling shows, not to mention IEA's Novice and Training 3 Day.

The KHP is about 3 hours and many events at other venues within 5-7.

As far as winter riding, it really depends on your dedication and what accommodations you have. When I was going prelim and competing heavily I had my horses at home and traveled to an indoor 3 days a week during the worst months. Now, however, I ride when the weather is nice enough to and use the icky weather to give pony a break. This year I rode well into December without and indoor, and crossing my fingers for a dry(ish) spring. :)