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View Full Version : Making the Move...help me rank these cities!



MakingItWork
Jan. 12, 2012, 09:53 AM
I have a few months to finalize decisions about which job to take (and where I will be living). I'm lucky that I have been given so many options, but I am more confused than ever. Quality of life is important to me, and for me that means riding and access to good training. While I realize there are many other factors to take into account when chosing a place to live, I'd like help ranking the following cities in order of most eventing-friendly (quality instruction and boarding facilities, preferably within ~30-40min. commute from the city in question).

A little about me and riding goals: I have a 9yo gelding, currently training at the Training/Prelim level with another rider. I ride at the novice level, but hope to move up to prelim in the next few years.


"the list" in no particular order:
- Ann Arbor, MI
- Dallas, TX
- Nashville, TN
- Baltimore, MD
- NYC, NY
- San Diego, CA
- Seattle, WA
- Charlottesville, VA
- Chicago, IL

Also, if you know of specific trainers or facilities in the above areas...please list them! I will be revisiting many of these cities in the next few months and hope to carve out some time to check out barns and trainers. Thanks for your help!

JP60
Jan. 12, 2012, 10:12 AM
You missed one on the poll "- Charlottesville, VA". I would have voted for that one only because most of the other cities will only bring you sorrowful and painful commuting options (besides much higher COL). After that, Ann Arbor or Nashville. I believe the approach is, establish the career, then shape eventing into the mix. You go to a big city and it will consume your life (starting out). NYC, Chicago, San Diego, and even Seattle will demand your time just to live (and before I get blasted by established people, I am talking about getting started).

I live near a small city (Greenville, SC), work full time, commute 30 minutes and my riding time dropped more then 50% compared to when I worked from home and I boarded 15 min from my house. Now I own a small farm, have three horses and by the time I get home, feed and feed it is hard to get going again to ride at 8 PM. That's in a small city with an smallish commute and horses out the back door.

From what I remember, you are in start up mode and everything is new. You want to event, ride more, be around horses more then live in a place that not only has the environment, but is affordable as well both in cost and time. I wish you the best in your process, but I'd get the foundation in place before trying to frame in the house.

MakingItWork
Jan. 12, 2012, 10:47 AM
Thanks, JP60. I must really like dallas subconsciously, having listed it twice on the poll (not sure how I can edit the poll entries).

You make some great points. The following is a bit of a whine-fest, so feel free to disregard.

I agree with the "establish the career" first advice. However, I can't help but feel some of the best years of my life slipping by while I'm establishing this career (depending on your definition of "middle-aged", I'm approaching it fast or am already in it!). At some point, I'd like to settle at the level I've achieved and enjoy other things in life. Although it is not uncommon for many in my field to work 80++ hours a week for seemingly indefinately, that life is not for me. In other words, I'd like to stay at this "platue" for a while. Maybe a few years down the road, I'll start feeling that drive to want to advance my career more...but for now, I need a breather.

cyriz's mom
Jan. 12, 2012, 11:40 AM
Well, if you really want to pursue eventing, then Dallas is not anywhere near the top of that list. Texas is a BIG state and we drive...a LOT! There are only a few events in Area V that offer Int and there are no Adv. UL riders have to haul 100s of miles to compete. There are a couple of fairly new venues (Texas Rose Horse Park and Feathercreek) so there are a few more HTs available, but if you're coming from the East coast, you'll be sorely disappointed in the opportunities to compete.

DFW is also really big, so you can spend a lot of time in the time. IMO, it's crucial to find living/barn arrangements relatively close to your job and in some cases that may be next to impossible to do. There are lots of people here who spend 3 hrs a day commuting (and if there's an accident, forget it).

Sorry.

Divine Comedy
Jan. 12, 2012, 11:42 AM
I have been living in Dallas for four years and moved from Novice to (soon) Advanced while here. I ride with Mike Huber, who is a really awesome trainer who definitely knows how to build confidence. He also runs a very professional operation that is used to catering to busy people.

Area V is pretty good for Novice/Training people. The closest venue to Dallas is Greenwood (1 hr) followed by TX Rose (2 hr), Feather Creek and Meadowcreek (both 3 hr), Holly Hill (4 hr), and Pine Hill (5 hr). The summer is SUPER hot, so you will likely not want to ride during that time (kind of like our version of winter up north), and there are very few or no shows in the summer. However, winter is mild other than the occasional ice/snow storm that usually lasts no longer than a couple of days.

Prelim people can also generally get away with staying in Area V, although going to the same venues over and over can get boring. Intermediate and Advanced is very tough to do in this area, although the addition of Intermediate to TX Rose (and an Advanced eventually) will help that. Generally, you have to drive 12+ hours to get to any Advanced event from here. On the plus side, you can get to either Galway or Fair Hill in almost the same amount of time.

Honestly, for lower levels Dallas is fine, for upper levels, I don't really recommend.

Ajierene
Jan. 12, 2012, 11:48 AM
I picked Baltimore as the best option, but I have limited experience living anywhere outside of NJ/DE/MD/PA area.

That being said, I live in Fair Hill, about an hour north of Baltimore. An hour north of me is Plantation Field, about an hour and half is Bucks County Horse Park and NJ Horse Park is about 2 hours. About two hours south of me is Morven Park, about an hour is Maryland Horse Park and another venue who's name escapes me now. Obviously, Fair Hill is right in my backyard (literally). There are a number of great trainers and clinic opportunities as well. If you look up my thread on clinics over the winter, you will see a lot of farms near Baltimore listing clinics.

Commuting outside of Baltimore, into the city, is also not so bad - not as bad as some other cities. There is traffic, but my experience with rush hour traffic is not to horrific (adds maybe 15 min to my commute, when I go to Baltimore).

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 12, 2012, 12:24 PM
Baltimore really isn't bad. As a city, it has some good (and some bad) areas--as do most cities. You are close to DC...not to farm from NYC.

There is MAJOR horse country pretty close by. You could live either near work or near your horse.

From a competing perspective....a ton of choices. From quality starter trials to top level *** events. You could compete entire seasons at Prelim and below without EVER stabling over night (the number of shows--events, dressage and H/J-- with 3 hours is huge).

If that is an area that you have a good job opportunity.....you can certainly make the horses work too.


That said...for a young person....I have to admit--Nashville is a FUN town (and I think a few of the other places you listed would be a ton of fun to live near too). But from a pure riding (training/competing) perspective--of the cities you listed---Baltimore probably gives you your best choice.

JER
Jan. 12, 2012, 12:28 PM
That said...for a young person....I have to admit--Nashville is a FUN town. But from a pure riding (training/competing) perspective--of the cities you listed---Baltimore probably gives you your best choice.

Nashville is a very livable city. Easy access to horse country, although the eventing community isn't all that big. But it makes up for what it lacks in quantity with quality -- BBers like Cookie Pony and subk live there.

(I'll also say that Nashville is fun at any age. The music community is now very concentrated there and just about every aging pop/rock/country musician/producer/songwriter seems to be living in Nashville. :))

bornfreenowexpensive
Jan. 12, 2012, 12:39 PM
Nashville is a very livable city. Easy access to horse country, although the eventing community isn't all that big. But it makes up for what it lacks in quantity with quality -- BBers like Cookie Pony and subk live there.

(I'll also say that Nashville is fun at any age. The music community is now very concentrated there and just about every aging pop/rock/country musician/producer/songwriter seems to be living in Nashville. :))


I should change my post....*I* had fun there too and I'm certainly not that young;)

Honestly...Other than NYC...I think the OP could make the horses work from any of the posted cities. (and my bias against NYC could just be me...I go to NYC a lot for work and I couldn't live there but I know people who do live there and love it.)

IFG
Jan. 12, 2012, 12:49 PM
Skip NYC. I worked in the city and evented off Long Island in the 1980's. It was expensive then, more so now. I would try Baltimore or (not listed) Philadelphia.

MakingItWork
Jan. 12, 2012, 01:41 PM
Thanks for the responses and for voting!! So far, Baltimore seems to be highly rated. For those that are familiar with the eventing scene in Baltimore, any suggestions for top trainers in the area (I am very serious about progressing with my current horse)?

My work schedule is such that there may be times when I can only make it to the barn once or twice in a month. So in addition to a trainer that enjoys/is good at teaching adult amatures, I need to be able to trust him/her with training/care of my horse during the months that I may not be present much.

Oberon13
Jan. 12, 2012, 02:33 PM
Even though it's not on the poll, I vote for Charlottesville, VA. Hubby and I wanted to move there before we moved to western North Carolina - it's a fantastic little town and a beautiful area of Virginia. You're less than an hour from the Virginia Horse Center...easy driving distance of MANY events and great trainers to ride with in all disciplines. You're close enough to NC to do Southern Pines, the Ark, etc. Did I mention that it's gorgeous? Such a beautiful area...

LexInVA
Jan. 12, 2012, 02:40 PM
First and foremost, pick a location that has numerous opportunities for your career. That means you could do what you are doing for multiple prospective employers in your field of work and not just the only game in town for whatever it is you are doing.

Angelico
Jan. 12, 2012, 02:47 PM
I voted Seattle and Baltimore, now I present, my reasoning...

Baltimore, LOTS of good trainers and facilities, and hey, the East Coast is super easy to get around, as in you are right next door to states with the best of the best. There is a reason most of the big wigs come from the east.


Seattle- Washington is getting a decent colony of barns up there (or we are hearing a lot more from the people up that way, because honestly until about ten years ago I didn't know there were horse people in that area). The weather is nice (if like me, you despise anything above 70 degrees). Lastly, my main reason for picking Seattle is because it is currently the city with the lowest cost of living, and the job market is ripe.

Texas is great if you like heat, humidity, ASTRONOMICAL property taxes, driving 5 hours to a decent venue, and 3 for a decent trainer.

gottagrey
Jan. 12, 2012, 02:49 PM
Well depends on what the job offers including salary & benefits.

I would put Charlottesville at the top of the list, normally I would also say Baltimore but MD's state and local officials seem to be hellbent on ruining the state. Charlottesville is a pretty horsey area and would be easy to get to many events in Area II and the cost of living shouldl be fairly reasonable.

Baltimore would also provide good access to riding facilities/trainers and relatively easy drives to Area II events - in PA, VA and MD and Balitmore is a fun city. Close enough to DC but just far enough away to keep the cost of living down somewhat - except as mentioned above Gov., most state and local officials/representatives are wanting to tax anything and everything they can- but aside from that you would enjoy Balto.

Unless job in NYC is going to provide you with a great job and huge salary I'd move that down to the botton - cost of living is very high and that including boarding costs. Getting out to ride & compete might be more of a challenge. NYC has some of the highest taxes in the country too.


I would also think Nashville would be nice but know nothing about the horse scene there.

scubed
Jan. 12, 2012, 05:47 PM
I voted Ann Arbor. Little traffic. Short drives to barns. Lots of great competition venues. The downside is no local BNTs, if you care about that. But super trainers who have done the ULs and excellent clinicians come regularly to several local venues. Costs quite reasonable. I highly recommend Cobblestone and Cathy Henderson. 20 minutes from downtown Ann Arbor

JER
Jan. 12, 2012, 06:22 PM
Seattle-area traffic is brutal and would be a major factor in your life if you lived there. It's a great place to live so long as you don't need to leave the city itself. Otherwise, you might as well live in LA.

:)

vagabondrider
Jan. 12, 2012, 07:34 PM
Having lived in 3 of those cities, I vote Baltimore too if we are only going by eventing. I didn't really like the city itself- lots of areas with high crime & drug use, and lots of abandoned/condemned buildings even before the real estate crash. But the horse country around there is amazing & not far away from the city. An Otherwise Perfect Farm in Upperco is fantastic- google them for their website. If I were doing Baltimore again, I would live in north Baltimore county near my horse or halfway in between, and go into Baltimore city just for work. PM me if you want more thoughts or thoughts on other places I've lived on your list.

faybe
Jan. 12, 2012, 09:11 PM
I voted Ann Arbor. Little traffic. Short drives to barns. Lots of great competition venues. The downside is no local BNTs, if you care about that. But super trainers who have done the ULs and excellent clinicians come regularly to several local venues. Costs quite reasonable. I highly recommend Cobblestone and Cathy Henderson. 20 minutes from downtown Ann Arbor

Second this! Jill Mooney is also in that area and does some teaching. Plus Ann Arbor is a fun town and while it's certainly no eventing mecca, I have found the eventing crowd there to be one of the most FUN and welcoming groups of people.

I voted for Ann Arbor, Baltimore and Nashville. As far as access to BNTs and ease of commuting to lots of show venues, Baltimore can't be beat by anything on your list, although the local traffic is pretty terrible. But there are thriving (if not quite as large) eventing communities that I know of in Nashville (Will-o Blue and Panther Springs Farms come to mind) and the aforementioned Ann Arbor area. As an added bonus, all three of the ones I picked are fun cities, horses aside.

I grew up eventing in south Louisiana, which is why I didn't pick Texas. 12 hr+ hauls to horse shows get old fast and if your work hours are not flexible, you won't be doing much showing.

I see that Charlottesville may be added into the mix- I would have voted for that, too! I went to college in Lexington, VA and there are lots of great barns in the Charlottesville area and you are still in that east coast corridor where show hauls are easy. And again, Charlottesville is a fun town with lots going on, horses aside.

leahandpie
Jan. 12, 2012, 09:34 PM
I voted Seattle and Baltimore, now I present, my reasoning...
Seattle- Washington is getting a decent colony of barns up there (or we are hearing a lot more from the people up that way, because honestly until about ten years ago I didn't know there were horse people in that area). The weather is nice (if like me, you despise anything above 70 degrees). Lastly, my main reason for picking Seattle is because it is currently the city with the lowest cost of living, and the job market is ripe.


Lowest cost of living?! Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the country.

There is a great eventing community there! Although, commuting from the city to a good barn will be 45 minutes- 1 hour.

DevilsAdvocate
Jan. 12, 2012, 09:51 PM
I grew up an hr away from Baltimore and highly recommend the area. Dont live RIGHT in the city if you can help it, but there are a lot of beautiful areas near by (Potomac anyone?) that even if you are driving through to get to your barn its worth the drive. Stuart Pittman is within an hr of baltimore, as is Janice Binkley Cole, Kelly Williams (A Bit Better Farm), Colleen Rutledge (Turnabout Farm, Frederick), Marilyn Little Meredith ( Raylyn Farms, made a BIG debute in eventing, wonderful for SJ training), theres everyone at Wardaca and FMF, Natalie Hollis (Bascule Farm), ok I think thats a good enough list (lol!).

fibbermaggee
Jan. 12, 2012, 10:04 PM
I live in the PNW and wish I didn't. I find it difficult to manage horses here in the winter. It rains ALOT and there is alot of mud. Turnout is difficult for about 6 months out of the year. Hacking out nearly impossible. I enjoyed my horses alot more when I lived in the desert.

kkindley
Jan. 12, 2012, 10:56 PM
Specifics would help. As in what part of these cities you would be working. Often companies say a major city, but you may be an hour from that particular city, but it's the only recognizable city in the area. Baltimore covers a large area. Where you would be would matter a lot on your commute, boarding, etc. Baltimore is a great area to be in. No shortage of shows, trainers, etc!

Justa Bob
Jan. 13, 2012, 12:31 AM
Commuting is a really big consideration -- it will eat time out of your day EVERY day. And gas $$. Smaller city with less traffic and good horse community. That would be one way to think about weighing your options. You can't make the days longer and you can never get the time back from sitting in traffic.

Seattle --- nightmare for traffic. Unless you can live anywhere in the near the city (telecommute). Then you could live closer to the barns. NYC is a blast, but really an intense place. It would be hard balancing fun in the city with getting out of the city to find the horse community. Again, unless you can telecommute! And expensive! Sheesh. Salaries were much higher for NYC jobs just to pay for cost of living.

Any chance you can take some field trips to help your decision? Also, is this a long-term job, or just a few years and then relocate? That answer matters.

Good luck and congrats on having so many options!

yellowbritches
Jan. 13, 2012, 10:39 AM
I voted for Baltimore but would say you could do well in either Baltimore or Charlottesville. Your riding would be great in EITHER of those locations, and you will have easy access to good to great training in either place (Baltimore is easy access to the PA eventing area along with a lot of great MD options. C-ville also has a lot of fantastic options and is not too bad to get to Middleburg, another HUGE eventing location (C-ville is pretty rich, too). Baltimore may have a few more very close events than C-ville, but you aren't far away from stuff in C-ville either. And both are extremely rich horsey areas all on their own.

C-ville gets extra credit from me from being stunning AND in VA (I'm a Virginian through and through, so I am extremely biased).

I don't know know a ton about either place, living wise. Considering I've lived in the DC metro area for 9 years, most of it in MD, you would think I'd be a bit more familiar with B-more, but, nope, it's basically something I look at on 95 on the way to Fair Hill and Plantation. :lol: Sad, actually. I'm a bit more familiar with C-ville. You'll probably get more of a small town feeling there, and it will feel more like a southern city than Baltimore (relaxed, friendly, hospitable, possibly a little slow to accept new comers, but a nice place to live- Richmond, where I grew up, is very much like that).

And, just to be obnoxious, I LOVE Chicago. I routinely joke that I wish Chicago was on the Potomac instead of DC. It is a FANTASTIC city and great place to live (except for the whole Winter Wasteland thing). BUT, all that being said, it is where I would live if I didn't want to ride and event...I would live there if I wanted to experience life, culture, good music, ridiculous food, etc....and if I wasn't completely terrified of Chicago winters! :lol:

wanderlust
Jan. 13, 2012, 11:06 AM
Seattle- Washington <snip> The weather is nice (if like me, you despise anything above 70 degrees). The weather is awful if you actually like to see the sun, ride outside and not get soaked to the bone, or prefer your horses not stand in mud for 8+ months of the year when they get turnout. It routinely stays gray, chilly and wet through mid-July. A few weeks of sun, then back to gray, cold and wet.


Lastly, my main reason for picking Seattle is because it is currently the city with the lowest cost of living, and the job market is ripe. Seattle is VERY expensive. Not NYC/San Francisco expensive, but a tier just below that. Housing is expensive, horse-keeping is VERY expensive, and food, especially fresh produce and meat, are very expensive. As others have mentioned, traffic is horrific. All major routes into, out of, and around the city become parking lots during rush hour.

The job market there is wholly dependent on what you do- lots of positions for software developers and project/product managers with Microsoft experience, and also in healthcare. Can be tough otherwise.

smay
Jan. 13, 2012, 11:22 AM
From all those choices, I *think* that Ann Arbor and Nashville will have your lowest cost of living. I'm in Columbus, Ohio and it is totally NOT a mecca for eventing, however, we are in the "middle" of everything, so it's not far to drive to any Area 8 event. And I can buy 50# bales of 3rd cutting alfalfa orchard grass mix for $4. So there. hahaha

NeverTime
Jan. 13, 2012, 11:27 AM
Having lived in 3 of those cities, I vote Baltimore too if we are only going by eventing. I didn't really like the city itself- lots of areas with high crime & drug use, and lots of abandoned/condemned buildings even before the real estate crash. But the horse country around there is amazing & not far away from the city. An Otherwise Perfect Farm in Upperco is fantastic- google them for their website. If I were doing Baltimore again, I would live in north Baltimore county near my horse or halfway in between, and go into Baltimore city just for work. PM me if you want more thoughts or thoughts on other places I've lived on your list.

I've been doing a lot of research on Baltimore lately, as husband's job will be moving down there very soon. We're currently in the heart of PA horse country and trying to decide whether we'll move altogether or, more likely, try to split time between Baltimore and here. I'm originally from Maryland and have little desire to live in Baltimore (for all the reasons mentioned) but also wouldn't want to deal with the hassle of commuting in that area. There is a train from the horsey Hunt Valley area down into B'more, so that offers some out-of-town options. However, with the real estate crash, there are also some nice-looking, recently updated townhomes to be had in Baltimore's better city neighborhoods for very reasonable prices right now.
Of the cities on the list, Baltimore and Charlottesville do offer the best horsey options if you have prelim+ ambitions.

scubed
Jan. 13, 2012, 05:17 PM
Of the cities on the list, Baltimore and Charlottesville do offer the best horsey options if you have prelim+ ambitions.

I would only modify this to say above prelim. I moved up to prelim on my OTTB doing his first prelim when living in Ann Arbor. There were lots of prelim events near at hand (and more now than when I was there. In easy range, Cobblestone, Encore [both local] Hunter's Run and Richland [under 2], Wayne [4.5ish], various ohio events [4-5], everything at KY horse park [5.5], and Checkmate/Grandview [7]). And there is plenty of good training for that level. I have lived and ridden in Seattle and wouldn't suggest it. The traffic was bad when I lived there and seems to be getting worse. I looked hard at Charlottesville when I took the job in Ann Arbor and think it is nice, but noticeably more expensive than Ann Arbor. Nashville seems a good bet and my friends who live and event there seem to be able to do a lot. If she hasn't commented yet, you might ask GotSpots about Chicago. She lived there for years, but I think it is getting tougher in some ways (several trainers who used to be there have relocated to Virginia, Florida, etc).

baxtersmom
Jan. 13, 2012, 11:56 PM
Another vote for A2! Love it here, great venues, trainers, local eventing board, within reach of lots of other events. :)

HUSGal
Jan. 14, 2012, 02:17 AM
Wow, looks like MD is way ahead in the poll! I live in Temecula, about 50 mins north of SD though and there is a huge horsepark named Galway Downs here pretty much dedicated to eventing, it is a beautiful park. Good luck in your decision, that is a tough one, but yes you are lucky to have so many wonderful choices!

brianhr
Jan. 14, 2012, 08:30 AM
Wow, looks like MD is way ahead in the poll! I live in Temecula, about 50 mins north of SD though and there is a huge horsepark named Galway Downs here pretty much dedicated to eventing, it is a beautiful park. Good luck in your decision, that is a tough one, but yes you are lucky to have so many wonderful choices!

So I can tell you I work in Baltimore and commute there every day from Frederick and really it is not that bad I can tell you DO NOT LIVE IN THE CITY if you move to this area. Move to somewhere like Frederick County, Carroll County those will probably be the best choices for you to get the best prices for buying that is not to far away. I live in Frederick and get on 70 every morning and usually the only time I really hit traffic is when I hit 695 and even then it's not horrible and I am comparing it to DC and Atlanta and LA other places I have dealt with horrible traffic. For the eventing I am not an eventer that would be my wife Colleen's deal but I can tell you other than winter time and when she decides to go over seas she events every weekend and she usually comes home every night and leaves early in the morning for events if that helps you with how close events are. Hope that helps.