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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2007
    Posts
    242

    Question going south for the winter

    I'm thinking about heading south with my horse for the winter for 2-3 (maybe 4 if I can come up with the time) weeks. This will be my first winter south, and I need to gather as much info as possible....where to go, who to train with, where to board (wouldn't mind a DIY situation), what events to enter, etc.

    I know Ocala and Aiken are popular destinations. Any reason to chose one over the other? I'd love to get some lessons from some of the upper level/great teachers of eventing.

    I feel like this is pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity, since I doubt I will have the chance to take off 3 consequtive weeks any time in the near future.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 24, 2009
    Location
    Aiken, SC
    Posts
    414

    Default

    aiken is probably cheaper and if you come during the right time there are so many events in town!
    http://i71.photobucket.com/albums/i1...7/PIC_0491.jpg
    Live, Cherish, and Enjoy every moment.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2005
    Location
    Upper Midwest
    Posts
    6,012

    Wink

    Please take me with you wherever you decide to go. I F&&&&&& HATE THIS WEATHER!!!

    [Sorry for the outburst].

    I hope you have a fabulous time and please do post pictures for those stuck in the north.
    Siouxland Sporthorses: http://slsfarm.blogspot.com/

    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2007
    Posts
    242

    Default

    Is Aiken cheaper at the expense of some significant benefit that Ocala has? Is the weather better in FL? Better trainers? ?



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 11, 2009
    Posts
    107

    Default Another vote for Aiken

    Aiken is much cheaper and closer. There are a ton of events and eventers. Who to train with is a personal question, I would suggest scheduling a lesson with a couple of trainers and see who you like.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2007
    Location
    too far from the barn
    Posts
    5,712

    Default

    Aiken has more different events in close proximity, lower rates for boarding, etc, lower rental/hotel rates because of HITS (h/j) people also being around Ocala rates there are higher. There are many great trainers, including BNTs Phillip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Allison Springer, and others and other very good people that are URLs such as Susie Beale, Kim Ziegler, etc

    Florida has better weather, enough events, though only a couple of different venues and less expensive airfare if you are flying in and out. I make it less expensive by boarding and staying in the Orlando area, which is convenient and way less expensive. In addition it is near GOHJA show grounds, where there are lots of h/j and dressage shows (not as big a deal as HITS obviously) There are also great trainers there such as Bruce and Buck Davidson, the O'Connors, Missy Ransehousen, Gretchen Butts, and the person I ride with in the Orlando area, Hilda Donahue (www.ashmoreequestriancenter.com) and many others. If you want to ride with jumper trainers, I think more tend to be in Florida because of HITS.
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2008
    Location
    Landlocked in Western Mass.
    Posts
    285

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NewbieEventer View Post
    I'm thinking about heading south with my horse for the winter
    Newbie - don't think... Just DO IT!! Life's short. Carpe diem & all of that. If you have the time & resources available, pick a place (Aiken sounds good!), find a place to stay, contact a few trainers (you'll be able to do more 'networking' once you're there) & GO!!!! I wouldn't get caught up in wanting to do events while you're there. You'll only be there a relatively short amount of time. Do the training, enjoy the weather, soak in the atmosphere, watch/volunteer at the events instead of getting stressed out by feeling the need to compete. And every now & then, think of the rest of us poor slobs skating around the paddocks in our winter boots to catch our fuzzy ponies so we can ride in the frigid frickin' freezer while schnoz drips down our faces & our toes freeze.....
    But don't feel bad....really.
    Whatever you do, or dream you can, begin it; Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it ~ Goethe



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2004
    Location
    ocala,florida....the place to be!
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    a vote for ocala(as i live here full time) lots of great trainers ect... plenty of events, and the weather is better. i really do love it here. and i am within 20-30 minutes of most of the trainers,
    www.camaloufarms.com

    ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan. 10, 2007
    Location
    too far from the barn
    Posts
    5,712

    Default

    And if Maxxtrot takes winter boarders that would be another excellent option as the horse care is superb and it would give you the inside track on what is going on broadly.
    OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2004
    Location
    ocala,florida....the place to be!
    Posts
    3,059

    Default

    thanks scubed!
    i am thinking about taking on a couple maybe. i just had a stall open up from a sale horse getting sold. would be more than happy to board a fellow eventer for a couple of weeks over the winter if i have the space.
    www.camaloufarms.com

    ride it like you stole it! "ralph hill"



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,729

    Default

    I've never been to Ocala but I sure love Aiken. I have an ULR friend who USED TO always go to Ocala. Funny, she's in Aiken every winter now and even bought a place of her own. There are hundreds of fantastic coaches in Aiken, the events are wonderful and plentiful, the food is great, the company even better. Come on down, we'll be there Feb. 1-Apr. 15.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct. 5, 2009
    Location
    canada
    Posts
    146

    Default

    Having never been to Fl I will recommend Aiken.
    there are lots of events and even more people

    http://www.aikenhorsesonline.com/home.html
    might be a helpful link

    If you manage to find somewhere out 302 (Wagner rd) you will be very close to full gallophttp://www.fullgallopfarm.com/Farm.htm, sporting dayshttp://www.sportingdaysfarm.com/ and Paradisehttp://www.paradisefarmaiken.com/. I think 2009 was Julie's last year running Jumping branch http://jbfarm.com/, but it is still an amazing facility. PineTop in Ga is also a quick trip and they have events all year.

    have fun!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2003
    Location
    Middleburg, VA
    Posts
    13,319

    Default

    The significant benefit for Aiken over Ocala for me is I HATE DRIVING TO OCALA. It is a long, painful drive. I will admit that my last trip there (which has been several years now) ended up being a very, very bad trip home (multiple flat tires, begging the Bumpus Brothers in Middle of Nowhere GA to replace a trailer tire right at closing time, rain from GA to MD, hitting the Springfield mixing bowl at early morning rush hour in the rain after 20 hours of driving...I still have nightmares). Aiken is cute, fun, easy to get to, great footing, and lots to do. Love it.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 20, 2007
    Posts
    242

    Default

    Thanks for the responses. I think I'm leaning towards Aiken

    Since this will be my first time there, I really don't have any contacts in the area. How did you set everything up the first time? I'm thinking in particular about horse board. There seems to be several good options from the aikenhorses link (thanks for that, btw)...but I'm not sure if it's a good idea to sign/pay for a place before visiting.

    Also, where do you get your hay from? I'll have some room in my trailer, but not enough for 3 weeks worth of hay.

    Lastly, does anyone have a list and/or contact info for the trainers that will be in Aiken area over the winter? I'd love to get input from people like P.Dutton and B.Martin...do I just email and request lessons for the weeks that I will be there? Not sure how this is done. I kind of like the idea of being an independent lessoner, and taking a few lessons from several people...though having some continuity (ie sticking with 1 trainer) might be better for me at this point...still trying to weigh the +/-.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2006
    Location
    Saco, Maine
    Posts
    4,729

    Default

    In a rush to meet the farrier but here's a quick list off the top of my head...
    Babette Lenna, Suzi Gornall, Carol Kozlowski, Sally Cousins, Jan Byyny, Alison Eastman, Heather Carlson, Philip Dutton, Boyd Martin, Richard Lamb...That's all I have at the moment, I'm sure I've left out a few. Sorry. Don't forget, the lower level upper level coaches can often give you what you need in a less pressurized environment, for less $$. We'll see you down there. We'll be on Redds Branch Road

    Here's a cool blog entry: http://theaikenhorse.blogspot.com/20...re-coming.html



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