Info on tack shops/horse climate - 11 places across the US!!
I will be traveling a LOT in January for interviews for "residency" type positions. Naturally, while my eye is out for career-related perks, another eye is focused on horse-related ones. I would be in the new spot at least a year.
Compared to where I live now, anything with even a small local english show circuit (we have ONE show a year here), decent boarding barns (with indoor, if its a northern place), an english tack shop within driving distance, and/or decent vet/farrier services would feel like I was in heaven! These places are kind of scattered and bring with them huge changes in financial, cultural, and weather-related stuff, but I've lived in the urban northeast and the rural southwest, so I'm used to adjusting.
Currently, the nearest english tack shop is 300 miles away from me, so I like to visit tack shops when I travel...If anyone has info on 1) tack shops local to the following, or 2) any insight on the overall "horsey" situation, please share! (I have and will continue to Google these places, but I think I'd get a better grasp of the horse climate from COTHers...) FYI: I do lower-level h/j and recently started dressage, but would be open to weenie cc, hunter paces, trails, etc.
Here are the places:
1. Battle Creek MI
2. Dayton OH
3. Cincinnati OH
4. Bedford MA
5. Roanoke VA
6. Jackson MS
7. Wichita KS
8. Albuquerque NM
9. Central TX (Waco/Temple)
10. San Antonio TX
11. Tacoma WA
Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
Tacoma is within driving distance of several ultra-fancy barns down to basic backyard setups. Talented dressage trainers very close, Brookwood Hunt is there, too, if you fancy riding to hounds. Tack stores abound--Olson's in Seattle comes to mind--maybe 45 minute drive from Tacoma?
Basically, Tacoma is at the southern end of the Seattle Metro Area, and has lots of
English discipline opportunities.
Economically and weather-wise--Tacoma is cheaper than Seattle to live in. No state income tax in WA, either. Weather? Wet. Never real cold or hot, and we have LOTS of indoor rings, so riding year round is easy.
Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!
Roanoke is about 45 minutes up 81 to Lexington, which is where the VA horse center is, plus across from that use to be Dominion Saddlery, but I think its Dover now.
Bedford, MA, not sure where that is, but southern NH is Dover, Wellsley is the original Dover...then hop over to Ming Sai place next door for some good eats!, Near Worchester is Smart Pak, and Tufts large animal vet school.
I'm from Jackson, MS (away at college now). Sorry to say it's pretty much a black hole for horses unless you ride western. There are no english tack shops. There's several hunter barns around, a little bit of cross country but not much. Decent pony club that I could hook you up with if you end up there (even if you're adult they would be a good resource). Helped one COTHer find a barn in Jackson not too long ago!
I, too, visit tack shops the way others visit museums when they travel. It's how I get to know what I need to about the natives and expand my cultural awareness in tackstoreless-land.
As far as choosing a horse-centric place to live can I suggest two more metrics for you? I just moved to a new state and different kind of economy, so here's the research plan I developed:
Go on Craigslist and compare rents for 1 bedroom apartments or condos in decent-sized buildings to board prices for top and middling (but acceptable to you) barns. Do this for each city. Together those will tell you two crucial things:
1) What percentage of your salary you will spend on housing. This is probably true whether or not you live in the exact place. But assume that being in a new place for just a year, you won't find the best deal ever on housing.
2) What is the average cost of horse living? In most places, board will be about 2/3 of rent for a middle-of-the-road 1 bedroom apartment. If it is more, know that everything else horse related-- vets, farriers-- will also be more.
Finally, when looking for barns or housing, assume you want both within a limited radius of work. Having no clue to the geography of a city, you won't know up front where cheaper, safer, most-bang-for-the-buck housing is. Then decide the time you will spend on the road and consider traffic patterns. There's no point in making a plan that "works on paper" only to find out that your 17 mile commute to the barn will take 45 minutes.
We only recently moved to Waco and I've spent most of the time we live here traveling to see my mom. But there is a tack store in Bruceville-Eddy which is between Temple & Waco. http://www.equinegoddess.com/
As far as the horse scene, I haven't found it yet....
Hometown: San Antonio, TX ; Current Location: Amarillo, TX
San Antonio is pretty good!! We have some really nice barns and a few great tack shops! Plus where the UT Health Science Center/Medical Center is on the side of town that has all of the nice barns and tack shops!!!
Our weather changes every 5 minutes. We rarely get snow (think 1986 was the last time it "stuck"). 4 years ago I went swimming in the river on New Years Day and layed out to tan. This winter has been a tad colder and wetter. I think the coldest we have gotten so far is 25 and it is supposed to be 70 and sunny tomorrow so go figure.
There are some super fancy h/j barns and some nice barns that have all types.
Roanoke is on the void side as far as boarding barns with trainers, with the exception of a nice dressage facility. You would have to look to Blacksburg, VA area for the closest h/j places. Forget an indoor as a requirement in Roanoke area-- there will be a few days here and there you can't ride, but the majority of the time is fine. Someone alreayd mentioned Lexington is close by for horse shows-- plus there is some smaller stuff in the Lynchburg area (about an hour away) and you always have Hollins in Roanoke with their schooling shows. Tack stores-- Dover in Lexington, plus there are a couple of semi decent ones in Roanoke itself, plus a great one in Lynchburg.
Saddles N Stuff. Pam is very nice and will talk all day answering questions about the area.
Shepherds. (540) 343-6746 The guy that owns it is a sweetie and will special order anything from supps to cavaletti for you. Tell him and Pam that Sam sent you.
This area could work for you as a lower level hunter. The SWVH/JA circuit and BRHF may be right up your alley. Ardmore Farm is a nice place, and if you insist on an indoor and a really nice place, go to Stone Bridge. They're about 30 minutes and 45 minutes from downtown Roanoke but there really aren't closer barns... at least none I'd leave a horse in overnight!
The farriers in Roanoke are criminally bad. Mine travels over 2 hours and is picking up more and more business in the area. If you end up here, I'd be happy to give you his number. He's absolutely wonderful.
Mountain View Veterinary is about an hour away but they are by far the best sporthorse practice around. There are some closer vets I'd recommend for extreme emergencies that couldn't wait, but otherwise Mountain View vets are in the area once a week.
There are several vets, farriers and boarding barns that you couldn't pay me to have anything to do with... if you end up here I'll give you the NO! list.
Last edited by CoolMeadows; Dec. 18, 2009 at 02:42 AM.
Please don't try to be a voice of reason. It's way more fun to spin things out of control. #BecauseCOTH - showhorsegallery
One more thing: Absolutely ask about best and worst barns at local tack stores, and the range of prices in board. They'll be the quickest way to take a core sample of local offerings. If you can find the store's owner you'll get the best info, IME. But just about anyone working behind the counter will be able to give you the lay of the land. IME, too, the peeps and bulletin boards at local tack stores will do a much better job of helping you find decent private barns than will Craigslist.
PHF is the exception, not the rule. It IS a lovely facility, I did a brief stint riding there. They're not really big on random visitors wandering around the farm, but if you are super bored you should totally call and see if they will let you walk around and look at it. Simply beautiful. It's also like 30 minutes from Jackson.
I'm not a lot of help, but know that there are a few good h/j trainers in the Wichita area, which is VERY horsey. Not sure about tack stores, but surely there are some. Housing is also quite reasonable - it is a very nice town with lots going for it. I know they just got listed as a "Top 20" city to live in by someone. My nephew just finished his residency there last summer, in fact.
i had horses in a Dayton OH 'burb. Its a hop skip and a jump from Dayton to Cincinatti, which has more amenities. From Cinci, another hour plus drive south and you are very close to Lexington KY and the heart of the Bluegrass. Metro Dayton has hunter-jumper stuff, has or had at least one dressage barn, plus has places to trail ride and a foxhunt. Cincinatti doubtless has much, much more. I am clueless about non-Western tack shops there, but reason tells me they're there.
Like what CalvinCrowe said. Only it's Woodbrook hunt not Brookwood, unless of course there is a Brookwood but I've only heard of Woodbrook. Okay, I've just confuzzled myself.
The Tacoma/Seattle area is hugely horsey and although I don't know of nearby tack shops in the southend, There's two good ones closer to Seattle - The Gift Horse in Woodinville and Olsens in Bellevue. Tons of barns in all price ranges and services, lots of trail riding to do or go into the mountains if that's your interest, a decent show season, good number of schooling shows as well as rated. Excellent trainers are here too and don't forget the Washington Horse Park is coming.
Yogurt - If you're so cultured, how come I never see you at the opera? Steven Colbert