Costs: east coast vs. west coast (specifically VA vs. OR)
I'm new here. Getting back into dressage after ~8 years of not riding regularly, and on the verge of leasing a horse and taking regular lessons again. I've never owned a horse or leased a horse before, only ridden lesson horses or boarders (some very, very nice) -- so I'm very excited. I am 37 and am finally in a position where I could realistically see myself getting that pony I've always wanted.
I am currently living in an area where it would be rather feasible to buy a horse in the near future, as the boarding options are plentiful and costs are relatively low. I grew up in Northern VA, where the costs of horse ownership put horses into the realm of fantasy, right up there with unicorns, and I assumed I'd never have one of my own, so this is a real treat. I would love nothing more than to start shopping.
The problem is that I may be moving back to Northern VA in the near future, and the cost of living in general, much less horse-associated costs, is so much higher there that I worry I would just be forced to leave my horse behind. My husband and I make a good living, but I don't want him to be forced to take on all my horse costs, especially if they get very high (he makes much more money than I do). He is not into horses and probably never will be, so it's not like we could share the fun -- horses are my thing and my thing only.
Has anyone made this kind of move, brought her horses along, and lived to tell about it? I live near Eugene, OR currently, and if we move we would be returning to the Reston, VA area. We would not want to live further out than, say, Ashburn (and that would be pushing it) because it would be a hellish commute if I end up working in DC and I wouldn't have time for horses anyway. Yes, I know that there are horse facilities in the area, but in my youth they seemed to be either awful (lesson factories with miserable horses) or, well, more high-ticket than I felt comfortable at.