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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2006
    Posts
    208

    Default Raising horses in Florida? Lots of questions...

    I have recently been thinking of relocating to Florida. I am wondering what are the challenges/pros/cons etc of breeding and raising horses in Florida.
    My thoughts are: grass all year long - True or False?
    Horses can happily live outside with shelter from sun - True or False?
    Lots of available shows, trainers.. really besides the heat in the summer I don't see any drawbacks. But then I have never lived there! I have been to Miami in the summer and it was hot, but not as hot as I expected.

    So please, those who live and own or breed horses in Florida, is there anything I should know? How much does hay cost? Are there any special state regulations? Limits on # of horses per acre? Do I need to worry about alligators or other aggressive animals?
    How hot does it get in the summer and how long does it stay hot? Do you often not ride because of the heat?
    Any other info would be greatly appreciated.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 2, 2010
    Location
    Wellington/Ft.Lauderdale, FL
    Posts
    391

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CenterlineGirl2 View Post
    I have recently been thinking of relocating to Florida. I am wondering what are the challenges/pros/cons etc of breeding and raising horses in Florida.
    My thoughts are: grass all year long - True or False?
    Horses can happily live outside with shelter from sun - True or False?
    Lots of available shows, trainers.. really besides the heat in the summer I don't see any drawbacks. But then I have never lived there! I have been to Miami in the summer and it was hot, but not as hot as I expected.

    So please, those who live and own or breed horses in Florida, is there anything I should know? How much does hay cost? Are there any special state regulations? Limits on # of horses per acre? Do I need to worry about alligators or other aggressive animals?
    How hot does it get in the summer and how long does it stay hot? Do you often not ride because of the heat?
    Any other info would be greatly appreciated.

    I am just a boarder at a barn, but I have owned horses for 11 years so I can answer some of your questions!

    Yes, there can be grass all year long, as long as there is proper maintenance of the pastures. At my current boarding stable there are 10 pastures that all have nice lush grass that are rotated and watered a few times a week. They haven't even had to sod in the past couple years.

    Not many horses live outside year round as far as I know, it does get extremely hot(at least in South Florida) and the horses definitely appreciate a fan in the sweltering heat and humidity. But the few barns I know that offer pasture board all have nice big run in sheds with a fan or two in them.

    The showing here is wonderful!! We of course have Wellington for "A" shows, and many schooling shows like Plantation Acres and the Posse Shows(which range from pleasure classes to hunter/jumper and dressage).

    Hay can be very expensive. 0&A or T&A can range from 13-18 a bale depending on size and quality, and I haven't seen Timothy for under 18 in a very long time. You can get lucky if you find a private person who gets semi's down here from the North who will sometimes offer decent have around 10-12. The only thing with that is if you get crappy bales, no return unlike the feed stores who will make exchange if you are unhappy.

    It really depends on what area you plan on keeping horses that might regulate the number you are allowed to keep. I know in Wellington, it's 4 horses per acre, but on the outskirts in Loxahatchee it is not regulated. It just depends on the area!

    If people have pastures that run alongside canals, I have noticed they put wire/mesh running along the bottom of the fence line to keep gators out.

    It gets veryyyyy hot in the summer, but you can work around it, by riding before 9 or after 5, you can escape the hottest part of the day! But when you think about how hot it is, just imagine how jealous everyone else up North is when we can ride outside year round since Fall/Winter is usually a nice 70 degrees outside!

    Hope that helped you out a bit!
    Samantha Werner

    There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain't a thing. ~ Will Rogers



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 1, 2005
    Location
    Floral City , Fl.
    Posts
    4,258

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    A lot depends on which part of Florida you are thinking about moving to. We are in Central Florida.
    Sandy
    www.sugarbrook.com
    hunter/jumper ponies



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2009
    Posts
    628

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    Grass all year: Yes, if managed right. I have five acres here in Central Florida, I have one sacrifice lot and two nice 1.5+ acre pastures. I seed and fertilize spring and fall and water 2-3X a week when necessary.


    Horses can happily live outside with shelter from sun: True. My horses are out 24/7 all year long. I have run in sheds and plenty of trees. I also bough a couple of those adjustable misters from Lowes that you can hook up to hoses and stuck that in the shade. I have run ins with a fan when it gets super hot, and you can also buy misters that hook up to fans from Dover.

    Lots of available shows, trainers: Yes, lots of trainers, in the winter. Lots of shows. In the winter. The drawback is even though it is nice during the day in th winter, the mornings are painfully cold!! I have decided it is just a different take on the mid atlantic. There it is nice in the AM and blistering hot during the day, here it is freezing in the AM and nice during the day, depends on what you can tolerate!

    Hay: Expensive. DO NOT FEED COASTAL unless mixed with another hay like peanut or T&A. Peanut is a great hay, I get it for $9 a bale and it is like florida's alfalfa, but not quite as rich. My horses have blossomed on it. I fed coastal and had to bad colics (impaction) that required university intervention. 4K later.....

    State regulations: Need to have health cert to enter/leave the state.

    Horse limits: depends on county, zoning, etc.

    Animals: Stay away from swampy areas, no need to worry about alligators!! Get a rabies shot.. if the wildlife isn't around you, there are certainly enough backwoods people with aggressive unleashed and unneutered dogs to get you. I've had two horses bitten by pitbulls while out hacking.

    Heat: HOT. Doesn't matter where you are. It will rain about 2-4 pm. It will will be monotonously hot from June -September. Ride before 9 or after 6 pm. I treat summer here like winter up north, they get some time off. Horses in Florida have the potential to develop anhydrosis due to the heat, so I am extra careful.

    There are no hills for the most part, hacking can be tough to come by (though I was spoiled by Chester County, PA).

    Taxes are expensive in most areas, make sure you do your research where you decide to move. There are lovely parts of Florida, but most of the average affordable places are... sketchy with sketchy people with those unneutered dogs and shotguns. I moved from the North and can't wait to move back!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2008
    Location
    MI & FL
    Posts
    791

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    A LOT depends on where in FL you are thinking of moving. If you will be in the Ocala area or close proximity, there is much more access to reasonable sources for hay and I believe grain too, Sandy will have to confirm that. We bring hay down every year for the months we are here in semi-loads and sell it to help offset our costs. It is not cheap to get hay to FL that is worth selling here...bales have to be big and clean and consistent. That is why the feed stores are so high...by the time they get it, it usually has changed hands several times. They also only see the product when it gets to them, not in the barn where they are buying it. Sometimes we wonder why we do it, it is such a hassle for so little return. Anyways, grain is a bit more expensive, and I wouldn't rely too much on the grass, especially if you are raising horses and/or you are anywhere near the coasts. Central and northern FL I am sure is better. Growing horses especially need more nutrition than what the grass down here in southern FL has to offer. We do not rely on the grass for any nutrition at all for our horses. Everyone does things differently, and there are lots of breeders down here and tons of breeding farms in the Ocala area especially so clearly it is being done successfully on a regular basis. I think most of the big breeders are in the central and northern parts of the state. There are great repro resources in Ocala, not so much down here in the southern part.

    We ride in the am before it gets hot in spring and fall (we are not here in the summers). You do get used to the heat, as do the horses, but fans are great for the stalls to keep the air moving. Bugs are plentiful...flies, spiders, mosquitos, etc. Fans do help with the flies too. Last year the flies in the spring were terrible. There are poisonous snakes and alligators, coyotes, etc. You will come across them at some point if you are down here for any length of time. They don't go out of their way to find you, though, so I don't consider them too much of a problem unless you start encroaching on their space. Fungus, mold, mildew, infection, those are your biggest problems I think, but can be controlled with very diligent care and good cleaning of wounds and stable areas.
    I would say the weather starts to get really hot in June and ends in early Oct but it can change from year to year. Last year we had a very cold winter (for us) and the grass was brown and dead all winter from frosts...it really never recovered until April. Summer is rainy season in addition to being very hot and humid.

    Shipping to and from FL is pretty convenient and not too pricey...there are lots of people shipping horses in and out of the state so lots of opportunities for sale horses to get rides up the east coast. There are a lot of people who spend a lot of $$ on horses that come to FL every winter so great opportunities to show them your stock if you plan to breed/train.

    IMO, any negative is cancelled by the fact that I never have to break ice in buckets, shovel snow, and put on a hundred layers of clothes to go out for two seconds!!! I love FL!! I would, however, put it all on paper and try to get a good idea of your costs first, because they will inevitably go up. Good luck!



  6. #6

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    I live in North Central Florida (half way between Gainesville and Lake City), no grass after first heavy frost which is usually between 10-15 and Thanksgiving. The grass usually starts popping out in March but doesn't grow much because it is our dry season, rains start beginning of June. I feed coastal with no problem but only feed tifton 85 free choice, this year it is $50 for 800 lb roll and $5 a bale. Last year was rough in our area over the summer, we had a month of a heat index of 105 - 115 degrees (temperature/humidity) everyday, some years we don't get in 100's. Last winter it was unusually cold and wet with temps dipping down as low as 9 degrees, this year it is suppose to be warm and dry probably only a dozen nights below freezing.

    Florida is a very long state so North Florida and South Florida are very different, the soil is very different depending on if you are living on the coast of away from the coast, some places are a sand hill and others you hit water when you dig down 2 feet. No gators except at the University of Florida and they aren't that threatening this year, we are to high and dry and don't have a mosquito problem. I dry lot my ponies during the winter so they don't totally destroy the pastures by pawing and eating the roots.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2007
    Location
    NW Louisiana
    Posts
    5,281

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    Where I live, grass is not available year-round. We get next to no rain in the winter, and short of irrigating (which would involve drilling a second well), I cannot keep grass alive in the winter. I've yet to see any farms around me that had enough grass in the winter to do more than provide entertainment for bored horses between hay feedings.

    Hay is expensive. I feed a very nice coastal, peeled off barn-kept round bales, and have had no issues whatsoever in 4 years, but many people won't touch the stuff. Even coastal is $6 and up a bale, timothy, T&A, or O&A are $15 to $20 a bale. I have personally seen more colics on people feeding only a flake or two a day of the northern hays than I have on good coastal.

    Property taxes are also very expensive. My taxes are 4x what my parent's taxes are in KY, and their property is worth about double what mine is.

    Personally, to me it's not worth it to live down here. I got transferred here for a job, and now I have real estate that I cannot sell. Otherwise, hubby and I would be moving a bit further north. The cost of living is just too high here.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 12, 2006
    Location
    Seville, FL
    Posts
    723

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    No gators except at the University of Florida and they aren't that threatening this year
    LOL!

    I'll agree with most of what everyone else has said.

    I lived mostly in the Daytona Beach area (Central Florida) until a few months ago (now I live in the Gainesville area, roughly 2 hours north, in Newberry) and there are quite a lot of differences, just within the state. Home was lower, more rivers and lakes and water, and more issues with standing water after heavy rains, land was overpriced and was being eaten up by subdivisions. The year the river flooded, I actually did have stray (very small) alligators show up on my farm.

    Two hours north and the land is higher, mosquitos seem to be less, gnats seem to be more (?), and I'd be shocked to see an alligator around here -- I'm not even sure where the nearest body of water is? The coooler nights also seem to average 5-10 degrees colder than when I lived two hours south.

    The heat and humidity in the summer is miserable, but you adapt somewhat. It's a nice trade-off for the more moderate winters, imo. I train horses so I have to suck it up as far as the heat because there are multiples to ride and work with, but I try to have it wrapped up by midday. You just have to use common sense, pay attention to your horse, take breaks, and I'll often hose before a ride as well as after.

    I don't know feed/hay costs outside of Florida, so I don't know for comparison. Coastal hay is not a problem if you're feeding good quality coastal -- coastal is actually very common. Knock on wood, I've never had a serious colic and I've been doing this (including feeding coastal) for 14 years. I'm paying $6 for coastal, $18 for O&A.

    Taxes were bad in both my previous county and my current county -- although since moving to Alachua County I've learned the joke among the locals is to "move to Levy or Gilcrist County!" where apparently the taxes are much more reasonable, so I guess it depends on where exactly you end up. Permitting and zoning stinks! The two counties I've had to deal with were both ridiculous about permits etc. For comparison, I have friends in Georgia who say you can pretty much build or dig whatever you want. Here, it's permits for everything, and 1001 rules to dictate everything.

    I really like the Ocala/Micanopy area. I love Volusia County and will always consider it 'home', but it is mostly overpriced and being taken over by subdivisions. North Florida has some very pretty parts -- like Live Oak and surrounding areas. Alachua County has pretty land too. Since moving up here month before last, I entertain myself sometimes now by just driving to new areas (and I got to see a lot of new areas while I was looking for a place to buy, too) and there is SO MUCH variability in Florida. There are parts with rolling land, giant oak trees; huge expanses of beautiful land; and there are parts that are entirely flat, covered with palmetto; parts which are just ridiculously expensive, and parts where the areas are very economically depressed. But that probably applies to all states, lol!

    Good luck!
    River Oaks Farm - home of the Elite Book Friesian Sporthorse Grand Prix dressage stallion Lexington - sire of four consecutive FSA National Inspection Champions. Endorsing the FSA.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 21, 2004
    Location
    Cairo, Georgia
    Posts
    2,453

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    Even though I live just over the FL line (about 1 mile) north in GA. I feel I can chime in here. I go to Ocala a lot for various horsy reasons & love the area. Beautiful country. Some very beautiful farms. I love that they have some of the Nation's best equine hospitals including some of the best breeding experts to be found. Some of the nation's top breeders, trainers & shows are in the area. Great access to feeds, hays, tack shops. Just very horsy in general. About every trailer dealer you'd want is there too.
    Can't help with the land cost, taxes, etc. but overall think central FL is a very beautiful area that can contribute to the ease of owning horses due not only to the things listed above but also, the weather. I keep my horses out 24/7 with run-in sheds & they do great!
    Producing horses with gentle minds & brilliant movement!
    www.whitfieldfarm.shutterfly.com



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2004
    Location
    The Redneck Riviera
    Posts
    3,908

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    Native Floridian (actually 2nd generation Native - not many of us around anymore LOL) here... and River Oaks, I am from Trenton (my grandfather had a farm called Red Dot Farm and we were next door to Castleton). Trust me, there are gators around, esp in the Suwannee.

    The climate in FL has been changing over the last many years. I am in my 40's and when I was a kid we didn't have such horrible temp extremes, and we also could set our watches by a brief afternoon shower (not thunderstorm) every day in the summer... I'm currently on the AL border, near Tallahassee and we had snow last year (not a normal occurance) and I have freezing temps every year now. NORMALLY we only have a few days of a hard freeze (which is hard as we really aren't prepared for those temps on a regular basis). I've lived in Jacksonville and also in Central FL and they too will on occassion have freezing temps - with Feb being the coldest month normally. But we can also have 80 degree weather for Christmas sometimes. LOL (btw - it was 33 at my house last night, but was 82 day before yesterday... )

    The summers are brutal. We've had heat indexes over 100 degrees for more than a day the last few summers, this summer was the worst and longest though. July, Aug to me are the worst months, and the heat doesn't normally break until around October most years. We generally have about one or two months (if we are lucky) where the weather is GLORIOUS, but it doesn't last long. The good news is that most of the horses adapt to it.

    Wildlife: I wouldn't worry about gators so much with the horses - I would be more worried about them regarding your dog or cat. Generally they leave the livestock (except young) alone and generally they leave humans alone.... of course as we encroach their territory more and more that changes. We have black bear, panther, coyote, etc also. And thanks to our wonderful weather (LOL) we can grow just about anything down here - quickly - and that means parasites, bugs, etc as well.

    If you maintain your property properly and rotate etc you will have grass (as opposed to dirt) but you wouldn't be able to sustain a horse on just grass throughout the year down here. You will need to supplement with hay and grain. Hay - I used to feed tifton and/or coastal and after having minor colics and then a major colic requireing surgery I don't feed it anymore. My horses get Peanut hay (google prennianal peanut) and I pay $8 a bale in the field for it. Timothy/Alfalfa and Orchard etc are prohibitevely expensive for me - I've never seen it less for $18 a bale.

    The upside is there are great farms, breeders, trainers, riders, etc down here. Fantastic shows all within close distance and of any discipline. We are a pretty close community - everyone knows each other basically LOL. And when the weather is nice it is the best.
    Emerald Acres standing the ATA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2003
    Location
    Citra, Fl, USA
    Posts
    1,883

    Default

    I agree with what other have shared....kep in mind Florida is a big state with lots of different areas. I am originaly from south Fl (Broward Co) and in my opinion this would be a terrible place to breed/raise horses...although a meca for showing and absoltutely fabulous weather. It is simply too crowded and too expensive for land.

    I now live in the Ocala area which is a little piece of heaven for breeding. Great land, lots of horses...so great vets, farrier, trainers, etc. Plenty fo shows. Hay is still pretty expensive compared to other parts of the country....but coatal and peanut are local alternatives that work for many of us.

    The weather is not perfect...in my opinion it gets too cold in the winter and is very hot in the summer. Previous poster nailed it that there are ussualy only a couple months of glorious weather. I also agree that weather has changed...the old days of daily afternoon showers seem to have been changed to frequent droughts. Hurricaines are also a reality although ussualy not a huge problem unless on the coast...but can be!

    As far as wildlife...your biggest problem is bugs! Mosquintos, knats,etc can be a big problem. Fungus can also grow wild here! Careful management of these is key and certain horses just are not suited to it.

    Overall though...I think it is pretty great.
    Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
    Standing the stallion Burberry
    www.germanridingpony.com
    www.facebook.com/HighlifesBurberry



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 15, 2006
    Posts
    208

    Default Thanks!

    Thanks everyone for all the responses.
    That is really something to think about.

    I would be looking to relocate somewhere near Wellington area, maybe an hour north or so. I think Indiantown is where I found some interesting properties.
    What I am mainly interested in is the issue of grass - it seem like the responses vary from yes, the horses can live off pasture most of the year to no, its barely good enough for anything. So now more specifically, in that area of Florida what is the grass like? I am not looking to throw them out and not feed at all of course. But over here (NH) we have grass May-Sept and with one acre per horse you can have them out all day and then I still give some hay in the stall or paddock at night and also grain as well. But the rest of the year its all hay and in the 4 months of winter you have to feed a lot to keep them warm.
    So with proper care, watering (is water free or do you have to pay for it?), seeding, rotating etc, could the grass withstand all day grazing and could the horses live off it with only a small amount of extra hay and grain? How many months per year are the pastures unusable?

    As far as hay, is it possible to just get semi's down from Canada like we do here? I can get a load of 800 bales from Canada at around $6 per bale. I know its a lot of gas to drive down to Florida so its hard to figure out how much that would cost extra to have it shipped so far down south.

    I think that the cost of fans etc would probably equal what I ahve to spend here - in the summer its fans as well and in the winter its water heaters.

    The fungus issue and bugs are something to really think about. I hate bugs and fungus is such a pain to deal with.

    This heat issue I have to wonder - we get heat indexes over 100s sometimes here in NH with 80% humidity. Its not fun, but somehow I get used to it and normally work the horses in the shade, hose before riding and take lots of breaks then hose after riding, stand in front of a fan and then walk once the horse is cooler. There have been times when it was like this for a week at a time. So its about 4 months of this heat? And the rest of the year is bearable?
    Over here I think its nice spring and fall, between 40 and 70 most days. Then summer 80s,90s and sometimes 100s. That gets pretty unpleasant in July. And then we have Dec-April when its just freezing and horrible, ice, snow, bad driving weather, salty car, winter shoes, horses slipping around, all that. I'm thinking I'd rather just deal with the heat for 4 months.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2003
    Location
    Citra, Fl, USA
    Posts
    1,883

    Default

    It depends on how much land to horse ratio you have whether the grass will hold. That far south, you will have grass year round without it going dormant like it does in the north central area in the winter. However, have you ever been to Indian Town? Just asking, lol
    Weather will also be MUCH better that further south...you should have a lovely winter.
    Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
    Standing the stallion Burberry
    www.germanridingpony.com
    www.facebook.com/HighlifesBurberry



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2004
    Location
    The Redneck Riviera
    Posts
    3,908

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    LOL, I'm with Hluing - might want to visit a bit.

    There are some horses that come down here from up north and have NO problems, but there are some that just simply cannot no matter what live down here. And it is due to the heat issues as well as fungus/bugs.

    The further south you go the hotter it will be - and that heat starts in April/May getting progressively worse until Oct or so. As I said in North FL just last week (on Wed and Thurs to be exact) it was 80 degrees with high humidity (was oppressive). 50 degree temp swings are common in the winter months (Friday night it was freezing temps). South FL will have more moderate temps - read that to say it will be hotter/warmer, but they do have freezing temps on occassion.

    Bugs are a fact of life in FL - everything from roaches (the "best" are the large FLYING palmento bugs... that always got a reaction in college from those that were from up north LOL) to "noseeums" the pesky little gnats that bite like the dickens but you can't see them they are so tiny.

    Personally, I do love FL and I've bred and raised horses here since 2000 and owned even longer with no issues, but it isn't for everyone.

    One horse on one acre out 24/7 with no hay during the day in S FL - don't think your grass will last. You will need to do a lot of pasture maintaince and will need to rotate paddock space (land also is more expensive the closer to Wellington you get). It certainly won't be belly deep. Even if the horse is in during the day (or night) and on the grass for 12 hours you are going to be hard pressed to keep grass. Plan on supplementing with hay to keep him from grazing it down. Semi loads of Alfalfa (from CAN, KY, or anywhere else up north) will run you a minimum of $10 a bale (and that was to NORTH FL - I'm betting it will be closer to $15 a bale to South FL - and it was T and A mix from TN 2 years ago when I bought it). You can do it certainly but thanks to gas prices it is very expensive (although cheaper than buying from feed stores).
    Emerald Acres standing the ATA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2003
    Location
    Hurdle Mills, NC
    Posts
    4,147

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    I worked in the Broward Co. horse industry for two years and my horse and I both felt like we'd moved to hell. He got anhydrosis-- which afflicts about 20% of the horses in S. Florida due to the humid heat, and I fell over from heat exhaustion during our first week there trying to muck out in the afternoon. (Moving from Massachusetts to Florida in August is NOT a good idea). Hay was extremely expensive: I paid $10+/bale back in the early 80's for decent T&A, $20 for good alfalfa. Thanks to the combination of heat, humidity and sand, colic, thrush and skin problems were very common: don't forget to add bacteria to the fungus and bugs! The only grass that seemed to grow well was extremely coarse-- more like monkey grass than pasture (or lawn) and would not make up into good hay-- even if the weather permitted proper curing (which it didn't). I gather that Central and Northern Florida are a different story, with Ocala being a good place to raise horses because of its limestone, but I still think of them as cool weather -- or sometimes desert-- animals, with hot and humid being the worst possible conditions for them.

    I think acottongim's description is right on. Some horses and people do well in Florida. I and mine weren't among them.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov. 20, 2005
    Location
    missoula. mt
    Posts
    1,622

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    I am a native Floridian who left South Florida for a number of reasons, not limited to the fact that my horse didn't sweat. There were literally NO decent boarding barns left as they had all gotten swallowed up by development. HOWEVER. If you have the money and can afford your own place with ample acreage, a nice airy shaded barn and shaded turn out, decent drainage and footing, I don't think Florida can be beat. Winter is paradise and summers are hell, but they beat Montana winters!
    I would, however, advise to stay well north of Broward County.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2008
    Location
    MI & FL
    Posts
    791

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CenterlineGirl2 View Post
    As far as hay, is it possible to just get semi's down from Canada like we do here? I can get a load of 800 bales from Canada at around $6 per bale. I know its a lot of gas to drive down to Florida so its hard to figure out how much that would cost extra to have it shipped so far down south.

    The fungus issue and bugs are something to really think about. I hate bugs and fungus is such a pain to deal with.
    The fungus and bugs ARE a big issue. And I love FL, but it is a definate harsh reality. Horses with breathing issues and horses with sweating problems and horses with what we call "the itch", just cannot live down here comfortably. In a barn of 11 horses I am caring for right now, three of 11 have "the itch". Body clipping and dex help but they never are 100% until they leave the state for the summer or it gets quite cool here and the gnats go away. Keeping white legs clipped down short and covered with desitin in heavy dew will help with the dew poisoning/scratches that tends to happen here with white legs and horses prone to it.

    I would think that grass would be unreliable on that coast. I feed the exact same amount to my thoroughbreds here as I do in MI, and they have access to more grass here than they do in MI. But that is just the way we do it, some people would rely more on the grass, but our pastures are never scalped. Most farms have wells for water on this coast, which come with their own set of problems (you don't want to be leaving the water on by accident), and you do pay for the electricity to run them.

    As for the hay....speaking from experience, we typically fit between 630-660 bales on a 53' standard enclosed semi trailer. If 800 bales are going on that trailer (assuming it is the same trailer), they must not be very big. If you are planning to buy hay to ship to FL, you need to pay close attention to the size of the bales. Many farmers will try to sell you the little kick 40 lb bales and charge you per bale. We buy our hay by weight. As for the cost of hauling, the trucker has to be hired, gas paid, pay for help to unload it, etc. There are lots of costs to factor in. Many people have said they are paying $18/bale for O & A and T & A, but if you buy from a private hauler or person bringing hay down, you can get a better price, especially if you can store a semi-load. We are currently selling hay quite a bit lower than $18 a bale, and it is O & A from northern MI (not too far from Canada). However, I'm not sure about Wellington as everything is a premium there and we are on the southeastern coast right off of 75.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2009
    Posts
    628

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 092556 View Post
    I live in North Central Florida (half way between Gainesville and Lake City), no grass after first heavy frost which is usually between 10-15 and Thanksgiving. The grass usually starts popping out in March but doesn't grow much because it is our dry season, rains start beginning of June. I feed coastal with no problem but only feed tifton 85 free choice, this year it is $50 for 800 lb roll and $5 a bale. Last year was rough in our area over the summer, we had a month of a heat index of 105 - 115 degrees (temperature/humidity) everyday, some years we don't get in 100's. Last winter it was unusually cold and wet with temps dipping down as low as 9 degrees, this year it is suppose to be warm and dry probably only a dozen nights below freezing.

    Florida is a very long state so North Florida and South Florida are very different, the soil is very different depending on if you are living on the coast of away from the coast, some places are a sand hill and others you hit water when you dig down 2 feet. No gators except at the University of Florida and they aren't that threatening this year, we are to high and dry and don't have a mosquito problem. I dry lot my ponies during the winter so they don't totally destroy the pastures by pawing and eating the roots.
    Where do you live? I am in High Springs, sounds like you are my neighbor!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2003
    Location
    Citra, Fl, USA
    Posts
    1,883

    Default

    While it is true, some horses can't take the Fl weather(my biggest problem has been sweet itch, but I live on a cypress swamp)...I find overall they do just fine. Even foals. I am always careful with foals, esp young ones, in the heat. But so far, no issues at all.
    Whispered Wish Weser-Ems: Breeding quality German Riding Ponies!
    Standing the stallion Burberry
    www.germanridingpony.com
    www.facebook.com/HighlifesBurberry



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 17, 2011
    Location
    Shelby Co. Kentucky
    Posts
    2

    Default Wintering with horses in S. Fl

    I have read what all you kind people have said to "centerline girl". I hope it worked out for her. I have some questions. I will be lucky enough to spend the winter months in the Naples area. If I bring my own hay, I am guessing I will be all right . I have a 27 year old Arabian and a young appendix. Does the change in drinking water bring any questions and do I worry about sand colic?
    Anybody else winter with their horses to S. Fl? My first time. Thank you.



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