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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2003
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    American Midwest
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    1,774

    Default Hunting in Columbia, SC area

    Hi all,

    My husband has just received a recruitment letter for USC Columbia. Early days obviously, but I wanted to get some feedback on which hunts were most accessible to this area and where I should poke around to look at small acreages.

    TIA
    Liz
    Lionwood Irish Draught Horses
    irishdraught.co



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    4,935

    Default

    I think Camden is the closest one to Columbia:
    http://www.camdenhunt.com/

    Aiken has, I think, five hunts. I know at least one of the members of Why Worry is a COTHer so I hope she'll chime in. And of course there's Charleston - but that'd be about a three hour drive from Cola.

    If you go to the MFHA webpage lists all the member SC hunts.http://www.mfha.com/memberhunts.aspx

    As for property, when I was at USC it seemed like all the horse people lived in Blythewood.

    Welcome to South Carolina.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
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    Default

    The Camden hunt is definitely the closest to Cola, and the members I know are just lovely, lovely people. Blythewood, as mentioned, is very horsey, as is Camden itself and the area around it (I'm in the Elgin/Lugoff area, which sits just about midway between Camden and Columbia).

    There are scads of small horse properties all around the area: Blythewood in Fairfield County is probably among the priciest outside of Aiken; Kershaw County and Sumter County are very affordable; Lexington County a little less so, but still not bad. Having lived in the DC area for 16 years before coming down here, I find the property prices amazingly reasonable, but that will depend on your own perspective, LOL!

    The realtor we used was excellent and a horsewoman with her own small farm, as well. PM me if you'd like her contact info.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2008
    Posts
    363

    Default

    Camden Hunt would be closest. They are wonderful people and the country is beautiful.

    Here's their web site: http://www.camdenhunt.com/ I'd recommend contacting Sandy Cushman, she also owns the most excellent Tack Room.

    Aiken is not too far away from Columbia (though further than Camden). Five hunts to choose from in Aiken (I hunt with Why Worry). There are two hunts down in the Charleston area a bit farther away and you could even make it up to the two hunts in Tryon NC. Lots of hunts with lots of nice members not too far from Columbia! I live up in Greenville and am amazed at how many hunts are within about 3 hours of where I live.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    Bonsall, CA- with my horses finally home again!
    Posts
    2,165

    Default Bumping this old thread, more for info on the non-horsey aspects of the area

    Bumping this old thread, more for info on the non-horsey aspects of the area.

    DH's job has a potential for a relo to Florence, SC. I'd already researched MFHA and found Camden hunt. Then did a COTH search and found this thread. Love that there are so many to choose from in the area! I already drive 2hrs one way through some pretty gnarly mountains in SoCal, so driving a few hours on the flattish East Coast sounds just fine

    I'm looking for more insider perspective on the non-horsey aspects of the Florence/ Columbia area.

    Best area for schools/ families- we have a 2 and 3.5yr old who will be entering grade school soon. I'm especially intrested if some of the horsey areas mentioned already fit the bill. What about areas closer to Florence- Bishopville, Hartsville, Darlington, Effingham, Marion, Sumter?

    How is the summer weather- heat, humidity, bugs? I'm from the East Coast and spent 10 yrs outside Philly, is it more or less the same?

    What about winter weather- does it snow much? Get below freezing often?

    Is this in Hurricane Alley?

    Any nice eventing boarding barns in the Florence area? I've been foxhunting for the past few years, but would love to get back into eventing. 've evented to prelim and my current horse has schooled up to Training.

    What is the cultural aspect of the area? Very southern, more cosmopolitan, suburban or rural, etc?

    Thanks in advance!
    ~Living the life I imagined~



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    4,935

    Default

    My responses are in bold.
    Quote Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
    I'm looking for more insider perspective on the non-horsey aspects of the Florence/ Columbia area.

    I'm a native South Carolinian, although I grew up in the Upstate and now live on the coast - but I went to law school in the Midlands and worked for a year in Florence so I'll try and answer your questions.

    Best area for schools/ families- we have a 2 and 3.5yr old who will be entering grade school soon. I'm especially intrested if some of the horsey areas mentioned already fit the bill. What about areas closer to Florence- Bishopville, Hartsville, Darlington, Effingham, Marion, Sumter?

    Mm. I don't have children, but public schools in some areas are pretty grim. Maybe some other posters can offer better advice on this score.

    My advice would be to look for public schools in the areas with the highest tax base - Camden, Blythewood, etc. might be OK but Marion County has the highest unemployment rate in the state. Nearly twenty per cent last time I checked.

    Or look for a good established private school. Word of warning though - check these out carefully. There are for-real private schools and there are workbook academies that sprang up during the early seventies for bad reasons. Stay far, far away from these. A private school run by either the Catholics or the Episcopalians is usually a good bet.


    How is the summer weather- heat, humidity, bugs? I'm from the East Coast and spent 10 yrs outside Philly, is it more or less the same?

    Oh.My.God. You know how people in the North just count on spending the worst of the winter months inside? Well, summer here is not quite that bad, but only because you can get up at 4:00 am and be outside until about 9 or 10 am After that, you'll want to be in the A/C. But that's only for about six weeks, from the end of July to the first part of September. I, too, spent a summer near Philly. Not even comparable.

    What about winter weather- does it snow much? Get below freezing often?

    It gets cold, yes, but snow is an extremely rare occasion and won't be more than an inch or two. The people I know from up north complain that it's a very damp cold, though. Our first frost is late November and last frost is late March. Seventy-degree Christmas Days are not uncommon. Personally I think we have great weather except for the above-mentioned six weeks out of the year. I ride all year long.

    Is this in Hurricane Alley?

    Google Hurricanes Floyd, Hugo, and Hazel. But don't let that worry you. I'm 35 miles inland and I never evacuate. Florence is 60 miles inland.

    Any nice eventing boarding barns in the Florence area? I've been foxhunting for the past few years, but would love to get back into eventing. 've evented to prelim and my current horse has schooled up to Training.

    I imagine Camden has some. I don't know about Florence. And Southern Pines isn't all that far away.

    What is the cultural aspect of the area? Very southern, more cosmopolitan, suburban or rural, etc?

    Depends on which area. Florence, I must be honest, I don't like. The people are very parochial and suspicious of outsiders. High crime rate. I think it has to do with I-95 running right through it.
    Camden, OTOH, I have found very welcoming - but then most of the people I know in Camden are horse people, so that may or may not not apply to the general population. The folks at the Camden Hunt are a very nice group.
    Columbia is metropolitan and not all that southern. I hate it, too, but that's because of the heat and the traffic, not the people. There's loads to do - University of South Carolina is there, and the State Museum, and a fantastic zoo, and shopping and art and music, etc. You'd absolutely experience less culture shock in Columbia than in the other places on your list.


    Thanks in advance!

    You're welcome, and welcome to SC! Oh, so you know - the crescent moon and the palmetto tree that you will see plastered on everything is the motif of our state flag. We have it on our clothing, our cars, saddle pads, porch flags, businesses incorporate it into signs and logos, etc. I mention this because that's the first question many visitors ask - what's up with all the palm trees?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 13, 2006
    Posts
    54

    Default

    I'm looking for more insider perspective on the non-horsey aspects of the Florence/ Columbia area.

    I'm a hunter/jumper but saw this post pop up and thought maybe I could help! I grew up in Columbia and still live here and absolutely love it.

    Best area for schools/ families- we have a 2 and 3.5yr old who will be entering grade school soon. I'm especially intrested if some of the horsey areas mentioned already fit the bill. What about areas closer to Florence- Bishopville, Hartsville, Darlington, Effingham, Marion, Sumter?

    Mm. I don't have children, but public schools in some areas are pretty grim. Maybe some other posters can offer better advice on this score.

    Could be wrong but I don't think Florence and the surrounding areas have fantastic public schools. Camden public schools aren't bad but not great. Most of the kids in Camden/Florence that I know go private. I grew up in Northeast Columbia (about 20 min. from Camden) and went to public school in Richland District 2 all the way through and had a great experience. It's one of the better school districts in the state but would probably be about 1 hr 15 min. from Florence. If you don't mind driving and want to live in a really nice suburb of Columbia then I highly recommend Northeast Columbia. There are several eventing barns in Columbia, Blythewood (about 15 min.) and Camden.

    How is the summer weather- heat, humidity, bugs? I'm from the East Coast and spent 10 yrs outside Philly, is it more or less the same?

    Really, hot, lots of bugs, lots of humidity. I haven't lived up north but pretty sure that it is far worse here!

    What about winter weather- does it snow much? Get below freezing often?

    Hardly ever snows, does get below freezing but rarely stays there. Typically makes its way back into he 40's by late morning. There are very few days that are too cold to ride and normally this only lasts for a few days before the weather is back in the 50's and even 60's

    Is this in Hurricane Alley?

    I've lived here my whole life and never had anything bad hit the Columbia area or had to evacuate. We would miss a few days of school every 10 years but never anything bad. Mostly lots of rain when hurricanes come through.

    Any nice eventing boarding barns in the Florence area? I've been foxhunting for the past few years, but would love to get back into eventing. 've evented to prelim and my current horse has schooled up to Training.

    Florence has surprisingly very few barns. There is one hunter/jumper barn that is nice. Really great people and trainers but mostly kids boarding there and then also a beautiful private barn that boards but also canters to the hunters. I don't know of any others in the area. I definitely think Camden, Columbia or Blythewood is your best bet. An if nobody else has told you, you will have the best tack shop ever, ever, ever in Camden! It's called The Tack Room and is pretty much the greatest place in the world.

    I agree with what the person before me said about not loving Florence. If driving isn't an issue and you want good public schools (or good private options as well) I would definitely go to the Northeast side of Columbia and just do the commute down I-20. It's an extremely easy drive!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
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    Welcome to SC! Mr CH and I moved here 5 years ago due to his layoff; I have family around Columbia and had spent many summers here and in the lowcountry, but never lived here before.

    Best area for schools/ families-
    No kids, so not much help here. I am given to understand that Fairfield and Lexington County schools are pretty good, and Richland is good. That will be of no help to you, of course!

    How is the summer weather- heat, humidity, bugs?
    Yes, yes and yes. I lived in the DC area for 16 years and the heat and humidity are comparable, but start sooner and run longer. Bugs ... yes. Nasty bugs. Fly predators help. So does good fly spray.

    What about winter weather- Lovely! There will be several nights below freezing, but NOTHING compared to PA. Breaking the teensy bit of ice that typically forms in my water troughs is a breeze. Very, very mild, and sometimes some of the best riding and outdoor activity weather.

    Is this in Hurricane Alley? Not really, but you WILL get some powerful t-storms and can get some effects from hurricanes even though you are further inland. Tornadoes are also a possibility. Invest in a weather radio and have a plan for uber-nasty weather.

    Any nice eventing boarding barns in the Florence area? I'm not as familiar with that area. Beth and Lucy Parsons (Fairday Farm) are in that area. They are active at local shows and involved with SCDCTA. Whitehaven Plantation in Bishopville is an Arab breeding and training facility that also has some non-Arab boarders; they go to a lot of our local dressage shows and events/horse trials/combined tests.

    Florence is not that far from Camden, which is very rich in good boarding and training opportunities. Many barns surround the Camden Hunt's trails, which can be used for an annual membership fee. You might be able to find a place midway between your husband's work and Camden and thus expand your boarding/training options.

    What is the cultural aspect of the area? Very southern, more cosmopolitan, suburban or rural, etc?
    NASCAR in nearby Darlington ... does that offer a clue? If you are like me, coming from a more "yankeefied" area, you are likely to find it a bit backwards (no offense meant ... my people are local on my mother's side, but it's just quite different living here than living in a larger, very urban, northern city!). But it certainly has its charms: traffic is virtually nonexistent compared to DC or Philly, even during rush hours, people are friendly and chatty, the slower pace of live overall is very pleasant. Suburban-rural to rural.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2004
    Location
    Carolinas
    Posts
    4,505

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hey101 View Post
    Bumping this old thread, more for info on the non-horsey aspects of the area.

    DH's job has a potential for a relo to Florence, SC. I'd already researched MFHA and found Camden hunt. Then did a COTH search and found this thread. Love that there are so many to choose from in the area! I already drive 2hrs one way through some pretty gnarly mountains in SoCal, so driving a few hours on the flattish East Coast sounds just fine

    I'm looking for more insider perspective on the non-horsey aspects of the Florence/ Columbia area.

    Best area for schools/ families- we have a 2 and 3.5yr old who will be entering grade school soon. I'm especially intrested if some of the horsey areas mentioned already fit the bill. What about areas closer to Florence- Bishopville, Hartsville, Darlington, Effingham, Marion, Sumter?
    No kids but we work with the local Military School. They take boys from age 12 and up and have spent the past 5+ years improving requirements, grades and number of graduates to college/university. The head master and commandant are both married to teachers. The head master's wife has done great things to improve education in Kershaw County/Camden. PM if you like and I will put you in touch with her.

    How is the summer weather- heat, humidity, bugs? I'm from the East Coast and spent 10 yrs outside Philly, is it more or less the same?
    What is the others said. It is hot, humid and buggy.

    What about winter weather- does it snow much? Get below freezing often?
    Yeah it will get below freezing. Normal winter cycle is to warm up (50-60's), rain, turn cold (30-40's) repeat. There are extremes where it drops into the 10-20's but it usually only lasts for a few days. 2 years ago we had a cold spell that lasted for several months - dropping into the 20's at night and only hitting the 40's in the day - very rare.

    Is this in Hurricane Alley?
    We have lived here 14 years without any problem. Of course one will hit next week

    Any nice eventing boarding barns in the Florence area? I've been foxhunting for the past few years, but would love to get back into eventing. 've evented to prelim and my current horse has schooled up to Training.
    I audited a dressage clinic at Whitehaven last month. The head trainer is a former 2* YR that has done eventing, dressage, endurance. She told me their current boarders are mostly eventers so she is getting back into the sport. The barn is between Florence and Camden. FYI - one of the Tack Room employees also boards here.

    What is the cultural aspect of the area? Very southern, more cosmopolitan, suburban or rural, etc?
    This area is a mix of Northern and Southern. Columbia is rather urban compared to the surrounding areas. Charlotte is 1.5 hours North, Atlanta is 4 hours West.
    South Carolina is all together different from any other place I have ever lived. I am a Southerner born and bred who has live in NE and on the West Coast. Life is never boring here


    Thanks in advance!
    Welcome to SC! FYI - Myrtle Beach is ~ 1.5 hours and Charleston (everyone loves) is ~ 3+ hours from Florence
    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
    Courtesy my cousin Tim



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2005
    Location
    Bonsall, CA- with my horses finally home again!
    Posts
    2,165

    Default

    THANK YOU all! This is great info. Today Greenville, NC just got added to the mix, so we have a few options to look at. Hunting in Greenville area seems further away (Rougemount and Southern Pines, both 2ish or more hrs away), but eventing opportunities seem better in the greater Raleigh area. I sure do hope something works out, especially since I found some amazing horse properties in both locations for extremely reasonable prices (says I, currently living in expensivo SoCal with my horse in a box with no turnout!)
    ~Living the life I imagined~



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2003
    Location
    Charlotte, NC, USA
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    551

    Default

    If you end up in Greenville then Tryon is not far at all. They have FENCE that puts on dressage, CT and HT. Greencreek hounds is right there too. I have not hunted with them but done a few hunterpaces. Fabulous piece of land and very welcoming folks.
    Pamela Ellis



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    Location
    South Carolina
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    4,935

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    Quote Originally Posted by belleellis View Post
    If you end up in Greenville then Tryon is not far at all. They have FENCE that puts on dressage, CT and HT. Greencreek hounds is right there too. I have not hunted with them but done a few hunterpaces. Fabulous piece of land and very welcoming folks.
    I believe you're thinking of Greenville, SC.

    Greenville NC is about 300 miles from Tryon. It's in the eastern part of the state - East Carolina University is there.



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