As a hunter/jumper person, where would that be and why? I am in Ocala (which is heaven!), but I am seriously considering going back to school for another degree (eek! I'm becoming my mother...but I have a few more degrees to go if I want to catch up to her 5 masters and her PhD!) and while UF (Gainesville) is my very first choice and USF (Tampa) is close behind, I am also very interested in:
I may also apply to a few places in Boston, but I have a second home there and know more about the area (and the cost of horse keeping!) than I actually care to
So out of that list (and ignoring the two schools in Florida as my horses would stay on my farm), which are the most horse-friendly? The least? Average cost of full-care board at a training facility? Nearest LBNTs or BNTs? I have an A/O hunter and an Adult Eq. horse that will most likely come with me and while I don't expect to show too often, I want the option to be there if possible. I'd love the barn to be within an hour of the city and I'd like to live somewhere in between (I'll be bringing my two dogs, two cats, and my house pig with me, so city living probably isn't for us!). If worse comes to worst, my cats and pig can stay in Florida on my farm with my manager (my parents are also building right next door), but the horses are a must.
Thanks for the input!
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Windward Farm, Washougal, WA- our work in progress, our money pit, our home!
UW would meet your criteria...barely. Good barns with good trainers within an hour of campus, certainly. Opportunity to show at A and AA shows from April to October within a 3-4 hour drive (Oregon, Wa, and BC). Living on a bit of "country" within an hour of barn and UW? You could find it, I'm sure. Traffic in Seattle can get ugly. It is wet. A lot. And gray. A lot. But there's lots of good beer, plenty of coffee shops and your pig wouldn't cause a stir--heck, in some neighborhoods there might be a play group for it! ( oh, wait, that's more likely in Portland!)
Charlottesville. It's a great horsey area. There are some wonderful barns in the area and places to horse show withing a reasonable distance every weekend. The horse center is practically right down the street. I live just over the mountain and the cost of keeping horses is a little less expensive over here, but Charlottesville isn't too bad either. And having moved down here from the Boston Area (actually cape cod, but right close) its MUCH more reasonable down here
Houston is hot and humid in the summer (so is FL). I think you could find a place for all of your animals at a reasonable price an hour from there going North. I'm not too familiar with BNTs there, but I would check that out. Plus, you have the Gulf (although you have to go South to find nicer beaches, etc.). People either love or hate it...
Vanderbilt is a great school. Middle Tennessee living is very reasonable. Land and housing is much cheaper hear than a lot of places. Plus no state income tax if you relocate here. From Vanderbilt there are some BNTs within an hour's drive. That being said, this is not a hotbed of h/j, but it is here. Nearby Brownland Farm, which is a beautiful facility for shows, has shows probably every month. Most BNTs here also travel to Gulfport, St. Louis, Tryon, etc. Mid Tn is within an eight-hour drive from 80% of the US population. Plus it is pretty. . Lots of farms available to buy or rent if you want your horses at home.
Good luck in your decision.
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¯ Oscar Wilde
Well.... the right thing to do is pick the degree program first and then let the chips of everything else fall where they may. Grad school is too expensive to be an "also ran" to some other element of your life unless this degree is just for fun.
Anywho: With UCSF, bring your wallet and a tolerance for a commute. With all your animals in tow, you'd probably be happier renting closer to your horse rather than school. No traffic, you are looking at an hour in any direction (at least) to nice facilities. It also influences who you'll hang with while in school. It's a social-life limiting PITA to have to drive into SF every time you want to get together for drinks or whatever.
I'm thinking Woodside/Portola Valley to the south, Petaluma to the North and all the East Bay stuff in whatever town out there. Land is at a premium, so rent will be high for you and turnout pretty bad (by East Coast standards).
But! You can find plenty of knowledge in the SF Bay Area-- good farriers, vets, trainers and the rest. You can't get that horsing "infrastructure" in all university towns.
UC Davis, first west coast horse keeping would probably be a culture shock... but board close tocampus runs around 450.00.... there aren't many A circuit trainets in town (one or two)... but there are several with in an hour drive. Traffic is not as bad as the Bay Area, but Sacramento can be slow at commute times.
I didn't see Vanderbilt on your list but there is definitely one A+++++ trainer out there in Murfreesboro which is Hunters Court Stables who has a great head and great assistant trainers and a good program. Franklin also has a lot horse farms. However I believe they are a little expensive and may be a little bit of a drive, but the care is top notch.
As previously stated, houston has lots of A show activity (5 weeks currently running in Katy), big name barns (and smaller ones), and lots to do. I can't recommend College Station as any where close to a mecca of equestrian activity, you'll end up showing in Katy (Houston).
Houston Or Waco. As a Floridian, you are used to the weather we get. Houston is a big meca around the Texas area for A/AA horse shows and BNT's in the English world. I am in San Antonio and we travel to Houston for shows, as most poeple do around this area. Not to mention the cost of living is reasonable and you will be able to find "farmey" areas for your other area's whilst not being too far away from your school!
You'll definitely find horses & plenty of options for board and lessons around UVA, but not a lot of A stuff close by though definitely within weekending distance. The horse center at Lexington is just over an hours drive with a horse trailer. Having lived in both Charlottesville and Chapel Hill, I can definitely say Chapel Hill is less horsey. There are still horsey options - but not as many and not as much of a community as you'll find in Charlottesville. Having said that, I'd still move back to Chapel Hill before Charlottesville.
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