I live on the east coast, specifically North Carolina Piedmont area, and have grown up with horses there. Due to changes in my life, there is a possibility that I may have to move west, to California to be exact. If I do move to California, I will have my own land and build my own farm.. etc. I have heard that having horses on the west and east coast is very different. The horses life styles are dramatically different as well, by the turnout they get, what they eat, etc.. Unfortunately, I haven't had a clue what it's like to have horses on the West coast. Even after doing extensive research, I have failed to come up with any solid information. I ride English and show in the hunters.
"California" is about the size of the East Coast, encompassing mountains, deserts, oceans, forests, valleys...from the lowest point in the United States to some of the highest peaks. Much like horse keeping in Vermont might be different than North Carolina, or Long Island, or rural Virginia, or Maine, or Manhattan... you might want to narrow your area down just a tad.
You will also have to have a LOT of money to buy your own land and build. Any place you might be able to afford that will be FAR away from anywhere else. If you want to be anywhere near where you can get to a show in less than, say five hours, you'd better be rich. As PP said, HUGE variation. You may be able to afford land way up north and actually have room to keep horses out in pasture and maybe grow hay, but you're a long way from anywhere. Most horse owners in CA have to buy hay all year long and few have pasture. Hay is, what $25 a bale, maybe 90 pounds now?
Are you rich? Do you need to work? That's kind of important to know.
Bear Valley is south east of Sac. So, you're talking Yuba City ish? Oroville? It's still pretty out there. Pretty dry. The Sac area has grown as a horse community in the past ten years a lot, but it's pretty sparse up there. Edgar and Rainbow Equus Meadows are up sorta near there. You may want to talk to him. Lincoln is south of Yuba City. The one time I drove into Lincoln, it was a long way out of Sac.
Depending on where you are, there are big shows in Sac. and Rancho Murrieta.
So you're talking Sonora area? You're an hourish east from Stockton--no shows. You're kind of in the middle of nowhere. There is a small, newish horse community out there. Copperopolis has some dressage shows. Chelsey Sibley moved out there about 10 years ago and I think built everything. You may want to talk to here.
It's dry there. They get snow, but I get major sinus headaches when I get into the foothills in the summer because it's so dry. I need a little moisture in the air.
Know only a little about where you are in the east ad where you will be in the West. BUT that said, the biggest difference, as noted above ^^ is humid vs. dry. That has a huge impact on the quality of pasture, IF you have pasture, same thing w/ hay, how you deal w/ horses' feet, etc etc etc. I looked at a mare for sale in Auburn Cal, a few years ago; very pretty there, in part because it was a bit remote.
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........
Auburn is WAY more in the middle of things than where I think she is talking about--on the road to Tahoe. I don't know if anyone has any real pasture in the foothills. My sister is in Placerville, and everything I've seen everywhere in the foothills maybe only gets some grass in the spring. Everyone I know buys hay all year.
When I grew up I leased a pony for the summer in Toulumne county, where we had a cabin just outside of Twain Harte. My mom skiiied at Bear Valley, I never went there but I think it was less than an hour away.
The ranch was an Appaloosa breeding operation, they had very sparse grass and fed mostly concentrates and hay. Around the cabin it was sugar pine and fir forest with manzanita scrub brush and very little grass. The ground cover was a weed about six inches high, pretty pungent and not bothered by the horses. In that particular area there were granite escarpments everywhere, which is basically raw rock at the surface with no grass and the occasional tough tree. As you got down into the creekbed areas the soil was thicker and I recall one guy had cows that could graze there. But the creeks usually were small and their little plains were small too. Of course the creek areas were the first places to get subdivided into housing, I hated that part.
That's all I recall. Granite, forest, need to feed hay, snowed every once in a while in the winter.
Looked it up. It's much higher in elevation than Twain Harte, and in CA snowfall is a function of elevation. You are moving to a ski resort town and you will have to deal with freezing temps and snow all winter long. It could be a great place to live if you learn to love trail riding, that's what I did with the pony.
Murphy's is up in the mountains. Some places up there have nice meadows, and there is irrigation here and there. How your horses are kept totally depends on the topology of your land. If it's mostly pine forest horses will be on dry lots and need hay year round, and will be standing in mud most of the winter. If you have meadowland with good sun exposure you could have nice pasture for part of the year and not as much mud.
I'm about an hour out of Sacramento. It's expensive, I'm paying $21 a bale for orchard grass right now, "grains" range anywhere from $20- $36 per bag. The weather is very mild where I am, we get some cold snaps, but nothing major. Might get into the 20's, a couple times a year. I have small acreage, there's no grass. So I feed A LOT of hay. Your lucky to have 40 acres, you'll have grass for a good portion of the year if it's good land.
I know that the diseases to be aware of are different from the ones in NC, but I don't know any specifics. Also are predators like coyotes and snakes a big issue in this area? How do you do your turn out, do you have dry lots or sparse grass pastures? Is there a rainy season/ buggy season?
Depending on the altitude of your property you may not have to worry about snakes. They're cold blooded so they don't like to live where it snows. In areas where we do have snakes its not the worst thing in the world; if you find one with rattles just turn around and go back the way you came. It's not as if they view us or our horses as prey. My biggest worry w/ rattlesnakes is when I have my dog off leash in a high-grass area during the summer. Otherwise I don't think about them.
Coyotes aren't an issue with horses although they could be for small animals or chickens left outdoors and unattended. I watched a coyote watching me & my horse last weekend. Its not very common to see them in the daylight where I live ...he was beautiful but not in the least bit threatening. When he decided we weren't very interesting he trotted into the brush. My horse couldn't have cared less that he was there but I think she probably sees them moving between the barns at night so they're nothing unusual to her.
For flea or tick born disease information you should contact a vet that is close to your property as these diseases (if they are an issue at all) tend to be cyclical.
As others have said, your biggest adjustment will be our dry air, especially in the Sierras. But really, 40 million people can't be wrong.
I don't know the Bear Valley area, but I lived and kept horses in the Sacramento area for a long time.
As far as diseases, the only thing you'll come across that you probably don't get in NC is pigeon fever, but if you have your own place that issue should be minimal.
There are rattle snakes but rarely do they cause problems.
Your ground there may be red clay (common in the Sierras/foothills) which is very hard to grow decent grass in, and gets very slick when wet. Something to keep in mind.
As Peter, Paul, and Mary say, a dragon lives forever.
if i were you i would contact UCDavis extension and talk to them. At least that way you will be talking to folks that actually have solid info rather than throwing random info out there
Probably you will have grass for some of the year, and probably you will need to buy hay for the rest - unless you happen to be in an area that has enough water to irrigate.
In most places in CA, once it starts raining it gets muddy so we keep teh horse off the pastures til it dries out a bit... so usually - unless you are lucky to have sand as the base dirt - you will need a sacrifice paddock of some sort with added stuff (rock, etc) to keep it dry. You will get into the routine and then it will be like you never knew otherwise lol!
Honestly - you can make heaven out of most anything - just depends on your attitude and "try"