In four years time my husband retires from the Army. Being that we are planners (Ok I am) we are starting to look at where we want to live. I actually like where we are now, but there's a chance that my husband won't be able to find a decent job as it's a smaller town in GA. Here are the requirements (not in order):
1) A horsey area. . .Meaning I don't want to travel 3 hours to show or event regularly. (I currently have Poplar in my backyard and can head to Perry, Auburn or Atlanta for shows if so desired, but other events would be a trek).
2) Board needs to be a decent amount, I'd like to keep it around $500 for full board and under $300 for field board. I currently pay WAY less than that, but I realize it's a fluke.
3) Jobs, husband is a CPA and 20 yrs in the Army, I'm in procurement (I buy stuff!), so a place with manufacturing or banking is needed.
4) a good state school system, including colleges.
So far where we live works (if he can find a job), as does North Atlanta and I think Charlotte, NC (You guys can tell me) as that's where the headquarters is for my company so it would be an easy move for me. We're northerners but since his military retirement is fixed we'd like to get more bang for our buck in the South.
Charlottean here ! Second largest banking city, lots of manufacturing on the outskirts of Charlotte, just like any other place you need to work at finding a job but lots here - alot of people working for the banks seem to go contract to full time through recruiting agencies. Very large state university system - Carolina, UNC - asheville, greensboro, charlotte, pembroke,Wilmington, ecu, nc state, western carolina, app state - and a few smaller schools I am missing. Horses - lots of boarding options check out charlottehorsejunkies.com. Shows - 2 hrs from southern pines, 2 hrs from tryon, windridge, ttc, hillcrest, aiken and the fork all close for eventing. Lots of hunter / jumper in the area as well.
I live in Cincinnati, OH.(on the Kentucky side) lots of events within an hours drive-Lexington, KY Louisville, KY, Dayton, OH Johnson County, IN. Couple more hours and there are tons more. Many great instructors! And for the OTTB lover lots of tracks to visit for a new horse/horses.
I feel ya, as my husband is active duty and we are trying to figure out where to go next and have a lot of the same criteria as you. Our primary options are Fort Rucker (huge plus is that he would be less likely to deploy as an instructor pilot at Rucker), Fort Campbell (close to home and great access to horsey areas, but would likely deploy a lot), Savannah (I know nothing about), Fort Bragg (probably would deploy), and Germany (awesome, but I don't think we could take our pit mix dog). From a horsey perspective, Bragg or Campbell would be great, but after so many deployments (he is in Afghanistan now), he really doesn't want to deploy again. I don't think Rucker would be bad....probably not a lot of eventing resources right in my backyard, but not a bad drive to Ocala, north GA, etc. We are currently at Fort Hood so nothing is really close to us from an eventing perspective.
Middle TN would be a great option for you, as there is a big horsey scene, lots of nice farms, etc. There isn't a recognized event in your backyard every weekend, but you can usually find a schooling show of some sort about every weekend, and lots of good recognized events in a 3-6 hour radius. The Lexington, KY area would also be nice, with lots of eventing activity, and of course, north GA.
My hubby is at 22 years so we'll be planning for retirement as well after this next duty station. It's a lot to think about!
I'd actually like Ohio. But I can't get him to agree to the winters. Which slightly annoys me because Fall is my favorite season and we don't really get that in GA.
Funnily enough flypony I wrote a business plan for my MBA based on an eventing barn in Temple, TX because I knew that Ft. Hood was hurting for that!
My husband is also a warrant officer (though not a pilot) and I must say Ft. Rucker is in the middle of nowhere. But if for some reason he has to do one more PCS before he gets out (that's not the plan but hey it's the Army) that's where he's requesting because I refuse to move again for the Army and he can still get home on weekends.
Kentucky would be nice but further from the ocean than I prefer. We haven't lived anywhere longer than 19 months since 2003, I want to move one more time and be DONE! so I'd like to be a little choosy about it.
Why not just move slightly northeast in GA? Newnan? I have moved from Fayette County (born and raised there) to Coweta, and we are in a very horsey area.
You've got three premier eventing venues at your fingertips, five foxhunting clubs, too many hunter/jumper and locals shows to count, and your within very close proximity to Atlanta.
We have some family friends that were forced to relocate to Ohio, and they hate it. Riding, even with an indoor, is so limited during the winter. And she said the mud is just terrible. The horses can't keep shoes on, can't go out, etc. There's not too many eventing venues in the area either.
I grew up military. My mom was in the army and my ex was Army. I've lived in GA, California, Florida, Oklahoma, Colorado, Hawaii and have family in TN. (Not listing countries as they are not valid for this.)
We are now in the first place I've ever chosen to live for myself and LOVE it.
Great schools, close to Portland for all the city action but we have Vancouver for the more small town feel. Best of both worlds.
Huge horse population. Tons of shows (English and Western). You can't drive without seeing huge barns and small farmettes.
The land isn't cheap cheap, but you can find some great properties for a fair price if you want them at home.
Boarding wise we did three barns before getting our own land:
A coop at an eventing barn. Great place, wonderful trainers. $200.00 a month and we did one day of chores every week. You provide hay, bedding, grain. Indoor arena, outdoor, pastures, warm wash rack, etc... We had to leave because I was working nights at the time and doing the chores during the day started to really kill me sleep wise.
We did full pasture board at a barn that also offered full stall board for 410 a month. (Pasture was 200 a month). They had an amazing indoor, great dressage instructor on site, beautiful stalls and access to trails.
Everyone who had "heard" of Washington told us you wouldn't be able to trail ride year round. So not true, and while not all trails are open, volunteers do an amazing drop of keeping many areas great for riding.
The weather is truly amazing 9 months out of the year. The rain is more a drizzle. Mud can be an issue but the county offers lots of free programs to learn about dealing with the mud and the good boarding stables know what they are doing. The other 4 months are still pretty, but well, winter is winter.
While the rest of the country has been blasted by polar vortexes we have had just enough snow to have fun and still ride.
Fort Lewis is ARMY but I've heard Tacoma is not the best example of Washington, still, it would be a starting point.
While I love my area, it's not ideal for eventing with few instructors and fewer events close by. I would think the Virginia/MD area could be perfect for you, especially as the DC area would have so many job opportunities for both of you.
My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.
Originally Posted by katarine
If you have a fat gay horse that likes Parelli, you're really screwed
I have lived most everywhere (no, not in the military) in the US, or at least spent time there. By far and away my pick is OCALA!! If I can't live there, I want my ashes scattered there. And I have a spot picked out already. :-)
Hi OP - just read your post again and saw your husband will be looking for work. since VA/MD is in the mix - from a job search POV, the DC Metro area is chock full of government contractors which seems to be a popular progression from military to private sector. Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, orbital sciences, bechtel are HQ'd or have large offices here as well as a slew of others. unemployment rate is below the national average. If he is interested in gov't contractor - the Northern Virginia Technology Council has a lot of good information - here is their website www.nvtc.org - click on the resources page, the link for techtopia has a great interactive map which shows all the gov. contractors..
back to horses. This area does have a higher cost of living but does offer a lot in terms of places to board and locations to a variety of competition venues. Where i board my horse, within an hours travel time I can be at 5 horse trial venues - most of which have more than 1 horse trial a year. there are also pretty reasonable boarding options available as well.
I'm agreeing with the close to DC idea due to the large numbers of government contractor jobs, very well suited to retired military. We live on Cap Hill and board our horse next to Andrew's Air Force Base in the price range you cited. I have great event and dressage coaches and there is a lot of good eventing in the area.
Except for this year, usually the winters are on the mild side! :-)
"I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
as a thoroughbred horse."
DC is NOT in the mix!! We lived there the last 2.5 years. It is the OPPOSITE of affordable.
Yes jobs are there, but so are the $500k + for the same house I get here for $200k and I don't make that much less! Not to mention I hate DC, and the 1.5 hour commute to a barn that is $500 for field board. NOpe not ever ever ever living in DC again.
Have I mentioned I dont' like DC?? LOL
I do however enjoy southern VA, or charlottesville va.
If i had to leave the land of rain, fog and trees (which I hope to), I would move BACK to Virginia. If I could live anywhere in VA, I would think about living outside Richmond, outside C'ville or near Harrisonburg, or Blacksburg...horses, land, inexpensive if you are trying to avoid the 2hour radius from DC and environs.
You might also think about Bluemont or Winchester-- clarke county is much cheaper than loudoun/fairfax and is much more loudoun 15 years ago and fairfax 25 years ago. =) Charlottesville is nice, but getting very spread out. One of my best friends lives in Barboursville and that is a nice area. Would you think about Rappahanock (like Flint Hill or Washington), VA or southern Fauquier?
I have to disagree with AmarachAcres slightly about WA though...yes, it is cheap, it is sunny outside right this very second, summer (read: begins AFTER july 4th until october) is lovely with zero humidity & the winters are mild, but I dislike the rain & mist and MUD. very different from Virginia red clay mud-- it's greasy nasty mud that lasts once the sun stops in the fall until it starts again in July. Plus, for eventers, there are about 10 events in Area 7 a year compared to 40+ in Area 2 a year. Season is june- september only.....and there is a LOT of driving to get to any of them. it's just not the same out here, sorry.
And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."
I know you say you want to stay "south," but the mid-atlantic area really can be affordable depending on where you land. The immediate suburbs of DC, Baltimore, or Philly are going to be pricey, but if you branch out a little further it becomes much more affordable without losing that much convenience.
Northern MD/Southern PA/Southern NJ and even central DE all have plenty of horse amenities and TONS of eventing activity. And the school systems are better than anything you will find in the south.
Middle TN is great and all, but our horse scene is only so-so when compared to the rest of the country. And the horse scene here is expensive for what it is IMO.
Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO
I CAN live anywhere. I choose to be in Indiana. Now, I grew up here, have friends here and a chunk of my family is here so take this for what it's worth... But I COULD live anywhere with my job.
Indianapolis: Fairly big city. Good township schools (k-12), Great state schools. 3 hrs from Lexington events, including Rolex. 2.5 hrs from Louisville events, 3 hrs from a few OH events, 1 hr from HHP events. Then there are at least 5 more events within 5 hrs. TONS of schooling shows. Tight-knit eventing community. Several good event trainers that also bring in 4* level clinicians regularly. Cheap(er) horses. Cheaper(er) board.
My pick would be where I am now - Fair Hill, MD. Lots of close events - Fair Hill is in my backyard, Plantation is about 30min away, Loch Moy, Bucks County and Flora Lea are all about 2hrs...lots of both recognized and unrecognized events. There are also numerous winter series shows - hunter, jumper, dressage, so you can keep your skills up.
As far as schools, Oxford, PA (10miles north) has better schools than Cecil County, so you may want to be north of the border.
For jobs - Wilmington, DE is just about 30min away, as well as Aberdeen Proving Ground. It is pretty military veteran friendly and there are quite a few big banks that have headquarters of some sort in Wilmington area - Capital One, Bank of America (though it IS evil), PNC, etc.
Horse board runs about $400/month - depending on what you are looking for.