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Eastern Washington?

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  • Eastern Washington?

    My DH and I are considering moving up to eastern Washington state in about two years. We would like to purchase a home with property (about 5-10 acres) and I was wondering what kind of setup most horse places up there have? Is an indoor barn a must due to the snow, or do many horses live outdoors in run-in sheds? What kind of pasture grows well there? Or does pasture grow at all without irrigation? I assume there isn't much riding in the winter due to the snow unless there is an indoor arena, correct? Where are the major centers of horsey populations? We are mostly looking around Spokane since we will require employment (DH will be going into law enforcement with an eventual goal of K-9 officer. I am a SAHM right now, but looking into the IT field for the future, or possibly expanding on my current degree of Animal Science by looking at opportunities at Washington State University in Pullman). I'm a dressage/eventing type so any areas that are big into that would be great. DH is an outdoorsman, so hunting, fishing, camping are his thing, in addition to the horses. We've heard good things about them in Washington. Anything else you can tell me about the area would be much appreciated.
    Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.

  • #2
    OK, I'm actually in Western WA, but I've friend s east and have been there.
    It's made of grass. It's an outdoor paradise.
    Ride in the snow. The horse can still find the trails he knows and when he hits a snow-covered branch, his neck looks like an ice cream sundae dolloped with whipped cream. Try endurance and sneak into Idaho. There's not a finer group to ride with and you as an eventer will be pretty darned close to Rebecaa!!
    PM for more. I love the Evergreen State.
    www.lisapreston.com

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    • #3
      Do your research carefully

      Pullman is the pits for eventing/dressage. My grad student son is there, and we couldn't find a suitable place to board his big tb, and we haven't found other riders in the sport.

      There are huge fields in crops, but you aren't allowed in them, and they plant all the way to the asphalt. They plant around the road signs and in between the edge of the road snow plow guide markers. They use tractors on tracks, similar to ski resort cats, that are equipped with gps topomaps and the most amazing radio guided, telescoping arms for the seeders, and whatever else the farmer needs to do. As a result, there aren't even tractor paths available.

      The weather is snow-ish and ice. Not enough snow for ski resorts, but enough to brighten up the thick ice. You will want 4 wheel drive, and easy parking. My son hides his explorer. so it doesn't get hit, and walks to classes.

      The stalls are small and the turn-out non-existant. There aren't the full size indoor arenas to work in, either. We have talked with riders, and they haven't found competent support, like farriers. I can't tell you how disappointed that we are!

      I hope that Spokane is better. We haven't looked that far away. Check with the endurance riders, and see what they have found.

      Be sure and go out and carefully look at the area, before you commit to living there. If you put an eventing place together, with the ride out and other needs of eventers, had clinicians in, I think that you would have boarders.

      The land is very unusual, known as the "scab-lands". Eons ago, the huge glacial lake Missoula dam burst, flooding to the ocean. It created the Columbia river basin.
      http://www.glaciallakemissoula.org/

      It scoured out 800' cliffs down to bedrock. You feel like an ant crawling through a stream bed. There isn't much in the way of top soil or water or rain. Very different from Virginia!

      I hope that Lovely Bay will post, as she is knowledgeable about both Spokane and Pullman. You might p.m. her for more details and a friend with several years of experience. She has taken my son under her wing, which I really appreciate.
      Intermediate Riding Skills

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tbgurl View Post
        My DH and I are considering moving up to eastern Washington state in about two years. We would like to purchase a home with property (about 5-10 acres) and I was wondering what kind of setup most horse places up there have? Is an indoor barn a must due to the snow, or do many horses live outdoors in run-in sheds? What kind of pasture grows well there? Or does pasture grow at all without irrigation? I assume there isn't much riding in the winter due to the snow unless there is an indoor arena, correct? Where are the major centers of horsey populations? We are mostly looking around Spokane since we will require employment (DH will be going into law enforcement with an eventual goal of K-9 officer. I am a SAHM right now, but looking into the IT field for the future, or possibly expanding on my current degree of Animal Science by looking at opportunities at Washington State University in Pullman). I'm a dressage/eventing type so any areas that are big into that would be great. DH is an outdoorsman, so hunting, fishing, camping are his thing, in addition to the horses. We've heard good things about them in Washington. Anything else you can tell me about the area would be much appreciated.
        Lots of horses live in outdoor run-in sheds around here. Probably the majority live that way.

        Pasture will not grow well in the summer months without irrigation unless you end up with some 'subby' property. This is high desert country - very dry and arid. The downside to 'subby' property is that it will be too wet in the winter - a piece with a little of both (dry and subby) would be great.

        The snow in the winter is no problem to ride in. Until you get some ice under the snow - then it is too slick to ride. If you want to ride year 'round, you'll want access to an indoor arena. Some people just give their horses those couple of months (sometimes more depending on the winter) off.

        Spokane has more activity than Pullman. There is plenty of dressage in Spokane. Not a lot of eventers. However, eventing is doable - you'll just drive a lot (someone in an earlier post mentioned Rebecca Farm - that is about 4-5 hours from Spokane depending on the route you take).

        WSU has a sattelite campus in Spokane. Depending on what classes you want to take, you may be able to do that in Spokane.

        There are about a bazillion (slight exaggeration) retired law enforcement folks from Southern California in the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene area.

        Comment


        • #5
          It depends on what part of Eastern Washington you want to live in. Regardless, there will be less dressage or evening barns in the area.

          There are scab lands but it's also one of the biggest wheat producers in the country. And the area around Pullman and into Moscow, Idaho, was once and maybe still is, touted as the "pea and lentil capitol of the world." So yes, you can grow lots of things in the area depending on where you are. Irrigation- yes, necessary if you want bigger crops or need it for things that require more water, especially in the middle, flatter area. I never saw any irrigation for wheat in the Palouse so I think they get more rain than the area around Ritzville and Moses Lake. Have ridden on the farm roads in the Palouse area but if you don't have someone who knows it pretty well, its like riding in a maze. Whether you can still do that, don't know. The Palouse is around the Pullman/Colfax area, north around Spokane, not so much.

          It's high desert...sort of. Nothing like Arizona or Nevada. Highs generally don't get much above 100 lows can get into the teens and I'd call that normal for a little bit of the winter. However, weather has been funky all over for some time now.

          Ellensburg is kind of windy. You'll find lots of western stuff. I don't know about farriers and vets but at least WSU is a veterinary college and people from the west side used to take some of the tougher cases over to WSU. Would not expect the area around Pullman to be a mecca for horses, just too small and too university oriented.

          If you can trailer to ride you should be able to find some of the gorgeous scenery to ride in.

          Spokane has more than one college, Gonzaga comes to mind.

          Northern Idaho is gorgeous.

          We hope to be able to retire to the area some day.

          Comment


          • #6
            Eastern Wa is a mighty big place, with VERY different geography and weather. If you divide it into quarters, say, then it is easier to answer your questions.

            Spokane is the biggest city (think NE quarter of our imaginary map). This is the wetter, snowier part. More trees, more people, more hills. Summer temps in the 80's-100's are common, lows at night in the 40's and 50's then, too. Irrigation isn't as necessary in the NE section. Lots of hay available (alfalfa, meadow, timothy and orchard), several big h/j and d barns in the Spokane area. Most people have an indoor, so they can ride in winter. Temps in the teens and 20's are normal in winter, as are a couple of feet of snow (more or less, depending on ocean conditions).

            The NW quarter (Omak/Colville) is very Western and dry. Pine forests, Indian res. land, cattle. Similar temps. Fewer people (quite "conservative" in political leaning as well--just ask my MIL!)

            SW quarter--Yakima centered. More temperate, often gets socked in with fog. This is called the "Basin" area where the Columbia makes its big "C" shaped turn in the state. Dry, need irrigation for hay and grass in summer. LOTS of hay available. Again, not much H/J or D, but they are there, along with Eventing. Closer to Cle Elum you'll find the Washington Horse Park, a new huge show facility.

            SE quarter--Tri-cities region. Again, the bottom of the 'basin'. Foggy in winter, often very cold and can get quite windy/dusty. HOT in summer. Irrigation is a must. Still lots of hay. In Kennewick, you'll find a nice eventing facility. WSU is in the bottom corner--and has very little pasture land due to the fact that the richest soil in WA is there and grows wheat, wheat and more wheat (with peas and lentils thrown in for good measure). Not horse country really.

            I hope that helped! I've lived in Pullman and Spokane and have family in Omak, Moses Lake, Newport/Cusick etc. if you need more details.
            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

            Comment


            • #7
              I live about 45 minutes south of Spokane. If you have any questions let me know! If you come to visit let me know too! I also agree with what the above posters have said so far.
              Foaling Around www.facebook.com/foalingaround
              Custom Equestrian Items and Bath Products

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              • #8
                We do get hot here in SE Washington and can get cold at winter. But not every winter, we can have open 40 degree winters with no snow. Or not that hot like this summer. We do have irrigation for hay and pasture. Beautiful hay and pasture, much more reasonable for horse keeping cost wise. My horses all have shelter and corrals all winter. Pasture in the summer, even have to mow and limit the pasture time for the tubbies. Our ground is drier during the winter so my horses get turnout all winter long.

                Great cutting facility nearby, full eventing course, lots of people ride dressage but the show circuit is small. Lots of trail riding year around. I prefer to ride all winter, we really don't get very much snow or it doesn't stay long. We do get foggy stuff, but we don't generally get deep snow. Does get hot and buggy, but not anything like the humidity on the east coast.

                I have two daughters that graduated from WSU summa cum laude...go Cougs. There are some indoor arenas in the Pullman area, but mixed disciplines. Don't get hung up on western or english and just ride your horse during the winter. It is a beautiful area and a lovely place to live.

                Comment


                • #9
                  When I was in law school at Univ of Idaho I boarded at a barn just outside Moscow. There was an indoor and the barn had stalls with runs. No turn out. When the fields were cut we were allowed to ride in them for a short time, and it was beautiful. It snowed every winter I was there, and the spring is damn cold and wet. One summer of the three I was there had about a week of over 100. There was a small field that we rode in during the late spring, summer and fall, so the ground was good enough to support that. There were lots of gravel roads through the farmland and I hacked on those. The surrounding area had lots of places at the base of the mountains that would have been fabulous to trail ride, but, being a starving law student I did not have a trailer. In general its a beautiful area, though I'm not sure about the eventing community. I know the pony club was active back then at least in eventing, because I competed against them at National's back when I was in high school. There were a few other barns in the area, all of them had indoors.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think OP is specifically talking about Spokane area, not Pullman/Moscow. E. WA is a very large region as someone pointed out above, and the weather in Spokane can be a lot worse than the weather down here on the Palouse. Luckily there are more boarding choices in Spokane :-) and trees too!


                    I think there is a COTHer from C'DA, ID which is right next to Spokane.
                    Foaling Around www.facebook.com/foalingaround
                    Custom Equestrian Items and Bath Products

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      There is also a large WSU Richland campus, the economy is still pretty good here compared to most places.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Thanks so much, everyone! I'm sorry I was MIA for a bit...got busy here at home and haven't been on the computer much. I love all the information you've given me. We'll ultimately end up wherever DH can find work, but it's nice to get an idea of the areas so we can gear our search towards where it seems like the best fit for us. He doesn't mind a bit of a drive if he can get the property he wants, so that gives us a little leeway in radius. We come from the Inland Empire in So Cal, so we know all about dry and hot...we're trying to go someplace cooler and a little wetter. We can deal with a week of temps over 100. We just can't handle week after week after week of it anymore. And DH longs to have snow in the winter again (he's from WI). I've never lived in the snow. I like the idea of it, but when it comes to living in it I'm sure it'll take getting used to. Especially taking care of horses in it. We are absolutely going to go visit the area before we make any decisions. We're planning for this spring, hopefully. An actual move date will depend on when the sheriffs departments and/or highway patrol are hiring. He's not currently in law enforcement so he would have to go through the academy, etc. Plus my aunt and uncle are planning to retire up there in a couple of years, so we might wait for them and follow them up. Anyway, thanks for giving me a picture of what life is like up there. If we make more solid plans to move I'm sure I'll have more questions.
                        Happiness is the sweet smell of horses, leather, and hay.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Recommendations for A circuit hunter trainer near Walla Walla

                          Hi,

                          Our daughter is considering going to Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA. Are there any good hunter / jumper trainers in the vicinity?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Spokane is a crime pit. I live in NW MT but get all our news from the Spokane area and I wouldn't ever want to live there. Cd'L is more exclusive and seems to stay out of trouble better than Spokane. Everyone that I know that does live there or has lived there hated it. Granted we're all from small town MT. Not horse related but if you're living there you might want to check into that.
                            “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              And I'll give some non-horsey assistance.

                              Has your DH tested with anyone yet? Has he even started, or is this just what he wants to do? Is he prior LE? Prior military? What is he doing now?

                              I recommend going on to publicsafetytesting.com and nationaltestingnetwork.com, both are used for testing in WA, except for a couple agencies that do their own testing. The first site has more E WA agencies.

                              LE is not an easy career field to get into, and it's very competitive. And for some reason, very flooded; there are scads of applicants for every position, and anyone who has prior military automatically has a leg-up on the competition. I had to do better/faster/harder than veterans, even those with only four years service and no college or other life skills, because they automatically got an extra 10 points. So I'd plan on a lot of plane tickets back and forth for testing before making a move, just in case.

                              Spokane is very busy. Very busy, very active, lots of drugs. If he gets hired, it will be competitive to get into K9 and won't happen for a while because it's a pretty plum spot, most don't give it up once they get it. But K9 is very active, drug dogs and bite dogs, so there are a lot of call-outs involved.
                              COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                              "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I have a very good friend that is a police officer in Colville and for such a small town I'm always amazed at what hardcore calls he gets. He loves his job though his parents told me that they can see it's bringing out a side of him they don't like... FWIW He decided to do LE after he had lived there for a while, not sure exactly what motivated him but I hope he continues to stay safe!

                                and to bring it back to HR, they have horses and their kids have done tons of showing and 4H. Hay can get very expensive there IMO (pushing $300/ton) b/c a lot of their hay gets shipped over seas so even though you see it all around, it can be hard to buy any of it.

                                Horses are cheap as a result, IMO.

                                Craigslist is a valid form of advertising here so if you looked around on there it would give you an idea of at least part of the market/population.
                                “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by cowboymom View Post
                                  Spokane is a crime pit. I live in NW MT but get all our news from the Spokane area and I wouldn't ever want to live there. Cd'L is more exclusive and seems to stay out of trouble better than Spokane. Everyone that I know that does live there or has lived there hated it. Granted we're all from small town MT. Not horse related but if you're living there you might want to check into that.
                                  This is an old thread that is being revived by someone inquiring about Walla Walla. See the posting directly above yours.

                                  I live in Spokane and have never paid $300 per ton. This year I did pay $225 per ton - delivered and stacked.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have to agree, SimpleSimon--just a glance through CL will tell you what hay prices are. I also take exception to the "crime pit" label. As the largest city between the Cascades and in a straight line, perhaps, Minnesota, it will surely have the most crime. Sure you aren't just watching Fox News (our local Fox station reads like a dramatic episode of "Cops".
                                    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I live fairly close to Spokane and hay went up again this year...but still only $180 per ton for good grass hay delivered and stacked in my barn. 2nd cutting alfalfa is $200....probably see an increase of $20-40 per ton before winter is over.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Aww poo I didn't notice the date. Wonder whatever happened with the OP though...
                                        COTH's official mini-donk enabler

                                        "I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl

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