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Pacific NW Questions - Washington, maybe Oregon.

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    Pacific NW Questions - Washington, maybe Oregon.

    If you were moving to the PNW and you wanted to be in a horsey area, with access to show venues, vets, feed stores, dressage trainers, and good trails for hacking out, AND to be relatively close to a decent sized smaller town and within an hour and a half to a good airport, where would you go? Any great, not super duper rural, areas? (My non-horsey spouse is not convinced our current area is the long-term solution for us both).

    My mom lives in Ridgefield, in the Vancouver WA area and I think it is heaven


      My parents live in Ridgefield, WA near Vancouver and it is heaven!


        Can you tell how much I like it? Lol (my post was unapproved and I posted a second time before thinking to just ask the mods to approve)


          If you are buying property look very closely at the local topography and soils and drainage, and even local microclimate. In hilly areas you can get sandy soil with decent natural drainage or really fertile clay mud rivetbottom flood plain that is a swamp six months of the year.

          You can also get a big difference in average annual rainfall depending if you are up against the mountains or close to the coast. Generally the climate is more moderate closer to the coast and even 40 miles inland can have significant variations with heat in summer and cold in winter. Also elevation matters a lot in terms of whether you get rain or snow in winter.

          Within any town or county you choose, look at these variations carefully.


            What are you looking to buy? A non-horse home near good horse facilities or your own farm with access to decent support services?

            Down south (Ridgefield, Vancouver, etc.) would get you access to the Portland airport (PDX) which is decent, though not the scale of SeaTac (though really, it wouldn't be a terrible drive to SeaTac either). But positioning yourself closer to Seatac, close to Seattle, or close to Portland, gets expensive pretty darn quick. What sort of an airport do you need? Local flights? National flights? International flights?

            There's also a regional airport in Bellingham, and you're not too distant from Vancouver, BC. I used to drive up to YVR, in fact, because flights and parking were so much cheaper than leaving Seatac.
            Flying F Sport Horses
            Horses in the NW


              Hahaha, only cheaper if you are getting the benefit of a big exchange rate differential on your $US. When I lived in the US and the currency was more or less at par, everything American was much cheaper.


                Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                Hahaha, only cheaper if you are getting the benefit of a big exchange rate differential on your $US. When I lived in the US and the currency was more or less at par, everything American was much cheaper.
                I'm sure everything has leveled out price-wise by now, and there are so many more places Seattle goes direct to these days. When I was driving to YVR it was also pre-9/11, so less hoops to jump through. But back then, flights to places that SeaTac often didn't fly direct were far cheaper (like $400 to fly cross country rather than $900 with a connection someplace way out of the way). I spent another 5 years well after that flying cross country weekly and stuck to Seatac without exception, so I'm not saying you wouldn't do that if you were close. But if you were living somewhere north (like near Bellingham), it would take less time to get to YVR than it would to get to Seatac.
                Flying F Sport Horses
                Horses in the NW


                  Originally posted by PNWjumper View Post
                  What are you looking to buy? A non-horse home near good horse facilities or your own farm with access to decent support services?

                  I love having my horses at home, however, since I anticipate this move being at least a few more years (we JUST moved here and JUST finished building a barn and have a 3 yr. stay here agreement ) and I'm not getting any younger, I'd be open to a boarding situation. But ideal situation would be a little gentleman's farm type (or within a 10-15 minute drive to great boarding/training barns.) Enough for 2-3 equines (maybe 2 and a mini), a nice home for 2 and the occasional guest. We do like well-built/outfitted properties but have no interest in huge houses or tracts of land. I'm an AA low level rider but I like keeping my options open.

                  Being near Seattle is good as we have family on Whidbey and currently in Gig Harbor (though not sure if that's a long-term situation), but have no idea which counties/areas are amenable to horse properties. Spouse lived in Seattle years ago, but has no familiarity with horse areas.

                  As for flying, all my family is East Coast and I'd prefer not to have to make 4 connections to get home. Atlanta, Dallas, Charlotte direct flights will all get me where I'd need to go.

                  Thanks so much. This is just pre-work and putting out feelers so I can steel myself for what I think is the inevitable. Basically I said "if you're moving me west, I get to pick the where".


                    Originally posted by Scribbler View Post

                    Within any town or county you choose, look at these variations carefully.
                    Thanks, great things to consider once we focus in on an area.


                      I say start at the major airports (SEA and PDX) and work your way up and down I-5. In the case of SEA, you can also work your way out I-90. I would be wary in that I get a sense some of the smaller cities off I-5 south of Olympia and north of Ridgefield don't seem to have a lot of choices for vets or farriers.

                      Alaska Airlines has also started flying our of Payne Field in Everett - not sure where to but might be worth looking at depending on exactly what your travel needs are i.e. do you go lots of different places frequently, or are there one or two routes you would use a lot to visit family? I can't speak to dressage particularly, but Snohomish County is very horse dense.

                      In terms of competition venues, Devonwood in Sherwood, OR and Donida in Auburn, WA are both premier sites for multiple rated dressage shows. Plenty of trainers and good vets in proximity to both.

                      As far as trails, there are lots of them. If you want to be able to access trails directly off your barn property, your best bets probably skirt the west side of the Cascade foothills.


                        Originally posted by LowKey View Post
                        Being near Seattle is good as we have family on Whidbey and currently in Gig Harbor (though not sure if that's a long-term situation), but have no idea which counties/areas are amenable to horse properties. Spouse lived in Seattle years ago, but has no familiarity with horse areas.
                        I spent many years flying to the Southeast weekly (Florida, Atlanta, NC, VA, TN, and a few other places), and Raleigh was the only city I regularly flew to that I couldn't get to directly. I think you can fly direct to all 3 of the cities you're wanting to fly to from both SEA and PDX.

                        If you have family on Whidbey and in Gig Harbor, I would suggest looking west to Kitsap County (Poulsbo, Bremerton, Port Orchard, Kingston, etc.), or north of Seattle in Snohomish County. Both have lots of "gentleman farm" type properties, have access to [at least mid-sized] cities and are relatively close to the airport.
                        Flying F Sport Horses
                        Horses in the NW


                          I would certainly put Whidbey on the list. Lisa Boyer as trainer and WEC for regular rated shows in season and clinics out of season. Many horses properties all over the island. The north half is in rain shadow which can be a plus

                          Certainly within 1.5 hr of either Vancouver international or Paine Field. Paine just started limited service to west coast cities; Portland Las Vegas, several of the California majors. Alaska and United.

                          I live near Paine and I will certainly consider a extra leg journey if it means I dont have to deal with the commute to and from SeaTac after a flight. My Frequent Flyer airline of choice doesn't go, but it is worth not having to pay for shuttle or parking as well as just not dealing with the drive.
                          -- * > hoopoe
                          Procrastinate NOW
                          Introverted Since 1957


                            Following this thread since I bought a property in WA in battleground. I will be looking for the same things as OP. I plan on moving next year, just having the house plans drawn out now.


                              I'm in Portland, OR. Having come from Central California where there are tons of great trainers, great facilities, etc... It feels like slim pickings here. There are some great trainers and good facilities, just not as many as I was used to within reasonable driving distance. BUT there are options, esp if you're used to living in an area that is more rural without many options. Boarding near Portland is pretty expensive, and compared to where I was in CA, not as nice (not as many amenities, and more expensive for the amenities you do get).

                              Southern WA near Ridgefield seems like a good location, I know a TON of people who live/work in the Portland area and commute an hour one way to keep their horses at those facilities and have access to the trainers up there.

                              I'm not super familiar w other areas. Good luck in your decisions!

                              eta: there are a ton of good trails around here, most facilities have access to decent trails from their property, and if you're willing to trailer out, you definitely will not get bored with all the trail opportunities. Pretty good vet options near PDX as well. And in the non-horse department, I do love living in the area, lots to do, esp if you're out-doorsy.


                                You will need to acclimatize to the rain, though. And you may enjoy access to a covered arena in winter.


                                  I'm going to echo Tjkobol here a bit. There are great facilities, and great trainers, but if you're from the East Coast like I am (and it seems like you are), you might find the local horse culture not quite to your liking, in that you can't throw a brick and hit five or ten of exactly what you're looking for, be it trainers, horses, or shops. Unless you decide to take up barrel racing as an avocation.

                                  If you want to stay close to Seattle, I'd second the Bremerton, Whidbey, and Gig Harbor area recommendations. I'd also recommend you look at places in Snohomish County (Monroe), or the Snoqualmie Valley (Carnation and Duval). You might get lucky in the Enumclaw/Auburn/Black Diamond areas.

                                  I would also 100% recommend you NOT look at the Tacoma/Puyallup/JBLM area, which is where I live. There is a surprising dearth of decent facilities (heck, sometimes it's hard to just find pasture board in someone's backyard) within a half hour's driving distance. And that's not factoring in traffic.


                                    One thing I didn't see mentioned that I thought I'd bring up is the majority of English barns at least North of Seattle seem to be Hunter/ Jumper barns, as are a good majority of the shows. Not sure about the rest of the state but thought I'd mention it.


                                      Most definitely, up north or down by Ridgefield in Washington would be much, much better than the South Sound area. We have a 22 acre farm not far off I5, but in the Rochester area and there is nothing close at all (there used to be, but everything has changed and though there are some good people here and there, barns and trainers are thin on the ground and therefore not much choice in anything). And if you want to ride consistently through the winter, a covered arena will help a lot. We've spent a ton of time and money setting our place up but I'm almost to the point of selling and leaving since I can't find regular instruction that is close enough and good enough in any discipline.


                                        I saw a few farms that look like they have a dressage base.Two in Ridgefield WA, Emerald Valley and Farmhill. The other in Battle Ground is WRA Equestrian Center.
                                        Does anyone know of these barns or could provide some insight?