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Winter dreaming... humor me here, for a second.

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  • Winter dreaming... humor me here, for a second.

    Because if I don't do some heavy duty fantasizing, the folks I'm house sitting for are going to come home to a dead body laying on the floor and the dogs devouring me. ANYWAY.

    So, lets just say I wanted to pick up all my students and head to Ocala for a week next winter.

    Let say there's 10 horses going.

    Where would we keep them? How much would a stall cost per horse, and does that include shavings? Use of facilities? Which barns have which facilities? Who has a tadpole sized course?

    Would we all stay at a hotel? Rent a house? Cabin? Cottage?

    Would we be able to find a couple shows with tadpole levels? Do they happen pretty often?

    Just for comparison sake, which is cheaper? Aiken or Ocala? MY trainer usually goes to Aiken, so I know more about it- but my parents like the idea of including a Disney run in our horsey vacation, so Ocala has more "pull."

    Tell me everything I need to know about migrating south for a week with horses and students in tow!
    Big Idea Eventing

  • #2
    I don't know a thing about Ocala except for my friends who USED to go there who are now in Aiken!

    All I can tell you is that one week won't be enough. You'll need 2 days to settle the horses, ie easy hacks, readjustment to temperature, etc. Then you'll have 4 days to do something productive then it will be time to pack up and head home. You need to figure out a way to make it longer or you'll just be cranky.
    Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


    • #3
      I don't think there are events closer than 2 weeks apart, from what I have seen. Rocking Horse has stalls, turnout paddocks and a place nearby that rents cabins (when I say nearby, I mean 1.5 miles). You can rent a 3 bed /2 ba that sleeps 6 or 8 for 150 or 170/night. Their course is tadpole to advanced, but their recognized shows start with Beginner Novice. They are in Altoona, FL (about 40 min from Ocala).
      Beth Davidson
      Black Dog Farm Connemaras & Sport Horses
      visit my blog: http://ponyeventer.blogspot.com


      • #4
        Even though Rocking Horse is about an hour from Ocala towards Daytona Beach and in the middle of nowhere, it is a wonderful facility that has alot of stabling and is very affordable. If I were taking 10 ppl and their horses for a week that is where I would go to get more bang for my buck. But its all horses all the time there. Literally middle of nowhere. Perhaps the cheapest and slightly less middle-of-nowhere option is Canterbury near Gainesville. Lots of baby XC (with a few bigger fences as they used to host a one star), an indoor, tons of stabling. If you go during a week that they are not holding a show especially in Jan which is pretty dead, I think they're stalls are pretty cheap and you would have the place pretty much to yourself. There are several cheap but decent Extended Stay type hotels a few minutes away. Canterbury is about an hour from anywhere in Ocala. As far as Ocala proper, you can go to OcalaForSale (google it) and Ocala craigslist to find tons and tons of properties for rent with facilites and houses on them. As you know from my periodic visits to your barn, I spent many, many winters is Ocala and can give you lots of names and numbers to call. two random things to keep in mind: race ppl rent stalls much cheaper than show ppl and there are lots of training centers with stalls available (in fact, atleast when I was down there, all of the Buck Davidson crew were stabled at a training center I galloped at) and alot of ppl rent RVs for these sorts of treks. Not sure you could find one to sleep 10 but worth lkg into. Okay, on to Aiken.
        Aiken is an entirely different world and is, in my opinion, more expensive than Ocala. However, I like Aiken much better from a riding stand point. The Hitchcock Woods are an amazing 2000 acre preserve in the middle of town with jumps big and small all over the place and a steeplechase track with small brush fences in addition to regular steeplechase timber type fences that are great for teaching ur horse how to jump. The lower levels of Aiken are much more prevalent. Little baby courses all over the place. And you have three event facilities at all levels (full gallop, sporting days, and jumping branch) compared to 2 in Ocala. Full Gallop has tons of stalls and fantastic facilities. This is where pretty much everyone goes if they don't have a private farm. Im not sure sporting days has any open to the public stabling. Jumping branch has boarding but im not sure about temporary situations. There are jumper derbies, CTs, and 3-phase schooling shows all the time. Much cheaper than actual events and at lower levels. There is also a mock hunt every week that is a blast. The town itself is small but cute. Very horsey, perhaps even more so than Ocala. People in Ocala still look at you funny if you grocery shop in full chaps from galloping. People in Aiken ask you who you gallop for (options are pretty limited to Darley and Dogwood tho ). Speaking of Dogwood, the Aiken Training Track is in the middle of town a short hack from Hitchcock Woods and rents stalls if you know who to talk to. Nice to be able to hack to the woods every day. As far as housing in Aiken, lots of Extended Stay type options and lots of rental properties. Check out Aiken craigslist and google Aiken horse classifieds for the other really good site that I can't remember right now. And if you need any help, contact #s, etc, call or email or txt me.
        "Gallop as if you were to die tomorrow, jump as if you were to live forever."


        • Original Poster

          Oh yay!! Thanks for the info so far! I have about a dozen people who are saying they're seriously interested... we'll see how far it gets, but it could be fun.

          My group has a lot of kidlets, so they would be bringing at least one parent with them, I love the cabin idea- we could put two families in each or so. I do think we would like stabling at a place where we didn't have to go far to ride. Like... on premises. Hauling not-quite-self-sufficient kids back and forth to ride is an epik PITA.

          My biggest question: Do the overnight stall fee include XC schooling etc?
          Big Idea Eventing


          • Original Poster

            Anyone else have anymore input on a week in FL with many kids? Love to hear your tips and suggestions and "must do's."
            Big Idea Eventing


            • #7
              XC schooling fees are sometimes included and sometimes not-- just ask.

              The nice thing about Aiken is that you can do the drive in one day. Going to FL from here, you'd probably want to stop over. If you don't stop over, you'll get there and be exhausted and need an extra day to recuperate.

              My guess is that Full Gallop would have more room available for a big group than Jumping Branch would. And don't forget Pine Top! Tons of stabling there, although I'm not sure they have as many little tiny jumps for kids.
              Taco Blog
              *T3DE 2010 Pact*