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Best army posts for eventers?

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  • Best army posts for eventers?

    So this isn't an urgent question since I have a little while before this comes into play...Soon-to-be-fiance is returning to West Point and I'm wondering what posts are the best for someone who wants to keep riding (and hopefully eventing!) actively.

    Right now I like Ft Bragg in NC (Southern Pines, woo!), but not a big fan of an airborne division who gets deployed a LOT. I also like the looks of Ft Rucker's facility.

    Any suggestions? Or advice in general about riding as an army wife? I'd like to try to mentally prepare myself as best I can before I have to deal with the reality of it!

    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

  • #2
    Hey MG,

    I would vote for the bases in NoVA as that is a real mecca. There are many international level riders within a short drive and probably a dozen or so events (recognized and otherwise) within an hour or so of that area as well.

    I have heard from several people that the stabling at Ft. Campbell in KY is nice and I would think it should be an excellent horse/eventing location (but I haven't lived there).

    I have had horses and a military spouse for many years. It is totally doable, but hard when the relocation comes. Not all bases offer boarding (and those that do often have wait lists). I have found that most of the boarders at military facilities have horses sort of as a pet. They don't ride and really don't spend any time or care on their horses. This was always a huge disappointment to me. My experience has been that about 75% of the boarders at the military stables I've used are that way. There is always 'drama' that is just up one notch from regular barn drama (what is YOUR rank, what do YOU do, etc.).

    On the upside I have found military facilities to be cheap and usually offer good amenities (ring wise).

    Sorry I rambled. I hope this helps a little.
    Loved. Thankful. Blessed.


    • #3
      Don't know if Fort Rucker still has XC fences, but they used to host a nice horse trial there, and have quite nice arenas...and good, sandy footing!
      What would you try if you knew you would not fail?


      • #4
        Though Ft Benning no longer has on-post horse facilities, you are surrounded by nice venues! Poplar Place, Big Bear, Chattahoochee Hills and many others are within driving distance!

        If you went to Hunter Army Air Field or Ft Stewart, Ft Stewart still has an on-post barn, and Aiken isn't too far a drive for competing, but as far as local schooling or an active Eventing crowd, the area is lacking. More Hunter and Dressage barns in the coastal plain.

        Good luck on your next PCS!
        Sir Chancelot- 8 yr TB/ App


        • #5
          Fort Bragg is right next to Southern Pines, a HUGE horse mecca and plenty of trainers and facilities. And Fort Bragg is HUGE itself. There are lots and lots of different things going on there. And yes, it's a place to get ready to get deployed but there are also permanent positions there too.
          If he goes into the intel world, he can look into Rivanna Station (NGIC)
          The easiest post he could get is at Fort Belvoir and Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The DC area basically and you can find a ton of places there, it's just really expensive to live and have horses.
          Having said that, you will be expected to move around a lot. And not until he gets a foothold in the military will you guys have a say on when and where to go. Expect to go to bum-f- Egypt and stuff. And suck it up and deal with it. There will be times when you have to put eventing on hold.
          Even duct tape can't fix stupid


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by LisaB View Post
            The easiest post he could get is at Fort Belvoir and Aberdeen Proving Grounds.
            I absolutely love the look of Belvoir...always have. If it's an option, it's definitely on the list!

            Originally posted by LisaB View Post
            And not until he gets a foothold in the military will you guys have a say on when and where to go. Expect to go to bum-f- Egypt and stuff. And suck it up and deal with it. There will be times when you have to put eventing on hold.
            Since he'll be getting his commission from West Point, he will be a 2nd Lt, so we do get a bit more choice than if he were just enlisted. At WP they get to list their preference for branch and posts and they're given priority based on class rank. He has a very high class rank, so we're in a good spot as far as that's concerned. Of course, nothing's a sure thing, but it's not a bad place to be in!
            "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


            • #7
              Well. . . speaking as an Army wife of 32+ years. . . with the op tempo the way it is, anywhere you go your husband will get deployed. It's nice to assume he will get his pick of branch and posting, but if he is high up on the list there will be pressure to put him where the Army thinks he can do the most good. My husband retired last summer (as an O-6 former brigade level commander) went right back to work for the US Army as a DA civilian. . . and guess what. He's deployed again.

              Ft. Bragg. Great horse community on the Southern Pines side with tons of opportunities to train with really good folks, centrally located to go either north or south. Within five hours we can do about 20+ events a year. Relatively inexpensive compared to the Virginia posts. Having boarded at military barns, you may not be happy with what you find.



              • #8
                What Pegasus mom said! Good luck! I think choice of posts at this stage is the least of your worries.


                • #9
                  listen to Pegasus.
                  And wake up!
                  Your life will not be your own, and especially his. No matter how high he goes in rank and how well he does, the army owns his ass and will do with him what they please.
                  To survive, don't get stuck on where you are at the moment. Because it will change. Just make the best of the place you're at now and don't get stuck on the eventing bug. If you're located in TX or someplace like that, pick up western or endurance. If you get stationed in Korea, well, you're screwed but make the best of the place where he's stationed.
                  And for his sake, do NOT distract him from his career path by bitching on where he has to go. You will lose that battle.
                  Even duct tape can't fix stupid


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kimbrawner View Post
                    Though Ft Benning no longer has on-post horse facilities, you are surrounded by nice venues! Poplar Place, Big Bear, Chattahoochee Hills and many others are within driving distance!
                    Ft. Benning does still offer boarding. I was there for 5 years and have several friends still there.They are really low in numbers right now. Normally they have a waiting list. Not the fanciest facility, but it has a small arena, a large arena, a dressage arena, a jump arena and miles upon mile of trails.
                    "Farriers are the hairdressers of the horse world. They know everything about everybody..."-Lildunhorse


                    • #11
                      don't forget assignments on joint task forces which put you at other service bases. We used to have a nice barn here at Wright-Patt AFB. I boarded there (low numbers = reservists allowed) for several years and we did a lot to fix up the barn. Unfortunately, I heard during a freak heavy snow storm a couple years ago the indoor arena roof semi collapsed and instead of repairing it, the powers that be opted to close the barn later that year. Shame. I haven't been out there but I'm sure the land has been gobbled up by the golf course next door. :-( that said, this area is a nice one for eventing. There are probably other non-Army posts that are nicely situated as well.

                      What branch is hubby going for? I was AG.
                      "Of course it's hard. It's supposed to be hard. It's the Hard that makes it great."

                      "Get up... Get out... Get Drunk. Repeat as needed." -- Spike


                      • #12

                        Actually if you wind up at Fort Sill in Oklahoma, or Fort Hood in TX, there are a number of registered events, and at least one more in the works in Area V. Fort Sill is close to Norman, where Feather Creek has returned. There is also a myriad of schooling events around. It depends upon your perspective, no you will not have a number of events to choose from within a two hour drive, but many of our riders frequent events around the country.

                        Good luck.


                        • #13
                          I was stationed for 3 1/2 years at Ft Detrick in Frederick, MD. It was the best place EVER to be stationed. Horse mecca, close to TONS of shows and trainers and everything. I liked it so much that instead of re-upping and getting sent somewhere else, I got out and got a job in Frederick, where I still am today.

                          Anyway, everyone is correct when they say that the Army totally owns his ass and that the he WILL be deployed and he will do time overseas and you will wind up somewhere where eventing will have to be put on the back burner. The Army will tell you whatever it needs to to get people in. Sure he might have his choice of duty station for the first tour, but after that, all bets are off.


                          • #14
                            First off, what the others said, esp Pegasus Mom. She has a wealth of experience in this. In my humble and aged experience. He may want to keep you happy by saying he has the pick of assignments, but his pick will probably come down to what is best for his career. I got the call from darling fiance 36 years ago after his draw.... "So how do you like Kansas?" My friends found a Wizard of OZ poser to hang on my dorm room door. Culture shock for a Jersey girl. Keep your sense of humor. It turned out to be one of the most beautiful places, home of the Cavalry School, steeped in history, and horse lore. It all becomes what you make of it. We"ll be back at WP this year for his 35th reunion!


                            • #15
                              I would strongly suggest avoiding Ft. Bragg for completely non-horse related reasons. Ft. Bragg has been known recently to be a bad base to be stationed at. Some people call it the ghetto of the military. Higher crime rates, including spousal abuse and domestic violence - which includes people getting caught in the cross fire.

                              You husband will probably be away a lot, no matter what job he has, so going to a community where the people are likely to be friendlier is just as important as finding a good community.

                              Aberdeen Proving Ground is gearing up to bring a lot of jobs in, they are going through a BRAC right now. It is in a very nice area, both for people and horses.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by LisaB View Post
                                The easiest post he could get is at Fort Belvoir and Aberdeen Proving Grounds. The DC area basically and you can find a ton of places there, it's just really expensive to live and have horses.
                                I was also going to suggest these two. My now DH was an officer in the military and his initial station was Ft. Riley, KS (wouldn't suggest that place to anyone, highly deployable (big red one) and in the middle of nowhere). For his last year and a half he was at Aberdeen and loved it. Great spot, outside Baltimore, plenty of barns and close to Fair Hill. He was at the Institute of Chemical Defense which I don't think is ever deployed.

                                Also, Ft. Leavenworth has a barn on the Fort, there is a pony club there, a hunt and a cross country course. It isn't too bad because it is right outside of KC, although there aren't too many events close by (if you are looking for upper level stuff) but there is a nice little eventing community in the area.

                                ETA: SLR is correct, he doesn't really have a choice as to where he goes. My DH's stuff was sent to Bragg (his first choice, he too is a Jersey boy and wanted to stay on the East Coast) and got a call at OBC saying he was going to Riley. There is no rhyme or reason particularly with 2 wars going on. His "choices" may not in the end have anything to do with where he ends up.


                                • #17
                                  Fort Campbell has a barn and I assume a decent arena becaus they hold a show there (dressage). Umm.. I hate the area (I went to college in cookeville), but if you dont mind being bored all the time when you arent riding then its a good place I guess. There arent many trainers around the area if you want a trainer, but Fox Run Farm is supposed to be decent. Its in Cadiz. I havent ever ridden there personally though.
                                  ~*It's not about the ribbons, but about the ride behind it"
                                  R.I.P. Teddy O'Connor


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Originally posted by tle View Post
                                    What branch is hubby going for? I was AG.
                                    He'd really like engineers or aviation.

                                    To the rest- I'm certainly very aware that I should not try to idealize what life will be like and I know that he won't have control over everything, but it's still nice to learn about the different posts, the opportunities they present, and trying to stay optimistic about it all. His first and foremost concern is to make choices which will impact the career he wants, but he does want to try to be somewhat accommodating for me. Whether or not he'll actually be able to accommodate me, we'll find out. But the intent is still there. I'm very lucky in that he's very supportive of me having horses in my life.

                                    Thanks for all the information! It certainly has been very helpful. It's good to hear actual experience rather than just guessing at what it might be like. I'd rather be somewhat prepared for what I'll face!

                                    SLR- have fun at WP for the reunion! As much animosity as I hold for the place, it still is very beautiful. I have many friends who are graduating this year and hope to make it down for that!
                                    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                                    • #19
                                      Rucker has a nice facility that's constantly being worked and upgraded. The barns/"turnout" are not what I would want for my horse, but they are servicable. What you have there is two stall stand alone barns with attached turnouts. They have grass pasture and they rotate horses through it. They run two recognized horse trials per year and a couple of schooling shows. The XC course has BN-P and is pretty nice. It's not fancy like Poplar, but the fences are solid and the footing is good.

                                      There are people that live in that area and keep horse(s) in Montgomery. Susan Wainwright (long listed for the '96 team and 2006 AEC OT winner) runs a great eventing barn (where we are) there. We have people that drive from Rucker and Troy a couple of times a week to get lessons on their horses that are boarded there. Aditionally, we're close to a lot of Area III events.
                                      "There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."
                                      -Member of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique!


                                      • #20
                                        Fort Bragg is that bad? Really? Ghetto of the military? Maybe at one time it was (and probably not too long ago), but I wouldn't call it that anymore, just like I wouldn't call Fayetteville Fayettenam anymore.

                                        I live here. On Bragg, right on Post. I've been here for about 6 years now, and really enjoy living here on post. My horse is currently boarded in Southern Pines - there are NO barns in Fayetteville that cater to eventers. Southern Pines is nice, of course, but expensive, so if your hubby is a junior officer and you don't work, board may not be do-able $$$$wise. My husband is a senior officer, we have a family business on the side, and I work, and we still can barely afford one horse.

                                        Unless you happen to not care about slice-and-dice high tensile wire fencing and drama, the barn on Bragg (it's not really on Bragg - it's about 5 minutes off post depending on where you are) is not for you. I hear they're making improvements, though, but you still have to deal with the drama that occures on a regular basis. Fort Bragg no longer holds their event (sigh), but there are trails around the stabling area. It's DYI - you provide everything except the shavings. Cheap, though.

                                        As far as eventing goes, it's wonderful here. Lots to do, lots to see. Can't complain too much about the weather, either, except for the fact that right now, it's late September and it's STILL 90 degress and humid. Hello, autumn? When are you going to get here?
                                        "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                                        So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."