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Wellington vs. Aiken

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  • Wellington vs. Aiken

    I am trying to decided where to retire, want to ride, and cost is a factor. I love both spots. would love input, opinions and advice. Thank you for your advice and thoughts.

  • #2
    I love Aiken. It's horsey all year round and retains more small town feel.
    F O.B
    Resident racing historian ~~~ Re-riders Clique
    Founder of the Mighty Thoroughbred Clique

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    • #3
      What is important to you? Having acreage? Access to top trainers? Good restaurants? Nightlife? Beach?

      Comment


      • #4
        You might want to consider Southern Pines in North Carolina as well. There is a super cute downtown area and more of the population and trainers stay year round. You also get a good variety of disciplines, whereas Wellington is pretty much exclusively hunter/jumpers and dressage.

        Wellington is extremely expensive and if your horses enjoy turnout, you will have a hard time finding that. Homeowners insurance in south Florida is also insane. Its a cost that people often forget about when they are retiring.

        I don't have a lot of experience with Aiken, but my understanding is the scene there is dwindling. I hear people are going to Ocala for the winter instead now.

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        • #5
          Also the Tryon area is lovely. The mountains are beautiful and cool in the summer, I went horse shopping down there in April of last year and we saw several places we would HAPPILY have moved into including some incredible horse farms in the mountains. Not sure price wise how the area might be compared to Florida, I would guess less than Wellington for sure.

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          • #6
            As someone who lived two hours away from Aiken, I can say that I thoroughly love that area! It's a wonderful, sort of sleepy feeling, even during the big horse show weeks.

            My top question would be - would you prefer to be sweltering hot (and I mean, feels like your skin is melting from your body, instant sunburn when you walk out the door, sweating through 3 shirts or more a day hot), or have to bundle up in the winter? Because Florida summers are brutal if you live down here full time like me (I'm an hour and a half north of welliworld). I'm 25 and feel like I'm dying in July when I work outside.

            Cost being a factor, Wellington would price you out quickly, and like someone else pointed out, our homeowners, hurricane, wind, AND flood insurance are all astronomically priced when you live close to the water.

            Would living close to a horsey area and being able to trailer to show areas be something you're interested in? Hilton Head was a lovely area for me to live in for five years during college and while it did get cold it never was unbearable except for maybe a week a year.

            Tryon is AMAZING but I've been frozen there, showing in the winter, so if cold is a factor, I'd get away from it. If not, I'd move to Tryon or the Landrum area yesterday.
            Savannah College of Art and Design Equestrian

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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thank you all for your insightful advice! Question: when you say Wellington is expensive etc... are you referring to the cost of housing?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Danvers View Post
                Thank you all for your insightful advice! Question: when you say Wellington is expensive etc... are you referring to the cost of housing?
                Yes, housing is very expensive there. There is very little acreage to go around. There's another thread going on about looking to move to south florida with a lot of posts about varying areas around Wellington. Technically if you went further inland you could probably find more land but you're getting into very rural sugar cane growing regions. Even loxahatchee is getting pricier for small lots with no grass.

                Everything horse related is more expensive in Wellington. Hay especially.

                Ocala is becoming a much better town rather than just farms if you dont want rural life. There is also going to be the new show facility there which is looking to be very nice.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Danvers View Post
                  Thank you all for your insightful advice! Question: when you say Wellington is expensive etc... are you referring to the cost of housing?
                  The legit cost of... everything. Hay is crazy expensive even two hours north here closer to Melbourne. Food is expensive, gas is expensive... it's all up there. I gas up my car before I drive down to show in Wellington. If you're set on Florida, consider central Florida areas. Orlando is huge so I would stay away from that, but maybe over on the gulf coast in Sarasota? There's Venice which has a pretty great horse show/boarding facility at Fox Lea Farms as well.

                  Are you looking for property of your own or are you boarding your horse(s)?
                  Savannah College of Art and Design Equestrian

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Can'tFindMyWhip View Post
                    You might want to consider Southern Pines in North Carolina as well. There is a super cute downtown area and more of the population and trainers stay year round. You also get a good variety of disciplines, whereas Wellington is pretty much exclusively hunter/jumpers and dressage.

                    Wellington is extremely expensive and if your horses enjoy turnout, you will have a hard time finding that. Homeowners insurance in south Florida is also insane. Its a cost that people often forget about when they are retiring.

                    I don't have a lot of experience with Aiken, but my understanding is the scene there is dwindling. I hear people are going to Ocala for the winter instead now.
                    It is definitely not dwindling. The eventing scene is still very strong, there are tons of H/J shows that are well attended, and the area is really getting improved both in Aiken and in Augusta.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      I would board my horse and live in a small condo. I am single so want activity and an easy social life...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Danvers View Post
                        I would board my horse and live in a small condo. I am single so want activity and an easy social life...
                        Wellington would certainly fit this. If you don’t mind boarding outside of the Wellington zip you will pay more around 500-700 for full care vs 2k + for in Wellington. Royal palm beach or loxahatchee are two places that would be cheaper but only 10-15 min to wellington.
                        If you like social events Wellington can’t be beat. Polo is super fun and has a great diverse crowd who shows up. The shows have a huge horse crowd, and if you volunteer you will end up meeting a lot of people. I would imagine it would take very little time at all to get a good group of friends.
                        However, it’s 900000 degrees in the summer there. More and more trainers are making south Florida their year round base but it isn’t as common as some areas like Aiken or Ocala

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Danvers View Post
                          I would board my horse and live in a small condo. I am single so want activity and an easy social life...
                          South Floridian chiming in here who also boards in Wellyworld! So if you live outside of the equestrian area, Wellington housing market is relatively inexpensive...it's also kinda yucky. But I am kinda picky. Welly is just strip malls, chain restaurants and lack of landscaping. Northern Palm Beach County (Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens) or Southern Palm Beach County (Delray, Boca) are MUCH NICER. Better nightlife, much better restaurants, less stagnant swamp air. You can buy a small condo for under $200k in welly and from 250k-a bazillion (water) in other parts of PBC.

                          Board is what will be costly. A show facility will start at around $1500 in Wellington. You can find board with less amenities for around $800 in other areas. Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions or need a lead on a realtor! Good Luck!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by LessSugarMoreSpice View Post

                            South Floridian chiming in here who also boards in Wellyworld! So if you live outside of the equestrian area, Wellington housing market is relatively inexpensive...it's also kinda yucky. But I am kinda picky. Welly is just strip malls, chain restaurants and lack of landscaping. Northern Palm Beach County (Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens) or Southern Palm Beach County (Delray, Boca) are MUCH NICER. Better nightlife, much better restaurants, less stagnant swamp air. You can buy a small condo for under $200k in welly and from 250k-a bazillion (water) in other parts of PBC.

                            Board is what will be costly. A show facility will start at around $1500 in Wellington. You can find board with less amenities for around $800 in other areas. Feel free to message me if you have any specific questions or need a lead on a realtor! Good Luck!
                            Thank you! I will. still doing research and going back down next week and plan on going back for a week in last June to experience the heat. Thank you!

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by StormyDay View Post

                              Wellington would certainly fit this. If you don’t mind boarding outside of the Wellington zip you will pay more around 500-700 for full care vs 2k + for in Wellington. Royal palm beach or loxahatchee are two places that would be cheaper but only 10-15 min to wellington.
                              If you like social events Wellington can’t be beat. Polo is super fun and has a great diverse crowd who shows up. The shows have a huge horse crowd, and if you volunteer you will end up meeting a lot of people. I would imagine it would take very little time at all to get a good group of friends.
                              However, it’s 900000 degrees in the summer there. More and more trainers are making south Florida their year round base but it isn’t as common as some areas like Aiken or Ocala
                              Thank you! I am a dressage rider, was a h/j - can you reccommend any barns/trainers outside of Wellington? I don't mind traveling to ride - the cost matters. Thank You!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Danvers View Post

                                Thank you! I am a dressage rider, was a h/j - can you reccommend any barns/trainers outside of Wellington? I don't mind traveling to ride - the cost matters. Thank You!
                                I haven’t lived in the area for 5 years so I can’t give any good recs, sorry.
                                Turnout isn’t going to be as large as up north but since grass grows year round there is less mud and almost always something for them to munch on.
                                if you can, board somewhere with an covered ring. Summer sun is brutal and arenas will flood when the summer storms come through.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by StormyDay View Post

                                  Wellington would certainly fit this. If you don’t mind boarding outside of the Wellington zip you will pay more around 500-700 for full care vs 2k + for in Wellington. Royal palm beach or loxahatchee are two places that would be cheaper but only 10-15 min to wellington.
                                  If you like social events Wellington can’t be beat. Polo is super fun and has a great diverse crowd who shows up. The shows have a huge horse crowd, and if you volunteer you will end up meeting a lot of people. I would imagine it would take very little time at all to get a good group of friends.
                                  However, it’s 900000 degrees in the summer there. More and more trainers are making south Florida their year round base but it isn’t as common as some areas like Aiken or Ocala
                                  Yup, Aiken and Wellington will differ socially (who you'll find around to make friends with and how much they are into making friends with new people) and culturally (how many attractions and how sophisticated those are). As my friend who has lived in Aiken and Delray Beach (down 95 a tad from Wellington) put it, "Florida is not the South." At least the wealthier enclaves that attract Northerners, retirees from everywhere and the horsey set will be more cosmopolitan. Aiken also benefits from the "hybrid vigor" brought by people coming from other parts of the country and the world. But it keeps the small southern town vibe that I think the fancy parts of Florida's coasts don't aspire to. And it does well for the "regular wealthy" not "billionaire wealthy" it attracts. But a place with land values high enough to always require one be in the top 10% of wealth will also bring more sophistication and, perhaps, a bit more isolation that comes in a larger city.

                                  I think the cost of living in the two places will differ significantly. One can live "low on the hog" and really enjoy a place (I'm looking at you, Upper East Side of Manhattan). But some people really don't like that and are more comfortable being around people who are more similar to them in terms of ability to buy. By "buy," I mean real estate, mainly, but also able to buy escapes for months in the summer, or the number of horses and attention of a trainer that they wish.

                                  I'm a fan of living in the worst house on the best block myself; but I would never do that with a horse. I would not choose a boarding market where my ability to pay, standard of care and aspirations were too far off from what the others horsers were doing. I have done both-- been the poorest person in an expensive market (NY/Southern CT) trying to find a private barn that could work for me. I have also been the person begging for better care or more lessons or a pro to buy a horse with, but meeting folks whose business plans didn't include that, even if they were paid well (Willamette Valley, OR).

                                  Also, IMO, you must feel both places-- the weather and the social scene or lack thereof-- in the summer. Really come and stay for a good two weeks in each place at the end of July.

                                  It's an exciting prospect; I hope COTHs answers can help. They did help me pick Aiken.
                                  The armchair saddler
                                  Politically Pro-Cat

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by StormyDay View Post
                                    However, it’s 900000 degrees in the summer there. More and more trainers are making south Florida their year round base but it isn’t as common as some areas like Aiken or Ocala
                                    Yes, but aren't those pros going up to Vermont and New York for the summer? In other words, they live and show in the same places they always did, but sold the expensive farm in the North where they were based in the summer for the cheaper farm in Florida where they are based in the winter. I'd want to see if any of the pros were around to teach me in the summer.
                                    The armchair saddler
                                    Politically Pro-Cat

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by mvp View Post

                                      Yup, Aiken and Wellington will differ socially (who you'll find around to make friends with and how much they are into making friends with new people) and culturally (how many attractions and how sophisticated those are). As my friend who has lived in Aiken and Delray Beach (down 95 a tad from Wellington) put it, "Florida is not the South." At least the wealthier enclaves that attract Northerners, retirees from everywhere and the horsey set will be more cosmopolitan. Aiken also benefits from the "hybrid vigor" brought by people coming from other parts of the country and the world. But it keeps the small southern town vibe that I think the fancy parts of Florida's coasts don't aspire to. And it does well for the "regular wealthy" not "billionaire wealthy" it attracts. But a place with land values high enough to always require one be in the top 10% of wealth will also bring more sophistication and, perhaps, a bit more isolation that comes in a larger city.

                                      I think the cost of living in the two places will differ significantly. One can live "low on the hog" and really enjoy a place (I'm looking at you, Upper East Side of Manhattan). But some people really don't like that and are more comfortable being around people who are more similar to them in terms of ability to buy. By "buy," I mean real estate, mainly, but also able to buy escapes for months in the summer.

                                      I'm a fan of living in the worst house on the best block myself; but I would never choose a boarding market where my ability to pay, standard of care and aspirations were too far off from what the others horsers were doing. I have done both-- been the poorest person in an expensive market (NY/CT area) trying to find a private barn that could work for me, and been the person begging for better care or more lessons but meeting folks who didn't want to do that, even if they were paid well (Willamette Valley, OR).

                                      Also, IMO, you must feel both places-- the weather and the social scene or lack thereof-- in the summer. Really come and stay for a good two weeks in each place in July.

                                      It's an exciting prospect; I hope COTHs answers can help. They did help me pick Aiken.
                                      Thank you! Yes! I am getting great advice here! I am torn between the two - I think Aiken might be less expensive? but more isolating? I don't want to maintain a house - I think I would feel more comfortable in a condo, townhouse. I live in NYC and ride on the weekends in Westchester. My trainer and the horse I ride go to Welly in the Winter. When I retire, I want to ride everyday and spend the day at the barn. that is what I love most of all! Thank you all for your advice!

                                      And btw: I am a working girl - have been all my life. I save to ride on the weekends - not in the 10% or even close to it!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Danvers View Post

                                        Thank you! Yes! I am getting great advice here! I am torn between the two - I think Aiken might be less expensive? but more isolating? I don't want to maintain a house - I think I would feel more comfortable in a condo, townhouse. I live in NYC and ride on the weekends in Westchester. My trainer and the horse I ride go to Welly in the Winter. When I retire, I want to ride everyday and spend the day at the barn. that is what I love most of all! Thank you all for your advice!

                                        And btw: I am a working girl - have been all my life. I save to ride on the weekends - not in the 10% or even close to it!
                                        Aiken will be cheaper, I believe. Just from showing in both towns. I absolutely agree with the poster who said spend a solid two weeks in the area in July, but I would say August would be the best judge of the heat. August and September to me are the worst. Showed in Aiken in September and it was horrific. I'm talking went back to the hotel after I rode because I couldn't breathe outside hot.
                                        Down here in Florida we ride before 6am or after 7pm between May and October, there's really just no other way to survive the heat.
                                        Florida has lovely condo places, if you decide to move down here.
                                        Savannah College of Art and Design Equestrian

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