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Moving to Philly and Everything that comes with it...

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  • Moving to Philly and Everything that comes with it...

    I know we have a lot of "good barns in the Philly area..." threads. My question is a little more...diverse? I guess I am looking for advice my entire move, but since I have 2 h/j horses to think about, their setup is vital to me.

    I am a special education teacher, I worked in Baltimore for 6 years, and rode with a BNT who went to great shows as well as having an excellent foundation program at home. When I was there, I had 1 fairly easy horse. I moved to be closer to my family about 3 years ago. I "retired" the old man to the 3' ring w someone else, and started riding my 2 young horses. Unfortunately, where I now live is VERY limited in both equestrian and social areas. Very. About a year ago, I moved the 2 young horses to a nice place, but it's 95 miles away! 190 mile round trips + riding 2 greenies was killing me, so I put 1 in training board. That was expensive and ultimately did not give me the results I wanted, the trainer, while great overall, did not "get" the horse, and he is very much a personality driven horse. It wasn't working. Long story short, he's home w my parents, and the other one (doing very well in the program we have set up for him) is still 95 miles away.

    There is NOTHING closer, believe me, lol, I tried it all! Both of my sisters now live in Philly. So, I decided on all fronts, that a move to Philly would be better for me and my horses. Better job opportunities, better social scene, and way better horse scene.

    My question is: where to start??????? If you were 30, single, social, and had horses, where would you live? Where would be good places to look at for the horses? I am a teacher, so not a huge income, but I have a little, um "padding" that gives me a little flexibility...I wouldn't want to spend $1,000 per month per horse, but I don't need pasture board (I hope).

    What I need is: turnout, indoor and outdoor ring, and very good care. I am looking at trading in my car for a suv and trailer, as that might give me some flexibility, and allow me to trailer in for lessons to a BNT. I need a trainer(s) that understand my "tricky, not for everyone, but supremely talented" horse as well as my moving up to the A/O hunters easy as pie horse. If need be, I might leave mr tricky behind until I can feel out a good situation.

    Sorry for a lengthy and question-filled post, but I know COTH is a great resource for all kinds of things, life advice included!

    Oh, and I should mention that I am looking at moving a year from now, so I hav lots of time to plan and investigate!

    Also, if anyone knows of any good (private or otherwise) schools for special needs students, I'd rather stay away from public school, but I'd consider it...

  • #2
    Where in the middle of nowhere PA are you now? Just wondering, as I fit that description myself!

    Are you going to be actually in the city of Philly, or will you be in the suburbs? Can you give a more specific area/range?
    My CANTER cutie Chip and IHSA shows!
    http://www.youtube.com/kheit86

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by To the MAX View Post
      Where in the middle of nowhere PA are you now? Just wondering, as I fit that description myself!

      Are you going to be actually in the city of Philly, or will you be in the suburbs? Can you give a more specific area/range?
      I live in Wilkes barre, north eastern pa. My sisters are in manayunk and downtown/rittenhouse square, but I'm relatively flexible as to where I'd like to move.

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      • #4
        The Bucks County area is an excellent area to persue. The historic town of Doylestown is located only 25 miles from Philly. The town is quaint and has a great old time feel. Central Bucks area has great school systems and is crawling with training barns for every budget.

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        • #5
          The Special Education job market is not good in the Philly area right now. There are a lot of schools but few are hiring and all of the local colleges and universities are churning out hundreds of qualified applicants who want to stay in the area each year.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by comeoutandplay View Post
            The Special Education job market is not good in the Philly area right now. There are a lot of schools but few are hiring and all of the local colleges and universities are churning out hundreds of qualified applicants who want to stay in the area each year.
            I realize that, it's the same where I am (although I'm lucky enough to have a job, low paying though it is), but this is why I am looking so far in advance. Most of the jobs I have seen posted ask for experience, which I have in spades. I taught in the city as well as currently teaching very needy students right now. I know it's going to be tough, but I feel it's worth a try, especially if I'd like more options available to me in the future. The options now are slim to none.

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            • #7
              I second the Bucks County area. A little less expensive is the Montgomery County area. I can give suggestions for both areas. I grew up in Bucks County then bought a farm in MontCo (less expensive).

              Check out the Equine Marketer and the Horse of the Delaware Valley. I can give out some other suggestions.

              Keep in mind, Bucks can be expensive but Doylestown/New Hope is a great area. D-town is close to Philly (~ 45 minutes depending on traffic).

              I can give you the names of some barns when you get closer to moving. It is a great area. I re-located to Indiana for a job but still come "home" for the show season (HB).
              Last edited by Pennywell Bay; Jul. 10, 2012, 10:20 AM.
              Come to the dark side, we have cookies

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              • #8
                I currently live in Phila (work in special ed as well as a school psych) and board my horse in Berks County which tends to be significantly cheaper than Bucks, Chester, and Montgomery counties; however, it's an hour long drive. A friend of mine, who also lives in Phila, boards in Bucks and she also has to drive an hour to get to the barn. So, living in Phila itself typically isn't very convenient for riding. I would recommend moving to the suburbs in order to shorten your commute to the barn. The barns in the the surrounding counties are often beautiful and well kept, but usually charge (what I consider to be) ridiculously high board. Best of luck in your search!

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                • #9
                  Do not forget Chester County! It is often a commuter suburb about 45 minutes west of the city. Chester County is prime horse country with a very competetive and well run local show circuit as well as ample rated show opportunities within easy trailering distance. You have a range of boarding options as there are TONS of trainers and facilities to choose from.

                  As far as finding a town with a decent social scene there is much to choose from within travelling distance of Philly. In Chester County I would consider Phoenixville (very cute, quaint town that has really revamped the social scene in the past 5+ years. Bistros with outdoor seating, bars, restaurants, cafes, art galleries, great place to walk around.) West Chester is a bigger college town that is more exciting, town center has many bars/restarurants, and a big night life scene, but very cute during the daytime with local gift shops and breakfast spots. My final recommendation would be the Downingtown/Exton areas if you prefer a more suburban lifestyle. Chock full of shopping centers, malls, lots of restaurants to choose from, excellent public schools.

                  Good luck with your move!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    New Jersey

                    If you want to be "close" to Philly, most of the "horsey" suburbs are out. Sure, Chester County is horse central but megabucks and unless you can go out during the day (probably not if you're a teacher), be prepared for hour long commutes. Parts of Bucks/MontCo are slightly cheaper/closer but also be ready to sit in traffic going in/out of the city.

                    I did the live in Philly and commute to Malven thing for several years. An hour and a half on 76 every night. I understood why people got out of cars and shot each other in road rage

                    Moved to South Jersey. I'm still only 15 minutes from the city, and 30 mins or less from the barns. Is it the horsey scene that Chester Co was? No. Does it cost half as much? Yes. Is there plenty of turnout and good horsemanship? Yes. We're just not as close to shows... but things are getting a little better with the Dream Park and some Woodedge activity closer to South Jersey. I figure, I go to the barn every day and shows maybe 2x/month in the summer. If I have to have a "commute," I'd rather it be to shows.

                    I don't know what your employment prospects are, but I would think long and hard about living IN Philadelphia unless there's a good reason to. If you want to be in Chester County and you decide you can afford it, I'd look to live and work there too.
                    ~Veronica
                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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                    • #11
                      I live in Mt Airy in the northwest part of the city, work in Center City, ride in Jersey. I used to ride in Berks County but agree with other comments about the killer commute. Used to take me 1 1/2 hrs MINIMUM to get to the barn each afternoon, and that was IF I could leave work no later than 3pm. Some days took me 2hrs. NO FUN. Jersey barn takes me 45 mins - 1 hr which, compared to my previous commute, I consider totally reasonable. Board in Jersey, as best as I can tell and am aware, is cheaper. If you're going to work downtown, it's way easier to get to Jersey than to get out to the western or northern suburbs. But if you're looking to live/work on the periphery somewhere in the 'burbs, any of the places mentioned above are good options (Bucks, MontCo, DelCo). Unfortunately not lots of good barn options within short drive of the city. Access to the city equals not access to horses, unfortunately.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I did the live in Philly and commute to Malven thing for several years. An hour and a half on 76 every night. I understood why people got out of cars and shot each other in road rage

                        You ain't kidding. Poke my eyeballs with a fork.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BigBayHunter9272 View Post
                          The Bucks County area is an excellent area to persue. The historic town of Doylestown is located only 25 miles from Philly. The town is quaint and has a great old time feel. Central Bucks area has great school systems and is crawling with training barns for every budget.
                          I was going to suggest bucks county as well. There are literally a thousand boarding options that have the amenities you want, and there are a lit of great trainers.

                          There are also number of good school districts in bucks. Council Rock and Central Bucks both have more than one high school, and pay well .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I had the same questions when I moved to the Philadelphia area a few years ago form north jersey. I ended up living in Bensalem (very southern Bucks County) right by the turnpike and 95. It was a GREAT location, still close to Philly but not right in the city with a fairly easy commute (there was still traffic but it wasn't terrible). If you want a specific recommendation for a barn check out The Village Farm in Langhorne. I kept my horse there for about a year before I sold him and moved back to jersey and thought it was great. The best part was it was only 10 min from my house! They have a decent sized indoor and HUGE outdoor and do go to shows. It's also a friendly atmosphere, they have barns parties and BBQs all the time. The only downside is the turnout is a bit on the smaller side with no grazing, but they are very conscious of the nutrition of the horses and feed lots of hay. They are very reasonable in price for the facilities you get at around $475-$525 a month. Hope this helps!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Some suggestions

                              I work in Philly, live in Lower Merion, and board my horse in Harleysville (N. Montgomery County). I have been doing the hour to hour and a half drive thing for 16 years in order to get to the barn after work during the week. The drive to the barn from my home is much better (about 40 mins), but getting there from Center City is miserable. Unfortunately, with most of the good show barns around here, that is the reality.

                              One area I would suggest you explore for living accomodations is Conshohocken. There is a pretty vibrant bar/social scene for someone your age in Conshy, and the housing prices are relatively reasonable. Also, you would have very easy access to the city and your sisters. From Conshohocken, you can get right onto 76, the turnpike and the Blue Route, so you also have easy access to northern Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County (all of which have good boarding options, as mentioned above).

                              I think that where you end up working is really going to dictate where you want to live/ride. If you work in the city, or to the west of the city, then Conshohocken would be a good option, IMO.

                              One school that comes to mind that you may want to look into is the Woodlynde School in Wayne:
                              http://www.woodlynde.org/default.aspx
                              I don't know a tremendous amount about it, but have heard that it has a very good reputation.

                              Good luck, and feel free to PM me if you want any info on barns.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Woodlynde has a fabulous reputation. Also, Benchmark in Media, PA and The Pilot School in Wilmington DE.

                                I would also recommend looking into Delaware. And the Trolley Square area of Delaware is a fun place to live. There aren't many boarding options in DE, but the commute from DE to Chester County is pretty easy.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by nelson View Post

                                  One area I would suggest you explore for living accomodations is Conshohocken. There is a pretty vibrant bar/social scene for someone your age in Conshy, and the housing prices are relatively reasonable. Also, you would have very easy access to the city and your sisters. From Conshohocken, you can get right onto 76, the turnpike and the Blue Route, so you also have easy access to northern Montgomery County, Bucks County and Chester County (all of which have good boarding options, as mentioned above).

                                  I think that where you end up working is really going to dictate where you want to live/ride. If you work in the city, or to the west of the city, then Conshohocken would be a good option, IMO.
                                  This!

                                  I just moved from Center City to Conshohocken, partially to be closer to the barn. I was also tired of commuting to Malvern, Downingtown, Paoli, etc. up 76 from the city. I agree with the PP who said, "poke my eyeballs with a fork!"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Lion1024 View Post
                                    Woodlynde has a fabulous reputation. Also, Benchmark in Media, PA and The Pilot School in Wilmington DE.

                                    I would also recommend looking into Delaware. And the Trolley Square area of Delaware is a fun place to live. There aren't many boarding options in DE, but the commute from DE to Chester County is pretty easy.
                                    I live in Trolley Square and really enjoy it! The OP could also board at LRJ & Vicmead in Greenville which is only 5 minutes away!
                                    Originally posted by JSwan
                                    Prove it....Otherwise, you're just coming off as a whackjob.
                                    Founding member of the "Not too Klassy for Boxed Wine" Clique

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks for all the great information guys! I know these areas by name, but know nothing about the prices or accessibility. I'm ok with a commute, I'm used to it, but I'd rather not HAVE to have it, 95 miles is a long commute, traffic or not, lol. Please keep the recs coming! Thanks COTH-ers!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        You can't go wrong with Bucks County. Doylestown, like someone suggested, is a great option and there are no shortage of trainers in the area.

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