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Living/Riding in the UK (Suffolk) vs NoVA

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  • Living/Riding in the UK (Suffolk) vs NoVA

    Evening everyone,

    I have an opportunity to be stationed in the UK (northwestern Suffolk county) and was curious what the horse community was like there. I have not ridden in two years, but am very eager to get back into it. Prior to my voluntary break from riding, I had 17 years experience, three of which were as a professional. I grew up riding (American) hunters and equitation, did a couple of jumpers, and eventually dabbled in eventing, dressage, and hunted for three seasons in Northern Virginia. I know my way around horses, was certainly not afraid of riding the crazies, but after two years off, I'm going to need a few months to get back in the swing of things.

    Is it expensive? Are there good liveries (that's what you good folk call barns/stables, yes? ) in the northwest Suffolk area? What about the availability of open trails/land for riding out? I rode out a lot on neighboring private land in VA, and got addicted to it. I love ringwork, but definitely love to spend time out of it as well. I'm not looking to compete right away, but I'd be a fool to not show at some point while in England!

    I'm sure it varies by the stable, but is leasing a common occurrence? I would want to lease eventually after taking lessons for a few months to get back in riding shape. And depending how much time I spend there, I might eventually look to purchase. One of the nicest horses I've ridden in a long time was a beautiful English Thoroughbred. He was really a lovely representation of that type.

    There's no guarantee of me being stationed in the UK, but I'm thinking of pushing for it if I can. My other preference would be returning to the NoVA/DC area, since I loved my time there would would be more than happy to return (especially with a decently paying career, not being poor all the time as someone's trainer/groom/manager!). But part of me has always wanted to spend time in England, and something is telling me now is the time to do it, while I'm still young, somewhat single (long story), and not tied down with kids or a horse of my own at the moment.

    Thank you for any help you can offer. No rush on this, but the more information and resources I can gather now, the easier my decision will be.
  • Original Poster

    Bump. No information on the riding community near Mildenhall?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Outfoxed View Post
      But part of me has always wanted to spend time in England, and something is telling me now is the time to do it, while I'm still young, somewhat single (long story), and not tied down with kids or a horse of my own at the moment.
      Now IS the time to do it!

      Sorry, can't offer specific advice on the horsey community in Suffolk, but you only live once, and you may never get such an opportunity again.

      (I lived in London for 4 years myself -- no regrets and many happy memories).

      Good luck!
      Follow us on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peonyvodka/


      • Original Poster

        Thanks SMF!

        Now definitely is the time. There are a few things holding me back, but I'm going to try to go for it. I'm asking around all over the place to get an understanding of what's out there.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Outfoxed View Post
          Bump. No information on the riding community near Mildenhall?
          You will probably get some replies in the morning- it is approx 3 AM there now.

          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


          • Original Poster

            I bumped only because it had been 20 days with no replies. Figured it was worth a shot.


            • #7
              You might have better luck on the Horse and Hound forums.


              • #8
                I lived in Hampshire for a year and near Manchester for 9 months. Loved both. I would move to virtually any part of the UK if given the chance. I know nothing about Suffolk, but I say go for it!


                • #9
                  plnty of riding in suffolk loads to do and see where abouts are you going to as have friends that way in yards a nd schools riding centres etc


                  • #10
                    Hi Outfoxed,
                    Sorry I didn't see your message first time round. I actually live in Norfolk, so not too far from where you are living.

                    Riding around Mildenhall is great as you have all of the forest (Thetford forest) to ride in. However, our set up is a little different to what you are describing. A livery yard is not quite the same as leasing as livery horses are all owned by individuals and then cared for (either on part or full livery) by the staff at the livery yard. Leasing here is not common at all in the same way that it is in the states.

                    If you do lease a horse you're best off looking in Horse and Hound or the free ads papers for someone looking to lease their horse, or part share. You then need to negotiate with the owner to find a yard that you are both happy for the horse to live at etc.

                    Otherwise your best bet is to start by riding at a local riding school - I'm afraid I don't really know of any as I live over an hour away from Mildenhall.

                    You could always visit local horse places and/or put an ad in the free ads to say that you'd like to share someone's horse.

                    I'm actually in the US at the moment - if you'd like to chat about the options then PM me and I'll give you my US cell phone number.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for the info Doodlebug. That's very helpful. I've also received some good replies over on Horse and Hound, so it looks like there's a good riding community over there. I would be starting off with lessons, as I'm two years out of riding (rode once last summer, but that doesn't count much) and need to get back into it. Now I just need to get over there!


                      • #12
                        It's REALLY flat ! You shouldn't have a problem - you won't be far from Newmarket. A riding school will have nice horses for you to get your feet wet, and get to know how things work.
                        ... _. ._ .._. .._


                        • #13
                          I have a friend who lived in Britain for years, was a horse person all her life, and found that horses in general in the UK were far outside their middle class finances. The minute the family moved to more affordable locations, life again centered on horses for her.
                          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                          Thread killer Extraordinaire