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Florida + Southern Living

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  • Florida + Southern Living

    So I know there are a ton of you on COTH who live in Florida - tell me about it!! I've spent 3 winters in Ocala and loved the horsey atmosphere. Does it totally drop out in the spring when lots of riders move north for the summer? Do you end up giving the ponies time off in the summer because it's too hot to ride? I'm seriously considering a move in the fall - I can't take this winter cr*p anymore!!!
    What are land taxes like in the Ocala area? Is there more land available a bit further south of Ocala (towards Orlando, for instance? What about near Rocking Horse and Altoona?) I'm going to start my property search soon, and though I would love to end up in Reddick or another town around Ocala, I'm not sure finances will allow it...

    Any pieces of wisdom you could share would be greatly appreciated!!

  • #2
    you have not yet survived an off season.
    nothing can compare to a sunshine plaza break for hosing and scraping the love bugs off the wind shield or the end of the hurricane season mosquito popularion.
    those winter only snow birds are such for many more reasons than winter cold.
    more hay, less grain


    • #3
      Well, it isn't even March and already I am worried about the upcoming hurricane season. It is beautiful weather this time of year, but half the year it is hot as hell and very humid. Everybody is selling out to the developers..I just read in today's paper that the state is even considering selling almost 1000 acres of the Ocala National Forest! I am just outside of Orlando..real estate anywhere between here and Ocala has gotten so ridiculous. It is out of control. Schools are overcrowded, traffic is horrible. Sorry to be so negative. I would go back north tomorrow if I could (Hubby is a self-employed engineer who is not willing to start over). There are some nice undeveloped areas near Rocking Horse in Altoona. I would move to Ocala or Newberry in an instant, but they are expensive also. I just saw an ad for a mobile home on 5 acres in the boonies just east of Orlando for almost half a million! (Sigh )
      I compare our summers to the winters up north..we really don't do a whole lot with the horses, especially showing. When we ride, it is either very early or late. The rest of the day, the horses are in their stalls with the fans blowing on them.
      Lori T
      www.facebook.com/LTEquine for product updates on the lines I rep


      • #4
        Yep! Its not always greener on the other side! LOL I hate winter, but I love our summers. I went to Florida to visit my Aunt and Uncle 3 years ago, late oct for a week. It was over 90 degrees every day! This was Ft. Lauderdale. I did not mind it, I enjoyed it, but she said theres no break from it from June on. And the BUGS!!! And yes the hurricaines. Winters in Florda and summers in MI would be ideal! I have often told my husband we should move to GA. I hear its just as hot, if not more humid.


        • #5
          Well I for one love it. I'd rather suffer through the heat then the cold. You can still ride in the summer, you just have to wait until after dinner or ride early in the morning. I ride after dinner anyway so it works for me. There aren't too many shows in June/July/August, but there's the best showing in the world all winter long!!! Also, there are some Friday night shows under the lights in the summer, and they are a lot of fun.

          During the day I'm working anyway, so I don't care if it's hot. The horses stay inside under the fans, and go out late afternoon and at night.

          There's so much to do in Florida, and I love the beach. So it works for me!!


          • Original Poster

            See I'm in the same vein of thinking as Meadow... Doesn't matter what time you get up or wait to ride in the winter, it's still cold!!! I know no place is paradise, but I haven't really ridden since november (can't really afford to ship to an indoor and refuse to ride if it's below 25 or the footing is crappy, so that just about rules riding out!)
            I just don't really want to deal with winter at all anymore, which rules out NC..they still get cold!!
            I think my best plan to date is to find a crazy rich boyfriend who will support my riding habit and give me a farm in the mtns of vermont for the summer and ocala in the winter


            • #7
              Armandh- you are right on.

              I only survived FL for 3 years. I moved there with an open mind the idea that riding would be fantabulous! Sorry FL folks, but it wasn't for me.

              Trail riding was a nightmare because of all the bugs- and did I mention gators that would defend their territory as you walked your horse by their pond. Sand colic is a daily worry and every horse comes down with some version of the creeping crud from fungus. My tack had to be scraped for mold every time I rode. The seasons are hot, hotter, hottest and hurricane. You have to decide during a hurricane if a) you want to leave the horses in and risk fire or barn collapse or b) you want to turn them out and risk being killed by lightning, drowning or flying debris. Oh, and the whole state is flood level, so the horse's feet are like mush since it is wet A LOT.

              Snowbirds are snowbirds because they are smart.


              • Original Poster

                Is it like that in the Ocala area and north though? I mean, I know it gets hot in the summer, but obviously it's not as bad as down in the southern part of the state, right?
                Just My Style - what about Georgia? is it much better then FL?


                • #9
                  In my opinion, yes. It is much better for year round living. You do get the seasons which I loved. I got SO depressed each winter in FL when I couldn't bring out my favorite sweaters. I never thought I would care, but I DID. I never lived further south than Pennsylvania (including MI, MN, NJ & IL) and the winters here are NOTHING compared to that. It's colder than FL, but it's manageable. You only have to bang ice out of the buckets a few times a year. Only my senior horses get bundled up in the winter and that is because they can no longer cope in any climate. You get a fraction of the bugs. No gators. No sand colic. Of all of the places I have lived, I like GA the best.

                  Everyone has an opinion. That happens to be mine.


                  • #10
                    I grew up in S. Florida riding and it was miserable. I'm surprised I didn't pass out during shows from the heat. My passion for riding overcame the broiler weather, but I don't think I could do it now. I live in NC and I don't think the weather has been too cold this year. IMHO... don't do it!! People that talk about the fungus, sand colic, and bugs aren't kidding. Winter there is nice though...


                    • #11
                      We relocated our farm to Florida from the midwest. Horse keeping is more difficult in some respects, but easier in others. I'm not a fan of cold weather... Of course, I don't like hurricanes either but what can we do.

                      I guess it's all about perspective. I'm glad we're in FL though...
                      Platinum Equestrian - Florida, USA


                      • #12
                        not just about gators....
                        I forgot to mention one trail ride on the west coast where the horse owner said "if we see anyone with automatic weapons u-turn and kick...hard" I do not think she was kidding.
                        more hay, less grain


                        • #13
                          I came, I saw, I am ready to go back West or North again!


                          • #14
                            Please don't tell me it is so horrible! I'm moving to the Clearwater area within the next two months....bringing my OTTB mare with me. The winters are so cold here in NY and this has been a easy one this year. I can't wait to get there but everyone is scaring me about horse care in FL, I know about sand colic and the bugs, hurricanes as we've owned our home for three years.


                            • #15
                              Because you never get a cold snap, you never get relief from all the things that get annoying after a long, hot, humid summer. You can wear a t-shirt and shorts on Christmas. My husband lived his whole life in Tampa and all his relatives are still there. After experiencing a change of seasons, he would never, ever go back.


                              • #16
                                it was many years ago and the drug trade was quite worrisome at the time. where you may have thought I was going... MO passed concealed carry as well. the predictions of disaster or benefit did not come true. no significant change in stats.
                                more hay, less grain


                                • #17
                                  Please don't tell me it is so horrible! I'm moving to the Clearwater area within the next two months....bringing my OTTB mare with me.
                                  All I can say is- make sure you ask what level evacuation zone you are in for both you and your horse. Be prepared to have to pack up and leave if you are level 1 or 2. I used to work in Clearwater. We had to evacuate the office for all the storms. My house was level 3, so I knew I could go home. Others that I worked with used to have to scramble from work, get a suitcase grab the pets and head for higher ground. That is all if they don't close the roads on you.

                                  I am not trying to scare anyone, but you need to learn a new way of life. I wasn't capable of it. Now my husband's family- they love it. A hurricane can be heading straight for their house and they don't care. They have $ and insurance and they just figure "nothing ever happens". Well, tell that to the people of New Orleans. You have to be prepared and hope that you never have to use it.


                                  • #18
                                    This is an interesting subject for me!

                                    I lived in Ellenton for almost two years (about half an hour south of Tampa, near St. Pete), grew up in upstate NY, and have also lived for 2-4 years in central NY, Michigan, Vermont, West Virgnia, South central PA, and now NC.

                                    I always say I operate at maximum efficiency when it is about 40 degrees, but I got tired of making no progress in the winter (with the horses). Since there's basically nothing in my life except the horses and wherever I'm working (which is mucho second-fiddle to the horses), not being able to do the horses for long periods of time just got to me.

                                    The trouble is that good horse country is so expensive to live in, especially in terms of real estate.

                                    Anyway, though, I liked FL fine, even though my place got hit by a "tropical twister" two days after I bought it! I even liked how it rained every afternoon at 3pm. I loved how the horses always had grass to graze, but I hated the price of hay: $5 for burnt-looking, coarse coastal; $20 for alfalfa. I didn't mind the bugs, except the HUGORAMA SPIDERS in the orange orchards. You'd think those orchards would be the perfect places to ride, but unles you were riding a mini, you had to go slow and careful or you'd have a face-full of spider. Those darn beasts stretched web after web right across the rows, from tree to tree. Some were as big as your hand. YUK!

                                    I also had a mare fracture her splint bone and my precious dressage horse got a high bow, both from racing around in the deep sand (both came in lame, when they weren't even in work).

                                    My father retired to the lake country between Ocala and Orlando and likes it, but the traffic is hell around there.

                                    If I had a choice, I'd live in Vermont in the summer and Ocala in the winter. I love the area around Burlington.

                                    I hated how flat Michigan is (and NE NC, too). I liked PA, and it was the best area I've been in to date (including NC) for selling horses and ponies for really decent prices (and for making up greenies at great local shows), but as usual, I couldn't afford to keep living there, horse facilities being so expensive.

                                    WV was excellent for raising horses--winters weren't too bad and the land was just to die for (affordable, beautiful, varied, etc.), but the support services stank (vets and farriers, for example) and there were absolutely no shows or events within hours.

                                    NY was OK, but the winters were rough and there seemed to be a lot more bad attitudes among horsey folk in the central part of the state.
                                    Sportponies Unlimited
                                    Athletic Thoroughbred crosses for the highly motivated, smaller rider.


                                    • #19
                                      PS: Bring your own semi load of hay with you. It shall save you a large fortune.

                                      BTW, you do know the entire state does not hold ground much above sea level? Tsunami anyone?

                                      Seriously, I have been to/lived in a couple of dozen countries. Florida is okay; though from having experienced so much of the rest of the US & the world, well, quite simply I can live without Florida. And I am quite sure Florida will not even notice when I do leave-for good.


                                      • #20
                                        Florida is horrible--no one new should move here. Don't even think about it. The whole state is fixin to sink into the ocean because of all the new concrete from all the building, not to mention all the flippin cars on the road. The concrete, pavement and all the car exhaust is polluting the air and increasing the heat something awful. Since the hurricanes, we have tons of new varieties of mosquitos, fungus and weeds (who knows if they're toxic to horses or not). Nope--definitely don't move here. There are too many people already--lots of the horse people are moving to SC or GA, etc. It doesn't make sense to keep horses on property that costs over $300 grand per acre. I've lived here all my life, and even though I'm a hard-core Florida girl, even I'm thinking of moving.