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tell me about life with horses in Tennessee

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  • tell me about life with horses in Tennessee

    Possible relocation in the future to TN. Currently live in the Northeast with my horses and business which is training and sales of dressage and hunter/jumpers, mostly imports. The market here for the horses I sell, albeit now with this economy is very slow, has been good for sales of higher end priced horses.
    Never having lived anywhere else except Europe(I would give my eye teeth if I were able to live anywhere in Europe!) and the Northeast how big of a culture shock would I be in for? Where are the "horsey areas", what is life/culture/people/finance and horse keeping like in TN and would by business be able to keep afloat?? Any input would be greatly appreciated as I am clueless about this state but may need to transfer there in the future for other unrelated horse reasons. Thanks so much in advance

  • #2
    What part of Tenn?


    • #3
      Originally posted by Starda01 View Post
      What part of Tenn?
      Yeah, that's the critical question. You'd be OK around Nashville or around Knoxville. Everywhere else... good luck with that.
      "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


      • #4
        The state is really more like three states as each section (West, Middle and East) is pretty unique. Middle TN has a variety of disciplines; the HJ scene is pretty serious as is dressage.


        • #5
          Au contraire, West Tenn. also has active horse communities, both HJ and dressage. I know of at least four dressage barns and several HJ. Alderwood has schooling show regularly and there are A shows, too. Not as trendy as Nashville, but real estate is much more affordable, and if you get out of Memphis, the area is quite lovely.


          • #6
            Originally posted by nashgirl View Post
            The state is really more like three states as each section (West, Middle and East) is pretty unique. Middle TN has a variety of disciplines; the HJ scene is pretty serious as is dressage.
            And we have a fabulous group of eventers here, as well!
            Big Idea Eventing


            • #7
              Originally posted by niceb View Post
              Where are the "horsey areas", what is life/culture/people/finance and horse keeping like in TN and would by business be able to keep afloat?? Any input would be greatly appreciated as I am clueless about this state but may need to transfer there in the future for other unrelated horse reasons. Thanks so much in advance
              if you are looking for "locals" (w/in 100 miles of your location) to be interested in imports...well as War Admiral said "good luck"...I would add a "fat chance" and that is not to be nasty....

              only in the subdivisions near nashville and maybe germantown/memphis are you going to have any shot of people even knowing what the hell you are talking about...and having the money to support that sort of horse hobby....(and those that do have real money keep reiners and cutters esp in west TN)

              and most of those are not natives but imports themselves....we call them "half ways"...folks who were from the nawth and went to FL and hated it and after 15 or so years moved "half way" back and ended up here in TN....

              which is not to degrade the locals...we are draft and mule and harness and long trail country out of the big three cities...there will be a 30 acre plowing in crossville tomorrow (right near the tile outlet on the interstate for the local folks) that will be horse/mule only...they get about 20 teams normally...

              as a result every one has in their family someone familiar with horses or mules on some level....and few wish to leave what they already do...I know of more than one dressage/import person who was nothing but disappointed as they thought that they would "set the town on fire" moving to TN as a nobody and just ended up wasting 4-5 years with nothing to show but bills and hurt feelings....

              Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
              I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


              • #8
                I can't imagine an equine import/export business thriving in Tennessee, except possibly around Nashville, and even then I doubt it. We've got lots of horses, but we don't pay that much for them.


                • #9
                  East Tn is horsey ignorant - Knoxville area is ok - some people with money and brains, and maybe Chattanooga, but in between- lived there for a while and "everybody" had a backyard TN walker. A "good" farrier is one who would put on shoes and you didn't have to have the farrier back for 6 months because the shoes stayed on!!! Riding (or should I say SPEED Racking) down the road was the test of a truly good horse. The "show" stables of TWH had more stories of the horses laying in their stalls and groaning because their feet hurt so much from being sored- the "trainers" would whip them to get up and ride them - I was ignorant too, I didn't think this was true or happened anymore, but I was wrong - it is alive and well in East TN. The open horse shows were a joke. Couldn't find good feed store much less tack store anywhere (Knoxville was overpriced on everything).
                  Never seen so much abuse of dogs and horses in my life, as I did while I was there.


                  • #10
                    and maybe Chattanooga,
                    Nonono. This place is an equestrian wasteland. Trust me. I'm blessed to have an excellent vet but feed stores with decent feed are HARD to find, the nearest good tack shops are in Shelbyville TN and Alpharetta GA, and now that my excellent farrier is retired I don't know *what* I'm going to do about feet. (Suggestions ANYONE?)

                    If you really MUST live in the Chatt. area, you will be doing a lot of driving. You're 2 hours away from the Atlanta shows, and 2.5-3.5 hours away from the Memphis, KY and VA shows. There are some cute little local circuits in Cleveland TN but they are not high end at all. If you need to sell high-end heese you will end up doing what most of the big show barns do and taking 'em to Florida and KY.

                    All of that said, property values can be sort of decent, if you don't mind the rest of the down sides.
                    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by War Admiral View Post
                      now that my excellent farrier is retired I don't know *what* I'm going to do about feet. (Suggestions ANYONE?)
                      Johnny Warner might travel down that way...

                      he's a damn good farrier

                      Production Acres,Pro A Welsh Cobs
                      I am one of the last 210,000 remaining full time farmers in America.We feed the others.


                      • #12
                        I can say that Chattanooga SUCKS horse-life wise. I've been here for 6 years and I go to Atlanta for anything horsey (Barns for the most part, minus the barn I'm at and 2 others), tack shops, shows, ANYTHING really. My vet is an hour away, and though there are some great places to go trail ride...not so much anything else! And if its not gaited...heaven help you finding anyone who has a CLUE what to do with it. I'm blessed teaching at a lovely little barn just outside of Chatt...but for $$ horses...lol you're out of LUCK here.


                        • #13
                          We moved from MD to TN in the early '90s (and shortly afterwards employed a certain young lady to manage the farm from whom you've already heard ).

                          It was a culture shock. I'd lived in the South for a couple of decades before (most in the tidewater) so I was OK. My wife is from north FL so she was OK. There were still some "revelations" that surprised.

                          Tamara is dead right on what she's told you. East TN has scant "organized" English type activities. The Knoxville area does have a hunt, a dressage and combined training club, and some pure dressage activities. There are at least two "high dollar" pony barns. Riverglen is a major English show venue, but also may do some Western events.

                          The major advantage of living here is a relatively low cost of husbandry. You can easily keep a horse on pasture for $150/mo. and good quality full care board can be had for as little as $350/mo. Very good farriers charge $35/ea. for a trim and shoes will start at $100 for new iron all 'round. Vet rates are reasonable and UT Vet. Hosp. has a farm call unit that will go about 45 or 50 miles from Knoxville at a reasonable price (and you get quite a "traveling road show" when they show up with the vet, tech, and a string of students ). Then do a good job.

                          If you take care of your pastures you can graze here for 8-9 months/year. Hay can be had from multiple sources (we use Production Acres and recommend them, of course ). But if you're willing to feed locally raised "grass hay" you can get it for $90-$125/ton. Of course this is "bottom of the barrel" hay and you'll likely "get what you pay for."

                          Through our local hunt I've met a half dozen warmblood breeders who live and breed here and sell nationwide. They do so because our costs are very modest compared to the NE, CA, etc.

                          You've had a pretty good overall look at the state but just where in the state you'll be is critical. The Tri-Cities (Bristol, Johnson City, Kingsport) are hundreds of miles from Memphis or Nashville and very different in terrain, climate, attitude, etc.

                          We've enjoyed the almost 20 years we've lived here, but we are also very flexible and had already learned that just 'cause something was done "that way back home" doesn't mean it's going to be done "that way" here!!!!!

                          Good luck in making your decision.

                          Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


                          • #14
                            If you are willing to travel for shows and advertise nationwide, I think you could keep a horse import business afloat near one of the "major" cities in TN. I don't know what type of clientele you have in the Northeast, but in my experience, so much can be done with the internet these days that you don't necessarily need a strong market in your immediate area.

                            I would definitely do your homework and visit the areas you're considering before you get too serious. Where I live, I'm lucky to be in a sporthorse friendly area. I have access to a number of good equine service providers. However, moving as little as an hour away in any direction would severely limit my choices in vets, farriers, feed stores, etc. That could be a problem if you're needing a vet who can do PPEs for high performance disciplines or a farrier who doesn't shoe everything like a walking horse.
                            Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


                            • #15
                              I think when I moved up here last year (having lived in NE Georgia for 25 years), the hardest thing to get used to was having to mail-order EVERYTHING, even your saddle soap and bug spray. Down in NE GA we had 2 good feed stores and 3 great tack shops within about 35 miles, or we could drive 65 miles and go to Alpharetta. Nothing even remotely like that within 100 miles here.
                              "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                              • #16
                                How many horses would you need to import and sell per year to have a viable business? While Nashville/Franklin/Murfreesboro (middle TN) does have a number of H/J and dressage barns, I'm not sure how many trainers would direct a client to you for an imported horse. A lot depends on who you know down here. Yankees are still regarded cautiously. If you have the time and money to ride out the startup and carefully establish your business by going to shows, and networking with trainers, it might work. This isn't an area where an imported horse is a "must have". Or in redneck...."imported??? You mean he came from Virginia?"
                                It's 2018. Do you know where your old horse is?

                                www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.