Hopping on the blog hop wagon! Like Sarah from A Soft Spot for Stars, I’m in the wonderful state of Virginia. But while she is in the beautiful southwest part of the state, I am in Northern Virginia, aka NoVa. Which may as well be on the other side of the country- NoVa is it’s own beast.
It has rapidly turned into a very urban/suburban area over the last decade, with lots of people commuting into DC. And it is EXPENSIVE. Absolutely absurdly expensive. With all the expansion going on, you really have to head towards the western part of the county to find true horse country, which is about 40 minutes from my apartment (but only 20 min from work, score!).
Here are some costs, heavily caveated by the fact that I board at a barn that takes care of a lot of these things for me:
- Trim- no idea, since Frankie is shod
- Shoes-$180-$250 depending on type, special needs, etc.
- Average monthly pasture board- not super common in my area
- Average monthly stall board- $850-$1300 depending on which barn you go to, and often certain training services are thrown in there
- Average cost of a month of full time training- $1400-$2000
- Hay- absolutely no clue haha
Weather: Honestly I really like it- winters can be harsh but tend to be brief, and summers can be scalding but I am secretly a reptile that thrives on sunlight. Autumn is by far my favorite- we usually have gloriously crisp but mild weather up into December.
Riding demographic: This is hunter land. For sure. There’s actually a very active community of foxhunters in this area- Middleburg is basically a town devoted to foxhunting and the equestrian lifestyle. But the show hunters are also a huge thing around here. Along with that, jumpers and eq. I know there are also quite a few active eventers around here with some great venues nearby (Morven Park, anyone?), and I’ve seen quite a few dressage barns in the area. With all the suburban yuppies (myself included), English disciplines seem to be the most prevalent around here.
Other notes on the area: While it is expensive, this area is really AMAZING for accessibility to hunter/jumper shows. The VHSA hosts local shows in the area almost every weekend year round for both the hunters and jumpers, and there are so many venues hosting rated shows year round as well: HITS Culpeper, Upperville/Loudoun Benefit, McDonough, Swan Lake, Lexington, WIHS, and the Mid-Atlantic Eq Festival are just a few of the AMAZING shows within an easy drive of the barn. It’s also pretty easy to get to either Ocala or Lake Placid/Vermont for the seasonal shows. Seriously, if your goal is to compete on any H/J circuit from the locals to the AA, this is the place you want to be. In my mind, it’s totally worth the extra cost of living to have all these equestrian amenities so close by. And because there is such an extensive community of equestrians in the area, it’s really easy to shop around to find your favorite trainer, tack shop, vet, farrier, bridle trail at the state parks, hunter pace, etc. You want to clinic? We have actual Olympians from several disciplines just down the road. It’s all here.
Frustrating things about my area: Nothing that I can think of (besides cost, because I am a broken record. A broke-en record. Hah.). It took me a while to adjust to living in this type of mega-suburb, but now I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I get all the conveniences of living in the city, with easy access to world class training and show facilities.