ASSFS Blog Hop: Location, Location, Location

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’s basically “DC Lite”

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.

Yeah, fall views are my fav.

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.

Seriously Middleburg is basically Fantastyland for foxhunters

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.

Loudoun Benefit, about 30 minutes from the barn

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.


20 thoughts on “ASSFS Blog Hop: Location, Location, Location

  1. Tracy - Fly On Over 12/07/2016 / 9:48 am

    Virginia sounds wonderful, except for the cost! I suppose that’s always the trade-off — you want great location? You’re gonna pay for it!!


    • hellomylivia 12/07/2016 / 11:23 am

      I really shouldn’t complain since it’s such a great place, but I complain about the cost anyways haha 😛


  2. Megan 12/07/2016 / 10:22 am

    i wish like anything i could relocate there. it was my dream to live in middleberg. but unfortunately the jerbs are near cities and i have no desire to commute into DC


    • hellomylivia 12/07/2016 / 11:23 am

      Same- I’d love to live further west into horse country, but then commutes get longer and longer and longer…


  3. Sarah 12/07/2016 / 10:29 am

    Bahah I think you hit this spot on. Everything is higher in NoVA and there are SO many more venues/trainers/all the things. 😉 Thanks for joining!


    • hellomylivia 12/08/2016 / 9:01 am

      I had no idea when I moved here that everything would be so nearby!


  4. Hillary H. 12/08/2016 / 9:12 am

    Your board is kinda on par with my area. I found one of the only decent places with reasonable board and I am never leaving haha.

    Sounds like a cool place to live!


    • hellomylivia 12/08/2016 / 2:43 pm

      Same situation here! My place has a great price for the area AND fantastic care- they’re stuck with me haha


  5. Micaylah Strukelj 12/08/2016 / 1:11 pm

    I was like “DREAM PLACE” and then I saw the cost and scampered back to my dirt cheap house in the country because I am also broke


  6. L. Williams 12/08/2016 / 2:14 pm

    My past farrier (because I don’t have a new one because no need right now) used to do itemized bills so you knew how much everything was, pads, shoes, trim etc. It was pretty nice.


    • hellomylivia 12/08/2016 / 3:00 pm

      That IS really nice to see it broken out like that. I think ours will break out things like pads or any special needs, but Frankie’s trim+shoes all go together in one column. Womp womp.


  7. Abby F 12/08/2016 / 3:31 pm

    I ❤️Virginia. In my opinion, the only 2 places you need to live in the US are Virginia and Wellington! Haha


  8. Heather 12/09/2016 / 11:54 am

    Virginia is also home to like a gazillion breeding farms, so you also get the benefit of babies running around all over. Despite the chilly winters, I’m often tempted to up and move to Virginia just for the show scene. Our boarding costs are similar, but we have way less choices and amenities.


    • hellomylivia 12/09/2016 / 4:13 pm

      DO IT FOR SURE DO IT. Come be show buddies with meeeee


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