December 5, 2016

ASSF Blog Hop: Location!

While there are some major horse happenings going on here, like perhaps maybe possibly "borrowing" some beautiful vinyl fencing and a horse shed from a property about to be torn down for housing, nothing can really move forward until our move in date.  Then it will be game on as we fix things up and prepare for the Dynamic Duo.

I did stumble upon a very interesting blog hop by A Soft Spot for Stars and really enjoyed reading about other people's regions, so I thought I would chime in on this one. Since I board 40 minutes away from where I live, I will try to cover both areas and highlight where they differ.


The Upstate of South Carolina is nestled an hour to the southeast of the Blue Ridge Mountains and three hours northwest of the coastal plains and ocean.  We are a little too far away to be in the true foothills, but it is still mostly rolling type hills. While there is a lot of pasture land, the area is also heavily wooded with deciduous pines and hardwoods. The horses are closer to the mountains and in a much more rural region than where we live although we hope to one day move about 20 minutes out into the more rural part and still stay close to family and work. 

 My typical view through my favorite black tipped ears
There are numerous large lakes that sport dozens of marinas, hiking trails and fishing opportunities. One thing that does make me sad is the lack of wildlife. I've seen maybe a dozen deer in three years even in all my rides and hikes. Wild boar have crossed my path a time or two, but really there just isn't much. I'm not sure if they have all been hunted to extinction (doubtful given the horrific amount of hunting that went down in WI and the large numbers of wildlife still around), but I'm guessing that it is just too hot and too dry for wildlife to thrive. I'm sure it is out there, but we have been in some pretty remote areas and still didn't even see a squirrel. There are a lot of birds of prey, but few song birds. 

Mountain views as well

Beef cattle and horses are the dominant pasture animals although goats and sheep are around as well. Only one dairy exists in the area and it has become a tourist stop for locals. Coming from WI, that is really funny. No real crops are grown save some small local farmers with vegetables that they have you pick or they take to the farmer's market. The red clay and dry, hot summers are just not conducive to growing large acres of crops. Vegetables are grown year round though. I find it odd when people are just starting to plant in November for a December harvest - broccoli, cabbage, winter greens are all grown in the winter months. Fresh vegetables are really available year round. 

Delicious home grown cabbage picked in December
As far as facilities go almost all have a barn, outdoor area and room to hack around the perimeter of the grounds. I'd say half have lights and half don't even he high end ones. There are a lot of cross country courses to play around on for a minimal day fee or to clinic with. Turn out is usually plentiful. I don't know a single facility that doesn't have turnout and most are very spacious. Stall board usually comes with day time turnout in the cooler months and night turn out over the summer which was new to me when I moved here. Indoor arenas just don't exist. The fanciest places will have a covered out door, but very, very few have a full blown indoor. Round pens are also not a thing here.


Pasture board - $250 with grain and hay twice daily and typically enough summer coastal and winter       fescue planted to allow grazing most of the year.

Stall board - $400 around us and $600 up where the horses are

Training board - $1,000

Trim: $30-50

Shoes: I've paid $70 up to $260 for all 4, so I have no clue. I think average is $120 for a set of 4

Hay: $7 square bale of fescue or coastal. Timothy has to be brought in and I've seen it as high as $14. I don't buy round bales, but they typically run $35 for fescue or coastal. I've paid $19 for a compressed bale of alfalfa.

Lessons: For beginner intro level stuff it seems to be $35 for a private hour. Anything more than that, or with any of the numerous big names around here, it is averaging out to be about $50 for a private half hour or group hour.  


The real reason to live here!! The unique placement between the mountains and the coast offers a break from typical weather patterns of the state. Too far away for hurricanes or snow with a light breeze to help move the humidity. Although, I must say this year has been odd - we are currently in a severe drought (we were over 10 inches short last month), there were then wild fires all around us and last Wednesday there were two confirmed tornados only miles from my house and work that flattened whole neighborhoods.

We still get to enjoy four distinct seasons with beautiful fall foliage, however winter is truncated and summer lasts forever. Fall and spring actually exist as separate seasons from winter too which is such a different experience than living up north where they both just felt like variations of winter.

Since we are currently at the end of fall/early winter, I will start there. The rain typically begins in November and runs through March or April and it brings with it a damp cold. Temperatures do get into the low 20s/upper teens at night, but thanks to the extremely hot southern sun, the days tend to stay in the upper 30s or low 40s. I ditched the Ohio unicloud a long time ago and am happy to report the skies stay blue and the sun warm even in the dead of winter. We will get a snowy mix about once or twice a year which shuts the entire city down.

Snowzilla 2016
Spring is my all time favorite. Starting in March the temperatures get to the 50s and 60s again and the flowers burst out. The rain can continue, but generally there are enough breaks for the sun to keep things dry. Nothing like thawing out up north where everything was a mud pit for months on end. The sticky slick red clay does drain really well.

Summer bring stemperatures that consistently stay in the mid 90s with several weeks in the upper 90s/100 range. This isn't so bad, but the humidity does kill you. It really isn't safe to ride at all in July and August. The mornings do give you a brief respite and you can get a ride in just as the sun comes up, but the evenings are suffocating as the sun goes down and the humidity rises. Summers are typically very dry here with minimal rain.

Then fall comes in around the end of October or early November. Temperatures finally drop in the 70s and the rain begins to return to the region. I've worn capris and a short sleeved shirt on Wyatt's birthday the end of November every year since we moved here. It is fantastic.


Hands down, it is predominantly English based with eventing taking the top spot. With Aiken 2.5 hours one direction and Tryon 1.5 hours the other, you can't really escape it. In my opinion, dressage and all the competitive ways to be on the trail (endurance, ride and tie and hunter paces) as well as recreational trail riding, are tied for second. There are a ton of trail riding groups based here and the endurance community is really strong. There are 4 endurance venues hosting 7 rides throughout the year within 3 hours of my house. 

Hunter/jumper land isn't really on my radar and I don't see a whole lot about it although I'm sure it occurs often and the western disciplines are pretty much on the fringe. There are three large fox hunting clubs as well.
            OTHER NOTES

While it is extremely rare to have trail access from a barn, there are numerous places to go close by. Within 2 hours of my house there are 7 state or national parks with trails that I can think of off the top of my head, plus Biltmore. 

With all the riding that goes on around here, there is only one tack shop in town and it is really expensive with a weird hodge podge of all english items. I'm guessing most people drive up to Tyron or over to Aiken for any major shopping. I've been up to Tryon and I was not impressed at all with the selection they had. It was all show stuff and very over priced. Also, there are no consignment shops. I find that really odd. Of course, I came from Ohio where I lived 15 minutes from Big Dees and Schneiders along with about 5-6 mom and pop shops and a wonderful consignment shop. I think I was spoiled. 


Hay. Hay really frustrate me. When someone tells me they have a hay field I imagine a field like up north: tilled, planted and fertilized grasses meant specifically for hay which is cut three times then turned over and restarted from dirt again the next season. Down here people, quite literally, just mow their front yard and call it hay.  It astounds me every time. No care. No tilling. No replanting. They just cut it when it is high enough and repeat just like you would your front yard (which most of this time this is with house and all). Strange. Plus coastal really is poor quality when compared to timothy and orchard and fescue isn't much better.  

Lessons. I really don't know how you learn to ride down here. Everyone just assumes you own your own horse. There are only 3 lesson barns with lesson horses for you to learn on. The rest of the plethora of trainers only lesson on your own horse. I had originally thought that when Gem retired from riding, depending on Wyatt's stage of life, I would likely not repurchase and instead just take lessons and learn to jump or do dressage on a lesson horse until I could once again devote my time to my own. I really don't see how that is possible in
this region as nobody does that.


  1. This was kinda dun reading your interpretation of the area especially coming from a different region :) I'll try and get my location location location post up and bc overall we have similar viewpoints with a few differences which is kinda cool! Or at least I find it really interesting!!! 😁

    1. I can't wait to read it! Actually, I don;t think i knew you had a blog. Can you reply with the link so I can follow you?

    2. I'm a terrible blogger and rarely get around to posting posts (have plenty in my drafts folder hahaha) but it's still fun reading a local bloggers blogs! :)

  2. That hay thing is really scary. I don't think I could deal with that.

    1. It is really odd! It has been 3 years and I'm still not used to it.

  3. Just found your blog and you must be within miles of me! I moved here this summer and am just now getting settled and starting to look for a barn (of course, as it decides to finally rain).

    1. Welcome to the area and to the blog :) I've seen a lot of the barns in the area if you ever want to talk about them. We need to get together and ride sometime.