ASSFS Blog Hop: Location, Location, Location

I have been so interested learning about the horse world around the country as I read through many posts from A Soft Spot for Stars‘ blog hop!

IMG_2886
Most of SE Wisconsin looks like this.

Cost
I ride in Southeast Wisconsin. I would say the cost of lessons is very reasonable, but the board is quite expensive. The cost differences between MN and WI are a lot larger than I expected especially in terms of board cost. As I’m able, I’ll comment on both, though I don’t know all the details in every category. I think this category is so fascinating to me because when I rode as a kid in Minnesota, I didn’t have much idea what the costs were (sorry, parents), but now I’m paying for it all myself and thus have a very good idea of how costly it is.

  • Trim: $32-$37
  • Shoes: $80-$85 for front set with hind trim; slightly less if the shoes are able to be reset
  • Average cost of a month of full time training: $600; I’ve never had a horse in training so this could be wildly inaccurate
  • WI average monthly pasture board: $325
  • MN average monthly pasture board: $290
  • WI average monthly stall board: $525-$650 and way up; ’tis not cheap here.
  • MN average monthly stall board: $350-$500 (I think)
  • Hay: Literally I have no idea. It has always just been a part of package board or show fees.

Weather
We have four distinct seasons here.

Winter is very cold; tomorrow’s high temperature is 4 degrees Fahrenheit. FOUR. Generally we still ride if the temperatures stay above 15, since the indoor arena will be slightly warmer than that.

giphy-7
This is legit what it’s like outside right now

Spring is like a breath of fresh air, when the temperatures finally rise above freezing for the first time in 6 months. And then the snow melts and there’s mud everywhere. But you don’t even care because it’s not winter anymore.

Summer can be great. By mid-June the temperatures are in the high-70s to high-80s and it’s lovely. It keeps getting hotter and more humid throughout the summer. It’s not unusual to have several 95+ degree days with high humidity. You learn to live with the sweat. The flies? Not so much.

A good canter means we can jump UP rather than OUT.
Summer is also SHOW SEASON WOO.

Fall is the best season, weather-wise! The temperatures become more comfortable, the flies die off, and the trees change color. It’s simply lovely. The only sad part is when the days get shorter and it becomes harder to ride in the evenings after work.

The prettiest season
The prettiest season

Riding Demographic
It’s a pretty good range of riders around here. There’s a healthy hunter-jumper crowd, and plenty of people who enjoy trail riding and toodling. There are a couple of great State Parks nearby for more intense trailer-in trail riding. I’m now discovering the small but very fun eventing crowd in the area as well! We have pretty easy access to the Chicago area for big shows and a very nice local show circuit. There’s a great used tack store nearby, and a couple of bigger ones within an hour’s drive or so. So that’s pretty nice! There are enough equestrians in the area that we have great vets, a saddle fitter/re-flocker, and many other services such as massage, chiropractic, etc.

Drawbacks
WINTER. It sucks and it lasts half the year. But seriously, I do like the area a lot. It has been a great spot to get back into riding after a few years off, and to reenter the show ring in the hunters. The people are generally nice, the facilities are great. I guess the major drawback is the cost of board. It just makes horse ownership seem so unattainable when factoring all the other bills. But overall, I think it’s a pretty nice little pocket of horse country.

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