After reading everyones posts about A Soft Spot For Stars “Location” Bloghop, I knew I’d have to do it, if just for my own pleasure of blowing everyones minds to the expensive crap that is Welly World.
Where do you live?
I live in West Palm Beach. It’s a great area to be in, specifically in my area of Palm Beach Gardens, because there’s a ton of things to do. Lots of shops, restaurants, movie theaters, and of course the beach. The cost of living isn’t too high, but I won’t say its cheap either. There are also a ton of outdoorsy things you can do, including the beach, and a ton of areas to hike through. Wildlife is PLENTIFUL here in South Florida, including (but not limited to) iguanas, alligators, coyotes, bobcats, wild boars, large snakes, large spiders, very large mosquitos, and any bug you can think of.
Cost of horse keeping:
- Trim: I believe it runs around $75-80 a barefoot trim, but honestly I’m not sure. Not a lot of people can keep barefoot horses down here because of the sandy soil.
- Shoes: A full set of steel shoes will run you between $250-400 depending on who you have doing your horse. Extra for aluminum, wedges, pads, etc.
- Average cost of a month of full time training: Full training on its own, which in my mind is 6 rides/lessons a month will run you between $600-infinity. I say infinity because I know of some people in BNT barns that are paying between $2,500-$5,000 depending on the month, for one horse in training. Obviously this doesn’t include board. Trainers around here, will run with your money if you let them.
- Average monthly pasture board: Between $450-800 but this is very hard to find. Most people wouldn’t dare be on pasture board, simply because without access to a fan, most horses would have heat stroke during the summer. It’s just too hot here.
- Average monthly stall board: It goes anywhere from $1,000-5,000. Keep in mind these are prices PER HORSE.
- Hay: Hay is also super expensive down here, because you can’t grow quality hay in Florida, so most of it is shipped in from either the midwest or northeast. For a T/A 50-60 lb bale your looking between $16-18 depending on quality and where you buy it. Its very hard to find O/A, or just Orchard in general, down here. Same with Peanut hay. I was buying Libby 110 lb three string Timothy for $37 a bale, and that was the cheapest I found. Alfalfa is also expensive, a 50 lb bale goes for around $25. People try not to touch Coastal, but it’s the cheapest at around $10 a bale.
Our summers are awful. Think blazing inferno, temperatures around 98-99, where you can hardly breath because the humidity is so high, so you feel like you’re breathing in more water the air. There’s no relief, no breezes, and it rains a lot. Think torrential downpour everyday around 4 PM. Its wet, sticky, muggy, and not a fun time.
We don’t have Fall or Spring. Like at all. So no color change in the leaves. It still feels like summer.
Until one day it doesn’t. You’ll feel the change in the wind, and know the ends in sight. Because Winter is on its way. Which is magical. Winter in Florida is awesome. There’s a reason people move here to retire and that’s because of our winters. Temperatures between 55-75, with sunshine, and clear skies. We may have a few days that dip in the 40’s, but they are few and far between. You can sit out on the beach, and be comfortable. No need for thick jackets, and gloves that make you feel like the Michelin Tire man. Winters in Florida are the reason people live here period.
Riding Demographic for the Area?
South Florida has a pretty good mix, but I’d say it’s more English, more Hunter/jumper. There are definitely dressage people here, a lot of them actually, but I think way more Hunter/jumpers. There are little to no eventers here because there really aren’t any events held around here. The closest event location would be in Ocala which is a good four hours away. There are definitely western people here, I’d say a lot more of gaming people then Western Pleasure though. There are also very little quarter horse people here I’ve noticed recently, probably for the same reason there are no venters, the closest QH show is in Tampa, another 3.5 hours away. There is a lot of polo here too. Wellington also hosts a bunch of Polo games in the winter, right around the same time as WEF.
For me as a hunter, it’s almost perfect. The big show is twenty minutes from my barn, so ship ins are easy. The show grounds are kept up well, and are updated frequently. There are a ton of tack stores in the area, and some good feed stores that also carry tack. There is a surprising lack of good quality, year round trainers though, which I find hilarious. Or maybe its just that I know the people too well, and know all their dirty laundry.
There are a bunch of vets, and a big vet hospital, should things go really wrong. There are also a bunch of farriers. In both cases, quantity does not mean quality, and finding a good vet and farrier is tough. But once you do, your set.
One thing I really wish we had though was a good quality C rated show circuit. We only have some small schooling shows, and then the big AA stuff. There is the SFHJA organization which holds a couple C rated shows, but they hold them at the PBIEC grounds, where WEF is held, so the prices of stalls is nuts. Makes going to a C rated show priced almost the same as an A show.
Overall West Palm is a great place to be if you have a show hunter/jumper/dressage horse. There’s a great horse community here, and a equally great non-horse community, where you can escape to from time to time. There’s a wealth of nightlife options, and the weather is great for half the year.