Saturday, February 28, 2015

Big Changes

Now that I've outted everything on Facebook, it's time to do the same here...


Yep! We're moving to Washington DC sometime early this summer. The details are still being worked out, but I'm open to any ideas you guys have on boarding barns, moving your house and horses with the military (I know some of you out there are military families, and this will be our first military move.), and DC life advice. Feel free to email me, message me on Facebook or send a carrier pigeon.

* I will not be responsible if my dogs eat your carrier pigeon. That's just the risk you take.

45 comments:

  1. Wow! As a fellow military spouse, I will tell you that it wasn't as crazy hard as I thought it would be to go from San Antonio to Kansas. I used a shipper to get Chloe to her new home and she ended up leaving after I did (for the best, as I had not had a chance to physically look at any of the barns I was considering boarding at here in Kansas) and I had a dear friend take care of her until it was time to get on the trailer.

    The only thing not so fun about military moving is that your stuff usually leaves before you do and arrives after you do. So you are stuck either in a hotel or in your next home with just the essentials until your household goods arrive. Getting them from San Antonio to Kansas was MUCH easier than when they came from Hawaii to Texas (where our container was "lost" for about a day and a half...). You have some time to prepart and that's good! :-)

    If you have any questions at all, please feel free to email me at myroxystar@yahoo.com. Fingers crossed for a smooth, easy move your family and your pony!

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    1. Wow! Thanks for the info! I am pretty set on Pig going via pro transport. I just don't think it's fair for his old joints to have to stand for that whole trip. Especially since he'll just be coming off a show weekend.(Poor guy. I better stock up on the UlcerGuard!)

      Good point about your stuff arriving late. Ugh. I'm toying with the idea of a self-move, or partial. Or whatever that is. We don't have a ton of stuff at this point in our lives, and are planning on replacing some big ticket furniture once we move. (Sorry, mom. I think it's the end of the road for your old couch.)

      I will DEFINITELY email you! :)

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    2. I think the military does reimburse you if you self-move, but I can't remember for sure. As someone who absolutely HATES packing and moving (unless it's a horse show or a new barn...), to me it was worth the inconvenience of not having some things for a little bit, it just takes a little planning to make sure you have what you need when you need it. :-) But yes, any questions, please email me!

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  2. So exciting! Congratulations!

    I know DC is a wide and vast thing and it's tough to know how things will work out, but I can put in a good word for Lauren Spreiser and Clearwater Farm. She's a really thoughtful trainer who's a lot of fun. She was an online acquaintance years ago and she's made it big now, which is cool to see. So whether it works to board there or just haul in for lessons you might really like her! http://www.spriesersporthorse.com/facilities/

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    1. Awesome recommendation! I'll certainly check her out. I rarely manage to get lessons more than once a month anyway, so maybe the drive will be worth it.

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  3. very exciting! I quite like Washington DC. Will you leave in DC or out in the country? The countryside is beautiful

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    1. We'll be living in the suburbs of Maryland, I think. I'll be working/going to school in the city if everything works out to plan, so I don't want to be too far away.

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  4. So exciting!!! Best of luck with all the planning & decision making. DC will be so much fun ☺☺☺☺☺

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  5. Wow, big changes! I'm only 4 hours south of DC and haven't made it up there yet, but hopefully will this spring!

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  6. Yay, your coming to my neck of the woods. I can second the recommendation for Lauren Sprieser, but it would depend on how far you are willing to travel. There are so many barns in the area. Traffic in Northern VA is the 2nd worst in the country so keep that in mind. Maryland has great facilities too.
    We kept our horses on base and it was at the end of my Dad's time so we never went through a military move with the horses. Good luck! Come visit when you get settled.

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    1. Lauren might be a little far, but knowing she comes recommended helps! I think I'll be sticking to the Maryland side, I have no desire to fight any more traffic than I have to!

      My mother is convinced I can keep the horse on base, but there is actually no where to keep him. Plus, I'm not sure I want to go through the hoops it takes to do that. Is there even a benefit?

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    2. I kept my horse on base in San Antonio. Granted, we were lucky to have a facility with 2 big outdoor and a covered riding arena. It was perfect for us because we had a stall if we needed it (which I never used) and 20x60 foot paddocks with a shelter. The only downside to that was that there is no option for individual turnout so if your horse doesn't get along with others, they probably won't get much turnout. Each base is different, in Hawaii everyone took care of their own horse and there was a smallish outdoor arena only with no lighting and no lighting in the individual barns either. San Antonio had the option of having the staff feed,water and turn out your horse for you, but you had to clean your own paddock. It is cheaper to board on post, but typically you are responsible for providing your own feed. So it really just depends on whether its worth it to you to save the money and do some things yourself. I opted to board on post in San Antonio mostly because boarding options in San Antonio are not fantastic and the ones that were decent were just out of my budget at the time. And here in Kansas, its just pasture board on base, no place to ride! I board at a farm about 30 minutes from where I live that is reasonable and I have access to lessons and...OTHER ENGLISH RIDING PEOPLE! :-)

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    3. Good to know! We nearly ended up in San Antonio, and may end up there at some point in the future. So, that's a great thing to know.

      English riding people? Who are they!? Few and far between in western Indiana! :)

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    4. I loved San Antonio! I miss it. There is one lovely lady there who keeps her 2 horses on post and rides Dressage, so if you end up there down the line, you will have a buddy!

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  7. I'm a DC Commuter, I live in Maryland and the commute isn't all that bad. I can share all sorts of info on where to eat and what to do. Anne Arundel County has some nice stables, feel free to shoot me an email and I can have my trainer give you some recommendations on where to look. heck, my barn might even have some openings!

    I'd recommend checking out The Equiery, it's a mid-atlantic monthly horse publication. They have classifieds, boarding stables, events and general horse news listed there. If you are looking for boarding in the Maryland area check out the Maryland Horse Industry boards website, they list their approved stables that have been inspected.

    Hope this helps!

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    1. I will totally be emailing you! :)

      Thanks for the tips! I think I had heard about Equiery before, but haven't actively searched for it...

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  8. I go to VA almost bi-quarterly great place, and full of horses. You'll feel at home there if you need suggestions just ask :)

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    1. Thanks! Maybe I'll get to run into you out there! :)

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  9. Ahh, so cool! No advice, but congrats!

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    1. Thaaaanks! :) We'll be passing through your neck of the woods to get out there!

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  10. Super exciting! I don have any advice (dc is just far enough away to be out of realm if knowledge), but there are tons of horses in the area. Good luck and wishing you all safe travels!

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  11. Woohoo! I'm on the opposite coast so I have no advice but congratulations!

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    1. Thanks! Cali is nice too, I guess. ;)

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  12. Yup, never been there, but it sounds fun. Enjoy!

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  13. Your DC comment makes so much more sense now! I love that area and second SquirrelGurl - MD is great horse country. A girl at my barn grew up in MD and I'll query her for some recommendations.

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    1. Haha, I bet it does! I've been scouting for secret DC bloggers for awhile, with little result! :)

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    2. I blog and I'm in MD, about an hour north of DC. LOVE THIS PLACE SO HARD! Maryland is horse country.

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    3. I'm sorry to keep adding to this, but I wanted to mention that there is another blogger from this region: Gail from fit2continue.blogspot.com. You've heard of her from reading Liz Stout's blog; we're all friends IRL thanks to the blogs. Gail lives in Manassas, VA (about an hour south of DC in the opposite direction from me.) She has a Friesian with whom she is dabbling in endurance; she raised him from a yearling, worked up the lower levels in dressage, and then decided to do something completely different. She does dressage for cross training. You've had a couple of recommendations to check out Lauren Sprieser from Sprieser Sporthorse. Gail trailers to her facility for lessons on the weekends with the assistant trainer Allison Spivey and writes wonderfully detailed posts about the exercises she has her do, diagrams and everything. This is one of them: http://fit2continue.blogspot.com/2015/01/gymnastic-sundays-are-back.html

      Regarding expense of horsekeeping here, Montgomery County in MD is the most expensive but it depends on the farm that you board at and the amenities they provide. One of the most expensive barns is Wyndham Oaks in Boyds, MD. http://www.wyndham-oaks.com/ They are a dressage barn known for their excellent care of the horses. One of the vets at my job keeps her mare there. Board is around $800/month and they usually have a waiting list: people don't want to leave! Average price of stall board in Montgomery County with 12 hours of turnout/day + an indoor and an outdoor arena is closer to $500-$600, which I think is reasonable. Trail access or access to fields for hacking is common at many barns. You can find board for less in some of the counties further away. For example, $250 is the norm for field boarding in Frederick County, where I live now, even in places that have an indoor; whereas field board in Montgomery County will run you anywhere from $350-$450. I believe VA runs similar in prices with cost going up the closer you get to DC, though it seemed to be hard to find reputable boarding facilities near Fairfax County and Arlington County (closest to DC), which is how we ended up boarding in MD and later moving here (yes I moved to MD to be closer to my horse!) When my husband and I were planning on moving to this area, the best barns in VA seemed to be out in the Manassas area. Avoid Rock Creek Park Horse Center (http://www.rockcreekhorsecenter.com/). They are right in DC itself but the horses don't get any turnout whatsoever and I haven't heard great things about the care.

      Southern States is one of the bigger feed store chains in this area, with lots of little private feed stores scattered throughout. Hay is locally grown, usually orchard or timothy, and runs about $7/bale. There are some really wonderful veterinarians here; I have loved all of the ones that I have used so far, and this is coming from a licensed vet tech (me). Lots and lots and lots of horse people. Almost everyone I know has owned or worked with horses at some point in their lives.

      I second the recommendation of The Equiery. http://equiery.com/blog/ This is the link to their boarding barns list: http://equiery.com/ridingBoardingStables.php

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    4. Don't be sorry at all, this was an epic comment!! I'm actually looking atVA pretty hard right now, too. I'm keeping all this info close at hand!

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    5. Yay! :) We initially lived in Alexandria, VA, when we first moved here. It's a longish story, but we ended up here because basically my husband took a job as a traveling nurse to get us out of FL; he was working in Georgetown Hospital in DC, so the agency put us up as close as possible to his job. Lily's barn was about 35 min away in Derwood, MD; I ended up sending her there because I loved the BM when I talked to her on the phone. I took a job at a specialty veterinary hospital in Gaithersburg, MD, which was also about 35 min from Alexandria without traffic. We lived in Alexandria for our first 4 months in the region. The agency set us up in The Reserve at Potomac Yard (.http://www.apartments.com/reserve-at-potomac-yard-alexandria-va/n3snngn/) It is beautiful and we loved being so close to so many places to explore: we took the Metro into DC and drove into Georgetown to hang out. Old Town Alexandria reminded us of Hogsmeade in Harry Potter! The traffic on the Northern VA side is worse than in the Montgomery County side of MD (these are the two areas closest to DC). Traffic is ridiculous anyway, but it is worse on the VA side because Fairfax and Arlington counties are mostly cities and are considered a part of DC itself. A lot of people take the Metro. Metro trains come through every few minutes and are usually on time. There is a huge public transport network: a lot of apartment complexes offer free shuttles to nearby Metro stations or to bus stops that will take you to a Metro station. Rent near Metro stations is higher because of this type of perk but can be well worth it if you commute to DC.

      We ultimately ended up moving to Rockville, MD, in Montgomery County. Rent was about $200/month less than in Alexandria, and we were a block from the Shady Grove Metro station. The apartment community is this one: http://www.residencesatkingfarm.com/ I can't say enough good things about it. Great little pet-friendly apartment community with lovely office staff and a great maintenance crew, set in the King Farm neighborhood. King Farm used to be a dairy farm; the old farm buildings are preserved in their original location. There are lots of little parks throughout the neighborhood and so much green; I loved going out for runs at all times of the day to explore. Very safe family area. I had no qualms about going out to run by myself at night. And it was great to have the Metro station right there: we used it whenever we wanted to go into DC so we wouldn't have to worry about driving and looking for parking downtown. This is the link to the Metro's website: http://www.wmata.com/ We ultimately moved to Frederick this year to lower cost of living, nothing else. (Frederick is awesome too, but is quite far if you're going to be working/going to school in DC, and the Metro doesn't go that far.)

      When looking up the best of the best in anything, check out The Washingtonian: http://www.washingtonian.com/ It is a physical magazine of the area and covers VA, DC, and MD, but you can access a lot of the information online too. I've used it to look up everything from parks to go running to outdoor music festivals to veterinary care for my cats when we first moved here. I keep around the first copies of the magazine that we bought because they have been so useful!

      People here are kind of awesome. Midwesterners say that people from the East Coast are intense, but after living in South FL for several years, I'm really enjoying the people of this region: people can be intense, yes, but they are also very welcoming and helpful. We arrived here not knowing anyone and were immediately welcomed, both by people at the barn where I boarded at and at our jobs. I had not experienced anything like that before.

      There is so, so, sooooo much to do and explore here! I think you will love it.

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    6. Sooooo much good info! I seriously can't thank you enough! Love all these links! I've visited DC before, and love the Metro. It's one of the easiest public transits out there, I think. Plus, Walter Reed is RIGHT on the Red line, which helps us a ton when looking at homes. :)

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  14. soooo exciting!!!! :) good luck!

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  15. Very exciting! I don't know anything about the area aside from keeping horses there is expensive and that they have bigger USDF shows I'd like to attend but the thought of hauling near DC makes me queasy, so I wish you the best of luck finding a suitable and affordable home for Guinness!

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    1. Some of the shows out there are seriously high quality!

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  16. Late summer visit to WV. You must. Bring the dogs. Bring the horse. Bring the hubby.

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