Wednesday, December 7, 2016

ASSFS Blog Hop: Location, location, location

I've been fascinated as I'm reading the blogs on this blog hop and decided that I needed to blog this one. What an amazing idea from Sara!

I'm located in St. Paul, MN and Katai is boarded at a barn that's about half an hour north of downtown.
From Rock the Garden this year
I've grown up in MN and lived here my whole life so although I grew up on a farm more than an hour north of the Twin Cities I'm very familiar with the MN horse community. As far as costs it's not bad. I actually think that based on some of the other blogs on this hop our board seems a little pricy in comparison to hay/farrier/vet prices but because it gets so cold here most of the "nice" boarding barns have heated indoor arenas and need to feed a lot of hay and grain to keep weight on horses along with more limited turnout in the middle of winter which means more shavings so I guess it makes sense.

Previous barn but it's a pretty picture
Shoes-$120+ for all four, the farrier I use would charge $80 for the fronts and $120 for all four
Average cost of a month of full time training- $500-$700 not including board
Average monthly pasture board- $250-$400
Average monthly stall board- $400-$1200 (I pay $350)
Round bale, mixed grass- $30-$60
Square bales, orchard grass- $3.75-$7.00 per bale

Yep, that road is actually glare ice
Weather: Is not good. In the winter we routinely, from about December - March, have sub zero temps. During January and February we can have a wind chills as low as -30* on the regular. Fall and spring are often rainy and stormy and we do get tornados although they are rare (very glad we don't need to deal with more of the big nasty storms). The summers are muggy and still get quite hot. In a normal summer we'll get above 100 for a week or two. Nothing compared to more southern climates but the jump between winter and summer is so large that you never really get a chance to get used to the heat. Plus the humidity makes it dangerous much more quickly than a more dry heat. We can't ride when it's above the mid to upper 80s, for the most part, because of this.

Most horses do pretty well in the cold especially with stalls overnight and smart blanketing. Mostly it's just miserable to get in your car in the dark, after work when it's -10*, drive the half hour to the barn, get groomed, tacked up and ready to ride in the heated barn (heated to 35-40*) and then ride in a heated arena (usually heated to 20-30*). It certainly makes motivation tough when you're basically operating in a freezer for 3 or so hours.

Twins Baseball Stadium from this summer
We don't have any really icky bugs or wildlife. There are rattlesnakes in places but they're rare. Near the barn there are black bears, wolves, coyotes etc but not much that's dangerous to the horses.

The riding demographic is primarily western, as reflected by our horse expo and most big horse shows. With that being said the twin cities has a decent dressage community as well as a eventing and hunter/jumper community. I'm more involved in the dressage community so it seems like more people do dressage than jumping but that might just be based on my slightly skewed perspective.
Large, fancy eventing facility complete with RV
We have several well attended rated shows in the twin cities area and also most people trailer to Mason City Iowa for the rated shows they hold there. We have some fairly big name clinicians that visit such as Janet Foy, and Jen Truett and I'm sure I'm missing some others as well. Our shows are usually well attended but we have a lack of true upper level riders. At most shows I've been to, everyone gathers to watch the 1-2 people showing above 3rd. The bigger rated shows are more well attended but even then, there really aren't many people at 3rd or above.

We have excellent vet care. There are three big vet clinics in the twin cities including the UofM vet clinic which is able to provide many diagnostic and emergency services. We also have several well known smaller clinics and vets that are very horse savvy.

We also have some great tack stores especially compared to some of the states that I've visited. One of my favorites is right near my barn and the other is near H's barn so I make the trek over there when  I want more shopping opportunities.

So much snow!
The most frustrating thing for me is the weather/bugs. In the summer between the sudden intense humid heat waves, horrible mosquitoes/horseflies, rain, storms, etc. it's tough to enjoy riding outside very much of the time. There are brief times in spring and fall when it's nice but otherwise it's tough.

I also wish that english riding styles were more well represented. It's frustrating to go to our horse expo and find maybe 1-2 booths out of over around 100 that actually have nice english type gear or to find more presenters/clinicians that cover english disciplines.

Other than that I like it here! I would say that since I don't deal with the heat well and there isn't such a thing as an air conditioned arena, I'd rather be someplace cold with heated arenas than someplace much further south.


  1. I'm with you on the heat! Our seasons are very similar.

    1. I don't know how you do it without a heated indoor! I give you sooooo much credit :)

  2. I struggle with extreme temps on both ends of the spectrum, but I prefer to heat to the cold, so I could never be as far north as you. Brrrrrrr.

    1. Same but yeah, this is a bit extreme. Especially this year so far! This week we have a high of 2 for two days in a row :( That's really cold for the middle of December.

  3. Replies
    1. So much snow!! I think the constant darkness is worse though haha

  4. We might get some snow tonight! We will pretend we're visiting MN :)

    1. Yes!! I heard you got some snow. Honestly even I still get excited about the first few snow falls of the season :)

  5. I totally agree with what you said about the transition between winter and summer. It's just not possible for humans to be comfortable at such a range of temperatures so that adaption period is so important. We deal with that in Alberta too. I'm finally back to my winter zone so it doesn't feel quite as cold anymore.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one that feels that way! My roommate from AZ makes fun of my dislike of the heat but with the crazy difference I just don't know how anyone can be comfortable at either extreme.

      He'll figure it out ;)