Location: BC's South Coast. Land of mountains, giant trees and rainy fjords requiring a ferry crossing or two.
|I work and board on the lower end of the map. G and I live on the upper end...hence the ferry trips to get home on weekends.|
- Full board here would likely run $800-$900 or so. I do chores 2 to 3 times a week to offset costs and pay about $500 depending on hay prices. $500 is probably a reasonable estimate for pasture board here too, although I've never seen it - we have a shortage of agricultural land and very few farms large enough!
|Not my pic, but this mountain is visible from my house, and the lake below is a favorite summer spot. This gives you an idea of the terrain...it's not really farming country and we all live on the side of a hill one way or another.|
- Hay is trucked in, usually from the interior or Washington State. $500/ton is a good guess. It's about $550 now, but it's about $475 in summer.
- Farrier: a trim is $45. Fronts about $120. Full set about $180. Fingers crossed, my girls haven't needed shoes yet!
- Training: Shared lessons $40-50. Privates $60-$100 depending on whether they are local or travel costs are included. Full training would be about $1000/mo plus board.
-Services: Vancouver is a ferry ride away and has everything you'd ever need. Here, we are more limited. The population is maybe 50,000 in the summer and it's spread out over a huge area, so we've got the basics you'd expect from a mid sized town and that's about it. Winters are slightly more limited as some of the services like restaurants and even hotels close for the season. As far as horse related services, we have 2 farriers for the entire area, no large animal vet, and one feed store. The tack store here just closed, which makes me sad.
- Weather: You need to know it rains here A LOT in the winter. We had 3 days without rain in all of October and November. And those 3 days were foggy/cloudy. On the plus side, it's mild and if you have good rain gear you can ride outside all year. Snow is a rare event, we just had our first snow in 2 years last week, and it melted the next day. Summers are also moderate - more sunshine of course, but the ocean breezes take the edge off the heat and truly hot days are rare.
|Why Vancouver tourism reps wait for summer to make their ads and brochures ;) Also reminds me of the time last winter when Bridget had to dodge floating pool noodles in the arena.|
Demographics: Relatively wealthy elderly people, and lots of them. I think the most per capita in Canada. Everyone retires here. I always notice how many children there are elsewhere when we travel. It's a little weird to be in my late 30's and meet pretty much no one my age living or working here.
Riding Demographic: The adults here are mostly pros who've retired to the area from other parts of Canada. Otherwise, my lesson mates a whole lot of ambitious kids and teens. I'm very lucky that the two main pros who still teach are both ex Canadian Eventing Team members, so the area is a hot spot of eventers! Quite a difference from my hometown only an hour away where everyone trail rides recreationally.
Frustrations: It's very expensive to live here. An average house costs about $750k, but average wages are something like $40k a year. Jobs are few and far between, unless you're in health care. Things like public transit are lacking. We're also a ferry ride away from Vancouver, which adds a bit of complication and a lot of cost far as attending horsey things goes.
|This view will set you back $3.9 mil and it's not even close to much in the way of services, but there's probably dock space for your yacht :)|
Loves: Riding weather all year round. I like the lakes and living on the ocean. So much gorgeous wilderness right out the back door. I only realized how lucky we truly are after a trip to the US last summer. Our beaches are all Crown Land, as is something ridiculous like 95% of the land in the province. (Crown Land = managed by the province or federal gov't on behalf of the Queen, I think. What's important is that almost all Crown land is free to ride and explore, no need to worry about trespassing on that beach or on that mountain top!) Also, I love the showing and training resources available nearby - Vancouver area has a wealth of excellent trainers and shows to attend.