Friday, 9 December 2016

Location, Location, Location

Thanks to Sarah at A Soft Spot For Stars for the blog hop, and Cathryn of That Red Mare for the push to add some Canadian content :)

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.

Boarding:

- 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.

12 comments:

  1. What an interesting way to live! And I mean that in a good way lol. So where do you sleep on weekdays if your home is a ferry ride away?

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    1. Interesting, but difficult! I'd love to work closer to home :) On weekdays, I have a cozy little place I rent halfway between the barn/work and home. We own a couple of rentals elsewhere, so it all evens out and saves us from buying while the market is so crazy.

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  2. This is all so interesting -- I'm just loving reading about everyone's different communities, and the differences in the equestrian scene.

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    1. Such a cool idea for a blog hop. I had a general idea where a lot of bloggers were from, but I had no idea how much that affected the logistics of riding and boarding in most cases.

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  3. Oh wow! I had no idea you actually don't live close to the barn - how the heck did I miss that?!

    And yes, hay is SO expensive for you guys. I remember a friend up in Nanaimo telling me a bale of average timothy hay was $15/bale. Yikes!!

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    1. You're not imagining things, I used to keep them up in PR at home with me, but the coaching is way better down in Gibsons/Roberts Creek so I moved them a little over a year ago. Now I can go to the barn on weekdays after work and the odd weekend I opt to hang around for shows or lessons

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  4. This is so interesting. I didn't realize you were close to Vancouver. It looks like I'll be there in June so let me know if there are any good tack shops or shows I should check out.
    I'm still remembering that you went to a show facility that had an honest to god pub on the premises. That is living!

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    1. Yes, MREC has a pub! For higher end, Thunderbird also had a pub when we were there, and sometimes host GP dressage and show jumping. Southlands is super close to downtown and have the odd interesting thing happening - they host a polo tournament I want to go to. Also there is a greenhawk and The Carrington Shoppe nearby in southlands. Remind me closer to the date and I'll see what's been advertised locally!

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  5. I'm so glad you did this! I was super curious to see how the horse world functioned where you are. Some of those costs are crazy!

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    1. There is a thriving horse community here. Goes to show that horse people always find a way to make it work, regardless of obstacles :)

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  6. So a gorgeous place to live.... So remote tho!

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  7. Looks like a gorgeous place I'd love to visit. That is frustrating about the cost of living and wages not being commiserate. We have the same problem in California. Same with the transit issues, I really wish we had more extensive public transit!

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