Best Places in California to Live with Horses

Last post 06-19-2012 5:02 AM by dinagadeh. 7 replies.
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  • 06-07-2012 2:44 PM

    Best Places in California to Live with Horses

    I currently live in the Northeast and will be moving to Cali sometime this Fall.  I'd love some feedback in terms of best places in Cali to keep horses.  Here are some basics –


    Climate – My main reason for moving is the climate!  I HATE the FRIGID New England weather and hate snow.  I love the heat, so no location is too hot for me; but with a horse, I certainly don't want anything that's going to be scorching hot.  Also, if anyone can provide some insight beyond simply temperatures, that would be helpful.  I love sunshine, so a location that's fairly warm but cloudy/rainy much of the time is not desirable.


    Cost – I know that parts of Cali can be VERY expensive and other parts very affordable.  I have an excellent job but do not come from money, so I'd like to avoid any super costly areas.


    Barns – First and foremost, I want my horse to be happy and be in an area where he can have grass most of the year and get at least 6 hours of turnout per day.  If possible, I'd also like to board at barn with quality dressage training/instruction.  From Feb. 2007 to Mar. of this year, I had the opportunity to train with a phenomenal trainer (German background in dressage! J  ); and right now I'm at more barn with a much more relaxed atmosphere to give my horse (and my wallet!) a break.  I'd love to get back into training with a quality instructor; however, if it's the type of barn where my horse will be turned for only an hour or two a day, then I'm not interested.


    Those are the basics.  Any insight would be much appreciated!

  • 06-11-2012 6:41 AM In reply to

    Re: Best Places in California to Live with Horses

    Before you consider moving to California, you might want to take serious consideration of the fianancial aspects.

    I'm from the OH/PA border originally.  My work to me to SoCal.  I had to live in the Low Desert area of Riverside County to afford to keep my horses -- which were on my own property.  I only had 1-3/4 acres and folks out there thought I was rich and considered my place a "ranch" !Indifferent 

     Unless the Rules Have Changed:

    1. There's a Smog Impact Fee when bringing vehicles from another state into California.

    2.  Your license plate fees are based on the blue book value of your vehicle.  Soooo, if that big honkin' dually that faithfully pulled your horses cross-country, happens to be Blue Book valued at $40,000, you're going to pay a percent of that 40K for tags.

    3.  Depending where you settle, Earthquake insurance may or may not be required.  It ain't cheap - I wasn't required to buy it but had I done so, the cheapest I could afford would've cost $1,200/annually (in addition to standard home owners) and the deductible was $35,000!  What's the point in the coverage if I have to pay the first $35,000?

    As far as horse feed, vets, farriers, WalMart, Lowe's, and the grocery store, the prices variance from where I lived was barely noticeable.

    But any sport you want to dabble in (including horses and boarding them) is priced into the outer Stratosphere.

    There's always the chance water restrictions may become an issue in Southern California since they depend on Northern California for the bulk of their water.

     Don't forget that California is nearly bankrupt and I would look for their state governement to start heavily taxing the working folk to help bail them out.

     If you want dry, the only place west of the Mississippi I was considering when leaving SoCal, was the Mogollon Rim in Arizona (pronounced Moog-ee-own).

    Then I decided I really wasn't cut out for dry and no grass, and headed to Middle Tennessee for retirement.  It's a lot cheaper to live here and plenty of place to ride.  RFDTV's "America By Horseback visited the Circle E Guest Ranch, which is only 38 miles from me.

     I came to hate Southern California; I'm sure my outlook would've been a lot different had I not had the horses to care for.

    Good luck in your decisions :)

  • 06-11-2012 11:34 AM In reply to

    Re: Best Places in California to Live with Horses

     i don't know the costs, but, as a visitor, i love northern california--the rolling hills and mild weather.  i would hate to live near la.  anywhere north of say monterrey area would be a treat for me.

     but, california is huge.  isn't where your work is located the most important factor?

    Gailforce -- Another old lady rediscovering her inner cowgirl.
  • 06-14-2012 3:13 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Places in California to Live with Horses

    If you are looking at Southern California there is no such thing as grass pastures. It's very dry and water costs way too much to keep green pastures. If you ask for pasture here, it means a dry lot paddock or large field but absolutely no grasses, we feed mainly hay and some barns do cubes but I would not recommend cubes. No barn that provides turnout will give you 6 hours a day, usually you get an hour and that is all unless you board in pasture which obviously is 24/7. There are just too many horses and too little space to warrant so much turnout time. There is a big horse community on the border of LA and Ventura counties in the Agoura area as well as Moorpark in Ventura county has a lot of different boarding stables. Most have stalls w/in and outs, different sized pens, the largest being 24 X 24 and lastly pasture (dry lot). The typical boarding rates are going to be between $300-$650+ depending on the care and facility. Ventura county is very mild climate wise and has the best of both worlds where there is a lot of open space, horse communities where you can have your horse in your backyard and a lot of good trail systems to ride right off properties or to trailer to. Happy Camp in Moorpark particularly is popular w/horses and not hikers/bikers. There are also top caliber H/J and dressage trainers in the area for your training needs. I hope I don't sound too pessimistic but it's just the reality of boarding horses in this area. I am from MI so I understand the differences completely.
  • 06-14-2012 3:15 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Places in California to Live with Horses

    California has the largest horse population in LA county too which seems weird. Due to space and $ constraints, boarding horses here is sooo much different then other parts of the country.
  • 06-15-2012 6:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Places in California to Live with Horses

    Everyone, thank you for the feedback!  I quickly realized early on that Cali is not the most feasible.  I also love AZ and NM and was able to find a few niche places in AZ that do have grass pasture several months/yr.  The cost of living in AZ and NM is MUCH more affordable. 

  • 06-17-2012 2:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Best Places in California to Live with Horses

    I'm originally from southeastern PA and horsekeeping in southern CA is a culture shock, to say the least. It's already been mentioned here about the high costs, water availability, etc. Where I am, the price for Bermuda hay (the cheapest of the grass hays) was $9.95/bale when we bought our place in Jan. 2004. It's now up to anywhere between $16.95 & $18.95/bale. And the bales are getting smaller, just like food is being packaged in smaller amounts. It's shipped in from out of state and a lot of time, is somewhat weedy. Alfalfa is locally grown but has seen the same price increases lately. I really miss feeding Timothy like I did in PA!

    It doesn't take too much investigation to realize that CA is not always the wonderful laid-back place of the movies. We have family in PA, NJ, TN & FL and they all hear about the financial situation of CA and ask us when we're "coming home". My husband calls CA the "tax me" state. Heaven only knows what our gov't will do to us next!

    I also have heard about how much more affordable AZ & NM are over CA. Hubby and I have talked about leaving CA, and AZ & NM have come up. We've driven through both 2-3 times, and what we have seen is beautiful.

    But on the up side, IMO both northern & southern CA are beautiful, too. Mountains, palm trees, forests, wide open desert, green valleys... All I can say is, if we ever do move to a more affordable state, I would very much miss CA.

  • 06-19-2012 5:02 AM In reply to

    Re: Best Places in California to Live with Horses

    California is the best place for the horse riding, specially the beaches. Riding horses in the beaches gives you awesome pleasure of freshness and you can enjoy the beautiful views and the scenary. Florida is also good place for the same.

    granite boca raton


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