Anyone from Salem/Roanoke VA here?

I’d like to know what the costs associated with horses are in the area. Farrier for barefoot and 2 shoes? Hay? Does the area support hay like alfalfa/orchardgrass or is it hauled in from a distance? How long is the grazing season? Is the soil sandy or? What kinds of grass are typically used for pasture? How many feed stores in the area? Any saddle shops?

I’ll probably need to rent somewhere to live and board my horses for a while, any recommendations there? I read some apartment reviews and they were pretty negative. I also realized that I need somewhere to park my car AND truck, which is not always available in apartments.

I’m familiar with the general area but have only lived here for a couple of years so I don’t know as much as locals.
I pay 45 for a trim and 95 for front shoes with back trim. My horses are on pasture most of the year and can be supported exclusively on grass for about 6-7 months a year. I buy local grass hay which I test and is decent quality. I buy hay once a year directly from the producer for about $6 a small square bale, which includes delivery into my loft. Alfalfa doesn’t grow that well here but I have bought decent alfalfa from the Lexington area and some people truck it in from out west. I am from the west so I know good alfalfa, and here they often need to use drying agents or anti fungals depending on the weather.
I don’t have any boarding recs but you can PM me with more questions if you’d like. I think it’s pretty cheap to keep horses here. It can sometimes be hard to find cleared land that is appropriate for horses as you’re in the mountains. Easy keepers can founder because the grass is really lush in the spring but if your fields are well managed you can graze your horses for a significant portion of the year. It rains enough that you need an arena with decent footing to ride year round (but not necessarily a covered - you just lose days here and there to snow/ice)

Southwest Virginia Dressage Association and Blue Ridge Eventing Association are in this area. You might try contacting them and see if any members could offer advice.
SWVA Dressage Association on Facebook but it is not a particularly active Facebook page
Blue Ridge Eventing Association- BREA on Facebook

It does sound pretty cheap! I was certainly hoping not to go over $125 for shoes–what I paid with last farrier. New farrier is $45 trim and $100 for 2 shoes.

The hay you get isn’t the Coastal hay is it?

@ejm I did find the BREA on FB already, as an adjunct to discovering the mini events held in Salem. :slightly_smiling_face:

That’s really the upper edge of where bermuda grows naturally.

A friend of mine lives an hour south of Roanoke and they bale a fescue mix on their place.

1 Like

Definitely not coastal. It’s orchard/Timothy/fescue. I don’t have broodmares so not worried about fescue but you can get fescue-free as well.

Green Hill Park, where the mini events are held, is a public park so you can go check it out if you go to visit. Most of the XC course is across the stream. It’s really hilly and quite beautiful but most of the jumps are small. The footing in the arenas is variable from okay to bad/rocky (I won’t ride in that arena).

When I lived just north of Roanoke, the soil was either rock or orange clay that will crush all hopes of keeping any gray horses clean. :rofl:

I haven’t lived there in 17 years. But all I my other experiences were in line with what others have said.

I never saw coastal hay in my life until I moved farther south and west. It’s not a thing in the mid-Atlantic states. Local orchard/fescue mixes are predominately what is fed. It’s fairly reasonable to ship in “real” orchard grass or Timothy or alfalfa from up north.

1 Like

Thanks for responding. I have no idea where coastal hay starts growing, NC, SC? Having gotten the rundown on Aiken (most get outside hay at $15/bale vs the local coastal hay + sandy soil there) I didn’t know how different VA would be. And VA sounds pretty sweet! I hope I get the job.

Oh, I don’t know where it begins, either! I didn’t mean my comment to sound condescending or anything. Just a reassurance.

I hope you get the job, too. I would move back to that part of VA if circumstances landed me there.

I don’t live in the Roanoke area but my Dad and siblings do so I’ve visited there quite a bit. It’s a beautiful area with lots of things to see and do. A very nice small city. If I could crowbar the DH out of upstate NY, I’d move there in a heartbeat! The weather is pretty good. Can be humid in the summer. They get ice for a bit in the winter. I think if you want to seriously ride all winter you’d need an indoor. That’s all the input I can give. Good luck!

I live in Nova, but went to college in that area & have a horsey friend who still lives out that way. No coastal grass hay. I’ve never even set eyes on it before. That’s still the Shenandoah Valley – which the Union & Confederacy fought bitterly over – in large part due to the area’a auspicious agricultural conditions. They’ve got good grass & alfalfa. (Although, the drought conditions this year hit them much harder than up here.) Board is cheap: market rate is around $400.

I’ll go ahead and say this although it is unlikely to win me friends & influence people… If you’re not caucasian and/or very politically conservative, you will have trouble finding like- minded folks. Frankly, if you’re a POC, that area can be downright unwelcoming. Of the two, Roanoke, with VA Tech & Radford just 45 minutes away, is probably better for racial & ideological diversity.


OMG, I just found a forum for Roanoke. This sounds like the place for me, though maybe I need to take it with a grain of salt since these folks moved from TX.

Poster 1: This area has actual, distinct seasons, none of them too extreme, with an abundance of days that can only be described as glorious. We still marvel at the days in summer that we can shut down the AC and open up the house, and that is reflected directly in our electricity bill, which is a fraction of what it used to be. All that nice weather with Southwest Virginia’s idyllic scenery is a fantastic combination.

Poster 2: Weather? Perhaps only San Diego has it better. We get four real seasons, all lovely, all without the arctic blasts pouring down the middle of the country or the coastal baking humidity of Raleigh or Richmond. Nevermind those tornadoes or hurricanes; they remain at a comfortable distance unlike Texas where you can set your watch to their arrival. An abundance of natural beauty in every direction doesn’t hurt either. Clean air, beautiful skies, lots to explore and enjoy. Roanoke region really is one of America’s best places & I hope it stays this way forever.

Bumping in case anyone else is out there.

How far is that from Mouth of Wilson? Google check it. I know a really good contact in that and Galaxy area. Beautifil hay growers! Horse woman extraordinaire, trail riding Qeen with unlimited trails. I want to go there permanently, love it. It is a bit remote but if you can deal with that I can try and put you in touch.

2 hours away.