(sorry, accidentally posted in Off Course first!)
I am casually (but with increasing fervor) thinking about moving from suburban California to rural Nevada, and in so doing purchasing a small horse property. As a life long equestrian, this has been a fantasy forever, but after becoming permanently WFH during COVID, realizing how much money I would save on taxes+horse costs leaving California (the $2.5k/month I would save in taxes alone would almost cover the mortgage if I buy something for around $500k), and with an ever-increasing thirst for open space and mountains, this does actually seem like a real possibility. I bought my young mare 2 years ago after a lifetime of leasing, and I am getting more and more into the horsekeeping side of ownership. The idea of seeing her in my backyard is VERY appealing, and at the same time I realize it is unlikely I will ever be able to afford a horse property in the Bay Area where I currently live.
My current situation: suburban (but falling down) rental house, 1 horse boarded ~30 minutes away from me in a stall w/ a run. Theoretically I don’t need to see her every single day (barn feeds+cleans+mostly handles blankets), but as so many of us do, I find myself filling water buckets/cleaning stalls/feeding extra, so it’s rare that I actually miss a day. H/j trainer on site who I LOVE LOVE LOVE and who has been a game changer for us. I am a pretty active boarder and do most of my own care - scheduling/holding for vet+farrier, feeding grain+hay (barn provides only alfalfa cubes), wound care, water buckets, etc, and I really enjoy all of it. I work from home (tech) with fairly flexible hours, a lot of freedom, and about as much job security as I could have in my industry.
What I would like:
- Budget: around $500k, which would allow me to board my horse at a nice training barn indefinitely and still save $~3k a month from what I’m spending living in Cali. I’ve seen places I like for the low 400s, which would be even better. I could afford more than this, but I’m much more comfortable staying well within the range that feels affordable, and then plan to pay off the mortgage ASAP
- Location: I’m looking in Northern Nevada. I keep hearing that it’s becoming a secret h/j hot spot, and I have a few friends & acquaintances (horsey and otherwise) who have moved there. I LOVE the desert, and I love the Sierras, and this seems like the best of both worlds. I’d don’t want to be in a horse desert - within an hour of an equine vet+human hospital, have a good trainer accessible, have knowledgable horse people accessible, are all important to me. The Gardnerville/Wellington area seems closest to what I want, but I’m also seeing horse properties North of Reno and East (I know much less about these areas).
- Horse stuff: 5+ acres, room for 3 horses (I have read on here how you really need 3 to avoid the herd bound issues). I would want to board at a nice barn for at least the first year to build my local network and get my mare further in her training. The pricing even at the highest end barn I can find in Reno/Gardnerville seems so much cheaper than the Bay Area - full training board appears to be around $1500, which is what I’m paying now for board+ training 2 days/wk at a nice but not fancy barn. Since I’m planning on boarding for awhile, I’m fine slowly improving existing basic horse facilities or even building something from scratch. I would like a proper but not fancy barn w/ runs+room for the horses to run around and play, and an area to ride - am I correct in thinking that because the soil is so sandy, I might not need to put in a super expensive arena to ride in? I’m also assuming there is no way to have any type of pasture, which tbh would be best for my air fern anyway.
- House: I like weird, quirky, falling down houses (bring on the 70s wood paneling please!), so I am totally happy to buy a wreck of a house and get more land. I do a lot of the maintenance in the house I live in now, so I am more prepared than if I had been renting an apartment.
I do have a SO, but he lives in SF and wouldn’t move with me, though he would visit me and maybe move his horse up with me as well. We’re both pretty independent and do our own thing anyway, and he supports me following my dream if this is it. He’s also run a bb before and invested in rental properties, so he could help me with all of the property/horses at home stuff that I’ve never done before.
I’m in no hurry to do this - I want my horse with my current trainer for at least another year, so the timeline for moving her home would really be 2+ years away (one more year here plus at least another in our new home, putting her at age 7). My plan is to spend more time in the three areas outside Reno that I’m lookin (Gardnerville/Wellington to the South, Dayton to the East, and whatever you call the area up North by Pyramid Lake) and check out some of the local barns/trainers/feed stores, and keep thinking about this while hoping the prices don’t go up faster than I can save more money.
My questions are: Does anyone on COTH have horses in this area? Any great trainers? Cool areas I’m missing? Things I should avoid? Does this sound like a terrible idea? Am I missing something huge? And really: should I just go for it?