It looks like I will be relocating to Gainesville FL in a few months. I’m excited to be returning to FL (I moved away 9 years ago), but this will be a somewhat new part of the state for me. What should I know about areas, the current horse scene, etc?? I’m hoping to find a horse friendly property within reasonable distance to the med school. I’ll be shipping down at least one horse who currently is in dressage training (my background is hunter/jumper, but the horse has decided on dressage) so thoughts on trainers welcomed as well.
I have lived in both northern and western Alachua County, and both areas have nice horse property available if you’re looking to buy something, but probably don’t qualify as “reasonable distance to the med school.” They don’t by my standards, but I have a friend from Atlanta whose definition of “reasonable distance” is way different than mine.
The exception might be if you live close to I-75. For a number of years I lived way out north of Alachua, almost to the next county, but I was only a few minutes away from 75, so I could hop on the interstate and get down to Archer Rd. pretty quickly. My office was not that far from the med school and I could get there about as quickly as some of my coworkers who lived on the north side of Gainesville, because they had to fight their way through traffic all the way.
There are areas on the southwest side of town that probably better fit the “reasonable distance” criteria, but that area was, as a coworker used to joke, outside my quadrant, so I can’t help with that.
I mostly kept my horses at home and rode without a trainer and the one place I did board and train at for a while isn’t there anymore, so I can’t give you any recommendations.
There is a great dressage scene all around north central Florida. Arredondo Dressage Society is a small GMO in Gainesville, and STRIDE in Ocala has many members from Alachua county. There is also a bunch of eventing barns. Lots of great trainers up there as well. One I can recommend is Greta Wrigley.
Good point on reasonable distance…and I actually quantify that as time anyways having had commutes of 90 minutes + in the past lol. I’m currently coming from a 45 minute commute to either work or the barn (with them being in opposite directions), so anything in that range I consider reasonable. I did not consider my 90 minute commute reasonable.
Ocala is attracting a great infux of horse folk. Between the long exsisting TB breeding and training centers and the new WEC hosting competitions all year, its busy… Right down the road from Gainsville.
Getting more expensive too.
You might want to consider living on the south/southwest side rather than the north. I commuted to Gainesville from Citra for 3 years and regularly had a quicker trip than my colleagues who lived on the west and north sides of Gainesville. The traffic is real. And the parking situation is…not ideal.
Property is getting more expensive and scarce. Find a good realtor and move fast when you find something you like. Trainers in the Gainesville area include Shelly Van Den Neste, Erin Brinkman, Nora Batchelder.
Ocala is where the horsey set is, absolutely thriving with a plethora of trainers, facilities, events, vets, farriers, and shows to choose from.