Moving - Info on Richmond, VA or Raleigh-Durham, NC much appreciated!

Brand new here but thought the CoH forums would be a great place to start asking some questions. My job is moving to Atlanta, GA and we absolutely don’t want to go there so we’re treating this like the perfect opportunity to get out of the small city were we currently live/work and move to a more desirable area. We’ve more or less narrowed it down to Richmond, VA and the Raleigh-Durham, NC. We want to live somewhere with a bit more to do, better economy/job market, but still not so big that it’s impossible to own our own farm and commute to work in or around the city.

I event my OTTB at Novice currently but plan to move him up to Training this year and would eventually like to do Prelim with him. I’m looking to get opinions and suggestions regarding:

  1. Pros and cons of both locations
  2. Finding out what areas are good for small farms (ideally 15-25 acres) and potentially what areas to avoid
  3. What the horse communities are like
  4. Availability of good vets/farriers/trainers/shows
  5. Whether you feel there’s any special land/horse management issues that come with particular areas, etc.
  6. What the commute is like, both from suggested areas and just generally as the day-to-day goes around town.

Just generally anything you can offer to help us make this decision and start looking for places to call home. Any suggestions on the job market, etc would be great too! I work in Accounting/Finance and my husband works in Engineering Technology (AUTO CAD type stuff).

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!!

We built a farm in Goochland and there is a growing eventing community there. Check out CVACTA. I was just off 522 close to Gum Springs. Hanover and Beaver Dam are also good farm areas. You are within 2 - 2 1/2 hours from TONS of events and foxhunts. Lots of show hunters, a couple of jumper series, also just over an hour from hits in Culpeper and less than 2 hours from VHC. Pretty awesome. I miss it every day

The Triangle is home for me now. I like its convenience to Southern Pines (an hour). Doug Payne is building a farm in Hillsborough. Not a whole lot of super close events, though. We are 3.5-4 hrs to Tryon, 4-5 to Aiken, 3 to VHC, 5 to most events in NoVA. Cost of living is low, and we have more doctorates per square mile than any area of the country. The government is pretty right wing right now, which bodes poorly for any social services (good luck getting mental health care). Job market is good, but we are #38 in average earnings nation wide

i had the opportunity to leave last year and chose to stay. I’m happy with my decision.

West and NW of Richmond very horsey, beautiful areas. Great vets and farriers. Also most expensive property costs. But that is all relative depending wheree you are coming from. Compared to NOVA, probably seems really reasonable.

Commute into Richmond not bad compared to a big city but getting worse and worse going and coming from west of the city (again nothing like DC).

I live NE of the city quite far out. Beautiful and property quite reasonably priced but few resources re trainers and horse community.

I wish I could market the area as the new horse area and grow a horse community.

I work in Richmond and have an hour commute but it is a straight shot thru countryside mostly, very little traffic, and having lived outside DC and Atlanta where it could take that long to go 15 miles, the commute is usually worth it.

I grew up in Richmond and still get the urge to go back on occasion. Just a really cool place to live. I wish I had spent more time there as an actual adult because I know I missed out on a lot of really cool things! It’s also gotten a lot cooler in the almost 13(!!!) years I’ve been gone.

As as cbv said, west is the way to look. I grew up on the south side, and while there were plenty of horses, the “real” horse area was in the Goochland area. I think, from my trip there last year, that still holds true.

i live in NOVA now and, yes, cost of living is MUCH cheaper. Board equivalent is probably three quarters of what I spend now, if not half in some areas. When I briefly considered moving back last year, my hang up was having to haul 90 minutes or more to the trainers I lived, and the fact that suddenly every event required stabling. I’ve gotten very spoiled living in the heart of area 2, even if it is expensive!

I live in Raleigh and was up in Troy VA a couple of times last year at the barn where Jontelle Forbus (dressage. highly highly recommend her) is at – Cumber Farm.

Holy crap, it was unbelievable. it was on about 900 acres, huuuge rolling fields to ride in, miles and miles of trails behind them, big indoor arena and you should see the pastures and the grass! You won’t see property like that near Raleigh or at least anywhere near where I have to work.

I was raised in the West End ( Henrico Co) and rode in Goochland. We are now in SWVA and like other posters, I’d go back…even with Ukrops gone :-). I agree - look West…Goochland, Western Hanover, Louisa, and Powhatan. I think Deep Run Hunt is now in Powhatan. Traffic on I -64/295 can be crowded, but I just returned from a week in NOVA and there is NO comparison. You will be a couple hours from the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington- a straight drive up 64 and down 81, and what a spectacular drive!

I was raised in the West End ( Henrico Co) and rode in Goochland. We are now in SWVA and like other posters, I’d go back…even with Ukrops gone :-). I agree - look West…Goochland, Western Hanover, Louisa, and Powhatan. I think Deep Run Hunt is now in Powhatan. Traffic on I -64/295 can be crowded, but I just returned from a week in NOVA and there is NO comparison. You will be a couple hours from the Virginia Horse Center in Lexington- a straight drive up 64 and down 81, and what a spectacular drive![/QUOTE]

Thanks All!! This is all really helpful! ManyDogs, we’re currently in Roanoke, VA so we think cost of living will be a little higher moving to either of those places but still fairly comparable. The job market here just really stinks and we sort of figure if my job moving to GA is going to cause a major upheaval for us anyways why not make the jump now and move wherever we want, ya know?

So I’m getting the impression that I should look more toward Goochland/Amelia Courthouse/Ashland than say the eastern side of the city. Do you guys experience any soil quality issues there as far as getting pastures to hold good grass? I have a lot of family that lives in/around Richmond (but they’re pretty much all city/suburb dwellers) and sometimes find the soil to be so sandy-like that it looks like all crab grass.

If I’m getting the gist correctly for Raleigh it sounds like there’s lots of horse stuff around but more of a haul for showing? Maybe I should just quit my job and be a permanent working student for Doug and Jess, hahaha! I doubt my husband would be very happy with that set-up though.

You guys are great, keep the opinions coming!! :slight_smile:

FYI - Deep Run Hunt kennels are now in Cumberland.

I am outside of Richmond as well. I moved here because it was the perfect intersection of horsiness and cost of living - Middleburg and NoVa were not possible. I second, third, fourth and fifth the other recommendations.

Yes, basically. There are not any local events anymore, even schooling. Plenty of local dressage and jumpers, schooling through A-rated. Check out–that’s our local USEA affiliate. Their show calendar will give you an idea of where things are.

VATBeventer- we are in Abingdon-small, small town! If you can handle 581 out of Roanoke in rush hour, commutes into Richmond will be fine. :slight_smile: 288 is another way around Richmond.

I love both areas but Richmond would win from my perspective. You are much closer to a larger number of events and trainers there. And there are outlying areas that are affordable and have nice horse communities.

OP - Richmond is a lovely place to live and great for an eventer! I live in the city and keep my two horses in Powhatan County on a 250-acre farm. The commute from my horse to the barn is only 25 minutes (and 8 minutes from my house to downtown!). I’m often able to ride in the early mornings before work or in the evenings. There are a lot of local, unrecognized events (Calais Horse Trials, Deep Run Horse Trials, etc.), but you do have to travel (1 - 2 hours) for some of the recognized ones (Kelly’s Ford, Morven, Loudoun, etc.). As far as where to buy a farm, I would definitely stick with the western side of Richmond. Powhatan, Goochland, and Louisa offer lots of affordable options. New Kent (on the eastern side) is just so far removed from the Richmond eventing community.

Hanover is not bad either. I would stay away from Amelia as it is so far removed from anything. I board in Goochland right off of 250 between Oilville and Gum Springs(Rt 522). Love the area. Convenient to I64, and Rt 288 which bypasses the city on the western side. Some sections of Powhatan are kind of out there too. If I was going to move to Powhatan, I would either look close to 522 and the James River so it is pretty easy to get to I 64 or more east to have easy access to Rt 288.

For R-D–there are a host of options for quality dressage and jumper shows. You can find low level XC schooling at a number of locations within an hour from the Triangle. For events, you’ll likely have to go a bit farther. But Southern Pines is fairly close and you’re centrally located to a lot of other options.

Real Estate is CHEAP on the east side of the Triangle, but then you’re further from the “good stuff.” Northern Durham (Rougemont/Bahama) is horse country and just beautiful.

We are absolutely inundated with top quality vets and farriers. And good training options too. Decent tack shops, local and a Dover.

The commute isn’t bad. If you can avoid 40/540, or at least travel slightly off hours, you won’t have any problems. Local life is great–shopping, food, theater, etc. Lots to do, lots of options for guests. Job and housing market is great. We were basically untouched in 2008 by the recession.

Oh, and there’s top notch health care options, 'cause let’s face it–if you keep riding, you’re gonna have an oopsie at some point!