For those that live in either New Mexico or Arizona, how are these states for owing a farm and riding dressage? Pros and cons please.
How bad are the flies, bugs, snakes?
I live in North Scottsdale/Rio Verde area and have for 3.5 years. I have horse property (house, barn & arena) in Desert Hills which I’ve owned since 2015. Prior to that I lived in the New River area for 16 years. All are horse focused areas in norther Maricopa county surrounding Phoenix.
I don’t find the bugs and flies to be as bad here as in places that get rain. Snakes, well, I’m not a fan and we do have them. I’m far less a shoot first, ask questions later type when it comes to snakes than when I first arrived 21 or so years ago; but, you do still have to be aware, very aware of rattle snakes.
Well except for the 3 months of summer I think the weather is pretty decent. I grew up in North Carolina with horses. I ride far more here than I ever was able to growing up in a nice climate. The summers can be brutal which s why we’re currently looking for a horse property in the northern part of the state to escape to during the worst of it. Still I’ve managed to breed/raise/train and show by adjusting my riding hours in the summer.
Cost to buy a nice farm already setup for dressage, say 15-30 acres? Nice=not about to fall to the ground, some fixing is fine, but horse ready to move in. Smaller house preferred.
Cost for barn help?
I’m afraid others will have to help you with that. I’m the barn help and the test dummy as well as all round trainer, rider, vet…you get the drift. My neighbor who has a large reining operation pays about $2000 a month for stall cleaners who clean 30 stalls twice a day FWIW.
Cost of hay? What’s available?
I’m paying about $14-15/bale of 100-120# bermuda depending on my provider. That includes delivery and stacking. You can get alfalfa for a little less and timothy (closer to 18/bale), teff (usually runs @1-2 higher than bermuda) as well as orchard grass shipped in if you desire.
Good farriers and vets? What are you paying for 2 shoes / 4 shoes?
There are good farriers and vets. We have some very good boarded surgeons in the area and a boarded therio guy who I’ve used and is a great guy (of course he’s a colleague of mine). I’ve had the same farrier for 15 years. He charges me $85 for a full shoe (set of 4) and $45 for a trim. He’s probably going to go up $5 due to the likelihood of gas prices continuing to increase.
Any particular area, counties, that you would recommend?
Depends on what you want. Pima (Tucson) and Maricopa (Phoenix) will probably offer you the most options for access to vets and farriers as well as riding venues (showing). Coconino is very nice if you want to stay out of the heat (Flagstaff). There’s a healthy dressage community in Maricopa (look up Arizona Dressage Association) and a pretty good nucleus in Tucson/Pima (Tucson Dressage Club). You don’t have to drive too long/far to get to San Diego and LA for some of their shows. ADA did just announce their cancellation of their shows in Flagstaff so I’m not too sure what, if any, dressage is happening there anymore.
Compared to the midwest, I found breeding/raising horses here to be less expensive though a total change in mindset coming from green pastures to the desert. You need less land to do as much or more. Land prices are sky rocketing. Taxes are less but water sources may become a big issue; so far, we’ve been lucky.