Traveling South for a Week

Anyone go south only for a week? Without a deciticated trainer?

A couple of us are considering going to Ocala for a week or 10 days. To maybe try to hit 2 shows? And all the lessons! We aren’t in a “program” so not stuck with a specific trainer.

Tell me all the details! Beginning to start budgeting and planning.

I won’t be of much help except to say that some of my friends who go south most of the season plan waaay ahead of time. Finding a hotel, AirBNB or someplace to stay is as important as finding a trainer to lesson with, place for your horse. Budget can be all over the place from $45 - $100/day just for stabling. Trainer adds at least $90+/lesson, on and on…

Generally- I think a week is too short, especially depending on what state you are in. Last year, we shipped down. I sent him commercial. He ended up getting shipping fever and was out for a few days. If I had only been there for a week it definitely wouldn’t have been worth it to me (I’m in Indy so it was supposed to be 13.5 hours down, add time for stops etc making it 14-15 realistically. It took me 19.5 hours coming home because of a road closure (3.5 hours) in Atlanta and a snow storm in Indy). And my horse travels well and never has had an issue prior.

I shipped him home myself and he was fine.

I hope a week is enough time, is just my point.


We are in north mississippi, so 9.5 hours according to Maps. We have been the layover location for a couple of people coming from ocala going to Oklahoma, so I think it would be 1 full day of travel, unless I decided to layover half way (I have a couple different options half way, but I think we will probably do it in 1 go, as long as I’m not the only driver).

If you think a week is too short, how long do you go for? I’m not sure I can swing much more time off from work, but may be able to send him to a trainer for a month and join him the last week. This is another reason why I want to know how others do it! Thanks!!

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I went last year for 5 days from about 9-10 hours away and it was a good experience for my young horse. I did not show but instead went to multiple different venues to school cross country. I did board with a friend who is down there for the winter and she knew all the details about where to go. It would have been easy enough to pick up a lesson or two with a notable trainer, but we opted to intersperse our XC schooling days with a lower key day since I was working with a coming 5 year old.

If you do your research and plan ahead there is lots that can be done in even a very short time. In addition, knowing I’m going keeps me motivated to keep my horses going at even a modest level work through the dark days of winter. I usually schedule to go toward the end of the winter season–this last year in March–so the trip acts like a jump start to my season.

I’ve been for as long as 10 days which is nice but a long time to be away from home/farm/husband/other animals. I do it in one day for travel. Usually go alone. Pop in the airPods, listen to a couple books, and settle in.

This year I’m hoping to go for a week with my now 5 year old and catch a show the last days I’m there. I’m also tentatively sending my coming 4 year old down for a couple months to a trainer with an eye on doing the YEH stuff.


I looked into doing it this past year. I was thinking I’d go for 10-14 days in late Feb / early March to get a jump start on the spring show season. I ended up deciding it wasn’t quite worth the cost, which for me includes horse care at home. I was going to do Aiken, not Ocala, but FWIW this is what I estimated costs to be for 10 nights there, not including horse care for the one left at home:

Gas to and from: ~$300
Airbnb at small private barn: $36/night --> $360 total
Stabling at Airbnb: $30/night --> $300 total
Starter HT: $150
Jumper SS: $60
Recognized HT: $233
Gallop track: $25
TOTAL: $1,428

I would have also done a lesson or XC school with someone down there, but didn’t get far enough to figure out budgeting for that. I decided that was too high a premium to pay for things that I can generally do closer to home, albeit slightly later in the year and spread out across more time, and that if one thing went wrong (like a poorly timed abscess or thrown shoe) it would be too costly. I’m sure I’ll consider it again sometime though because I do think it would be fun and a good break from the winter doldrums.

That’s exactly what I am hoping to do. Honestly my 6 year old needs XC schooling more than anything (and our closest XC schooling location is 3+ hours from home) so getting to ocala and hitting so many different venues would help us soooo much! Hopefully I can make it work.


I’m also looking to do this, but probably for 2-3 weeks in Aiken. Are there forums or Facebook pages devoted to Aiken/Ocala snowbirds? I think I’m pretty set with trainers/lessons but still working on trailering/lodging/boarding.

My guy is going in training with John Michael Durr in Aiken for 3 months in Jan. I am planning multiple trips during his time down there. I would love a lead on where to stay.

There are a few Facebook groups for Aiken area namely Aiken SC Area Dressage, Eventing and Showjumping group and Aiken Life and Sport. Those two groups are a good place to start. There are many AIrbnbs as well but if you’re planning to come early next year, I’d start looking now!