Friday, December 9, 2016

ASSFS Blog Hop: Location, Location, Location

Home Sweet Home.
When I saw this blog hop floating around, I grew immensely intrigued by everyone's answers and while most of it is based in the US, I figured I'd still participate and show the other side of the coin - the Canadian side 'eh (*cough cough* T @ Project Gingersnap  get on this!! For another Canadian submission, check out Alaina @ SpottedDressage! 

So thank you to Sarah from A Soft Spot for Stars for this neat hop - I vote Emma to compress the data and Tracey to make an infographic... just sayin'!

Any further West and we'd be in the ocean!
(Note: the star is our capital, Victoria).


Born and raised in a small town located in northwest British Columbia. The town, despite it's size, is very industrious and has several large corporations and company's which support the entire world with various items, such as aluminum and wood (logging). The largest industrious company here is Rio Tinto Alcan, which is an aluminum smelter. And I am sure some from the States are aware of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline that has caused quite a stir amidst the public.

Our town, in addition to being industrious, is an active outdoors community. The fishing here is prime - some of the best in the entire world - and the ATV and hiking trails are just downright beautiful. To live here, you really have to love being outside no matter what the weather is doing.

 I apologize for the following photo spam (#sorrynotreallysorry):

Near the top of Claque mountain. The trail head is a short 5 minute drive
 from our house. This was the year the boy took me up there with his quad.

The local lake, during a hot spell.
An early morning down at the local boat marina.

A drive and hike up one of the abandoned logging roads.
Our town is to the left.

A soft-footed trail ride by the river.

There really is a truck under there.

That time I had to dig out my horses. #somuchfunnot

Hiking up to the clouds mid-Summer.

As far as small-town living, we have the following:
  • 2 grocery stores
  • 3 gas stations
  • 3 sets of traffic lights 
  • 3 primary schools
  • 1 high school
  • 0 movie theater 
  • 0 boarding barns
  • 1 community riding arena (which is an outdoor).
  • 1 small animal vet
  • 0 equine vets
  • 3 farriers
  • 1 main highway that leads out of town
There are no "real" farms or boarding barns in my immediate area - and by "real" I mean over 5 acres. Generally speaking, those who do own land have hobby farms that range from 1-5 acres in size. The only boarding barns that are anywhere near me, are in the next town and range from 1hr - 1hr 30 away.

Blue Dot = Our current home
Yellow Star = Our property
Red Heart = Horses Boarding Barn
Around here, the biggest plot of land I am aware of that is owned by someone is 10 acres, and that belongs to my old riding coach and her husband who runs a heavy equipment business. Ironically enough, the boyfriend and I own the second largest piece of land in that particular area in town (just under 5 acres).

Nearly 99% of people in this area have private barns and land. This particular situation poses a few frustrating issues for those who do not own land and need to board: 1) Those who own private land don't have enough room or acreage for more horses than their own and 2) Private barns = insurance increase with boarders and owners would just rather not have the headache.


Because I self-board and nothing is really included, I have a pretty good idea as to costs involved in horse ownership and care in this area:
  • Farrier:
    • Trim: $30
    • Front Shoes: $60 - $100
    • Full Set: $100 - $130 (I typically pay $100, including travel).
  • Board
    • Self: $150/month (My board breaks down into $100/horse and $50/wanna-be horses *cough Spud cough*)
    • Pasture: $100 - 200/month
    • Summer Board: $200 - 400/month
    • Winter Board: $350 - 600
      (Note: I used the boarding barns in the next town as a price target since we do not have pasture or stall boarding options here...).
  • Board + Full-Time Training: $700 -$1,200
    I'm actually not quite sure, to be honest and it depends on if it is during the Summer or Winter a lot of the times, too. There aren't really any trainers around here either, so it is difficult to pin-point.
I don't know if I ever mentioned it, but I designed a round bale hay box
this past summer for the horses and BF built it.
I don't know that I could ever go back to feeding
square bales in hay nets ever again!
  • Hay:
    • Small Squares: $4-$6 per bale of Timothy Grass Mix. $8 - $12 for more Alfalfa type hay.
    • Round Bales: $60 - $120 (depending on weight of bale) of Timothy Grass Mix. I've found that 700lb rounds = $70, 800lb rounds = $80 and so on.

    • Float: $300 - $500
      (This is purely based on a routine float from the Traveling Vets).
    • Vaccinations: $50

That time I did an AQHA show and somehow
earned points while Suzie reared and galloped
around the arena like a physco.
  • Showing
    • Schooling Shows: $5 - $7 per class (typically, Flat and Dressage are $5 and jumping is $7).
    • Local Shows: $7 - $35 per class (this includes AQHA shows as well)

There isn't much variance in cost in this area, simply because we are limited in our choices. We are blessed in the sense that equine chiropractors and body workers make regular trips up this way to ensure our horses are feeling and performing the best they can, but we don't really have any permanent residents who offer those types of services.


Monsoon rain during a 5:30am feed in September 2014.

We live in a very wet oceanic climate, with significant temperature difference between winters and summers. In fact, we average approximately 190 days of rain and 41 days of snow per year. Our summers typically hover around 21-25°C (70°F+) but have been known to get heat waves once or twice a year. The same is typical of our Winters - we get a vicious cold snap that brings the temperatures down to a blustry -30°C (-22°F).


Swimming during a heat wave in 2014.

During the Winter, no one is able to appropriately school or even ride their horses. We get quite a bit of snow, so the communal fairgrounds outdoor arena is typically a no-go zone once the snow that has settled in it has generated a thick layer of ice on top. The only option that really remains is to haul to the next town's communal indoor, but the highway is often treacherous and many do not want to risk an accident. Most riders are limited to walk work around the streets and roadways, provided it is not too slippery.

 Typically, the season for riding starts up in March and goes until there is either snow on the ground or the temperature drops below what is humanely ethical (and by humanely ethical, I mean for ourselves!).

Does anyone Spud's first Winter with me?
Poor guy.

Riding Demographic

In my area, we have a vast variety of equestrians, and most are all-around riders who dabble in just about everything. About 1/3 are quite involved in Breed shows (AQHA, APHA, etc), and another 1/3 are all about rated shows (dressage, jumping, etc), and the last 1/3 are happy remaining on the local show circuits.

Riding Finn, sandwiched between an Andalusian
and a Warmblood (Trakehner).
The most popular type of horses in this area would have to be Warmbloods and Quarter Horses. You don't often see Thoroughbreds or Arabians around here much. Interestingly enough, the Andalusian has become a bit more popular in the area and we have a breeder who is attempting to promote the breed more and more.

There isn't much offered in sense of associations and groups other than Pony Club and 4-H and the closest tack shop is a 3 hour drive away.

Most Frustrating


The lack of equestrian-presence. My region is full of horsey-people, but my immediate community in particular is severely lacking.

I typically force  convince Show Buddy D with me to the
local circuits, even if we are competing
in different disciplines.

As of 2015, there were only two people from my town who competed in shows - myself and a young girl. In fact, I believe there are only a handful of people who even use our communal riding arena, which is sad.

It is also immensely frustrating that we have no proper riding facilities for when it is raining or snowing outside.

We have no access to instructors or clinicians unless we want to haul out.

Round trip haul of 16hrs for a
lameness exam and xrays?
Just a typical day.
We are limited to who we choose as a veterinarian and farrier, unless we decide to haul.

I have barely anyone to ride with (let alone show with!) since most of the girls I grew up riding with have moved away, so I often hack out alone or with a friend when she is home on the weekends.


Other Notes?


 In truth, I do love our community. I love it's small nature, and while we do not have some of the amenities larger communities do, I am somehow still able to make it all work out.

In an attempt to rectify my previous whining, here is a list of where it truly rocks to live here:

  • "Traffic" is any line up of 4 cars.
  • A "line up" is one person ahead of you in the Tim Hortons line-up.
  • Driving out to the horses is a mere 10 minute trip.
  • A 10 minute walk out my door and I am literally in the forest.

    That spec near the top of the trail is actually
    a coyote.
  • The amount of exposure to nature we have. Things like eagles, bears, wolves, coyotes and wolverines are not uncommon to see.
  • I do not have any barn rules and can do whatever the heck I want with my horses - even my dogs can come out to the barn with me!
  • Using the outdoor arena is free, and I never have to worry about it being full of other riders.
This giant arena is typically empty. #score
  • The trails!!! And the fact that most are wide enough to take Spud and his cart down.
  • The horse community here is intensely close knit, especially due to the fact we have no vet in the area.
  • I am known in my town as the "mini horse lady" because of Spud's continuous exposure out into the community and in community events. #notevenmad

For someone who is super competitive who is trying to get their way into some serious showing, you certainly will have a lot of things in your way if you were to try it here. It isn't impossible, but it certainly wouldn't be as easy elsewhere.

I must be doing something right tho, because I've had a few successful years with both of my horses.


  1. I love this! I might have to go edit my post, it seems majorly subpar compared to yours!

    1. I kind of went overboard compared to some of the other bloggers. *blushing*

  2. I love this bloghop! It sure seems that you have your fair share of challenges but it also seems like a great place to live.

    I love your roundbale feeder. We just upgraded to the polyring with net from just a net and it's basically magic.

    1. I forgot to include you as a fellow Canadian! You better be doing this hop!!

      Omg, I was looking at the polyring contraption and immediately fell in love with it. That is one of our plans for our future barn. For now, this works for us!

  3. Challenge accepted :) I'll say it again, I love your area!

  4. Man, you are NORTH.WEST. And I've been thinking about doing some pie charts, combining this and my gift exchange list......

    1. We are pretty close to the ocean!

      And YESSSS. I know you too well ;)

  5. It's a beautiful spot to live in. I love it!

  6. Wow, that winter cold and snow... I could not! Beautiful though!!

    1. Once you acclimatize it isn't so bad... lol!

  7. I've been planning to do this as well- representing the East Coast of Canada. :)
    Poor Spud in that photo!

    1. Ack, I forgot you too!!

      So sorry!

      Please do it!!

  8. Your area really is gorgeous. I'd love to visit, but I couldn't live there. I couldn't handle the cold. And I hate rain. But it is very pretty!

  9. I definitely envy your trails!

    1. We have so many old logging and 4x4 roads, it is fun to explore!

  10. wolverines?? WOLVERINES?! Uh, no.

    I just finished reading Journey of a Dancing Horse and she's on the complete opposite side, in NS! Both are so so pretty. I think I would love a trip up north!

    P.S. If I were ever to come across a wolverine, what should I do??

    1. Yup, wolverines. Haha.

      We actually had an issue with wolverines quite a few years ago.

      I don't think wolverines would give people grief - so long as you give them a wide berth and respect them.

  11. So many gorgeous pics!! Also now that you mention it, we should totally compile all the data lol

  12. I just found your blog, really cool to find another Canadian blogger :). I'm glad I'm in Alberta because I can handle cold but that much rain is way too much! Kudos to you for keeping on riding and showing even when it's tough to get anywhere

    1. YAHOO for another Canadian!

      I will add you to my reading list :)

  13. You weren't joking about that small-town living. Beautiful scenery though!!! I don't know if you read Autonomous Dressage but she lives in Alberta somewhere.

    1. Yes - it is very small-town living up here haha!

      Oooh, I will check it out!

  14. This post completely fascinated me. Your area is absolutely stunning and I don't think I'd mind being left alone with my horses (especially with that kind of trail access!) but I cannot fathom not having a vet nearby. How scary! Thank you for taking the time to write this out and share your community with us. Wow!