Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
I live in Central IL and my youngest DD is a 2L at Southern IL University (Carbondale). Southern Illinois is very rural, and the tip is Shawnee National Forest, good riding trails.
Unless we're in a drought, hay is better priced in IL. I bought 55-65 square bales for $6/bale last year, even during the drought. Others here were paying $10/bale if they didn't stock up. Better than >$20/bale. Many hay farmers round bale it, too.
You can find pretty much any type of hay you want.
Shopping in southern Illinois generally...sucks.
Here in Champaign-Urbana (little Chicago) there's enough competition to make a city person moderately comfortable. If you are close to St. Louis, you can find culture there. Otherwise living near a university works, too.
Terrain-wise, the glaciers stopped mid-state, around Charleston, and it gets hilly south of that. MY property is a flat pancake, with some up and down rolling throughout Champaign County. The soil is clay based. North of my place is black dirt, again, from the glaciers.
The state of Illinois is a reclaimed, buggy, swamp. It floods in the Spring, and we are an ice-storm magnet in the winter. This year is supposed to have a moderately warm summer, according to the Farmer's Almanac, and they were spot on with their Summer, 2012 forecast.
I wouldn't suggest outside with a shelter all year, but May-October would work, with a stall for the winter months. You will want to keep your horse's feet dry, or at least give him a place to dry his feet when he wants to. Welcome to Illinois!! I'm sorry that we cannot offer you better taxes...like Indiana. =(