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mudpie 05-07-2013 02:27 PM

Illinois horse people?
Hello all,

As I venture through the tail end of my junior year of high school, I've been forced to begin contemplating the next step in my education, and while that is utterly terrifying to me, ignoring it becomes an increasingly terrible idea. ;) Long story short, my sister attends a college in Southern Illinois (very close to Missouri), and after a lot of thought and a visit, I've decided that I really like it!

One of the things I have to speculate is whether or not Mudpie will be coming with me, and for this moment we're going to be positive and say that he likely will be. As someone who has lived in central California for the entirety of my life, I have almost no insight as to what it's really like there. I've spent two weeks out of a couple years in Missouri, but I'm pretty clueless, so my question is this: What is it like for a horse owner in Illinois or Missouri? What are some of the challenges, benefits, etc. of life with a horse there? Are there any diseases that you have to keep an eye on/vaccinate for that's different from California? Does the weather present any challenges? Is it more expensive?

I've done a little bit of looking into places to board the fuzzy brown squoosh, but as I stated before, this is all very speculative. But let's pretend that it will work. :) What advice would you have for someone moving a horse from central California to southern Illinois?

Thanks. :D

Corporal 05-07-2013 02:44 PM

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
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 Indiana. =(

Live2Ride15 05-07-2013 02:57 PM

I just moved from IL right outside St.louis. I cant help much with horse cost as I do not own a horse I only rode at a few barns. One thing between MO and IL that I can say is that gas prices and taxes are WAY lower in MO.
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mudpie 05-07-2013 03:48 PM

Thanks! :) That's really helpful! :) The college is in a teensy tiny town and really close to a place called Alton, if that helps any. :)

Corporal 05-07-2013 04:06 PM

Yep. DH's grandfather was a pastor in Alton, and we visited there several times over the years. You are suburban St. Louis. Watch for flooding there this week. TWC has a flood warning going on.

mudpie 05-07-2013 05:08 PM

:) Oh I'm not there right now. Still in California muddling through high school, trying to make plans for a rather scary future. ;)

Jessabel 05-07-2013 06:58 PM

I think you're crazy moving from sunny California to the cornfields of Illinois, but I wish you the best. :wink: You might want to invest in a winter blanket for your horse, especially since he's probably not used to twenty-below wind chill. Winter riding gear would be good, too. And a heated water bucket, if the barn doesn't provide them.

The thing that sucks most about the Midwest is the weather. Winters can be miserable. And the flat, featureless landscape leaves something to be desired. There is absolutely nothing here. It's eerie, really. Ever seen Children of the Corn? The majority of Illinois looks a lot like Gatlin. Beware of He Who Walks Behind the Rows. :lol:

The only cool thing about it is Chicago. I live about an hour and a half away. If you ever get the opportunity to go there, do it. It's pretty rad.

Jessabel 05-07-2013 07:07 PM


Originally Posted by mudpie (Post 2452561)
Thanks! :) That's really helpful! :) The college is in a teensy tiny town and really close to a place called Alton, if that helps any. :)

ALTON! Holy crap. That's supposed to be one of the most haunted towns in the country. I've never been there, but it's on my ghost-hunting hit list. You should totally go exploring around there if you get a chance.

At night. :twisted:

Bagheera 05-07-2013 10:23 PM

Don't hate on Illinois. I happen to like it here, except for driving in the snow. No one likes that. Lol If you do end up here, invest in some quality blankets for your horse. There are a lot of barns to pick from, so shop around. Great trail riding here. That's really all I can think of. Lol

Corporal 05-08-2013 11:12 AM

Bagheera and Jessabel, where do you both live?
I live in SSE Champaign County, almost in Douglas.

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