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post #3461 of 3487 Old 05-15-2020, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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I've been rather amazed at the amount of horses in central Oregon. I've heard it is "horse country," but there are horse facilities everywhere. For every place I saw advertised online, if we drove down that road there would be at least three or four other large facilities on maybe 100 acres that were not advertised.
Along with that there are thousands of small farms with horses on the property. I've been to central OR a few times but driving down the highways on the way to or from sightseeing. So I'd never seen the extent of the horse world here.

It seems obvious that this climate is ideal for horses. On the coast, when you drive along and see "backyard" horses, there will be some scattered here and there that don't look like they are thriving. I believe it does take some extra attention to get horses very healthy with all the rain. In central OR, I didn't see one horse that looked unhealthy, out of hundreds and hundreds of horses along the road. I'm thinking people who say not to overthink things and that horses tend to thrive without a lot of intervention probably live in areas like this.

We visited a boarding facility that specializes in breeding endurance Arabs. They had about 20 Arabs, many of which were quite tall and solid, up to 16 hands. It was a very nice place with all the horses kept outside in large fields and lots of areas to ride. The trainer's focus was conditioning horses for competition, but unfortunately those have all been canceled this year.

Sadly, after all I say about the coastal climate not being the best for horses, we notice how the environment in the high desert feels so much more like survival to us. It has been unusually rainy for the past couple of days. They get around 5 inches of rain per year and probably got an inch while we were visiting. Yet we are hopeless causes and still our lips were chapped, eyes dry and I managed to get a light sunburn with sunblock on. Despite all of the attraction out in the desert, our hearts are still at the beach in the rainforest, so I think we will keep trying to find horse boarding there.

Something we love is that in central OR you can drive a short distance in any direction and be completely alone, on top of a mountain in an alpine forest, or out in true desert. But unfortunately, the small towns don't have a lot of resources so we realized we would have to go to the bigger city of Bend quite often, and it's a pretty miserable place (in our opinion) with thousands of new, cheap looking homes thrown up close together in developments for all those crowding up from California. It has a big city feel with people rushing, driving rudely and cutting off other cars. Many people have a superficial look.

It's a little more difficult to find a lonely road on the OR coast that isn't a logging road. But some of the small towns do not have that crowded, rushed feeling and it's possible to be casual and real. You can also go out on a lonely beach or up in the mountains. So we are thinking that overall we might prefer living at the beach and visiting the desert still, rather than vice versa.
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post #3462 of 3487 Old 05-15-2020, 01:54 PM
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It is tough to find the right balance. In the desert, your skin WILL adapt. It took us about 4-6 weeks after arriving here. It does seem like an easy place to keep horses. My wife and I got in a short ride today and she mentioned how the horses seem pretty healthy compared to some others we know that get supplements, massages, etc. Ours get Bermuda hay, maybe 1-2 scoops of pelleted hay, water, move around as they desire in the corral, no shots for 5 years now, farrier trims every 6 weeks...and seem healthy.

But moving isn't just about horses. One needs to find the place that works for the people involved too. We've seen how growth in Arizona has led to many places we once liked now looking like...well, certainly like places we no longer wish to live! Same is happening in Utah. And for me, months of snow and cold just doesn't thrill me!

The wife is suggesting we look at getting a good truck and trailer, and then we could haul the horses to Utah during the summer. Go camp and ride for a week or two, then bring them home. Trailer them to the mountains just 10-15 miles south of here for rides of a couple hours. And maybe move when we're down to one horse. Internet picture but this is about 20 miles from our house:


It is just so hard to balance life!

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #3463 of 3487 Old 05-15-2020, 08:12 PM
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We visited a boarding facility that specializes in breeding endurance Arabs.
Just curious as to what place this was. There are several well-established distance rides in central Oregon that I hope to get to some day. Beautiful country for sure.

The desert is certainly a different climate than what you are used to! You need to listen to your gut about what place makes you happiest.
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There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #3464 of 3487 Old 05-16-2020, 09:22 AM
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Brett wishes to say that in his opinion, when you're looking for a place to live, you should be checking out the density of bookshops (including second-hand bookshops) in the area! It's his big cultural litmus.

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post #3465 of 3487 Old 05-16-2020, 10:11 AM
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I don't live that far from Tucson, but a bibliophile here relies on Amazon. Men Against the Sea - a book I read decades ago - is on its way in hardcover. It is a novel based on what happened to Bligh and the loyal men after the mutiny on the Bounty. For all Bligh's faults, it was an incredible bit of seamanship!

Sharpe's Havoc: Richard Sharpe & the Campaign in Northern Portugal, Spring 1809 arrived yesterday, part of a series of books by Bernard Cornwell. Fictional but deeply based on history, with a chapter at the end pointing out differences between the story and the actual events. Sean Bean played him in a TV series:


Sharpe's Triumph: Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803 got me hooked. "Most roundly dimensional and representing the extremes of British society are Wellesley, the coldly brilliant and fearless son of an earl, and Sharpe himself, the tortured, unlettered [illegitimate child - HF's software is kind of picky about words] from London's slums, who is determined to rise. Cornwell contributes vivid details in descriptions of life in an army camp, the dual military regimes of the East India Company and the regular army, and Indian politics. Best are the battle scenes, laid out clearly - there's a handy map - with all the heat, stink and blood of war and "the joys of slaughter." The reader's pleasure in all this gore may be a guilty one, but Cornwell, a master of battlefield writing, makes it too exhilarating to forgo."

Can't imagine any bookstore in Tucson with the same interests I have...and Amazon would deliver to me even if I lived in Panguitch Utah (beautiful but way too small - 1500 - to live in for me).

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"

Last edited by bsms; 05-16-2020 at 10:20 AM.
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post #3466 of 3487 Old 05-17-2020, 02:06 AM Thread Starter
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It is just so hard to balance life!
Yes. It's not like we're looking for a "perfect" life, but I say I'd like to find somewhere where we can live "unmolested." Gold Beach which is far down the coast has nice horse boarding and is a small town with a huge bookstore (lol). But there is a big drug problem there and parking in a secluded parking lot for a hike in several different spots, we saw sketchy people hanging around. Unmolested means hopefully parking a car for a hike and thinking it is unlikely to be broken into. Also I'd like to go to the store without having parking and driving there be a big hassle. It's nice to shop without crowds too. That's important to me.
Those are beautiful places in the photos you posted. The last one looks like Central OR.

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Just curious as to what place this was. There are several well-established distance rides in central Oregon that I hope to get to some day.
It was called Sabiq Arabian Ranch (SAR) in Prineville. Their 100 mile horses were very nice looking, tall with big-boned legs.

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Brett wishes to say that in his opinion, when you're looking for a place to live, you should be checking out the density of bookshops (including second-hand bookshops) in the area! It's his big cultural litmus.
That is something we like about the small town down the coast where we have difficulty finding boarding (Florence). It has a great bookstore, but also there is a thrift store that has thousands of used books and the lady who owns it has set it up like a library, with everything organized by subject and alphabetically.

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I don't live that far from Tucson, but a bibliophile here relies on Amazon. Men Against the Sea - a book I read decades ago - is on its way in hardcover. It is a novel based on what happened to Bligh and the loyal men after the mutiny on the Bounty. For all Bligh's faults, it was an incredible bit of seamanship!
That's interesting, I just read that book. I actually read the trilogy of Mutiny on the Bounty, Men Against the Sea and Pitcairn's Island. They're all very good. We got rid of cable TV and are buying books instead. Many classics. Currently I am reading The Rainbow (not sure I can describe what it is about yet), The Sea Wolf, with a captain reminding me of Captain Bligh, and The Big Sleep which is an old detective story, very funny.
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post #3467 of 3487 Old 05-17-2020, 08:48 AM
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That is something we like about the small town down the coast where we have difficulty finding boarding (Florence). It has a great bookstore, but also there is a thrift store that has thousands of used books and the lady who owns it has set it up like a library, with everything organized by subject and alphabetically.

So fix the water problem and do it! Rinsed Hondo off yesterday with hauled water. 2500 gallons goes a long ways. And the creek? Might be able to set up a solar pump to keep a storage tank filled from that.



Be easier than moving many miles inland.


You're welcome!


Personally, I can fathom visiting my horse in a boarding facility no more than I can fathom visiting my dog in a full time boarding kennel.



I know I'm lucky and thankful for it.

One of life's great challenges is knowing enough to think you are right but not knowing enough to realize you are wrong.
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post #3468 of 3487 Old 05-17-2020, 10:28 PM
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Yes, a tank can solve so many problems!



Teeheehee.

But in all seriousness, the water problem at that agistment place is fixable, and it is indeed easier to set up a tank than to live many miles inland if this isn't where you and your spouse really want to be, for yourselves - and I do actually, outrageously, think that decisions on where to live should primarily be about where you humans would like to live, not where your horses might prefer / do better - yes, you love your horses and their comfort is a factor, but it's often so much easier to fix your horse problems, than to fix problems you have as human beings because you lived somewhere that wouldn't have been your own first choice if you didn't have horses.

So make sure your own work, social, cultural and non-horse-recreational activities are addressed first, by where you choose to move to - and then you'll also be in a better position, financially and emotionally, to take care of each other and your horses.

We moved just 25 minutes' drive out of Albany to where we live now, and the horses are on our own property etc, but that wasn't the main reason we wanted to move here, plus also, I would never have moved far into the sticks just to keep horses (of course, if I was a person who enjoyed living far out in the sticks, that would be different). We were actually, when we were moving, seriously looking at living in Denmark, a small coastal town 30 minutes from Albany - it's a nice hippie town with lots of bookshops and other shops run along ethical lines, and a lot of community activities, and most people not materialistic, and lots of thinking outside the box, and I would have loved to live in a community like that. But, property prices there were through the roof. We did make two offers on houses for sale, neither of them at the listed price because people were asking more than new-house prices for rather neglected houses that needed a lot of work. The offers were both rejected - with the second one in particular, we were pretty sad about that at the time, because we could have pictured ourselves living in it happily - it was a very unconventional house, in a lovely situation. But, it was also a very cold house in winter, and as it turns out, the house we live in now is so much better in so many ways than the houses we made offers on (of course, this meant putting five years of our spare time into building it ourselves).

The reason we bought where we did is because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to live on an actual farm, that was still within a reasonable commute to work and places of cultural and recreational interest, and was never going to be swallowed up in developments and urban expansion. The drawback is the commute, and another that it's not a particularly great local community, unlike Denmark would have been; and even though I'm only 25 minutes away from all the facilities and community groups of Albany, where we lived before, I simply don't end up driving there to do Pilates or choir or whatever else I would have done if it was 5-10 minutes away, and I don't see my friends nearly as often as I used to. But neither of us have regrets about this, because at least if it became really important to us to do these things, we could find a way to do them again; and because there are so many compensations living out here at our place.

And our weekends are just as filled with hiking now as they were before we moved out here, on the same trails, because that's an easy thing to do from here; and we often grab a coffee or a kebab going through either Albany or Denmark on the way to a nice walking trail, so that we multi-task some social and cultural activities alongside our beloved walking.

Swings and roundabouts. But, yeah, I'd never have moved 100 km from Albany or Denmark to do what we did. We don't care about being 400km from Perth because we don't like that huge metropolis and don't need anything from it, but it's great being close to a good settlement with services, really good cultural amenities etc.

And also I'd never have done what I see so many horse people around our local area do - which is to move to some place just because they had horses, and then build these elaborate stables and horse facilities, and live in a cheaply built and not very comfortable little cardboard house themselves, just so they could have horses at their place. I'd rather have agisted, or not had horses at all, than do that; and especially because my husband isn't horse-mad and it's not his hobby, so I didn't want one of my hobbies to have an excessive impact on the way he was going to live for the rest of his days. A lot of talking went into the decision to buy this farm and move out here, and I would never have done it if I thought Brett was just going along to do me a favour because of the horses - we both had to want to live on this place for our own reasons - and I'd leave here in an instant if I thought Brett was getting unhappy out here, but thankfully (because we've both invested so much of our sweat, blood and tears into this place), we both still love it, and can work around the compromises of living here, which are, for both of us, outweighed by the positives of the place.

But having seen what my parents did, and the way that they tied themselves to their hobby in a way that was really destructive of family life, personal growth and wider experience, and didn't take into account democratically the dreams and welfare of everyone in the family, and how everything revolved around the horses and the people were second to the horses, and how the horses got shoved into expensive buildings they didn't want to be in and the homestead was left to deteriorate and fall apart because people were always too busy mucking out stables and walking excessive numbers of horses in and out of little feedlot paddocks and feeding them four times a day and obsessing about racing these animals and winning races (Brett thinks the whole thing was basically psychologically like a gambling addiction) - well, I would rather have given up horses altogether than live in anything that remotely resembled that kind of set-up.

So we live in a nice house, and our horses free-range over pasture largely feeding themselves, and get rugs on when it's cold, wet and windy, and people and horses are all happy this way, and much happier than the people and horses at my parents' place. And that's the irony, that you can't quantify your love and care for your animals by how much money you spend on them or how much of your own life you give up for them mucking out buildings they don't want to be in and bringing them their every meal - just as this is no measure of love and care for people. It's actually a narcissistic kind of "love" which is more about "look how much I do for them and how good I am" than healthy love, which is about, you know, teaching a man to fish instead of constantly giving him fish, which is about looking at the real needs of the people and animals in your life and catering to social and emotional needs in people, not just the physical, and ditto for your animals, and yeah, letting your horses have a more natural and independent sort of life where their social and exploratory needs are better met than when you lock them up in buildings. I realise we are very lucky here with being able to do that for our animals because we have a lot of space, but the agistment I had my mare in, in Albany in 2008, was also that kind of facility: Horses got most of their calories from grazing, and lived in a little herd, and had room to roam over large pastures, and lots of natural shelter, plus we rugged in the cold, wet and windy periods, and the proprietor would take rugs off horses in the morning for a sunny day, so you didn't have to come in twice a day to tend to your horse in rugging season.

Well, I certainly got reflecting this morning, and I hope that's been of some use to share that!

Keeping my fingers crossed that you'll find what's right for all of you.

SueC is time travelling.
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post #3469 of 3487 Old 05-18-2020, 02:11 AM Thread Starter
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So fix the water problem and do it! Rinsed Hondo off yesterday with hauled water. 2500 gallons goes a long ways. And the creek? Might be able to set up a solar pump to keep a storage tank filled from that.

Be easier than moving many miles inland.

You're welcome!

Personally, I can fathom visiting my horse in a boarding facility no more than I can fathom visiting my dog in a full time boarding kennel.

I know I'm lucky and thankful for it.
Great advice! Boarding...when I bought Amore we lived in an apartment in the city. So began the boarding saga. Just starting out married, and living in the city so DH could go to college. After that we kept moving so kept renting and boarding. Finally bought a house about 6 years ago, but had great boarding at the time so decided to not get a house with property.

I've been drawn to the idea of having the horses at home. One thing that has held me back has been 12 hr shifts, but I know with the right set up that could work. I did self care for a year with 12 hr shifts and ended up tired and depressed. But that was mostly because I had to drive a half hour each way to the barn, plus all the horse care, and doing that every morning and night along with the long shifts was exhausting. And of course some would say why couldn't your DH help, but similar to what @SueC said, horses are my hobby and passion and I will not take on anything unless I am willing to do it all myself. I don't want to risk at all that horses become a burden to him or having horses seen as negative in any way.

While we're looking for boarding because we will need to rent while selling our house, we are considering buying horse property this time.

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...And that's the irony, that you can't quantify your love and care for your animals by how much money you spend on them or how much of your own life you give up for them mucking out buildings they don't want to be in and bringing them their every meal - just as this is no measure of love and care for people. It's actually a narcissistic kind of "love" which is more about "look how much I do for them and how good I am" than healthy love, which is about, you know, teaching a man to fish instead of constantly giving him fish, which is about looking at the real needs of the people and animals in your life and catering to social and emotional needs in people, not just the physical, and ditto for your animals, and yeah, letting your horses have a more natural and independent sort of life where their social and exploratory needs are better met than when you lock them up in buildings...
Really great stuff. I agree very much that many who spend the most on their horses are in a narcissistic type of relationship where everything is about them rather than what is best for the horse. It's always the question of "Am I doing this for the animal, or just to make myself feel better?" Or maybe you are doing it to justify things you are doing that are harming the horse or making him miserable.

I believe life is better when it is balanced, and while part of me would have enjoyed having an obsessed life where I competed seriously with horses and had great aspirations, I'm very glad I did not go that route since it would have crowded out many other things that I also enjoy. For example, good relationships with my DH, parents, siblings. Good relationships are very difficult if your life is about accomplishing big, time consuming goals. It also would have been fun to get heavily into sports competitions, but again I have not wanted to focus my whole life on one area. It is much more enjoyable to have my main passion of horses, but not having it take over everything to where I don't enjoy my running, playing the violin, reading, spending time with family, getting out hiking or kayaking with my DH, or giving time to his main passion of traveling. Also, the older I get, the more I believe horses need a balanced life also rather than one based on work and competition. Not only that, I think you also can have better relationships with your horses if you're not focused on trying to make them into something.
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post #3470 of 3487 Old 05-18-2020, 03:00 AM
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I believe life is better when it is balanced, and while part of me would have enjoyed having an obsessed life where I competed seriously with horses and had great aspirations, I'm very glad I did not go that route since it would have crowded out many other things that I also enjoy. For example, good relationships with my DH, parents, siblings. Good relationships are very difficult if your life is about accomplishing big, time consuming goals. It also would have been fun to get heavily into sports competitions, but again I have not wanted to focus my whole life on one area. It is much more enjoyable to have my main passion of horses, but not having it take over everything to where I don't enjoy my running, playing the violin, reading, spending time with family, getting out hiking or kayaking with my DH, or giving time to his main passion of traveling. Also, the older I get, the more I believe horses need a balanced life also rather than one based on work and competition. Not only that, I think you also can have better relationships with your horses if you're not focused on trying to make them into something.
Yes, that's 100% my experience as well! I too have a very competitive streak that I've learnt to manage, and I too believe that a balanced life with good relationships at the forefront, and broad interests rather than any sort of monomania, is a better life than one of striving very hard in just one particular area, to objectively do well in it or whatever. It seems to me that life is too short not to try to live it broadly and well. Would you like some Thoreau?



“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close..."

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