ASSFS Blog Hop, Location!

This blog hop was recommended to me by my good friend Cathryn from That Red Mare and I got a little excited about it.  Not only because I literally have nothing to blog about (thank you -40C), but also because as someone new to Blogging, I too find myself to be curious about people who's blogs I stumble upon.. So thank you to A Soft Spot for Stars!

My horses are located at my in laws farm 15 minutes south of Fairview Alberta, which is located in the North Western portion of the province.  We're located amongst cattle and grain farmers, right on the side of the highway.  Fairview is a small farming town, home to roughly 5,000 residence if you include the farms on the outskirts, which make up roughly 75% of that number.  It's a very friendly, neighbourly area that I now call home.  The nearest large city is Grande Prairie, which is roughly 45 minutes - 1 hour away.  Next largest to Grande Prairie would be Edmonton, the capital of Alberta which is a short 5 hours away.  There are many boarding facilities all around me, but I think it's most common for people to have their horses at home or in the country.
The back of my In Laws pasture on a warm fall afternoon
The costs of keeping horses in my area vary greatly.  The past few years haven't been wonderful for the farmers, and as such the prices have increased.  While the hay costs were lower this year than last, they were still considered 'high' for this area.  Luckily my in laws own 160 acres and this past summer my husband and I took it upon ourselves to bale the pasture (a combination of meadow brome, timothy and regular grass) and oats -- on a race horse farm you can imagine the amount of oats we go through. 

To give you a dollar figure, good quality alfalfa mix bales of the 1400lb - 1800lb range vary from $40 - $80.  High Quality Alfalfa or Timothy bales typically sell for around $6.50/Bale (weighing around 80lbs) and Meadow Brome and other grasses generally go for about $4/Bale (weighing around 40lbs).  Beet Pulp (using this as it's pretty widely used across the world) goes for around $10/bag and Oats are about the same from the Feed Store. 

Otherwise, farrier services vary based on quality of work but I personally pay $40 for a trim from my [wonderful] farrier or $85 front shoes, $120 shod all around.  Some in my area are less, some are more.

Average cost of full time training is $800/month
Average cost of pasture board $50 - $250/month (higher end applies to boarding facilities with indoor riding arenas)
Average cost of full indoor stall board is $550/month
Average Cost of Self Board is around $350/month

The weather varies dramatically from season to season.  The warmest it tends to get is around 30C (86F), though I have experienced it as high was 35C (95F) in the 6 years I have lived here.  That being said, I would consider 20 - 25C (68 - 77F) average for June - mid September.  In the winter it's been known to plummet as low as -55C (-67F), but averages roughly -15 (5F), give or take a few degrees.  This temperatures typically dig their frigid claws in by mid November, and persist well into March, but naturally there are exceptions to every rule.  Spring is normally ridiculously muddy, but by the long weekend in May most farmers are hard at work in the fields.  Fall is breathtaking where ever you go, but its especially mild and comforting here.

As for the riding demographic of my area, we have a variety of smaller groups of English riders, but the area primarily consists of western riders - Reining, Barrel Racing and Roping to be specific.  High School Rodeo's are prevalent and many families are heavily involved in it.  I'm lucky that Evergreen Park, easily the largest equine venue in a nearby radius, is just a short hour drive away and therefor Jumping and Cross Country are the most heavily enjoyed English Disciplines in my area.

Grande Prairie is home to 2 large-ish tack stores.  Keddies, which is 99.9% Western & Feed is massive and a great source for home décor, general products like blankets, boots, health supplies, etc.  They also have a Greenhawk, however I do a lot of my purchasing through one of my coaches who is a retailer for BR, Horseware and HKM as well as online.

My only 'complaint' about my area is how far away we are from large venues, however where I lived before I was roughly 20 hours from Vancouver, or 8 from Prince George so the idea of complaining about being 5 Hours away from Edmonton seems incredibly insensitive.. but what kind of woman would I be if I didn't complain about something inconsequential! 

-32C is precisely why I haven't been updating my blog recently!


Comments

  1. I just found your blog through Cathryn's but I find it fascinating that big alfalfa bales are only $40-$80 up there. I'm in the Edmonton area and they range from $80-$120 for 1200lb bales.

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    1. Wowza! Well as i'm sure you know, the prices last year were simply insane and some guys tried to sell large rounds/squares for upwards of $200, but many in my area still maintained regular prices.

      We are currently getting 1500lb Large Squares of 100% Alfalfa for $65. Some bales of the same weight are as low as $40, but they are lower quality (rained on, not shedded or covered, likely mouldy, etc)

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  2. I love that photo of Miss Kai.

    And I WISH our roundbales were that cheap!!

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  3. I love reading entries to this blog hop! Great to hear from another fellow Alberta blogger! There's a lot about your area that is similar to mine, though I know I'm luckier from a winter weather standpoint. Hope you're staying warm up there

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  4. Thanks for sharing about your home! I don't know much about Canada, especially provinces that aren't British Columbia so this was very informative!

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  5. For some additional information, We recently got a truck load of 36 1400lb Mix (heavy timothy) 2016 bales for $40/ea delivered.

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