sffs blog hop: location, location, location

I have had so much fun reading the responses to Sarah’s blog hop about our horsey locations!  I live in Davis, California, which is a small university town located in 2015’s favourite county — #YOLO.  The town keeps about 60,000 people, around 10,000 of whom are probably students, with another 20,000 or so students that flood in during the school year.  The town is small — 6 miles end to end (I measured on Google) — and you can’t drive more than 10 minutes in any one direction without hitting ag fields.

locationanimals not to scale

It takes me about 20 minutes to get to my barn on the ag roads.  Much of the housing development that I live in used to be a thoroughbred breeding ranch.  My trainer and barn manager actually used to rent one of their old barns — it’s where I started riding with them.  (Our new location is a MASSIVE upgrade).

Davis is a little expensive for what you’d expect in the area, because we are kinda near the bay area and the land is expensive and the schools are good, so… I don’t know. Inflation. Or something.  My barn is inexpensive for the area (we do not have the world’s most amazing footing, but we do have all night turnout when pastures permit).

Trim – $40-60
Shoes – $65 for a half set is the cheapest I have heard of, I pay $85 for a full set, others start out around $100 for a full set
Monthly training – $600+ is the price I’ve seen thrown around, but I’m sure it doesn’t come close to what some of the trainers in the area charge
Pasture board – $350+ (weirdly there is NOT a ton of pasture board in the area – it’s more profitable to grow tomatoes/sunflower seeds/corn/hay or almonds/walnuts)
Stall board – $450+ (closer to $550-$600 average I’d say)
Hay – $13+/bale for rye, $15+/bale for orchard grass, $18+/bale for alfalfa. These are three string bales and weigh well over a hundred pounds, and you can get them cheaper when you buy by the truckload.  But it’s ABSURD how much of our hay gets shipped to Asia.  There’s a hay broker down the road from our barn called HAYKINGDOM and they don’t even sell within the US!
I have literally never seen a round bale in this county. I have seen cow bales, but have never seen a price on them.


The weather in Davis is pretty good, with spurts of absolutely awful.  It hangs out in the 90s from basically mid-June to mid-September (and sometimes into October, ick), with spikes up into the 100’s (and some waves).  In winter it gets down to the 40s, but we don’t get a terribly large amount of rain (I think something like 30″ per year?).  We are technically in a desert so we get massive swings between daytime and nighttime temps (sometimes 70 degree days are followed by 40 degree nights).  We get some of the central valley weather but none of the worst of it — it will freeze (sometimes hard enough to freeze the arena), but not all that often.  I complain a lot about the cold, but really, Davis rocks much of the year.

One of the most interesting weather phenomena in Davis is the tule fog (I call it ground fog).  The soil in the area is incredibly clay-y, and water doesn’t drain very fast.  When it rains a lot, followed by clear sunny days, the moisture evaporates into the air.  After sunset the air cools and the moisture trapped in the air condenses into a thick cloud that just… hangs out.  Sometimes it will take days for the fog to clear, sometimes the fog will be heavy and strong in the mornings and evenings and disappear during the days.  It gives the area a wonderfully eerie ambiance, but does occasionally make you skip your freeway exit.

IMG_0238Showing in the Tule fog in 2014.

There’s a pretty even split between English and Western riders here.  I imagine there are very few trail riders, as we have no trails to speak of — the land is flat, flat, flat.  I don’t know anything about the Western scene, but there are English riders of all shapes, sizes, colors, and disciplines here.  Just within our barn — an eventing barn — we have a couple of hunters, a couple of dressage riders, and the rest of will us dabble in jumpers/hunters for fun.   There are tons of dressage and H/J shows within a 3 hour haul, and even a decent number in the Sacramento area within a 1 hour hall.  WSS is the only event within 1 hour of Davis, though Camelot comes in at just over 2 hours away, and there are plenty more south of us.

We do have one tack store in the area. There’s another in the foothills. I… don’t want to talk about it right now.

Prior to white occupation, much of the central valley was a series of vernal pools, which are shallow ponds, lakes, and creeks that fill up with the winter rains.  Ever since human occupation of the area the creeks have been dammed and diverted until we got this pattern of agricultural land we preferred.  It means that there are fewer of the vernal pool species that used to exist (like salamanders), and the environment changed rather radically from a seasonal wetland to a mostly dry-land with a few seasonal rivers and wetlands.  Sometimes humpback whales come up the delta.  Some have even made it as far as Sacramento, following the river up from the Pacific ocean.  Nutty, right?

boreal-020believe it or not I used to spend all my free time and money doing THIS! underlying story: I have never been good at saving money

We’re pretty close to the mountains, not far from the beach, surrounded by good wine and good breweries, and absolutely no fucking hills whatsoever.  That is my biggest complaint: NO HILLS.

9 thoughts on “sffs blog hop: location, location, location”

  1. Camelot’s only 90 minutes away from Davis. I know this because I drove to Camelot, dropped Nilla off and then drove to Davis to get my husband and back to Camelot again all in one day. I frequently find myself traveling out to the Sacramento area to do horse things, so I think you’ve got more than we do.


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