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Old 07-13-2015, 06:43 PM
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My husband and I are retiring and, like many others, are considering a move to New Mexico from the Midwest. Our primary considerations are (1) weather, (2) affordability of rural home with acreage for horses; and (3) proximity to challenging horse trails. We are moving mainly to have a more friendly climate for outdoor activities, particularly trail riding on our horses.

I've read many threads about the differences between Santa Fe and Albuquerque and their environs. It seems both cities have their pros and cons. We'd like to be within 30 minutes' drive of grocery stores, etc., but probably wouldn't spend a lot of time in either city.

Searching online for houses with acreage, I've concluded that, as others indicate, Santa Fe housing is more expensive, even for places outside the city. Still, I think we could manage to buy a place in, say, Cerillos or somewhere like that.

We'd like to buy a house with at least 25-30 acres. We've had horses for years and plan on bringing some along.

I'm wondering if anyone has experience keeping horses near either Santa Fe or Albuquerque, and which place has more going on in the horse world. I'm also wondering how difficult it is to acquire basic horse feed such as hay and bulk oats. Are there areas where the water supply for livestock is more dependable/secure? Any other information vis a vis keeping and riding horses in these areas would be much appreciated.
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Old 07-13-2015, 07:29 PM
Location: Western NC.
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Check out Corrales just north of Albuquerque, horse oriented but not sure amount of acreage you want would be available. Does El Dorado allow horses, nice area east of Santa Fe I think.
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Old 07-13-2015, 10:31 PM
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The acreage you want is going to pretty much put ABQ and Corrales off the list and more than likely a 30 minute drive to decent shopping in most places. I'm guessing you plan on hauling the horses to trails? I think you are going to find that a land parcel that large is going to put you some distance from stores unless money is no issue.
Just for fun you might look around the east side of the Manzanos toward the north end.
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Old 07-17-2015, 05:13 PM
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Some people have horses out in Eldorado, but IMO it's pretty stupid cause there are cars zooming around everywhere and not many places to ride
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Old 07-17-2015, 11:30 PM
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Look into Mountainair area - you can get a decent house with 40+ acres for a pretty decent price - Cibola Natl forest is near and you can end up getting acreage that borders either BLM land or the forest itself. You will be within 60 minutes to Albuquerque and 90 minutes to Santa Fe. Another area is Quemado/Datil - plenty of rural acreage there with possible access to national forests/BLM land, however, you will be some distance from ABQ.

If you are rich - Silver City is another option, maybe Taos area also. Silver City will have the nicest year round climate for outdoor activities, not as much snow as Santa Fe area.
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Old 07-21-2015, 10:58 PM
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We found our paradise in Corona, in the Southcentral Highlands, which is not everyone's cup of tea but certainly is mine.

There are conservation development here -- Cougar Mountain and Corona Ranch are two of them -- as well as tracts sometimes available outside a formal development. Land prices may look high but are pretty negotiable.

Water is the constant problem in New Mexico, and that is the first thing you must ask: what is the water source? Our well water is high in sulfates but my five horses have adapted well and are thriving since moving here from Mississippi. We have put in a storage tank and pressure pump for the barn so that we will have water for the horses even if the well goes out for a time.

For our area, shared wells, power and phone service were provided to the property line by the original developer. This solves a lot of problems and would therefore be an asset to look for. Our weather is seasonal and very beautiful, and there have been few days when riding was impossible.

Hay is more expensive than you may be used to however. I am currently paying $8 to $10 a bale for average two-string grass hay bales; in the winter that skyrockets.

I decided against Mountainair because the soil is quite fragile in many areas there, and in my judgment would not hold up to horses well. The state of the caliche-based dirt roads there after a rain kind of supports my concern.

In Corona we have miles of riding as well as Cibola National Forest land. My retired riding school horses, shoes pulled and care taken, are adapting well to the rocky terrain and love roving through the unsettled land around us.

We are an hour from Edgewood, where there are Walmart, Smiths, Tractor Supply, Walgreens, a car dealership, auto parts and several good feed stores. Two hours from Albuquerque. 50 minutes from Carrizozo, 60-75 minutes from Capitan and Ruidoso and Tularosa, all of which offer interesting shopping, though not much in the way of Big Box stores. Our vet -- an excellent vet! -- is in Capitan, which is a beautiful drive away and makes vet visits an adventure. I have to say, however, that I am very glad to have 50 years' experience of horsekeeping behind me, as with the vet so far away I do a lot more of the care myself. Capitan is another place you may consider, as is the area east of there, around Hondo.

There is another place we seriously considered, to the point of making an offer which the seller declined. It would be offputting for many people but for the adventurous soul? It's a "development" -- as yet only minimally realized -- called Tierra Grande south of Belen on Hwy. 47, hard up against the Manzano Mountains north of Abo Pass. The tracts are large and water wells generally successful though there is only native desert vegetation. The beauty of it is that 13,000 acres of Manzano Mountain land are set aside for residents of Tierra Grande. That was a great attraction for me. And the views are spectacular -- if you happen to like high desert terrain.

You might consider the Farmington/Aztec area. Lots of horses up there in the NW corner of the state.

South of us and east of Alamagordo there are High Rolls and other developments that might offer what you seek. With family in Albuquerque we ruled them out as too far away, but there were some attractive and affordable properties there.

Our daughter keeps her horse in Albuquerque's South Valley. If you want real proximity to a city, you might consider that area. It's quirky and you need to really look for the right place, and most people keep their horses on small acreage because land is dear. But it's rich with horsepeople, and there are miles of ditchbanks and the Rio Grande to ride on. There are lots of horse activities, shows, etc.

The North Valley/Corrales area is the upmarket version of the South Valley and would require substantially more money to buy the right property.

Edgewood, east of Albuquerque, is developing into a liveable area, though it was kind of a joke 30 years ago! There are some lovely properties in the area, for reasonable prices, and lots of trails and horse activities.

Be careful along North 14/Cerrillos/Madrid/Golden. There are gorgeous places, but water can be a serious problem.

Cuba is kind of a hidden gem if you have time to really look.

Our daughters love the Gila Wilderness (Datil/Reserve, etc.) and really wanted us to buy the house we looked at there. It just had too many serious problems for us to handle, but I have seen other places on the market there for several years that would seem to have potential. The riding would be superb, but it's kind of remote.

West of Albuquerque and South of Grants is the area around Ramah, where there are some interesting little settlements. We own some land out there and camped there for years with great joy, but again it's a little remote and you would have to watch water and power sources.

If you have specific questions I would be glad to try to answer them for you, or find someone who can.

Good luck!

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Old 07-22-2015, 06:45 PM
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Default horses in silver city/deming

Thanks for your generous and informative New Mexico horse intelligence.

Though I interview for the job tomorrow, and this is this is all fantasy at the moment, what might the horsekeeping challenges and rewards be in Southern New Mexico?

I have two geriatrics I would move from Maine. Big change I know, but we're tired of the grim Maine winters and I want some younger more rideable horses, too.

Houses and acreage look affordable-ish and there's an eventing/dressage presence in Las Cruces, at minimum.

The hay prices sound a little terrifying, especially since one of my horses is an aged Irish Draught who has to have high quality hay and he eats nearly a bale a day in cold weather.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 07-22-2015, 07:16 PM
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Good luck with your job interview!!

If you are going to be around Las Cruces you will be a lot hotter than we are here, as our 7500' elevation keeps our weather mild. My first advice would be to not consider what you see this year to be normal. We have had an unusually wet spring and everything is far more green than it has been in years and years.

I have one eight-year-old mare; the rest are all in their 20s and survived the 1000=mile journey and the adaptation quite well, and are now thriving.

We hooked up an RO system for the first month we were here, as I was worried about the change in water. Over a two-month period we switched them to 100 percent well water, and it has gone well. (their manure often smells of sulfur, however!)

Most of the hay in this area comes from the Estancia Valley, and is either alfalfa or grass averaging $10 per 50 to 60 pound bale, or from the Rio Grande Valley, where the $8 bales are to be found. The grass is usually timothy -- my husband calls it candy hay -- and my guys are loving it.

I also buy orchard hay from Chama. Those are 80-pound bales and cost $16, but the quality is exquisite. Would probably work well for your draught.

In Las Cruces you will probably be able to get triticale or dovey hay (a fescue) or grass hay for $7.50 to $10 a bale. There will also be hay coming up from Texas, often in round bales or giant squares but not cheap! Wise as always to stock up before the season ends.

A lot of the feed comes in from Colorado or Arizona. I like the RanchWay feeds from Denver, particularly their Santero, which at $20 a bag is the best feed I've ever used. I mix it half and half with RanchWay's Three Way Dry (no molasses), which is $13 a bag, and the horses are glossy and sleek and muscular.

There are feed mills in New Mexico, but I haven't yet found one that I like.

Delighted with my young farrier. Like most he travels miles to reach all his customers, but he's reliable, willing to listen to my thoughts, and reasonably priced. I pay $40 for a trim and $70 for front shoes where needed.

I also love my vet, who is a well known horsewoman, ranch born and raised, and possibly a genius.

You are an eventer and dressage rider? I think you will find things to keep you busy here! That's what I taught for years in Mississippi, as well as driving. I think you will enjoy the opportunities here.

Please feel free to contact me privately if you have more questions. Would love to hear more about your lovely Irish Draught.
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Old 07-22-2015, 07:18 PM
79 posts, read 168,667 times
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Ah, just noticed your "Silver City/Deming" header. That location is near the Gila Wilderness and some amazing riding! Our daughter has hiked (tracking wolves) and ridden that area extensively. I have friends there who know the area inside out and could answer specific questions you may have.
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Old 07-23-2015, 07:35 AM
25 posts, read 48,763 times
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Default Hay!

Thanks for encouraging my dream. I do have to get that teaching job, first. Details, details, right?

In the meantime, I'm thinking I should rent a flatbed and make a few runs with some roundbales. Might help pay for the move.

When and if it looks like I'll be headed west, even for a look 'round, I'll send you a message. I'm also grateful to willietwo for starting this thread.

If I've worked the html magic properly, you can see the big ol' ID right after our first ice storm late last fall. He was a little thin at the time as he had been teaching two or three kids to jump a day for about 10 years and had just started his semi-retirement with me, my son and our mare.

[IMG]freedomonice by nativesunista, on Flickr[/IMG]

Last edited by leolabeth; 07-23-2015 at 09:03 AM.. Reason: photo not showing
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