Why the West Coast is “BETTER” for horse-keeping!


Another shining example in the “Battle of the Blogs” series between myself and my friend Heather, from 40yearoldindressage.com. How did we come up with this idea? Pretty sure it was wine. Or gin. My recollection is foggy.


Heather is a life long East Coaster, I’m a bit of both. I spent my formative years on the East Coast, it’s where I was introduced to horses. And then decades later I landed on the West Coast, or the “Best Coast” as it’s fondly known. Most of this pertains to SoCal, but really anywhere that’s even remotely on the West Coast is still the Best Coast. That’s where I got my start in grooming. And my love of absolutely perfect weather. I’m back on the East Coast now, it was quite the adjustment, and the West Coast will always draw me back.


For Heather’s tribute to the East Coast, read this! And remember what the East Coast is famous for – humidity.


The West Coast is Best Coast for horses – and the Olympians prove it!


  • Let’s start with the obvious reasons that the West Coast is the best for horses, besides the sunshine and the ocean – famous riders.


  • It’s the absolute thickness of Olympians down there. You literally can’t get your vegan soy protein burrito with extra guac without bumping into an Olympian of some sort. Even when I’m back there for a weekend, I always see someone that has a medal or two – without going to a horse show!


  • This means world-class training. You can literally have your pick of amazing riders to train or clinic with. And, their coaches come over, so there are plenty of times to audit and learn and enjoy as your riding mentors are taught by their riding mentors.


  • Sure, Florida has WEF and stuff for a few weeks, but SoCal has top riding YEAR ROUND. And amazing shows ALL YEAR LONG. No need to get on a plane and head to Welly, just a quick trip.


two surfers in the shallow water at sunset

No grass pasture, but plenty of amazing ocean and sand and breathtaking sunsets. Also, surfing.


The West Coast is missing the thick, luxurious grass pastures. This is a good thing.


  • One thing is glaringly obvious about horse keeping on the West Coast. There are not rolling fields of lush and thick grass, which means less laminitis.


  • Horses can, and do, develop laminitis on the West Coast, but nothing like the horses back East. Of course, I have zero science to back this up, it’s just an observation. In over a decade in CA, I knew of three horses that developed laminitis. And that’s when I was working all over the place and in the thick of the horse community.


  • Back east, I’m shocked and saddened at the volume of horses that develop laminitis. My horse community is much smaller here, and so many horses have had laminitis at some point. Damn horse salad.


  • Gazing lovingly at palm trees are better than mowing pastures, anyway.


Have I mentioned the weather?


olympic rider petting his horse behind the saddle

Just an Olympian (three times, BTW) casually schooling on a lovely morning. No big deal.


One more glaring difference between the East and West Coasts are the roads.


  • There’s not a day that goes by here on the East Coast that I don’t say “WHERE THE FRACK ARE THE SHOULDERS?” Driving a rig on winding and hilly East Coast roads is not for the faint of heart. Heck, driving a car is sometimes scary on these narrow roads.


  • The West Coast is full of sensibly designed roads with easy to see center lines and wide lanes and plenty of shoulder room for your biggest of rigs.


  • Highways are usually lined by palm trees or other glorious West Coast vegetation. You can drive with the windows down regularly!


  • The West Coast is also missing one critical thing – POTHOLES. What the ever loving, car-eating, BS are all of these potholes doing? Potholes can explode your tires, knock your car way out of alignment, and generally cause you a huge and LOUD and jarring bonk if you hit one. I think I’ve seen some large enough to swallow a rig.


A quick reminder about the West Coast – Sunshine! Breezes! One glorious season!


  • And what about the BUGS? Well, the West Coast has the East Coast beaten by light years here. West Coast bugs are smaller, fewer, and not as bloodthirsty.


  • Shall we talk about ticks? And horseflies? And green head flies? All of these haunt the East Coast. Twelve years in Cali, only a few ticks ever. And usually from the dog that was scrounging around the brush.


  • Stable flies, yes they are on the West Coast, but there are no flies like the giant black bomber horse flies that will relentlessly attack your horse on the East Coast. And, since the West Coast has no swampy conditions, no horrible greenhead flies. These bloodsuckers HURT.


horse show with mountains and palm trees

Horse showing in the winter. Palm trees, mountains, sunshine.


How else is the Best West Coast better for horses?


  • It’s easier to take your horse swimming in the ocean! All year long!


  • Avocados as far as the eye can see! Ok, not really about horses, but I’m thinking about burritos again.


  • No need to use wickedly heavy winter blankets!

But really, it doesn’t matter where you live, as long as you and your horse are happy, healthy, and comfortable. Which can happen on either coast. It’s just easier and warmer and with pretty palm trees in the background on the West Coast.


More Battle of the Blogs to come! In the meantime, please do gingerly stalk and kindly creep all over 40yearoldindressage.com. Despite thinking that the East Coast is better, Heather is a truly dedicated horsewoman who kicks ass at lots of things, including writing some witty and oh so relatable blogs.


For our first BATTLE ROYAL on horse keeping at home vs. boarding, read this.