North vs. South

Where there are horses, there are dogs! Kami's trio of Jacks and my forgiving Lab, Samson.

When I was looking at colleges, the first thing that came to mind was leaving the snow. For four years, I could live anywhere and become the person I wanted to be. I chose Guilford College in Greensboro, NC over Wheaton College in chilly MA. I had no clue what I wanted to major in, nor my future occupation. Immediate goal: warmth. Long-term goal: afford horses.

10 years later, I returned to North Carolina for a second time. Marketing Coordinator by day, insatiably happy, sun-loving equestrian by late afternoon and evening.

I find both regions are wonderful areas of our country and have their own benefits, particularly during the winter months:

The Northern Tundra:

  1.  You can use your porch for additional freezer space
  2. Your blood never fully thaws, so it is hard to tell the difference between 0 and -22 degrees (that is without wind chill, of course)
  3. You get your outdoor work done FAST! Be it fear of losing an appendage to frost bite, or yearning to feel your toes again, you do not dilly-dally
  4. A roaring wood-stove, cup of tea, and blustering snow storm make for the perfect evening. It also makes for the perfect Currier & Ives painting, but we New Englanders choose to live that life of romance first-hand
  5. Feel like a little nip? Shove a bottle of wine in the snow bank – it will chill in minutes
  6. Sweaters are cozy

Amazing milkshakes: Peanut Butter Chocolate and Heath Toffee Crunch

Southern Living:

  1. There is grass. Even in the dead of winter, you can find green vegetation
  2. It is never pitch black at 4:30pm
  3. Sweaters are cozy. A duplicate, I know, but unless it’s 65+ degrees, I am chilly.
  4. I have yet to find better Mexican food anywhere outside of North Carolina. Visions of chicken enchiladas wrapped in cheese and that delicious glow-in-the-dark sauce fill my head.
  5. Cook Out. ‘Nough said.
  6. You can ride through the winter – no worries of “Hmmm. Is 12 degrees with a wind-chill of -15 too cold for Baby G?”
  7. People smile more down south. Whether it is genuine or not, who’s to say. But it sets a happy mood.
  8. Jacket by morning, polo by afternoon. Stippin’ down baby because you get that hot!
  9. Pony-lovers galore! There are barns everywhere. If a home does not have a barn, word on the street is they are building one in the spring.

I will miss the Twin Ridge Farm crew. Fitty boarded at this dressage barn for one month each of the past two years to give us a head start on the event season. I met many wonderful people and made some great friends. They are a classy bunch: they never once laughed at me for doing jump exercises simulated with ground poles, or trot sets in gallop position – all in the indoor.

Perhaps the most excited part of my two months away is my proximity to my horses. Last year, I was a short 5 miles from our rental stalls, sharing a home with friends. This year, the boys will reside just steps from our rental cottage. I am looking forward to the short commute between home, the barn, and the office. For the first time since high school, I will start and end each day with a view of my handsome boys.

Katie Murphy

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