I had been hoping to return Z to FR when her training completed. But since that became apparent in May that it was not to be, I needed to look for another establishment. With Big Guy comfortably retired and pony preparing to leave for Ohio, I could spend more money on finding a situation for Z that was closer to me.
Since I’ve been posting a lot about barns, I thought I’d give you some details of what I’ve found. Before I do so though, readers need to understand that I live in one of the cheapest states to own horses and land. Land is plentiful and affordable. If you randomably picked 10 people off the street, at least a third would own some sort of acreage. More then half would know someone who owns a horse or cattle. This is why boarding here doesn’t cost the same as it does in Florida or Virginia.
Cheap Cost of Living is the biggest reason I’ve been reluctant for husband to job hunt too far away. We get a lot of “bang for our buck” living here.
Stable A: I had picked up the business card from two separate places (Tractor Supply and a feed store) and knew the approximate location would be about 30 minutes away one way. It would be close to BG’s retirement home and down the road from another place I had boarded a long time ago when I only had Dear One.
Pluses: had access to acres of riding trails from the back of the pasture. Horses were all at a healthy weight.
Minuses: really run down. There was a gap in the stall walls of about a foot from the floor (a horse could easily become cast). Piles of junk everywhere. Small pasture was not being managed (a yellow weed we have here takes over when pastures are overgrazed and not mowed properly so it’s easy to tell bad pasture). Horses only given shelter during stormy weather and then in the small indoor as a group. Owner struck me as off. The two boarders admitted there was a clicque and that they were trying to run out this lady who we will call Sue.
$400 a month included hay and feed. This price was completley out of line with what was being offered in the area. Later, when Sue (by coincidence) contacted me via my CL ad looking for board I discovered she was paying $275!!! WTF???
Stable B: When Sue contacted me via my CL listing she told me about this stable. Though I got the feeling that Sue was indeed a fruitcake of the first order, the place sounded interesting.
Pluses: Indoor arena. Run by a vet. I liked the owner. 14 miles from my house.
Minuses: Small grazing areas with no shelter. Since the vet owned World Class Morgans, stalls was part of the daily rotation (meaning horses lived 1/2 of their day in a stall). Trainer was someone I knew faintly – and it might have caused a situation if I had Molly come to help me train Z vs. using the barn trainer – possibly hurt feelings etc…
$275 pasture board didn’t seem like a reality to me since there was no shelter. The Dr. told me she would only charge me for stall use by the day during bad weather but I felt I would need to go with the $400 a month full-care board with stall to actually insure that Z was getting the care she needed.
Overall, would have been my choice but at this time I didn’t think I could afford the $400 PLUS the extra money I wanted to spend on Z’s training over the next 90 days. It’s a place I will keep in mind that would probably suit us better when Z is further along in her training.
Stable C, D, E: Never returned my phone calls or emails. Again, let’s treat our business as a business folks! While they may not have had openings now, I can tell you that within 90 days someone will leave. Wouldn’t it be great to have some backup boarders you could call then?
Stable F and G: I figured these places, high priced show barns, would be too expensive and checking their websites they were. No reason to pursue or call further. I can’t financially strap my family for my hobby by paying for such a facility, no matter how nice.
Stable H: For convenience sake, we’ll refer to this barn in the future as WCR, as this is where Z will come too as of July 1st.
Pluses: 16 miles from the house, full-care with hay and feed provided. 2 horses are housed in their own pasturette that is maintained. Free access to stall throughout the day. Round pen. All the other horses are owned by absentee owners so most likely I will be the only rider and visitor most days. Liked the owner who is older and to the point.
Minuses: no arena. This is a real problem and probably why I won’t stay more then 6 months but for now I can ride in the pasture and the roundpen which will be okay considering Z’s level of training.
$275 is higher then what I was paying at FR, but when we figured up me buying my own hay and feed, the boards real cost was $275 per month so this should equal out over the long run. Being less then half the distance then FR was from my house, I will also have a substantial savings in gas.