Monday, June 17, 2013


Gotta get a little Bowie in here ;)

Generally speaking, I'm a person that looks forward to change. I like new adventures, and new beginnings & such, and as change is intrinsically tied to newness, I (generally speaking) really enjoy change. I really enjoyed researching new barns, going on barn tours, and having all the fun (and not so fun) experiences that go with that. But when the time came to talk to my current BO, tell her that I'd found a place to move Cadence to, and that we would be leaving... I found myself no longer liking these changes so much. To be blunt, after getting off the phone with my BO I found myself in tears. I'm not a teary person, so to break down about something so trivial (compared to the situations that would normally reduce me to tears) seemed a bit dramatic. But holding it together through that phone call was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  I know that our 'goodbye' isn't a 'goodbye forever'.  I'm leaving my barn on great terms with everyone, as most sane people won't begrudge you when you move your horse for school/work, and I plan on trailering Cadence back to (my current) barn for some long-lining lessons over the summer, so its not like I'll never see these people again either. Still, it's the end of an important chapter of my life and its end coincides with the close of a number of other major chapters in my life. Though I'm not nearly as cut up over them as I am about moving barns ;)

Anywho, for anyone curious about where we're moving:
After touring several more barns (either in person or via my friend), none of which were up to snuff, I decided to cut my losses where arena size is concerned and move to Barn 1 from my Barn Tour Post. I like the quality of care, love the facility (aside from the indoor, which is only slightly larger than a 20x40 dressage ring), and feel that I can actually trust these people with my baby.  The limitations the indoor provides probably means that this probably won't be a long term farm solution for us, as eventually the small indoor is going to start impeding our training... but its sufficient for lengthens, lateral work, and grids, so we'll make do for now. Overall I'm quite happy with the decision, and I think it'll work out nicely. But I think it'll take a while to 'get over' having to move from my current barn.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Quick Mid-Exam Update

I'm currently buried under a pile of end-of year/exam work, not to mention a pile of kleenex & cough medicine.... nothing beats getting sick during exam time! Anyway, I've got a bunch of little updates to post but no time to write them in, so you probably won't hear anything from me for the next week and a half or so. In the mean time, I leave you with this:
What a cute cuddly little pony :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Barn Tours

So those who read this blog regularly will remember that back in March, we ran into some issues with barns when my coach and my barn owner had a falling out that resulted in my coach having to move her horse, and basically being told that after a month's time, she wasn't allowed to coach at the farm any more.  That whole situation was absolutely awful, and I found it difficult to be caught in between two people that you have a lot of respect for, and wondering who is right and who's wrong in this situation. Anyway, rather than move Cadence immediately, I chose to stay at my current farm for the time being and trailer out for lessons.  This situation has (to put it bluntly) sucked, but it seemed to be the best choice.  The reason being that in September, Cadence would have to move anyway, as I have to move for school.  The thing is, the school I'm studying at is just over an hour away from where I currently live, so what I decided to do was leave Cadence where she is for now, and come July/August, I'll move her to the barn that she'll be living in when I start school in the fall, and commute to the barn for the summer. That said, that plan only really works if the barn I move her to is on the near-side of the city we're moving to versus the far side, as I can't really afford to spend 3.5 hours a day driving to and from the barn. Thankfully my top barn picks have all been around 1h from where I currently live. So while 'commuting' to the barn isn't exactly ideal, this way Cadence only has to move once.
Anywho, the real point of this post is to give a brief write-up on my top barn picks, so here goes:

The barn and arena as viewed from one of the individual turnout paddocks.
Barn 1- 
Board: Moderate ($15 less than our current barn)
Distance: 14 minutes
Facility: Indoor, outdoor, lots of hacking via neighbor's hay field & forests, option of oak board or electric fencing
Pros: I went to visit this barn today, and I absolutely loved it.  The owners, a husband and wife duo, seemed exceedingly particular about their horse's care, but not in that 'over the top coddle them to death' type way.  They do turnout in pairs or groups of 3 (or individually upon request), have more paddocks than herds so they can rotate them, have 4 different types of feed (plus beetpulp) that they customize the rations of for each horse, the facility is fully fenced, they get their hay from the neighbor's hay field (after the hay's all tested, that is) which their property backs on to, and which we're allowed to hack through, the stalls are all light, bright, airy, and well ventilated, and they all come equipped with bowl-type automatic waterers (versus the ones the horses have to push to get water). The owners do everything themselves, aside from mucking out, so they are the ones interacting with the horses on a daily basis. I love the fact that I know exactly who is feeding, turning out, and monitoring my horse, rather than having "staff" caring for her.
Cons: This facility does have one flaw- the indoor is tiny.  To be honest, I think I'd move in today if it weren't for the size of the indoor.  I don't mind a small arena, if it means quality care. I put my horse's needs above mine, in that respect. But there's small, and then there's too small... and its hard to tell what too small is until you've ridden in it. So I'm a bit stuck with that one. The arena has to be large enough that its functional for us to train in, and to be honest I'm not sure it is. My only other issue is that their barn hours are 11am to 9pm. The 9pm doesn't bother me, but I like to ride in the morning and used to ride every morning before school, so the 11am part is a bit of a nuisance. Obviously this doesn't apply for shows, but I'd have to see if they'd be comfortable with me having one set day a week where I came in earlier, if my schedule necessitated it.

Interior of the 'small' barn where we'd be boarding
Barn 2-
Board: expencive
Distance: 17 minutes
Facility: Massive dust free indoor, large outdoor, groomed track, miles of hacking on property
Pros: This barn has a gorgeous facility. Massive dust free indoor with ridiculously nice footing- the type with the felt strips- huge outdoor, a track (!!!) that's groomed regularly, and miles of groomed trails right on the property. The small barn (where we'd be boarding) looks lovely and airy, with large well kept stalls. Their feed program is good, and the hay is good quality. The property is massive, so they should have ample turnout, but I haven't been able to ask about their specific turnout program yet. It also has the advantage of being the same barn my coach has one of her horses at, which is handy.
Cons: The board is expensive.  Plus, they charge extra on top of that for booting and blanketing, and to be honest, I'm not 100% sure the service is quite worth the cash... it's almost $100/month more than where I currently board when you factor in boots and blankets, and aside from the dust free indoor, I'm not sure I'm really getting much of an upgrade.  The owner of the horse my coach has at this place (who boards in the ultra expensive main barn) also expressed some concerns with staffing and care, which in my opinion should NOT be happening when she's shelling out $800 a month for board. If you're billing your facility as a 'premium' facility, and charging the cash for it, you should be providing 'premium' care. However, the facility is still new, so the issue could be chalked up to them just ironing out the kinks, and I haven't had the chance to go on an official tour and chat with the stable manager yet & ask her questions myself, so I'm reserving judgement for the time being.  All the horses looked well cared for and everything, so I don't think there are any major concerns... I just get nervous when there are multiple people looking after my horse.

This picture isn't great, but that's the indoor arena of barn 3
Barn 3-
Board: moderate
Distance: 16 minutes
Facility: large indoor, outdoor, hacking on property, oak board fencing
Pros: I haven't had the chance to tour this facility yet, and I also don't know if they allow outside coaches, but they're a H/J barn with a good reputation that's nice and close and apparently has a stall open so I figured it was worth a shot.  They (from what I understand) have lovely large paddocks, but I don't think any are fenced with electric, a large indoor, a large outdoor, and hacking on property.  I haven't been able to find any pictures of the interior of the barn (aside from a few newborn foal pics that show the bottom 3 feet of a stall...) so I can't say much about it, but overall it looks nice and has a decent reputation.
Cons: they have a lesson program. Which means having to work around lesson times. D: Although this definitely wouldn't be the end of the world, it isn't exactly ideal either, but other than that I can't really state the pros and cons until I've seen the place.