Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Great Barn Hunt

So far, the great barn hunt has been anything but...  and I'm not very happy about it.

M went out to look at the "indoor arena" barn on Friday after work.  She's very picky, so I took her review with a grain of salt, but she gave it two thumbs down.  I decided I needed to go check it out for myself so I could make my own informed decision. 

It's an older place but it's pretty well maintained.  The stalls are a bit small, and there are a lot of horses in the pastures.  They have quite a few pastures and the horses are rotated, but in the pasture board pasture, there were at least 7 horses of mixed ages and genders, and the pasture was not very large.  Most of it was a pond.  There wasn't any grass to speak of and there were piles of manure everywhere.  It just felt crowded...  they had a large number of pens in the pasture, though, for feeding, so almost all the horses had their own pen to eat in so they can eat without being disturbed. 

The outdoor "arena" was really just a pasture converted to an arena, so it was small and covered in grass.  The indoor arena was pretty small also and VERY dusty.  I don't think more than 2 horses could be in there at once.  The round pen was nice, though.  Their hay is lovely but they feed a low quality grain, although all the horses looked really well fed.  The weirdest part, though, was that they don't allow blanketing in the pastures at all.  No rain sheet, no fly sheets, no blankets EVER.  Sleet and -32 degree weather?  Sorry...  should have purchased stall board so your horse can stay in and have a blanket.  But if you're going to blanket in the stall, you'll probably want to blanket outside.  So that was odd.

I actually saw an old horsey friend of mine, so she boards her horse there and loves it.  Her mare is on stall board and she said when she first brought her there, it took a while for her to find her place in the herd and she kept getting giant scrapes all down her back...

...  ?  ...

So, I think there are too many horses in the pastures.  I haven't totally ruled it out as a last resort because it could work, but I would prefer not to move there.  It was a definite no for M, mostly because of the blanket restrictions.

My friend gave me another place to check out that she said was really nice, so I called them up and they let me come right over.  When I pulled in the driveway I wished I hadn't scheduled a visit because I wanted to pull right back out of the driveway.  I humored the man, though, and he was really nice, but the facility wasn't near what I needed for the price he was asking.

I was 0/2...  but I was holding out hope for the place M and I were going to visit together.  It did  not disappoint...  lovely fences, lovely pastures, great stalls, nice arena, private tack lockers, nice, knowledgeable people, but they wanted $25 for trailer parking (WHY??!!).  It was a bit on the high side for pasture board, but M was going to talk to her hubby and I wanted to ponder the nearly $200 increase I would have to absorb before agreeing to move.  I think deep down we knew we were going to move, we just hadn't said so out loud.

Late last night, though, I got an email from the owner saying that she had told me incorrectly and they actually didn't have room for any more pasture board geldings...  AJ could come on stall board if I wanted, but their gelding pasture was full.  So I called M and she said if I wasn't moving, she wasn't moving either.  So there went that barn too.

I don't have any more prospects...  M doesn't have any more prospects either, so we'll have to stay put for now and keep our eyes and ears open for a new situation. 

In the meantime, I've decided to bite the bullet and put both of my horses on co-op stall board.  That way AJ can come in at night when it's cold, eat his dinner as slow as he wants to, and have a giant pile of hay to munch on during the night.  I wouldn't be so desperate to move if he wasn't underweight and actually being fed, so by doing this I know he'll be getting the proper amount of food and hopefully start putting weight back on.  In the meantime, we keep searching.

My vet said stall board was ok for Lilly as long as she gets out for most of the day to stretch her legs.  I'll probably start the co-op on Thursday and hope AJ does ok in a stall.  I'll put him next to Lilly, and Baby will move across the aisle so our little group can be together.

I don't know what else to do...


  1. Sounds like that back-up plan may work out pretty well for now.

  2. I'm sorry, the boarding situation in your area sounds miserable:( I have found that most places charge $20 for trailer parking, I wonder why as well? Thankfully my place doesn't but I think they ar ethe only one.
    The big thing I notice beginning to trend is charging $425 for full care which only covers grass hay, daily tunrout, and stall cleaning. Then they nickel and dime for every extra little thing. You want grain and supplements, you provide it and put each meal in a baggie, alfalfa extra, fly mask on and off, blanket on and off, all extra, so by the time you add it all up you are over $600 a horse.
    I am perpelxed about that one place and their reasoning for no blankets outside? That's strange!
    Hopefully the co-op will work for the two of you. Good luck!

  3. Thanks Kate... I sure hope so. Hopefully AJ does ok in the stall. His vision tends to make him uncomfortable in certain situations, so I hope he does ok.

    Thanks, horsemom! If only we could be so lucky as to have our own place. :)

    My BO claims that the trailer parking is justified because he pays taxes on the property... to me, a horse trailer goes with the horse. I don't get charged extra for storing my saddles and tack, so I don't really see why the trailer parking should require extra. If I kept it plugged in or something sure, but it just sits there. Especially since sometimes they don't give me enough space for all my horsey things and I end up needing my trailer for extra storage. (Maybe I just have too much stuff...) :)

    You're right, though... they like to nickel and dime. I even use SmartPak to make it super easy. Some places only allow for one 'free' supplement. If you're already doing one, what's one more? LOL

    I think the owner of that barn told my friend that they had some kind of freak accident in the pasture and someone's horse got tangled up in its blanket... then the other horse beat him up. Something like that... so now they just don't allow them at all unless they're in the stall.

  4. Yeah, I think the no-blankets-in-pasture thing is garbage too. The going rate for trailer parking out here is $35 a month, and it rubbed me the wrong way too when we boarded.

    I think your decisions are sound. Maybe something better will come along.

  5. oh my GOSH, what a miserable time you have been having with the boarding situation! I really hope something comes up soon. We need to pray your current place sells to a great person and get rid of that other guy!!

  6. Wow, I can't believe some of those barns! The blanket thing is weird. That just doesn't make sense at all.
    Barns around here charge for trailer parking too. I don't know how much they charge, but it seems that most places do, I don't understand why either.
    I hope you can find a place soon, and looks like you have something figured out for now.

  7. I had no idea so many places charge for trailer parking. I don't mind paying $10, but anything over $20 is enough to make me look for another barn.

    And NO ONE wants to move to NC to buy a really nice boarding barn? :)

  8. Lilly is never going to get hurt again, so you will never need this, but I read a review on a soaker hose that was interesting and I thought I'd pass it along.

  9. OOOH! I was thinking it might be pretty expensive, but that is definitely an affordable solution to cold hosing. I will NEVER have an opportunity to use it, but will keep in in mind for my friends. :)

    (Thanks, Terry!!)