The big move is 5 weeks away. Up until very recently I've been nothing but excited. Now I am NERVOUS! It should be an easier move than from Long Island to Louisville since it's less than half as far. Even so, moving myself, my pets and my horse to another state is stressful. I've had Jay at less than ideal barns the entire time we've lived in Lville. Currently, even though our riding facilities are less than ideal and it's a bit far from my aptartment to be doing partial self care, at least I know he's healthy and happy. That's what's important.
Before the Blue Barn, we were at the barn from hell. Didn't realize it was bad when I first saw it and then decided to bring Jay there. That's what scares me... but the barn in Bham has so many things that that one didn't... it's going to be fine. B had a good point tonight at the barn, I picture it being a certain way, it won't likely be exactly as I picture it, but that doesn't mean it will be bad, in fact it can be better!
So.. the barn. My mom and I had narrowed down the apartment search to 2 or 3 options. We had seen one barn the day before... they apologized for the tiny bit of shavings outside a stall in the aisle... I'm surprised my mother held it together until we got into the car. Not my style. I like to groom my own horse thank you very much.
We had an appointment first thing on Saturday morning. The barn is actually located in a gated community/country club. It is not affiliated with them... just located on the property. Got there as they were finishing morning turnout. The nice young man cleaning stalls got the BM as he finished turning a horse out. BM had a folder of paperwork ready for me. In it is a boarding contract, contacts sheet, list of required vaccines, and the list of rules. He showed us around, answering our questions. Seems very down to earth and knowledgable. The horses all looked good and the few that were still inside were friendly.
The barn is a good size. 35 stalls and there were about 5 open when we were there. There is an indoor that has a little covered walkway from the barn, a dressage ring and a jumping ring. The indoor has sand/rubber footing and the jumping ring has sand. The indoor has mirrors. The stalls are matted (although the contract states boarder buys them, not a problem since I know ahead of time) and bedded with shavings. Crept in some and they were quite satisfactory. Horses are out all day or all night depending on the season. They are mostly small groups.. the largest is the big gelding field which had, I believe, 7 or so horses... in a nice big field. The fencing is all that white PVC looking stuff. Fields are nice sizes and grass. Very well maintained. I don't remember if there were run-ins in all the fields, or just the pasture board field. The horses are also turned out with no halters, which I like. Boots and blankets on/off is included.
It was fairly early on a Saturday when we were there and no boarders were there yet. I believe there are boarders from a variety of disciplines. There are definitely other dressage riders there, with a few trainers that already come in to teach/train. I can also bring whoever I want as long as they are insured. There are also a number of farriers who come in. Jay gets shoes a week before he leaves, so there should be plenty of time for researching that. There are also some trails we can ride on throughout the comminity. Just can't ride on the golf course! I feel like I remember the property having a lot of nice shady trees.
The tack room is not huge and there are rules about space. Every boarder gets 2 saddle racks, 2 bridle racks and space for one trunk. Just about what I have going right now, so that's perfect. When I looked in the tack room, it was neat but definitely "lived in" and seemed like everyone was abiding by the rule. There is no cross tie-ing in the aisle way. There are 2 or 3 grooming stalls and 2 wash stalls. The wash stalls have hot and cold water, as well as heat lamps.
The barn was obviously well maintained, but not in that "sorry there are shavings in a horse barn" way. Seems just right. The stalls all have sliding doors, with blanket bars on the front. Also had info sheets on the horse/notes regarding blankets on the stalls. The few horses who were still in had their sliders open with stall guards up. I like that option.
They feed timothy hay, amount depending on the time of year (how much grass). I talked about the feed options already, but one thing that stood out, was when the BM mentioned he carried one feed (forget what) "because a few people were asking for it". I like that. They also feed electrolytes to everyone in the warmer months, which is nice, I can take that out of his SmartPak. Did I mention the feed room was nice and organized? And they even have a barn buddies shipping code for SmartPak!
In the information folder that I got, there are specific requirements in terms of worming, vaccines, protocols when new horses come in. It is also specifically outlined about care of any injuries which may (will?) occur. Initial wound care is free, after that it's a reasonable charge if help is needed. Any medication prescribed by a vet (that would have to be specially given ie not in feed), is given for free. I got a really good feeling from all the information I was given. The seem on top of things and reasonable. I like that it's not a dressage only barn, and I like that there are trails that we can play on without the stress we have now about NEEDING to do it to get to an arena.
And last but definitely not least, I can bring my pup! She has to stay on a leash, so we have been working on behaving while tied and I'll get her a harness to tie her, which I think will be comfier for her. She's so good and just lies there and watches when I ride in the paddock.
Now I remember why I picked it... and I'm excited again!!
Training the Not-Hot Horse: Part the Second
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