Friday, July 29, 2011

Barn Shopping

I have been looking for a new barn for a couple of weeks now. First I made a list of all the barns I could find, and then the dear husband and I spent a weekend doing drive-by shopping. If the place looked like it might be a possibility I made a note of it. If not, I crossed it off the list. This past Sunday we actually visited two barns. One has possibilities, and one is completely out of the question. I realize that I have a long list of wants and that I am probably going to have to compromise. I just haven't figured out yet what I can live without and what I cannot.

There was a time when two available stalls would have been enough for me. Not anymore. I've had the horses for a few years now, and I've learned a lot in that time about what horses need to be healthy and happy. First and foremost they need a safe and secure facility with good feed and clean water. Secondly, they need caretakers who know about horses. No amateurs need apply when it comes to being a good place for my horses. The horses being healthy, safe, and well-cared for is the most important thing.

Of course I want it to be affordable. I am getting dangerously close to maxed out with what I can afford to pay. It definitely limits my choices. If I could afford to pay more I could get the second item on my wish list which is proximity. If I had only one horse I could have proximity. I have two horses. Looks like I'm going to be driving a ways to and from whatever barn I choose. I can live with that. CEC wasn't exactly in my backyard.

I want my horses to have turn-out. When I first bought them I was in a barn where there was no turn-out. They spent everyday, all day long, in their stalls except for the hour or two they were in work. I didn't know any better. When we moved to CEC the whole concept of turn-out really made me nervous. I was terrified they would get hurt...and sometimes they did...but they were happy and I could tell they were happy. I finally came to the realization that they were horses and they deserved to live like horses if I could manage it. So, turn-out is a big deal for me.

I want them to have a roomy stall with good bedding. I want a decent sized arena with good footing. I don't like dark and gloomy so good lighting is essential and there must be good air circulation. I want a safe place to store my tack. I want someone to put on and take off blankets when I can't. I want mud control, fly control, good drainage, and the manure pile to disappear on a regular basis. Part of any boarding experience is the social aspect. I like having barn friends to ride with. I like young people and I like having a few people closer to my own age too. Having trails to ride would be an added plus, and last but not least I want to be able to continue working with my trainer.

So...was I able to find all this or did I have to make some compromises. What do you think?


  1. gosh I really feel for you in your mission to find a barn that comes close to your requirements. I am totally in support for good turn out. Seeing your horses enjoying a pick of grass and the sun on their backs is wonderful.At the mment I'm lucky as I have a bit of land here at home ....but with subdivision takingplace around I may lose one paddock. I had to sell my beloved Diego as trying to keep four horses was just too much. Doesn't life seem unfair at times. I hope you find a good barn soon ....sending positive vibes from NZ

  2. Finding a barn is so difficult! Places that offer no turnout, or alternatively pasture board with zero care seem to be the norm. We did similar to you when we went searching. I listed all the barns in the area, then we went driving. Quite a few got instantly crossed off the list! Then we did the calling and the visiting. But I think I finally found the secret to finding a good barn. Look at how the owner treats their horses. If they treat their horses the way you want yours treated, you're probably golden. Otherwise, even if for instance they offer daily turnout, but they never turn their own horses out, it might be an indicator that they think turnout is silly, and might result in your horse's turnout being low priority.

    I hope you found what you were looking for!

  3. I have my horses, a mile from home, good turn out all year round. Plenty of grass, and good caretakers. but there is a problem, and thats this.

    I see them everyday, but its not enough. I would love them to be beside the house, and I know that will never be, so I do know what its like looking for good stables etc.Good hunting and good luck!

  4. Are you currently at Canby Equestrian Center? I live in Canby and could give you the name of some barns. I don't board mine, but these places might be worth a look.

  5. Yes, I am at Canby Equestrian Center. I'll take any recommendations I can get. There are quite a few of us looking.