Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Barn (#Two)

JenJ, in the comments on my last post, wondered if I would stay at the place we are at, with the implication being maybe we would like it enough to stay. There are a couple of reasons that won't happen, part of which is that I have already given my notice to move out the end of November. We offered the BO the option of not letting us move in since we were also giving notice that we were moving out the end of November.

The second reason has to do with the new barn.

Reasons for moving: From Ashke's viewpoint . . . .

1. Stalls with a run

This is a picture of the stalls in the barn (taken from the ranch FB page) The front wall and door are low enough the horses can hang their heads over and interact with anyone walking by. The far wall with the siding has been taken out and more stalls have been added along that wall, as well as a couple of tack rooms and a feed room. The walls between the stalls is high enough the horses can't hurt each other, but low enough they can touch noses. They can also hang their heads out the front of their stalls and interact with one another. The runs are the same size as the runs at SQA, but better maintained. The footing is decent in the indoor, which is bigger and more spacious than the indoor at SQA, without the claustrophobic feeling the indoor at SQA always gave me. Also, your horse is never alone when you are riding, because the fronts of the stalls look onto the indoor arena, which may lead to more distraction but less anxiety in general, I believe.

This is the second half of the barn with the runs off the back.

2. The barn he is in now will not allow shavings in the stall unless I come out daily and muck out his run. Although his run is huge, the stall is smaller and without the shavings I'm not sure where he will sleep. Ashke always, always lays down to sleep (resting his stifles, IMO) and I am worried about hock sores or him just not being comfortable and happy. Plus, ever since he was housed on a dry lot and developed a horrible case of urine scald on his hind legs, he has been very particular about peeing. He will hunt for a place to pee with grass or ground cover when we are on trail, and always peed in his stall at both SQA and TMR. When I checked on him last night he had pulled some of his hay out of the bin and piled it on the floor, then peed on it, so I'm pretty sure I know his opinion of that.

The upcoming barn does not provide shavings (we have to do that) but they clean the stalls twice a day and will bed the stall with shavings I provide to the depth and coverage we request. It will add probably $50 or $60 dollars to the monthly board, but it is something that really provides Ashke will comfort, kind of like clean socks or underwear, IMO. This will relieve a source of great anxiety for me. And I know his stall will be free of urine which means no more horse with dried urine running off him.

3. Turnout for 2 hours a day, seven days a week

This is huge for us. Not only will Ashke be in turnout again, but the BO has a track turn out situation.

This is a track turn out system.

The horses are turned out in groups. There is a mare group and a gelding group (possibly two gelding groups) where the horses are turned out together. The track turnout at the new barn has three feeding stations and a water hole, which allows the horses to migrate around the circle, playing, grooming, and grazing together. The grazing stations are huge bins filled with grass hay that is always available. The social aspect of this turnout makes me happy dance. He can play and groom and then settle down and share a meal with other geldings. I know him well enough to know that he will get along with everyone and I am hopeful he will find a special friend to bond with. This is the best I can hope for, since given his medical supplement needs I can't just throw him out into a huge field and let him manage himself. 

Stuff I like in addition to the above:

1. The Indoor Arena access

I can ride at any time. There is no closing time to the barn. The BO said I was welcome to ride as late as I wanted, provided I turned out the lights when I left. The indoor is big, well lit and comfortable to consider riding in and I am hopeful that Ashke will settle and be willing to work there without the panic and flailing we experienced in the indoor at SQA.

2. I can have my WE obstacles at the barn

This was a huge NO at the barn we are at now. The BO would not even consider allowing me to store and access and use any of my obstacles. (And thank you Kitty for allowing me to store them at your place - Babe thanks you!!) I can have Babe, my gate, the bridge and the corridor, plus use their barrels and poles for WE practice. That is the only way I will make it through the winter riding inside is if I can set up obstacles for us to practice around. I'm really hoping that we can improve our dressage riding and figure out how to do the obstacles and between obstacles at a canter this year.

3. The property is fenced 

The entire property is fenced and access is controlled through a remote controlled gate with a key code. Currently, the property is eight acres, but the BO is planning on purchasing an additional 80 acres by April. They plan to expand the outdoor arena, add some outdoor shelters with runs (where K and Eddy will probably move if the price structure is what the BO believes it will be) and expand the turnout tracks. The fact that they are expanding means that the barn will offer more amenities as we go forward.

4. Off Property Riding

The off property riding is about the same, although there is a galloping track right behind this barn, plus they have a huge field with small jumps set up in it that we can play around in as well. Their outdoor is decent sized and they allow outside trainers to work with students at the barn.

5. Fed Three times a day

The horses are fed a selection of hay in slow feeder bags in the morning and evening, with a mash or grain feed at noon. Plus they are in turnout with grass hay available at all times for two hours a day. I can have up to six flakes of hay fed a day, plus they do my bucket feed at noon. The barn I am at currently will only feed three flakes of hay a day. Period. I am already considering buying cubes of alfalfa/timothy hay and throwing the bag in the bottom of his feed bin so he has that as an option for supplementing his forage. I don't want to add more grain or pelleted feed, since what I think he needs is the forage to keep his gut moving, and the last time he was on less than five or six flakes a day we were dealing with chronic colic like symptoms and an unhappy horse.

6. Friends to ride with

I already know some of the boarders at this barn. They were at Christensen's when I was there. It will be nice to see friendly faces and perhaps have company to ride with when I am out.

Overall, I am really excited to be at the next barn on our list and I hope that in the next six months or so, K and Eddy will be out there too. It would be awesome to be able to ride inside with K and Eddy, plus very convenient to trailer out together. And Ashke would have his buddy there. We didn't really know each other when we were at TMR and had just started riding together when I moved Ashke. So, we will see.


  1. That barn sounds great. No wonder you are willing to move again in a month. I love the idea of a track system to keep the horse moving and you may find that his feet respond really well to that environment. He may lose some of his booting issues with the more mobility he has at the new barn.

    One thing to be cautious of. I boarded once at a place that had open stalls with the indoor. A lot of horses had coughing and breathing issues due to al the dust they breathed in while horses were at work. Granted, this place did not have great ventilation and didn't water the indoor enough to keep dust down. Just something to keep in the back of your mind as he settles in.

    Congrats on getting a spot in such a nice barn.

    1. Thanks. I'm really excited.

      This indoor will have better ventilation than the one I just moved into. And they water it, weather permitting. The foot seems good and the day I was there a woman was riding at a canter and there was no dust. So, keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. Sounds like a pretty nice place! I'm excited for you

  3. Oh WOW, that second place looks AMAZING! Are you sure you can't move in too? ;)

    We have a track system at our house on a very small scale, and it works GREAT. Horses love it, get lots of movement which is awesome for their feet, and it saves our pastures.

    RE no shavings at barn you're at for a month, I don't know how often you can get out, but maybe you can throw some in for him? That sucks - my guys are the same way, they will hunt for a spot to pee so it doesn't splash. Even if you put the shavings OUTSIDE for him to pee. Oh, and RE the hay, only 3 flakes per day? My guys would starve on that. Can you buy your own hay and supplement, or put it in a small mesh net so that it lasts longer?

    1. I can put shavings out, but then I am required to clean and maintain on a daily basis, which sounds like self-care when I am paying for full-care. And the hay thing is an issue I am addressing. I'm going to supplement with my own - either hay in a net or cubes, whichever is better quality, since I will be buying a bale or two at a time.

  4. The December barn is absolutely stunning! I'm so excited for you!

    In terms of forage maintaining/improving a horse's digestion, bagged forage is better than cubes, and baled hay is better (and cheaper! So much cheaper!) than bagged forage. Granted, cubes are better than overfeeding grain, but do stay away from the Standlee brand: they have SO much unnecessary iron! If your only option is cubes, I recommend Ontario Dehy's Timothy Balanced hay cubes. Most feed stores that carry Triple Crown tend to carry the Timothy Balanced cubes because Triple Crown now owns Ontario Dehy. These cubes are low starch, small in size (so they soak faster and are easier to chew) and are nutritionally balanced to themselves, so they already contain any minerals and nutrients that they might have been lacking otherwise. I have fed them to easy keepers that I didn't want eating grain and they did wonderfully on them! You can feed as much as you want safely without worrying about the horse becoming hyperactive. Totally recommend if cubes are your best option! :)

    1. Hi Saiph,this is Karen's friend, K. I give Eddy Standlee cubes and pellets as his "mash". He only gets 4-8 cups 2-3 days a week when I ride, amount depending on how much riding we actually do. Am i really endangering him? How did you learn about this iron issue?

    2. I don't think that amount should harm him, since he only gets it a couple times a week. I'm part of the Equine Cushing's and Insulin Resistance group with Dr. Eleanor Kellon, who has done some of the most extensive studies on equine nutrition in modern times. The current treatment protocols for IR and Cushing's were discovered by her, and she has found many links between equine nutrition and a lot of chronic metabolic problems in horses. She's done nutritional analysis on many of the common horse feeds as part of her studies, and she didn't recommend the Standlee brand because of the high iron content: if fed every day it can cause iron overload, which can predispose a horse to metabolic problems (worst case scenario) on the long term. Their brand has the highest iron concentrations of any horse feed out there.