Tuesday, December 8, 2015


At least I am hoping this is it for a while.

So, to back up, we were at a temp barn for a month, and I have never been so thankful to move my horse in my entire life. I am so glad I knew I was moving, because otherwise I would have been scrambling to find Ashke a place to live.

One of the issues with boarding at a barn that is a private facility, not a commercial endeavor, is that the boarders cater to the owner, not the barn being set up to support the boarders. What do I mean? In a commercial facility, if I wanted extra shavings or my stall stripped or a feed change, I would communicate that to the BM and it would get taken care of. In a private facility that has boarders but is structured around the BO, that isn't always the case.

Things expected of Ashke:
  • No shavings in the stall. Horse must learn to pee outside, even though his dislike of pee scald was almost pathological. When horse refuses to pee outside, sand is added to stall to soak up pee, and shavings put down on the mud outside to encourage him to seek out that spot. 
  • No shavings in the stall. Horse must learn to sleep standing up or on rock hard, cold ground. This did not sit well with my comfort seeking animal, who prefers a deep bed and long, deep sleeps. His left leg began to show signs of discomfort by the end of the month due to not being able to rest it while laying down.
  • Three flakes of hay a day. I could not pay for more feed through the barn. I was told to feed extra grain (Envision was recommended) since that is so much better for your horse than forage. I had to purchase hay to place into a slow feeder bag in order to supplement. A couple of days after we moved in we learned that the barn had lost three horses in the past couple of months to colic. Cue panic. I fed an extra bale of hay a week while we were there. 
  • Not only that, but their alfalfa was horrible. I'm guessing she bought the first cutting because it was stemmy and full of weeds. Ashke wouldn't eat it. Instead he would pull it out of the feed bin and toss it on the floor to pee on. We switched him to the grass and ended up putting it in the slow feed bag. The BO was pissed off at Ashke and I'm sure if we weren't already planning on leaving, would have asked us to move out.
  • We paid for trailer parking. Told BO we hauled out most weekends. Went to haul out the first weekend and were told it was too muddy to get the trailer out and the road to the back of the property was closed. Insisted that we had to haul to get his feet done. BO thought it perfectly reasonable to tell me we couldn't get our trailer. I'm not sure why, except that her husband had this strange paranoia about driving through the mud on their property. We insisted and eventually was able to pull our trailer out, which going forward we parked in the front and not in the mud.
  • The reason I moved to the barn originally was because of the indoor. However, once I was there I was told that it really wasn't useable during the winter. Why? Well, first they didn't water it since it was cold, which made it really dusty. So you could ride, just not fast and not for very long. Second, sheep.
 Five ewes and one ram housed in pens in the indoor when the weather was cold enough to freeze their water supply.

Do you know it is not really possible to do anything other than stand at the other end of the arena and snort when there are sheep in there with you? The world according to Ashke stipulates that no work need be done when there are sheep. Just knowing they exist is enough. And then, as if that was not enough, there was this:

Posted a week before I moved out.

Number one is pretty standard as is number three and four. No complaints there. However, I do not need someone telling me when I can or can not turn my horse out. They don't offer turn out so the horse is either stuck in the stall or ridden in the indoor. With the sheep. They posted closed signs on the arenas and round pen. I have never experienced that before. I think it has more to do with the arena and round pen footing than it does with it being a safety thing. It goes back to the mud issue from using the trailer. Especially when you consider number five. Seriously?!! Avoid walking around the barn when muddy or wet conditions are present. I didn't ask if they meant outside or inside, since I only had five days to go until I moved when this was posted.

The move took five minutes. Literally. I think Ashke was surprised at how short the ride was. Before we moved him, J and I went to Agfinity to buy shavings (10 bales) so we had plenty to bed his stall when we got there. I dumped two bales into his stall and then we let him wander around in the indoor for fifteen minutes before introducing him to his stall mates.

He has a mare on one side and a pushy gelding on the other. The stall is pretty good sized but the run is about the same size, so on the small side. It doesn't matter though, since he gets turn out with other horses for two hours a day. And when he is inside he looks onto the indoor arena, which gives him plenty of stuff to look. Kind of like arena TV. 

 Just stepped off the trailer.

So cheerful and well lit.

 In turn out the first day with Rocko.

 One of the smaller turn outs. Testing Ashke's personality and behavior on a small scale.

This was the morning after our move in. 

Enjoying his first mash in his new stall.

I went out last night to ride for the first time in the arena. I had no real expectations. My goal was to be relaxed at the walk and trot. I didn't think I would even try a canter, since he reacted so negatively to doing so at SQA. Ashke was a little spooky when I was getting him ready but he settled pretty quickly once I was on him. He stretched down and really stepped out at the walk and was able to relax at the trot. We took a lot of breaks, during which I reconnected with a woman I knew at Christiansens. There were other women riding and Ashke felt very relaxed with the other horses in the arena.

Very well lit arena. Lots of happy horses and riders.

Ashke enjoying his after ride snack while watching TV.

The atmosphere in this stable is so comfortable and he has settled in very quickly. The BM says that he has gone out with five or six different horses and has been great with all of them. She has no hesitation in putting him out with any of the horses on the property. He is sweet and kind to the workers, eats his hay (which he loves), and has felt more relaxed than he has since we left TMR. The energy here is warm and soothing. The BO is relaxed and willing to work with us. It is a comfortable place for him to be and he really seems to like it here. 

Best indoor ride we have had since we left TMR.


  1. I've been at a few barns that close outdoor arenas when they're wet/muddy. It's pretty normal. My current barn does it as well and we sometimes have weeks of no arena access if it rains a lot.

    1. Why? I don't get it. Do they think horse owners aren't smart enough to figure out they shouldn't turn their horses out? Ashke loves to run and play in the snow.

    2. Unfortunately sometimes the horse owners aren't quite as experienced as the BO/BM. Not saying that was the case in your situation, but sometimes you have to make rules for all to control the one boarder who has ridden four times and bought a feral mare on a whim...can you tell I love trying to catch said feral mare for the boarder who never comes out...

  2. I've boarded at several private barns and am happy to report that your experience was the exception. That said, the place you just left does remind me of Crazy Lady's barn with the rescue from South FL, which was a private facility. OMG. Seeing all the crazy written out at once like this gave me flashbacks...Crazy Lady had grass in her turnouts but horses couldn't go out for more than 30 min. They otherwise lived in 10x10 box stalls 23.5 hours a day. We could only feed grass hay (even though WE were buying our OWN hay...). I got dirty looks for feeding a commercial grain (because she thought I should only feed oats...to my IR horse, no less...) If you did something she didn't agree with (basically anything), she'd talk shit about you to all the other boarders. If you gave 30 days' notice, she'd make your life a living hell in the meantime and wouldn't feed your horse.

    I'm glad you're out of that barn.

    I've boarded in PR (tropical rainforest), FL (Tampa and South FL, one wetter than the other, still tropics) and now MD (considered subtropical rainforest) and have NEVER encountered a closed arena due to rain. Even Crazy Lady's. If we wanted to ride in the slop, we could. Most people didn't because common sense. My current barn has an outdoor with fancy textile footing and even then they don't shut it down due to rain. If they did do that, it would be a dealbreaker. Arenas with sandy footing are the only place you can ride here when winter turns the trails to slippery clay mud.

    So happy for you that Ashke is loving his new home and that your first ride there was awesome!!

    1. I'm very happy that we moved or I would have been going crazy with worry

  3. Yay .. so glad its done.. looks nice. and your closer to me. maybe i can do a WE clinic there or at least a demo..We will wait on that a bit..

    1. Actually, I think there is probably more interest here than any other barn I've been at. I'll let you know how it goes once I get my obstacles there.

  4. I love the looks of this new barn! The chalkboard on the back walls of the stall is super nice! I'm pretty sure I want to copy their indoor if I ever get to build one!

  5. Looks nice! I also love the chalkboard, what a clever way to label a stall!

    I think you just have to find the right fit. I love my small, private stable. I can feed as much hay as I want, they will feed whatever bagged supplements I leave, park my trailer in a safe spot, etc. We don't have a written rule, but we don't turn out in the arena one day after rain, just to let it drain and keep the footing nice. But we can easily ride on the dirt/gravel private road right outside, and all horses have large turnouts. There are always trade-offs, just have to find the one that works for you and Ashke, and it looks like you have, in spades!

    Ashke looks very happy, and I'm sure he'll like turnout with different horse friends, how fun for him!

    1. He's been out with a bunch of different horses so far and done great. Has a special friend he's grooming with, so that's awesome.

  6. Ashke looks very comfortable and happy in his new home. I've never heard of areas of the barn being closed due to mud. One barn had a no jumping rule when it was muddy, but that was more for liability reasons than to keep the footing good.

  7. What is it about barn owners and rain? Mine doesn't even want anyone even coming to the barn during/after rain as it will mess up the ground. Very annoying since it rains a lot here in the South. Your new place looks great! Matilda

  8. Wow. That place sounds crayyyyyyyy.

    The lighting in the new arena though!! WOW.

  9. SO happy you've found a place where Ashke is happy! It's hard to find a good facility, and that one looks amazing. :)

  10. We call it "horse tv" when we see the neighbor's horses out our windows. Ashke is so happy with his view! I had to laugh at the barn rules, we've been at 13 barns over the 20 years and I'm done with that crap. (I miss an arena though.) You seem to live in horsey-central, with all those facilities. Is that an oil rig in one photo? I've never seen one. Ashke is so incredibly Egyptian looking, it's unmistakable.

    1. That was an oil rig. They are all over the area. And he does look very Egyptian, doesn't he.

  11. geeez what a boarding nightmare! So glad you found a good place and your horse (and you!) is happy.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.