I am once again on a quest to find a barn suitable for my little Rosie and I. Really, we just need to stop moving. Well, one more move to Maine would be nice and THEN I'm finished. But that is a whole other blog post. Back to finding a barn. I have begun to outline on paper what has been rattling around in my head for the different wants and needs in a boarding stable.
First the MUST HAVES. These are things that to me are non negotiable and I will break them down into tangibles and intangible.
1. Daily turnout. This is a deal breaker for me. I have even passed over barns that will let me come turn the horse out myself but I was required to stay there for the duration of her time in the pasture. To me a horse in not meant to be in a stall 24/7 unless put there by a vet. I know some people compensate with regular exercise but that is still not going to work for me. A horse needs to be a horse.
2. Arena. I need at least an outdoor. Doesn't have to be anything fancy although I don't like to work in a round pen made of barbed wire. Yes, folks I have actually been presented with this option and no, they were not kidding. Sometimes you have to do things that require an enclosed environment for everyones safety.
3. Cleanliness. Not just the stalls but the area surrounding the barn. I don't like a lot of stuff laying around. To me that is just an accident waiting to happen and it makes me nervous. One barn I boarded at had so much stuff and the owner was always going to fix it. Never happened.
(This is not the place where I boarded, this is just a random picture off the internet, thank God!)
4. The other horses must look good. Sure you are always going to have a oldster or a hard keeper but all in all the horses need to look well fed and healthy.
5. Feed supplements. You know how we horse people love to supplement! The only extra thing I give Rosie is a daily feed through wormer but I need to the barn to feed it so I don't have to run out there everyday just to feed wormer.
1. Friendly people. What seem like friendly people to me may seem nosy to someone else or vice versa. This one is kind of hard to gauge.
2. I must feel safe. Whether it is the aforementioned junk or crazy people I can't feel like I am going to get in a wreck or be done bodily harm by a person rather than a horse. This is something that is also hard relay in words. More of a gut feeling thing.
Now, the things I would prefer to have but are not deal breakers.
1. Stalls at night. Now given my earlier rant on stalls this might seem odd but it is nice to know that in the course of being moved from stall to pasture and vice versa someone is physically laying hands on my horse to hopefully see how she is feeling and if there are any injuries or lameness that needs to be attended to. I also like it when horses are fed individually in stalls, that way they are getting their share, no more or no less.
2. Close proximity to trail riding. Now that I think about it this one might have to be moved into the must haves section. I like to have an arena handy but I prefer to trail ride.
3. Tack lockers. Stuff walks off in a public boarding barn. You need a place that you can lock up.
4. Indoor arena. In parts of the country that are visited by winter such as this area and indoor comes in mighty handy.
Now on to the stuff that would be nice but certainly isn't going to send me running if a prospective barn doesn't have it.
1. Hot water in the wash rack. I don't like to take a cold shower so I don't imagine the horse does either.
2. Free trailer parking. It would be nice if it were free but most places do charge a small monthly fee.
3. Within 15 minutes of my house. I don't think this is going to happen but it's nice to have dreams.
4. Close enough to a park with bridle paths that I can ride there, safely.
And all this for a reasonable monthly amount! I don't think I am asking too much, do you? Ha!
Please feel free to add your thoughts to this post. Everyone has had different experiences and can bring something to the table that I may not have thought of.