PDA

View Full Version : Stockholm spinoff: full service vs. DIY?



cnvh
Jul. 2, 2009, 10:53 PM
The Stockholom Syndrome thread got me thinking... how many of you ride at full-service barns, vs. "get ready yourself" barns?

I'm 34 years old and have been riding since I was 5, lessons at various barns growing up and as an adult, one with a BNT, and am now on my second horse of my own... now granted, I've never been a "show" rider, but it wasn't until I started hanging out on the COTH forums that I realized full-service barns (where you don't groom/tack your own horse) even EXISTED.

Seriously, it still baffles me that a rider wouldn't be expected to catch, groom, tack up, and cool out her own horse, whether it's her OWN horse or a schoolie... that's always been the expected norm, everywhere I've ridden. I occasionally teach beginner lessons at my current barn, and for a new student's first few months, at least HALF their lesson is spent learning the parts of the horse and tack, how to groom, pick hooves, properly tack up/untack, etc., whether the student is 5 years old or 50. It's just part of making someone into a RIDER-- the actual riding portion is only part of the equation.

Honestly, I can't comprehend the concept of showing up at the barn, being handed my ready-to-go Horsie, riding around for 45 minutes, handing him back over to a groom, and heading home. Don't get me wrong, I love the riding part of my time at the barn, but if you took everything else away, I think going to the barn would feel more like another errand or something... I mean, how else do you bond with your horse than through all that time spent grooming, hand-grazing, mane pulling, etc., etc.???

I'm not trying to "dis" anyone who's in the full-service arrangement; I just really don't understand it. Anyone care to educate me???

giddybiddy
Jul. 2, 2009, 11:03 PM
The Stockholom Syndrome thread got me thinking... how many of you ride at full-service barns, vs. "get ready yourself" barns?

I'm 34 years old and have been riding since I was 5, lessons at various barns growing up and as an adult, one with a BNT, and am now on my second horse of my own... now granted, I've never been a "show" rider, but it wasn't until I started hanging out on the COTH forums that I realized full-service barns (where you don't groom/tack your own horse) even EXISTED.

Seriously, it still baffles me that a rider wouldn't be expected to catch, groom, tack up, and cool out her own horse, whether it's her OWN horse or a schoolie... that's always been the expected norm, everywhere I've ridden. I occasionally teach beginner lessons at my current barn, and for a new student's first few months, at least HALF their lesson is spent learning the parts of the horse and tack, how to groom, pick hooves, properly tack up/untack, etc., whether the student is 5 years old or 50. It's just part of making someone into a RIDER-- the actual riding portion is only part of the equation.

Honestly, I can't comprehend the concept of showing up at the barn, being handed my ready-to-go Horsie, riding around for 45 minutes, handing him back over to a groom, and heading home. Don't get me wrong, I love the riding part of my time at the barn, but if you took everything else away, I think going to the barn would feel more like another errand or something... I mean, how else do you bond with your horse than through all that time spent grooming, hand-grazing, mane pulling, etc., etc.???

I'm not trying to "dis" anyone who's in the full-service arrangement; I just really don't understand it. Anyone care to educate me???

I wonder the EXACT same thing every time go to an away show and see dozens of grooms passing by as I happily clean my horsey up and get him ready for the day. Don't get me wrong, there are some times when I'd really appreciate a person to grab my horse and give him a bath, especially in the heat when I'm overheated, or to hold him while I'm waiting for the hack, but to me, all of that is just a part of showing (or back home at the barn, for that matter.)

I do know some people who don't use the full service option at their full service barns, but that's because they love bonding with their horses and want to do it all by their own.

myvanya
Jul. 2, 2009, 11:11 PM
I admit I am a younger adult, but I am on my third horse I have actually owned (please bear in mind that I still have #2 and have been around him his whole life...can't say I owned him his whole life as our ages are pretty much identical), have ridden more horses than I can count, trained several from first backing on up to showing etc. I do not claim to be an expert by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I have been around horses my whole life (in fact if you consider that I really should probably be a lot farther along :lol:)

I have either always had my horses at home or boarded them somewhere where I did all the work or a decent chunk of it, often including their daily care while boarded. I also often worked at the barn taking care of other people's horses to pay for my board. Now I am at a really fancy barn where they actually bring my horse in from the pasture once a day for grain and then turn him back out when he's done. Nicest barn I've ever been at (though they mostly only offer full stall board)! I always have done my own grooming, tacking up, warming up, and cooling out. I know- I probably sound a little weird. I am not saying that it is the best way to go- it is just the way I have had to do it.

I thought that barns where grooms did that for you only existed in really far off lands and fiction until I started reading COTH forums. It still is amazing to me. I would love to try it for a day, to see what it is like...then I probably would go back to my current situation. I am not saying that having things done for you is wrong, but like the OP I would miss the quality time grooming and just hanging out with my horses.

Coppers mom
Jul. 3, 2009, 12:32 AM
I've been at both types of barns. Ones where you do everything (cleaning stalls, feeding, etc), and ones where you just showed up for your lesson and the horse was led from the barn to the ring. I liked them both, for different reasons.

The barn where I had to do everything was a bit of a pain because I had to rearrange everything else to make time for things like feeding and the farrier. But, the barn where the horse was led out wasn't great either. It's not that the care wasn't fantastic, it's just that I'm extremely particular about things. The grooms could have done everything 100% the way I would have, but it still makes me feel better to groom, tack up, etc by myself. I'm just the type of person that feels better doing everything and knowing exactly what my horses mood is, if he has a bug bite, everything. It was nice though if I was running late because of practice or having to pick my little brother up from school to be able to call and have my horse ready for me when I pulled up 30 seconds before my lesson was supposed to start.

I see the reason for the full service facility, and I don't look down on people that use it. Personally, I couldn't handle letting a group of lesson kids loose to get the horses ready. I'd have no problem teaching them, but I'd want to make sure everything was put on correctly by myself or a trusted groom when it came down to working the horses. If I were leasing a horse to someone I didn't really know, I'd rather have an assistant that I knew was good at wrapping, fitting tack, etc to get the horse ready than someone I wasn't sure about. And, well, people are busy. Bonding on the ground is great, but some people don't have a lot of time to be at the barn. If I only had 30 minutes a day during the week, I'd have someone else get the horse ready, and spend time bonding with them on the weekend.

Go Fish
Jul. 3, 2009, 04:02 AM
At home, I get my own horses ready and put them away after a lesson. At shows, I get some help as I have two going. I get one ready for myself and the groom gets the other ready and brings it to the ring. For pro rides, I often get them both ready myself. At the end of the day, I get some help taking braids out, but generally do the rest of the put up myself.

The groom(s) is usually busy helping a couple of customers who, to put it nicely, are "getting a horse ready" challenged. I just try to stay out of the way and not add stress to my trainer's already hectic day. I'm perfectly capable of getting things done myself.

RiddleMeThis
Jul. 3, 2009, 04:46 AM
When I had my horse I felt I boarded in the perfect in between.

The barn workers mucked stalls, fed, turned out, brought in, fed supplements, and I was in charge of all the grooming, wraps, and riding.

Ecks Marx The Spot
Jul. 3, 2009, 06:02 AM
Part of the reason I OWN a horse is so I can do all the fun stuff that comes with riding! I love to groom, hand graze and go over my boy with a fine tooth comb. When looking around I found a full service barn I admit I was moritfied when I read " just call before your ride and we will have your horse ready and tacked for you !" on the website.

I love that my barn now will feed, muck , turn out, and hold for the farrier.... and I trust them very much so.

But leave the rest for me TYVM. I am pretty possessive, kinda like a jealous lover with my horse. I mean I spend a good 15-20 mins just LOVING on him , inbetween grooming and tacking up. Kissing him, talking to him, rubbing his eyes, blowing into his nose, giving him carrots. Its sick I know, but gosh I love this horse! After a especially long, hot and awesome lesson, I relished being able to hose him off till he was nice and cool. Then I stood with him while he dried in the breezy shade . I finished with a good currying , massaging his muscles, finishing it off with a soft brush till he shined. Best day EVER. To let someone else do that for me, its just unthinkable.

hellerkm
Jul. 3, 2009, 06:24 AM
Learning to ride includes learning to do all of the things you do OFF the horses back as well as riding him/her.
My daughters are younger and their emotional bond with their ponies makes riding them a more enjoyable experience.
I do believe that as you get older and more experienced you can hop on other horses and make them "go" but when you first start out there is something about the bonding experience that helps you understand how a horse "works" even just grooming or tacking up a school horse helps the student become more in tune with their animal.
I also am not dissing full service barns, but I do really believe that riders get the MOST out of doing the work themselves. Now I am not saying that in order to be a good rider you need to muck every stall or hold your own horse each time the farrier comes. but grooming, bathing, and bonding is best done between owner and horse IMHO.

BeaSting
Jul. 3, 2009, 06:54 AM
So far all the responses this morning seem to be from the DIY'ers. Perhaps the others are sleeping in while the grooms are getting their horses ready to ride. There are definately some mornings I really really wish I could just drive out to the barn and have some groom hand me my horse already groomed, saddled and ready to step up on.

IslandGirl
Jul. 3, 2009, 07:32 AM
I own a barn where full grooming/tacking up/after-lesson care, etc. is optional. Some people have limited time, and prefer to have their horse ready for them when they get here. Others prefer to do it themselves. My rates are structured so that DIYers CAN do it themselves, and those that want the full service pay an additional monthly fee for it. I firmly believe in giving people options, rather than dictating to them how they do things. I have several tiered, all-inclusive packages (grooming, lessons, training, combinations thereof, etc.) from which my clients may choose.

I have one client that lives and works over an hour away (two hours with traffic), and just can't get up here during the week. Up until this month, she was paying for full grooming. Recently, she and her husband have started coming up on Friday evening and spending the weekend (I have a fully appointed, 1,200-square foot lounge/apartment upstairs in my barn) so that she can spend more time with her horse. Plus, when she's here, she helps out around the barn so I told her not the pay the full grooming fee for the month. It works well for both of us.

"A"HunterGal
Jul. 3, 2009, 07:57 AM
Learning to ride includes learning to do all of the things you do OFF the horses back as well as riding him/her.


Ok, flame suit going on, it's a good thing the sprinklers are still going! :)

Learning to ride does NOT include all the things that happen on the ground. Learning to ride is just that, learning to ride. That means everything that happens when sitting on the horse.

Learning HORSEMANSHIP is everything that happens on the ground. It's a seperate but NO LESS IMPORTANT part of the sport.

When you are skilled in both riding AND horsemanship, then you are a HORSEMAN.

There are many great riders who are NOT great horsemen. If you go to a full service barn, chances are you will end up in this category. Yes, full service barns provide a needed nitch in the industry (and provide me with a job!), but there's nothing that says a rider at a full service barn can't come and watch the grooms, ask questions, practice on their own time, and still learn everything. They are simply not interested in being horsemen, only a rider. It's a matter of initiative and personal choice.

Just my two cents. :)

Flash44
Jul. 3, 2009, 08:13 AM
I disagree with AHunterGal. I think that being a good rider involves understanding the complete horse. So many things affect a horse's behavior and performance under saddle that you cannot separate them. And in order to log the necessary hours to become a good rider, you are also spending a lot of hours around horses in general, and can't help but learn some horsemanship as well. Name 25 good riders and you'll probably name 25 people who live in the barn. And there probably are people who have always been at full service barns who ride well, but you will find that they cannot work through a really rough spot by themselves and rely heavily on the trainers.

hellerkm
Jul. 3, 2009, 08:14 AM
Ok, flame suit going on, it's a good thing the sprinklers are still going! :)

Learning to ride does NOT include all the things that happen on the ground. Learning to ride is just that, learning to ride. That means everything that happens when sitting on the horse.

Learning HORSEMANSHIP is everything that happens on the ground. It's a seperate but NO LESS IMPORTANT part of the sport.

When you are skilled in both riding AND horsemanship, then you are a HORSEMAN.

There are many great riders who are NOT great horsemen. If you go to a full service barn, chances are you will end up in this category. Yes, full service barns provide a needed nitch in the industry (and provide me with a job!), but there's nothing that says a rider at a full service barn can't come and watch the grooms, ask questions, practice on their own time, and still learn everything. They are simply not interested in being horsemen, only a rider. It's a matter of initiative and personal choice.

Just my two cents. :)

NO flames I do agree there is a difference between learning to ride and horsemanship, I was lucky enough to grow up knowing that learning BOTH was what made you a true HorseMAN, so I tend to forget that there is a difference! Sorry if I offended you with my original statement, around here learning one and not the other was/is not an option LOL!!!

magnolia73
Jul. 3, 2009, 08:28 AM
There are somedays that I wish I could call, say "groom and tack my horse up for me". Mainly days when I have a limited time window to go ride. I could see using that service sporadically. It would make a difference between getting in a ride and skipping a day at the barn.

If I had say, my boss's schedule where I have like 30 minutes a day to myself- I'd need to be somewhere full service and would probably take advantage- but pine for days when I had time to do it myself.

And honestly- a lot of people who ride do it for fun/social/win ribbons and aren't interested in horsemanship. As long as the horse is well cared for, I don't care if someone wants the horse groomed and tacked because they don't want dirt on their new breeches. That horse is far better off than the horse that got stuck with some misguided DIY horseperson who provides care that lacks in knowledge.

Trees4U
Jul. 3, 2009, 08:59 AM
In the hunter world where I showed lightly and my daughter showed alot (A's) we always got our horses ready. Maybe just before a class,someone brushed off shavings, pulled horse out of stall into crossties, but we tacked up. Now, I show saddleseat and EVERYTHING is done for me. The only thing I do is double check the girth.(well, i actually eyeball stuff too but I try to be discreet) It felt odd for me at first as I am very hands on but I am getting used to it now :yes:

PS -of course, saddleseat is the exact opposite of h/j in almost everyway!

caradino
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:02 AM
i've always been at barns where riders were expected to care for their own horses. and i think learning horsemanship is essential.

once i was invited by an acquaintance to come spend the day with her at her BNT's barn to watch lessons and ride her big fancy regular working hunter. when it came time to hop on, i grabbed chaps and helmet, got ready to tack up pony, and was told to wait in the arena for him until a groom brought him out.

um... what???

i didn't even know what to do with myself! it was so bizzare to me to not take care of the horse before and after riding. plus, i'd rather know from grooming myself if pony has a cut, bug bite, twisted shoe, is rubbing his tail... whatever! i'd rather find it with my own eyes than be told by someone else.

shawneeAcres
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:02 AM
My barn (which I own, run and train out of) is in between. In some ways we are "full service" in that we schedule, catch, hold horses for farrier and vet. We can and will do mane pulling, baths and other things usually for a small charge. We do NOT tack up for you, cool out, catch horse etc unless you are a little kid that needs help. I am always here to help if needed and if I am not otherwise busy. All feeding and care is done by me, unless I have to go out of towm, which my hubby or a GOOD student handles it. My students are encouraged to pitch in and learn all they can about horsemanship, something sorely lacking in today's world!

eas1012
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:02 AM
all you DIY, get off your high horses!! [pun intended!]

I have had horses for decades and right now my horse is at a full service show barn, but I was a DIY my entire life before being able to afford the luxury of a tack up service.

Yes there is something to be said for knowing how to rub and wrap, but since I have the money to afford full service care for my man, I take advantage of it.

You can't tell me that one five foot two thirty something year old person can take better care of a 17.2h horse than three Hispanic guys whose only job it is is to groom and bath 10 horses a day, every day.

Don't get me wrong I still spend lots of quality time with my horse, [ie grazing, hand walking, snuggling] I just don't have to do the dirty work anymore and I LOVE it.

I really don't see why everyone looks down their noses at this. I show up at the barn and my horse is clean. Not clean, SPOTLESS! And if I want to tack him up that day by myself, I do. If I had a really long day at work and can't get out to the barn until after the help has taken off, I atleast know my horse is clean as a whistle and I don't need to spend 30 minutes currying, sweating, and wasting daylight. I can just tack up and go.

No matter what type of barn you are boarding at, it's up to the rider to determine what kind of experience they get from it.

hellerkm
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:08 AM
all you DIY, get off your high horses!! [pun intended!]

I have had horses for decades and right now my horse is at a full service show barn, but I was a DIY my entire life before being able to afford the luxury of a tack up service.

Yes there is something to be said for knowing how to rub and wrap, but since I have the money to afford full service care for my man, I take advantage of it.

You can't tell me that one five foot two thirty something year old person can take better care of a 17.2h horse than three Hispanic guys whose only job it is is to groom and bath 10 horses a day, every day.

Don't get me wrong I still spend lots of quality time with my horse, [ie grazing, hand walking, snuggling] I just don't have to do the dirty work anymore and I LOVE it.

I really don't see why everyone looks down their noses at this. I show up at the barn and my horse is clean. Not clean, SPOTLESS! And if I want to tack him up that day by myself, I do. If I had a really long day at work and can't get out to the barn until after the help has taken off, I atleast know my horse is clean as a whistle and I don't need to spend 30 minutes currying, sweating, and wasting daylight. I can just tack up and go.

No matter what type of barn you are boarding at, it's up to the rider to determine what kind of experience they get from it.

Yes but, you CAN care for your horse if you need to, I think that is what most concerns me, that there are people or kids who just CAN"T do it. I find that concerning.
More power to you if you can afford to have full service, but that fact that you already KNOW how to care for your horse or can read the signs that let you know something with your horse is "off" is knowledge that will serve you no matter how much money you have. Its the people who just don't want to learn that part of horsemanship that are missing out on a huge part of the experience IMO.

findeight
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:28 AM
Why, why, why do we always end up this way? BTW I did not sleep in today...took car for service. many of the full care people on here are...yeah...at WORK.

Honestly, where do some of you get off assuming anybody who does not DIY is no horseman and does not bond with their horse and is ignorant and incapable?

Quite an assumption... and, oh, I know some are thinking "she must be in a full service barn"...well yeah. Because I WORK, cannot keep the horse at home-even if I could it would starve as I am out of town 3 days a week, minimum.

A glimpse of somebody using a groom at a show should not trouble you so much either. If you want to do it yourself, fine. I don't and have earned the right (and the money) to hand the horse over.

Sorry, kind of a vent/rant there. But how childish to state or imply anybody in full service situations is somehow an inferior horseman. Maybe that choice is better horsemanship.

Whether it's about grooms or full care barns, these threads all go this way.

mvp
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:30 AM
I like caring for my own. I also think it's good for my relationship with my horse.

See, we have a long-standing a disagreement-- I want to go to the old lady equitation Olympics, or the versatility-- my SuperBroke can smoke y'all english or western Olympics-- and he wants to eat grass. In order to wring every ounce of "try" this horse has out of his kind, lazy soul, I have to set myself up as the person who makes his life good on the ground because I'm the person who makes it so bad on his back. I think top riders will agree that they can get just a bit more from the horses they care for day to day, so that's my model.

That having been said, I love hanging out with the grooms at full service places because they usually have some tricks up their sleeve I don't. I'm not averse to full-service places for people who don't "do horses" the way I do, and I really don't care (too much) if they see their horses as vehicles to social status only. Their deal is not my business.

My only problem with living at a full service barn is that the horses don't often get to be horses. Yes, they are clean and that often comes with limited T/O, no chance to roll and screw around, and too much fussing in the horse's opinion. I never want to approach my sparkling horse in his stall and have him put his ears back as if to say "Jesus, I have been rubbed on twice already today. What do you want now?" Walk down a row of stalls at a big show barn, and you will often find this.

I should also add that it makes me uneasy to have a horse handed to me tacked up. That means I'm getting on an animal whose mental, emotional and physical state I didn't get the chance to figure out. Though I look around, it also means that I didn't get to check the equipment I'll depend on to keep me safe. Finally, and as an old-school eventer taught me, by not grooming and saddling my own, I missed an opportunity to warm up my own body before getting on. A fall in the first five minutes will do more damage if I stepped from my BMW to the saddle without a chance to prepare my own body for exercise.

dogchushu
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:33 AM
There are somedays that I wish I could call, say "groom and tack my horse up for me". Mainly days when I have a limited time window to go ride. I could see using that service sporadically. It would make a difference between getting in a ride and skipping a day at the barn.


Amen to that. My barn is "full service" in that they hold for vet/farrier, etc., but they don't offer tack up, grooming, and cool down kinds of things. It's a challenge to get out and ride on weekdays. (Even some weekends can be hairy when work kicks up.)

Don't get me wrong, I love grooming and caring for my horse, and I do know her better because I do that (e.g. "is this stocking up a problem or something she'll work out of?"). But I'd be able to ride a lot more if I could slip in, ride, and leave.

findeight
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:44 AM
Well, my barn is full service but they get plenty of turn out, do not pin their ears when anybody walks by and we tack up ourselves.

I have a friend who has hers tacked up for her in another barn, she has 4 kids. All under 12.

Have seen plenty of DIYers that do not strike me as exceptional horsemen but I don't assume that about all DIYers based on those.

War Admiral
Jul. 3, 2009, 09:46 AM
I've done it both ways. Specifically, I took lessons on ASBs at a saddle seat barn (full care) while my TB and Appendix were on SELF-care 60 miles away at another barn. I have to admit that even though I prefer self-care, I really did enjoy having a little summer vacation on Planet Full Care. Especially at shows. It was soooooooooooo nice, just for once, to have time to take advantage of all the amenities offered to exhibitors at shows! Dismount, hand the horse off to a groom, smile, say "Thank you so much" and waft off for a leisurely lunch and some on-site shopping, instead of having to bathe horse, cool out, wrap legs, clean stall, clean tack, throw hay, change water, clean stall again, feed, and THEN eat lunch - around 7 p.m. :winkgrin:

I would not want a steady diet of Full Care, but I admit I am hoping that when Q starts showing seriously, I'll be able to find a Pony Clubber who needs a little extra money to help me out at the shows. I liked that feeling of being an Exhibitor instead of Chief Cook and Bottle Washer who happens to spend 10 minutes a day in the show ring. :D

fordtraktor
Jul. 3, 2009, 10:13 AM
Have seen plenty of DIYers that do not strike me as exceptional horsemen but I don't assume that about all DIYers based on those.

Exactly. These threads all devolve into an "us" v. "them" that always smells like sour grapes to me. There is no right way to enjoy horses.

To the MAX
Jul. 3, 2009, 10:26 AM
Hmm, this is why I bring BF to the barn with me... I don't have to pay for full service board but my pony gets brushed and tacked before my ride and my tack gets cleaned afterwards. :D :D :D (just kidding of course...he does help with these things but doesn't do them for me LOL)

bumknees
Jul. 3, 2009, 10:45 AM
I've done hte full care ( feed, turn out , stall, etc) Ive done self care, done back yard horse, now doing what I call split. I supply the feed, and do the stall. I can call and say hey can you being dobbin in for me but i groom/ tack/ cool out/ turn back out him.

I would love to have full service because sometimes there just are not enough hrs in the day for me to get to everything. But if I could call from my vehicle and say hey can you do up dobbin for me ill be there in 25 minutes that would be wonderful as dobbin can sometimes take up to 20 minutes to catch when he wishes to be butt head. Not mean just he can trot faster than I can gimp...

At horse shows when I am riding for a friend( friend cant ride that day for what ever reason I dont get paid do it because i love riding) I kinda get the prima donna treatment but when riding my own i grunt it all. And yeah I may not 'smell' the best after grunting it all myself but I know how to use a shower...

Coppers mom
Jul. 3, 2009, 12:26 PM
Exactly. These threads all devolve into an "us" v. "them" that always smells like sour grapes to me. There is no right way to enjoy horses.

I agree. The people who have chosen the full care option at the barn I work at aren't any less of a horseman because of it. Some, I would leave in charge of my horse in a heartbeat, others I wouldn't let touch my horse with a 10' pole, just like the people who are more hands on. Some people have limited time, some simply don't want to slog through the pasture after 3 days of rain, and others recognize what fantastic care their horses can have on a daily basis if they pick the full care option compared to what they can provide. There's absolutely nothing wrong with any of those reasons.

I also haven't met a groom who just silently hands the horse over either. A good groom, one who becomes attached and cares for the horse, will speak up if they notice something out of place. I always mention if a horse is feeling a bit down, cranky, or twitchy that day, or if a shoe's twisted, or if I had to change the padding situation because their muscles have changed. A groom should be just as much a part of the team as a vet, trainer, or farrier.

Tex Mex
Jul. 3, 2009, 01:08 PM
I've been involved with horses my whole life and I'm very particular about the way I want things done. I've been showing on the A circuit for the past 15 years and have had to "back off" a little since most grooms don't want me all over them while they are taking care of my horse :) I'm happy to tack up a quiet horse on a day when I'm not busy, or to get my own horse ready when the guys are swamped.

But good grooms are professionals who have years of experience, most have seen all kinds of problems and know how to handle them better than I do. I trust these guys to check for every bump, scratch, etc before I get on and after I ride, and they will always notify me of an issue. That doesn't mean I'm not checking and fiddling with the fit of my tack, looking over everything, etc. or that I'm not a true horseman.

Also, I trust most of these guys to deal with an unruly horse better than I can, mostly because they are stronger. And if I am riding a horse that's a real jerk on the ground, I'd much rather have the groom deal with him so that I'm not already pissed off (or hurt) when I get on. In order to get the most out of my riding time, I think it's important to get on the horse with a "clean slate". Just another side of the story for those who think you need to bond on the ground before you ride. I guess this may apply to me more than others because I mostly ride A show hunters and jumpers, many of them are intense or have very dominant personalities and are really big, and not always quiet on the ground.

sp56
Jul. 3, 2009, 01:37 PM
I've been in both situations. Can't lie, it was really nice to go to a horse show and have my horse spotless, braided and ready. After doing it myself for years, it was a real treat. Now I'm back to being broke and back to doing most of it myself (on top of my 40 hr a week job!). I try to make sure my horses are well cared for, but I'm not going to lie either - sometimes I miss things or can't get to them because I'm so busy. It would be nice to be able to afford some help here or there but that's my situation, so be it.

I was at a GP rider's barn for a clinic not too long ago and was AMAZED at how all the full grooming horses looked. The head groom (who was a white woman) loved every one of those horses like it was her own and treated them as such. They all had toys in their stalls, got turned out, brushed, fed, played with... Most of the clients were there taking care of their own horses before the clinic (all of the kids were tacking up their own in fact). It was a lovely atmosphere in a 'full grooming' environment.

You can't generalize any of these situations because there are varying grades of care at every barn. There are some snotty kids out there that would put a saddle on backwards if you asked them to tack up and treat the grooms like dirt (I've seen it and it's not okay). But a lot of kids these days are forced into a billion after school activities. How are they supposed to learn to tack up when they are driving from the barn to soccer to ballet four times a week?

The point in life is to be happy.

Lucassb
Jul. 3, 2009, 03:10 PM
I am always amused by these discussions... and those who seem to think that the DIY-ers are superior horsemen. Sometimes they are, and sometimes they aren't; I don't think it has much to do with the type of place they board, personally.

I have been a groom, a barn manager, a working student and am now an older amateur rider. I can turn a horse out to a very high standard and am extremely picky about how my horse is cared for. My current barn offers options for both standard board (grooms feed, muck, turn out and hold for farrier or vet if needed) and Full Service (which includes grooming, trimming, tacking /untacking, bathing, laundry, and generally keeping the horse show ring ready all the time.)

On my lesson nights, I use full service and have my horse groomed & ready to go because it is the only way I can make a 6pm lesson on time. The rest of the time, he is on regular board and I groom, tack, bathe and so forth for myself. If I go out of town, I am glad to know that my horse will have the care provided by the full service program so I don't have to worry if someone will notice a ding or a pulled shoe or whatever. He will be cared for by professionals who do the job as well or better than I can - and my standards are high. It gives me peace of mind that I am happy to pay for. I don't agree that that means I "don't have a close relationship with my horse," or that I suck as a horseman. IMO, a horseman puts the HORSE first - meaning that their care is paramount. MOST pro grooms can do that at least as well, and probably better than MOST DIY-ers. (Not all by any means.) Look at the turnout of horses at WEF vs. the turnout at a local show where most folks DIY. Each may have examples of good care, but there will be a lot more drop-dead-perfect examples at WEF, where the majority of horses (again not all) are cared for by pro grooms.

Riders in full care environments have a choice. They can indeed just chuck the reins at a groom and walk away, or they can hang out and learn from professional grooms how everything gets done properly. I have been in plenty of DIY situations where that knowledge was clearly NOT available... and so instead of handing the horse off to a groom (who will take care of it properly) the horse just gets the tack pulled off and thrown back into a stall or out in a field with no care whatsoever... "He's only going to roll and get dirty anyway so why groom/bathe..."

There are accomplished and not so accomplished horsemen in both environments. Saying one is superior to the other is just ridiculous.

mvp
Jul. 3, 2009, 03:26 PM
Yup, good and bad everywhere. So be fair. If you saw me and my beast at WEF, you wouldn't know who had groomed him, me or a pro. But that's because I have been a pro and work with them when I get the chance.

I think the best barns will, in fact, welcome the "involved" horse owner and I have found that grooms will go out of their way to teach me something if I ask. I also agree that there can be a limit to what you can learn or the horse care skills or tool set you can build at a DIY barn. I know because I'm in one now and it's usually just "me talking to me" about what could be done better. In fact, I try to keep a lid on my requests or ideas because they seem to put off those who are of the "what I do is good enough" persuasion.

I guess I thirst for the "we can always learn and do better" thing. I wish that didn't so often come with a full-care price tag, a (sometimes) rigid program and limited T/O.

skyy
Jul. 3, 2009, 04:54 PM
I work and board at a full care but not full service barn. Barn staff feed, water, supplement, medicate, muck, turn in and out, blanket, boot, hose muddy legs, hold for vet/farrier/dentist, take care of daily minor medical treatments, etc. Owner is responsible for grooming, primping, tacking, warm up/cool down, etc. All of our owners are proficient horse people and the younger ones are learning as they go and will get there soon. Personally, I find just as much pleasure in grooming and making my horse "pretty" as I do in riding him. Except on those days when he is covered in mud.....then I fantasize about a full service facility!

jumperlover101
Jul. 3, 2009, 05:22 PM
Catch, groom, tack up, ride, walk out, hose/sponge off, put out all on my own, and love it!

And to those people who are saying they don't have the time to do all that because you're working, that's understandable. But what is being talked about here is those people who have the time, but just don't want to do it. That's what is really irritating to me.

One thing that angers me is when you take your horse to a two-day show, like on weekends. We ship in Friday nights, school in both the rings, then walk the horse out and give it a bath, then walk it until it is dry. Saturday comes, we go to the barns on the grounds, make sure the horse is clean, walk it if it is a bit stocked up from being in all night, then ride, bathe it again, then walk it until it is dry. Sunday, pretty much the same thing as Saturday, but don't bathe it considering we are riding all day. At the end of the day, we hose all the horses off, pull the braids out, walk the horse till it is dry, then put shipping boots on and head home. The theme: WE DO EVERYTHING, OURSELVES, NO MATTER HOW LONG IT TAKES! We see people all the time doing this: come Friday night, have the horse handed to them, school on the flat for a very short time and jump a lot, get off, throw the reins of the still panting, drenching in sweat horse at the groom, and hop in the car and leave. Saturday: come, ride in their classes, hope off, throw reins at groom, pick up their ribbons, and leave. Sunday is the same as Saturday. Does anyone else think this is just plain wrong? I give everything to my horse during shows. The horse is my top priority. I do everything for the horse, even if I am completely exhausted. The horse comes before me. Does anyone else think this?

Schune
Jul. 3, 2009, 05:31 PM
Catch, groom, tack up, ride, walk out, hose/sponge off, put out all on my own, and love it!

And to those people who are saying they don't have the time to do all that because you're working, that's understandable. But what is being talked about here is those people who have the time, but just don't want to do it. That's what is really irritating to me.


And my question is WHY do you care? Why does it irritate you? Because someone has the funds and the resources to afford something you can't?

magicteetango
Jul. 4, 2009, 12:36 AM
I am not the best horseman I have ever met. I care, I love my mare, and I do all I can for her. But I'm just not a very detail oriented person, so she's not always spotless.

It would be nice to come out and have her be spotless. I currently have a barn that schedules vet/farrier, holds them, handles boo boos, double checks them, turns in, turns out, feeds, and blankets. Normally I'd be uncomfortable, afraid of something going wrong. They take such amazing care of my girls I sleep so easy at night knowing they're so spoiled, and they're so relaxed and happy.

With my mare, she's a very "needy" mare. She has to be the center of attention, and the princess. I don't feel that things would be as good between us if I didn't do so much with her, grooming, etc, when I'm there. That could very well be my needs though, I love that time, spoiling her, spraying her, bathing her with coconut shampoo, etc.

But I worked at a show barn, and those riders were 10x the riders I were, and they were not poor horseman. I am more of a DIY person (had no choice for a very long time), but I wonder how many of us have actually worked or boarded at a full service barn to see how these people care for their horses, and interact with them and the staff? Probably not very many.

So DIY, but no qualms with full care people.

delznnord
Jul. 4, 2009, 12:51 AM
I worked for a while at a full-care barn, one where the owner shows up and the horse is handed to them, etc. The owners varied from the types that would just show up, ride, and leave, to the more hands-on types who would actually stay a while and spend time with their horses.

As a DIYer, I just cannot fathom someone else taking care of my horse all the time. I mean, why own a horse at all?? The barn where I worked had some of the nicest horses I had ever seen as lesson horses. Why not just come for lessons? Saves money, no?

I want to actually have a RELATIONSHIP with my horse. When I walk in the barn, he hears my footsteps and whinnies before he sees me. Not at someone who feeds him every day. I enjoy the grooming, the care, the bathing, and the riding. Plus I want to know what he's up to every day, if he has any bumps or cuts on him, and so on.

Don't get me wrong. If I had the money, I would put him in the best possible place, where he would get the best possible care with a trustworthy staff. But only for the sake of knowing that he would be well cared for. The hands-on stuff would still be all me.

hellerkm
Jul. 4, 2009, 07:59 AM
I don't think this thread is about them vs us, I think its about the people who don't WANT to learn. Riding is NOT like soccer or ballet or softball, there is more than one aspect to riding. You are asking another living thing to bend to YOUR will, this involves a relationship.
I have seen grooms at shows who do an AWESOME job, they love horses and take excellent care of their charges. The owners show up ride and hand the horse back, I am in NO WAY dissing this.
What bothers me the most are the people who just don't WANT to learn to care for the horse, its not a ball that goes back in a bag when you are done. The horse has needs that should be met, and if you as the rider meet those needs ( or are at least CAPABLE of doing it sometimes) then as a rider you gain a better understanding of who your horse is, how he/she works and how to make your rides better.
I get that people work, have kids ( I have 8) and somedays just dont' have time to do all the set up, clean up and still ride. But if you at LEAST know how to do these things then you are in a better spot then the person who shows up, rides, hands back the horse and leaves with out even bothering to LEARN how to care for the horse. I can't believe ANY trainer would allow students to ride without learning some basics, honestly I think that is dangerous.
Tuesday I had tires put on my car, by Thursday there was something WRONG in the front end, I know ENOUGH ( not much but enough) about cars to check my lug nuts, which in fact were NEVER tightened on my left front tire. By at least knowing something about cars and tires I avoided a disaster. If you at least know SOMETHING about horses and tack and grooming you can avoid A LOT of disasters.
For me teaching my girls about horse care is the natural progression in their learning, its about bonding, and becoming the type of horseperson who can care for their own horse and can avoid disasters. I think everyone should at least be taught the basics, its just safer that way.

cnvh
Jul. 4, 2009, 10:42 AM
My barn is full care insofar as they feed, turn out, muck stalls, blanket, hold for vet/farrier, etc.-- I work full-time and my barn is an hour from my home, so there's really no way I could do all those things. But it's not full-service-- no one grooms for me, or tacks up, or any of that stuff. It's the "full service" that baffles me.

Kind-of echoing other posters, I don't really have a problem with someone being at a full-service barn if they can afford it, AND they can, and are willing, to do the grooming stuff from time to time... I DO have a problem with people who just really don't WANT to do any of that stuff, like it's an inconvenience, or their lives are so hectic that they NEVER have the time to do so. It's a living creature, not a motorcycle or a kayak, you know? It just strikes me as weird to not WANT to do the extra stuff that goes along with riding.

I assume (or at least I'm hoping) that the ones at full-service barns who don't WANT to do the extras are the exception, not the rule...

findeight
Jul. 4, 2009, 02:14 PM
We see people all the time doing this: come Friday night, have the horse handed to them, school on the flat for a very short time and jump a lot, get off, throw the reins of the still panting, drenching in sweat horse at the groom, and hop in the car and leave. Saturday: come, ride in their classes, hope off, throw reins at groom, pick up their ribbons, and leave. Sunday is the same as Saturday. Does anyone else think this is just plain wrong? I give everything to my horse during shows. The horse is my top priority. I do everything for the horse, even if I am completely exhausted. The horse comes before me. Does anyone else think this?

Wrong? On what planet is ensuring top care for the horse wrong? They are giving a great deal to their horse, as much as you are. Just because they pay somebody else to do it...the horse does not care who cools him out and bathes him.

Not everybody drops everything for 12 hours a day the entire weekend plus half the day Friday. You are extremely fortunate to be able to stop everything else for that amount of time. Most people cannot and have other obligations, like running a house and caring for a family for adults and having to depend on parents for transportation (plus schoolowork) for younger folks.

You assume too much from simply seeing a horse handed off, all of it bad in your eyes. You need to rethink your observations and conclusions you jump to.

the lady of shalott
Jul. 4, 2009, 03:01 PM
Just my two cents. When I was really little, we had our horses boarded at the Base Stables (military =]). All they did was feed everyday, and would dump sawdust etc. We did everything else. But for the last 8 years I've had my horses in my backyard. I love having them there...Sure there are some days I would rather hand my black horse (who I swear I remember being a grey at one point in time) off to a groom to spend the hours it takes to clean him up, but overall I like having the responsibility of it. I like knowing that I can take total care of my own horse and that I know how=D
I have a cousin who used to show Hunters in California, I went down to visit her a few years ago, and as she wasn't old enough to drive at the time, I drove her to the barn. We walked into the barn and she started talking to some girls in her lesson group. I walked over to her and said "doesn't your lesson start soon? Don't you need to get your horse ready?" I was shocked when she said that the groom would have him ready when she walked out to the arena o.0 I honestly didn't know that such a thing existed! Not only did the grooms bathe/groom/clean stalls/tack up etc, my cousin was not ALLOWED to do any of it. I don't remember why.. if it was risk of injury? or control? I'm not really sure. I was very shocked. Luckily my cousin had previously been at a selfcare barn, so she knew more than most...

I do see the benefits I suppose... but personally I like having the option of caring for my own.

Eventer13
Jul. 4, 2009, 04:17 PM
I have no problem with people on full-care, especially adults who work 50+ hrs/wk so they can afford the horse. However, I do feel like everyone should be able to properly groom, tack up, clean stalls, bathe, know how to tell when a horse is lame, and to check legs. They should also know what all their tack is, its purpose, and how it works. That's all basic stuff that a 10 yr old could do. Those that are serious competitors should also know how to wrap and longe (correctly, not just cracking their whip so the horse gallops around them for 20 minutes). Most horse care isn't rocket science, it just requires a bit of practice. So when someone doesn't know how to groom or clean a stall, I think it usually reflects on their desire to learn and their respect for the horse. It tends to make they appear as the type of person who uses the horse as a vehicle for their competitive goals, rather than a partner. And I feel sorry for the people with trainers that are so controlling that they are unwilling to teach their students this stuff even if they ask.

And I really don't have much respect for juniors who can not do any of this work. They usually do have the time to learn it, if they really want to. And don't use the "too much school work" excuse. Usually, if they schedule their time, they can find a way to fit in an extra 30 minutes for grooming/tack up/cool down. Its all about time management.

Sorry this is a bit off topic- I just think there are some things all riders should know, regardless of it they actually are the ones actually doing it or if they are having the pro groom taking care of their horse.

Coppers mom
Jul. 4, 2009, 06:13 PM
Some of these posts are really... interesting.

Does anyone honestly think that the horse cares if it's rider can wrap a pair of polos, balance a feeding ration, or even which way the saddle goes? Does anyone really think that a horse gives a flying flip if a different person feeds, another grooms, and yet another rides? No. All the horse cares about is that he's treated kindly. IMO, this whole "Oh, you've got to build a relationship with the horse!" thing is more for the people. We are the ones who want to love on a specific horse, the horse doesn't care if I or the neighbor does it.

I don't see anything wrong with a rider handing the horse off. As a groom, I know every physical and emotional detail about the horses. Heck, I can usually pick up an off step on the lunge before the vet does because I know the horse and every oddity about them. Why? Because when I'm not in class, I'm at the barn. I spend more time with the horse than the owner ever could, no matter how attentive they are. IMO, it'd be incredibly irresponsible to say "Yes, I realize I don't know nearly as much as you about my horse's vital signs and his physical characteristics, but I'm going to be a horseman gosh darnit". Why not let the person who is most likely to notice if something is out of place do the work? Sure, an owner could try to get to knw the horse as intimately as the full-service groom, but it's not likely.

toxicity
Jul. 4, 2009, 06:28 PM
DIY, here. Occasionally on the weekends, I'll "pay" one of the younger riders to get all the horses (usually 4 or 5) I need to ride that day ready in exchange for a ride on my horse and a Coke. :lol:

Eventer13
Jul. 4, 2009, 07:18 PM
Some of these posts are really... interesting.

Does anyone honestly think that the horse cares if it's rider can wrap a pair of polos, balance a feeding ration, or even which way the saddle goes? Does anyone really think that a horse gives a flying flip if a different person feeds, another grooms, and yet another rides? No. All the horse cares about is that he's treated kindly. IMO, this whole "Oh, you've got to build a relationship with the horse!" thing is more for the people. We are the ones who want to love on a specific horse, the horse doesn't care if I or the neighbor does it.

I don't see anything wrong with a rider handing the horse off. As a groom, I know every physical and emotional detail about the horses. Heck, I can usually pick up an off step on the lunge before the vet does because I know the horse and every oddity about them. Why? Because when I'm not in class, I'm at the barn. I spend more time with the horse than the owner ever could, no matter how attentive they are. IMO, it'd be incredibly irresponsible to say "Yes, I realize I don't know nearly as much as you about my horse's vital signs and his physical characteristics, but I'm going to be a horseman gosh darnit". Why not let the person who is most likely to notice if something is out of place do the work? Sure, an owner could try to get to knw the horse as intimately as the full-service groom, but it's not likely.

Copper's mom, do you think its bad that people want to be horsemen? Do you think, if they have the choice of a groom, they should have them care for the horse instead of trying to make an effort? What if they switch barns, and they no longer have someone to do everything- aren't they going to be at a disadvantage?

I board, with 24/7 turnout (b/c my horses are much happier that way), and usually don't do at least one of the feedings. But I am out there pretty much every day, I know all their quirks, when they aren't quite right (usually can figure that out in the few minutes it takes to lead them to the gate), normal puffiness, bumps, or scars on their legs, TPR (resting, right after a gallop, how long it takes to return to normal), where they tend to sweat first, where they do/don't like to be touched, when they are due for the vet/farrier/dentist, what they eat and how they normally eat it, how they are shod and why, how their stall normally looks after a night in, how they respond to certain meds/sedation/shots, how their feet look throughout the shoeing cycle, and plenty of other minute details. I'm sure a professional groom could turn them out for a show better than I, but other than that, I think I do a pretty good job caring for my own horses.

I don't think its fair to assume that all owners can't provide the same level of attention to detail, or that their horses are somehow less cared for. And I see no reason to discourage an owner for ever trying to become more involved in their horse's care, as long as they are smart enough to know when they need to ask for help or advice.

Jaegermonster
Jul. 4, 2009, 07:22 PM
I think there is a difference between being at a "get on the horse and go and hand him back when done" barn because you work, or have a lot going on etc, have paid your dues and are at a point in your life and your riding where you have earned it, as opposed to people who are at that type of barn because they don't know how to tack up their own horse or groom him or check his legs.
The former is a horseman, the latter is a rider. Maybe.

I agree with those who said I prefer to do my own work and take care of my own horse.
I appreciate a little extra help, a horse holder now and then, stuff like that, at a horse show, but even then I enjoy preparing and taking care of my own horse. Even when I boarded I liked caring for my own horse. That's the difference between horsemen and riders.
But to each their own. As long as the horse is well and properly cared for, really, who are we to say anything?

mvp
Jul. 4, 2009, 08:08 PM
Coppers mom: Since neither of us can ask the horse or get some universal ruling on whether horses care that the rider does one kind of work and the groom does the other, please don't argue that you have cornered the market on the truth. I'm doing what works for my horse and what I was taught works for good riders.

With respect to busy/accomplished people not being as good as pro grooms, here's what my deal looks like. I completed a graduate degree at an Ivy League university. And I saw my horse every day. I attended every shoeing and vet appointment. I did all the riding, training and showing hauling/grooming/set up/entries etc..

This is what my idea of horsemanship was long before I was admitted to good college number one. I don't think its easy to do everything well, but it is possible to bring dedication and professionalism to a hobby.

I am only impatient with pros who assert their value by excusing ammies and kids from learning how to be good horsemen. Of course you become "better than" and indespensable! But it doesn't have to go that way. I'm not sure that division between paying riders on one side and dedicated pros on the other is a good long-term strategy for the horse world.

Maybe I'm just a throwback to an earlier time.

Coppers mom
Jul. 4, 2009, 08:21 PM
Copper's mom, do you think its bad that people want to be horsemen? Do you think, if they have the choice of a groom, they should have them care for the horse instead of trying to make an effort? What if they switch barns, and they no longer have someone to do everything- aren't they going to be at a disadvantage?

Oh please, I never once said that people shouldn't try. Some are annoyed by horses being handed over, and I think that the care of the horse should be the main concern, whether it's best performed by rider or groom.

Also, please note that I didn't say people shouldn't try to learn. Of course they should. But people are acting like these girls should grab their ponies and suddenly start doing everything because they're at a show. As a very particular groom, that scares me. If one of the girls (remember, we're talking about the types referred to in previous posts who have never touched a horse except for riding) came up to me and said "From now on, I'll be doing everything for Smootchie. Thanks for your time" in the name of playing horseman for the weekend, I'd be ticked, and the horse would probably suffer. Learning? Yes. Doing it yourself rather than learning/letting someone else who does it better take control? No.

Coppers mom
Jul. 4, 2009, 08:32 PM
Coppers mom: Since neither of us can ask the horse or get some universal ruling on whether horses care that the rider does one kind of work and the groom does the other, please don't argue that you have cornered the market on the truth. I'm doing what works for my horse and what I was taught works for good riders.

All horses need interaction, but I don't think it matters who that interaction comes from. What difference does it make to the horse whether I tuck him in at night, or the owner? Sure, he'll be more familiar with me and recognize me, but it's not as if most horses aren't going to perform as well for the rider simply because they feel like they should have been cuddled a bit more before going out to work. The horses here still go well for the head trainer, even though he doesn't groom them, and they don't go any better for me now that I'm feeding, grooming, etc than when I was a lesson kid (:(). My own horse doesn't try any harder if I give an extra good grooming session, or give him extra treats in his bucket at dinner. It's just pushing human emotions onto animals saying that a horse will perform better for the person who scratches him best.

Again, they need that bonding/interaction/whathaveyou, but I don't think it's as important to them who it comes from as we like to make ourselves believe.

mvp
Jul. 4, 2009, 09:55 PM
First, to Coppers mom: Sorry I posted like such a hard-ass. In fact, I think you and I are probably cut from the same hard-ass "be good to the horse above all else" piece of cloth.

I also think the full service places have some really tough problems keeping their clients happy. They often need to be within a reasonable distance of a major city in order to draw clients who can afford to buy, show and pay for training. That means the day-to-day costs of running the farm are enormous.

It means that they often can't afford the land necessary to do sufficient T/O. I'd happily join this kind of barn and enjoy learning from its able grooms... if they didn't boast things like two whole hours of T/O per day. IME, that won't keep a horse sound in the long run. So peeps like me, even if we have the coin and might appreciate the help, remain DIY. It's tough to find the one barn that has T/O and a great training program and a great indoor and maintained footing. Since replacing horses is expensive, it makes lots of sense to put safe T/O and basic care above expert grooming. I can't see boarding at a place that's a mortgage payment (or two) and that cannot offer T/O but will get the best vet to do as many joint injections as my horse can handle before he's just done.

It's also expensive to run a high-end business that takes the time to teach kids and ammies how to braid, poultice, do a basic lameness exam, pack hooves, learn what a chambon is and when to use one (and not), or whatever. Many of us old skoolers learned that "for free" or as part of our barn-rat, slave-labor childhoods. If wonder what all those hours of instruction would have cost if I learned them from a paid assistant trainer or head groom whose job it was to supervise me.

Maybe old skool is over at the top levels except in a few cases of wealthy yet hungry barn-ratty juniors or ammies.

UNCeventer
Jul. 4, 2009, 10:39 PM
all you DIY, get off your high horses!! [pun intended!]

I have had horses for decades and right now my horse is at a full service show barn, but I was a DIY my entire life before being able to afford the luxury of a tack up service.

Yes there is something to be said for knowing how to rub and wrap, but since I have the money to afford full service care for my man, I take advantage of it.

You can't tell me that one five foot two thirty something year old person can take better care of a 17.2h horse than three Hispanic guys whose only job it is is to groom and bath 10 horses a day, every day.

Don't get me wrong I still spend lots of quality time with my horse, [ie grazing, hand walking, snuggling] I just don't have to do the dirty work anymore and I LOVE it.

I really don't see why everyone looks down their noses at this. I show up at the barn and my horse is clean. Not clean, SPOTLESS! And if I want to tack him up that day by myself, I do. If I had a really long day at work and can't get out to the barn until after the help has taken off, I atleast know my horse is clean as a whistle and I don't need to spend 30 minutes currying, sweating, and wasting daylight. I can just tack up and go.

No matter what type of barn you are boarding at, it's up to the rider to determine what kind of experience they get from it.

Well, you probably could take better care of your horse. He is YOUR horse and he would have your undivided attention, whereas the GROOMS have 10 horses to look after. At least you have the knowledge to be able to do the neccessary things if you need to, at least you also know where the hock joint is as well as how to put a bridle back together.

Coppers mom
Jul. 5, 2009, 12:27 AM
First, to Coppers mom: Sorry I posted like such a hard-ass. In fact, I think you and I are probably cut from the same hard-ass "be good to the horse above all else" piece of cloth.
It's ok, I think we are, as a matter of fact, quite the same. :yes:

I agree that full-care facilities don't really encourage a lot of learning outside of riding, and that the kids who start out in those types of barns almost have to be extra driven to ask questions and really get to know a horse from the inside out. There are some days that I wish that owners were as anal retentive as I, and then I say to myself "Whoa Nelly that'd be a scary place to board!" :eek::lol:

Fun Size
Jul. 5, 2009, 01:35 AM
While learning to ride, I was always at places where we were responsible for tack up / cool down / clean / bath. When I had my first horse I was darn near running our barn, so I learned all that stuff.

Once I started working 50 hour weeks, I was lucky to move to a full care barn with the most fantastic grooms!! I always check their work because I'm paranoid, but it is the best thing to not have to freak out about being stuck in traffic and missing my lesson because I couldn't get there in time to tack up.

I agree that one SHOULD know how to do these things. But once those things are learned having help should be ok.

Our horses love our grooms...no pinning ears, and they are always happy to see the grooms. Probably because that either means food or turn out! (They get either a ride, lunge, or turn out 7 days a week)

I see it as a live and let live thing - if you want to, and have the time, great! I loved it when I had the time. If you don't, and can afford full care, then that is great too as long as the horse is happy and taken care of. :D

mvp
Jul. 5, 2009, 08:33 AM
I'm also about live and let live. The only problem with making it possible to own a horse without the created expectation that the owner learns to do all of it from mucking to medicating is that things become much harder for those of us who want to do that.

Where I live now things are very divided. You can find DIY barns, but you will have to tread very carefully with BOs whose standard of care is lower than your own. I think they are well-intentioned but simply missed the opportunities I got to learn how to do better. Perhaps they just can't bring themselves to care about footing, say, as much as I do because it would be so much more work and money to do well. Or they don't think their poor footing matters for their horses who are "fine" at the moment.

You can also find at least one Big Barn that approaches full service. But you and your horse will be a number there. Things get missed, and horses just can't get the individual attention or adjusted schedules they need because they are just one on someone's very long "to do" list. The owner who wants to add that or do otherwise becomes a PITA because it disturbs the assembly line.

In this kind of situation, poor horsemanship is encouraged and taught over time. We will lose something when the old skoolers die off.