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View Full Version : What would you give up for trail riding heaven?



Hobbs
Mar. 22, 2010, 03:14 PM
Would you move barns so you could ride the best trails ever ???

My dilemma:

I currently board at a very lovely barn with excellent care. The arena is huge, there is no lesson program and there are only 10 boarders, so plenty of free arena time.

There are trails which consist mostly of farmer's fields. They are muddy, buggy for a good part of the the summer, and they also have very rocky sections. There is really no one at the farm to trail ride with and the trails are quite isolated.

My horse is barefoot, but his feet are sensitive so I prefer to trail ride in boots.....the muddy conditions are really hard on boots, but the rocky portions of the trails make going barefoot too uncomfortable.

Last summer was very wet, and I only went out on 2 short trails.

My horse has had some health issues recently and I would like to give him a break from arena work this summer, and focus primarily on trail riding.

Current barn has a wait list to get in.

Other barn:

Has access to miles and miles of lovely groomed and maintained trails, bridges and hills. The trails are publically accessed so one can ride alone, without being alone. Because the trails are maintained they are very dry, and conducive to the use of boots.

The barn is older and more run down. The arena is about a third of the size of my current barn and very dusty. There are no lessons and the barn owner seems knowledgeable, but the standard of care is unknown.

Boarding rates are about the same at both places.

What would you do?

PRS
Mar. 22, 2010, 03:30 PM
I think I would do more research. Talk to a few boarders at the new barn and see if they will speak candidly on the the level of care they recieve. Ask them what they like, don't like, or would change at that barn. Maybe you won't get anyone to speak honestly or maybe you will end up talking to the one person at that barn who won't be happy with anything, no matter what. Maybe you will get a good picture of what the new barn is like, the level of care you can expect...etc. I wouldn't want to compromise on my horses care for anything so I'd have to be darn sure that my horse would be safe and properly cared for before I left him anywhere.

Kitters
Mar. 22, 2010, 04:03 PM
Personally I would prefer to remain at the barn I knew had excellent care, and just look further into ways to access good trails.

Does anyone in your barn/area ever trailer out to enjoy some better trail riding? It would be pretty easy to toss your horse in their trailer and ride along if they had room.

That just seems like a simpler solution to me, rather than sacrificing the awesome care and environment you and your horse are already enjoying.

Huntertwo
Mar. 22, 2010, 04:43 PM
Quote:
the standard of care is unknown

------------------------------------
This would definitely worry me. I'd need to know about the quality of care before moving my pony to an unknown place just for the trails.

Is there anyone you could ask? Sometimes the bigger barns in the same area could give you insight on the level of care.

I recently moved to a smaller backyard barn, with hours and hours of trails and logging roads.

But, heard from a bigger barn in the area and other people from word of mouth, that the gentleman provided great care, which is proving true.

Have you gone to see the place for yourself? Check the fencing, the water, cleanliness, hay, etc...

JustTrails
Mar. 22, 2010, 09:40 PM
For me, there is a peace of mind in knowing my girl is at a good safe place with a high standard of care. Fortunately the trails are really good. I agree with what the other replies have been. Make sure you see if there is a group tack room and how that works too. Sometimes you can google the farn name and find reviews online.

Good luck!

pj
Mar. 23, 2010, 10:22 AM
As others are pointing out the real question is what does your horse have to give up for this trail riding heaven?
He/she shouldn't have to give up being safe and having quality care for you to enjoy trails but maybe he doesn't. Just Check it out throughly.

bizbachfan
Mar. 23, 2010, 10:37 AM
If your barn is like our barn the owner will want to find as much about you as I you want to find out about them. We have an arena but its not fancy, but we make do and boarders using arena are welcome to help clean it up, make jumps, etc. If most of the boarders at the new barn are trail folks then you will have plenty of arena time once you get back to arena work. Do you really need a large arena?

If you can determine that the care is good at the new barn and the arena adequate I would definitely find out exactly what the regimen is at new barn. Who feeds and when? Do boarders generally stay? I would be wondering why no waiting list for a barn with great trails. Older barn no big deal to me as long as its safe.

If you really want to do a lot of trailriding its so nice to just hop on and go so understand your dilemma.

Auventera Two
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:08 AM
I would stay where I am and look at ways to make hoof boots work, and look at ways to trailer out to better trails. Have you used the Edge boots? I use them and have never lost a boot or had any rubbing or other issues regardless of river crossings, deep boggy mud, wet grass, etc.

Toadie's mom
Mar. 23, 2010, 11:20 AM
I went through a similar dilemma many years ago. I opted for the "more run down" barn and ended up regretting it. 1st just a couple of annoying things happened, then I went out after it had rained (not any big deluge!) and the barn was flooded. My horse was standing in his stall in 6" of water. I moved him the next week, and ended up staying at the 2nd barn for 10yrs.

I gather from your post that you don't have your own trailer? If I were you I'd stay at the current barn and save for a truck and trailer.

Hobbs
Mar. 23, 2010, 12:42 PM
The truck and trailer are definitely NOT going to happen; it has been discussed and let's just say that one party was vehemently opposed to the expense....I did investigate the cost of being trailered to the lovely trails and that's $100 a pop, so it's not going to happen either.

The owners of the trail barn recently moved to the area. They are downsizing from a very large property they owned about an hour away. They actually brought a few boaders with them, the ones willing to travel the distance to the new farm. Since they are not from my area, I don't know anything about them (so, I haven't ever heard anything bad)

I visited the farm, and though older, everything looked clean. I discussed feeding and turnout, and the BO seemed very knowledgable about my horse's particular issues.
So, I don't know that I would be giving up good care, as I said that is an unknown.....I do know that I would be giving up the arena for sure.

But I have been burned before; a few years ago I moved to another barn near the lovely trails, and while I was in heaven (and have never been happier) in terms of traill riding....the BO turned out to be nightmare and I had to leave. That's part of the reason I am so reluctant to leave my current situation....but doing tons of ring work this summer (like I did last summer) is just not an option for my horse. So it may mean not riding at all.

brightskyfarm
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:11 PM
Not Riding?...um, cant imagine that ---
Hopefully those lessons from your past offered you greater insights to the decisions you are to make today, rather than have the new people in your life pay for the sins of those that have come before......... now you are wiser and know how to make better choices.

I moved a lot to ride trails, sometimes, just to cover new and different territory...good, satisfactorily care was never hard to come by.....

You know the questions to ask, the answers you want to hear, ask the BO if you can lease a horse and ride with her (and if not her, someone)on the trails.....I've had great luck with this technique...its worth it !

PRS
Mar. 23, 2010, 01:38 PM
If their boarders thought enough of them to make the move then....perhaps you won't be compromising on care...you won't know the level of care until you experience it so at some point you may have to take a chance. And...I can't think of anything more boring than arena work. I am a trail rider...not saying that arena work isn't necessary but if that was the only way I could ever ride I'm pretty sure I'd go stark raving mad.

Huntertwo
Mar. 23, 2010, 02:20 PM
The truck and trailer are definitely NOT going to happen; it has been discussed and let's just say that one party was vehemently opposed to the expense....I did investigate the cost of being trailered to the lovely trails and that's $100 a pop, so it's not going to happen either.

The owners of the trail barn recently moved to the area. They are downsizing from a very large property they owned about an hour away. They actually brought a few boaders with them, the ones willing to travel the distance to the new farm. Since they are not from my area, I don't know anything about them (so, I haven't ever heard anything bad)

I visited the farm, and though older, everything looked clean. I discussed feeding and turnout, and the BO seemed very knowledgable about my horse's particular issues.
So, I don't know that I would be giving up good care, as I said that is an unknown.....I do know that I would be giving up the arena for sure.

But I have been burned before; a few years ago I moved to another barn near the lovely trails, and while I was in heaven (and have never been happier) in terms of traill riding....the BO turned out to be nightmare and I had to leave. That's part of the reason I am so reluctant to leave my current situation....but doing tons of ring work this summer (like I did last summer) is just not an option for my horse. So it may mean not riding at all.

I think we all take a chance when changing barns. Unfortunately, it's part of boarding. Just because you had the bad experience previously, doesn't mean this will happen again. A good sign is that other boarders followed the BO.

I moved to a barn for the indoor this past winter and it turned out to be a nightmare in the way of care.

Besides the crappy care, I found I didn't use the indoor that much. I love trail riding.:)

Buying a trailer wasn't in the future for me either, $$$. Plus I didn't want to be bothered to haul out every time I wanted to trail ride.

I went to look at a place that a bigger barn had recommended. Honestly??? It scared me and I immediately got back in my car and drove off before I was able to speak to anyone....:yes:

I decided I didn't give it a chance, called the owner and arranged for a barn tour. Best decision I ever made...

The place is clean, (he picks the paddocks 3 times a day!), my pony always has hay in front of her, water is always full and clean, stalls are spotless.

Owner is a very knowledgeable older horseman.

Yes, the ring is okay for a little schooling, but the trails are right down the driveway and you can ride for days!

Could you always go back to your original barn if things don't work out?

Again, just because you got burned once, doesn't mean it will happen again.

Painted Horse
Mar. 23, 2010, 07:12 PM
I don't understand boarding horses at 3rd party barns. Its not something I've ever done. So no comment on that.

I keep my horses in the back yard. I trailer for almost every ride. It's just something I plan on doing in order to ride. Luckily for me, there are lots of trails with in reasonable distance of my home. I enjoy being able to ride some place different each trail ride. In the winter months I head out to desert areas where there is little snow, In the summer I head up into the mountains where it's cooler. I think trailer for every ride is a great way to own horses.

You said you don't have the budget for a trailer. So you will have to live within your budget. Your decision becomes, Do I want to do arena work at a known barn or great trail work at an unknown. Good luck on making your decision,

Huntertwo
Mar. 23, 2010, 08:25 PM
I don't understand boarding horses at 3rd party barns. Its not something I've ever done. So no comment on that.



What's a 3rd party barn? :confused:

LexInVA
Mar. 23, 2010, 09:33 PM
What's a 3rd party barn? :confused:

A barn that belongs to neither you nor your trainer.

willowmeadow
Mar. 26, 2010, 05:27 PM
I used to keep my horses at home with limited riding areas. Before I got my trailer, I went trail riding with friends. I had friends that would pick me and my horse up, and I made new friends that were looking for trail-riding buddies. Most were more than willing to pick me up until I got my own trailer.

Are there any local tack shops that you could post a note that you're looking for trail riding opportunities?

rulex
Mar. 26, 2010, 11:33 PM
It sounds like what you'd be giving up is an arena for trails, and then also taking the risk in moving to a new place. It's always a scary thing to do, but if you do your homework it will probably work out ok.

There's a difference between a barn being old but well maintained and just plain run down and neglected. You need to take a hard look at the new place and decide which one of those it is. Do the horses look happy? What's the turnout situation like? Do the fences look safe and under good repair? Do they feed quality hay? Etc. etc.

I have moved from a barn with a nice indoor but no trails, to a small backyard type one one with a small old dusty indoor but that also had access to lots of trails. It suited my needs at the time, and I never once rode in that arena (no one at the barn did) because it wasn't fit to be ridden in. The BO had the arena set up for the horses to use it as their deluxe run-in shelter from their large grassy pasture. The barn was older and the stalls a bit on the small side, but since the horses spent all but feeding time and the coldest winter nights in the stalls I figured it was ok. More importantly, things were well maintained and the horses received excellent care.

I know you mention the owners are new to the area, but it might still help to ask around coz the horse world is a small one. I thought no one would know about this small backyard barn, but I found out after I moved that one of the barn workers at the old barn actually boarded her horse at the barn I had just moved to!

Good luck and I hope you get to enjoy miles of trails this summer :)

JackSprats Mom
Apr. 6, 2010, 10:32 PM
I think we all take a chance when changing barns. Unfortunately, it's part of boarding. Just because you had the bad experience previously, doesn't mean this will happen again. A good sign is that other boarders followed the BO.

I agree.

I moved barns a year ago to be able to ride in a better arena. Had no idea if it would work out and yes, thats scary.

I LOVE where I'm at now.

Sounds like the new place is well run, just an unknown but with great trails. I would say go for it, worst that can happen is you have to move again (which is a pain but won't kill you).

OTHER option is to post on Craigslist and see if anyone wants a riding partner?

jazzrider
Apr. 7, 2010, 12:01 PM
You know, I understand everyone's comments, but I think your decision depends on your priorities and all the variables of your situation.

Back when we boarded our horses, we stayed at a horrifically managed place (barn in disrepair, barbed wire field -- with a downed tree being used as part of the fenceline :no:, BM and help either not sober, not mature, or not there, hay and bedding sporatic, BO's girlfriend a moody nightmare) because it had super access to Battlefields trails, was near to our house, and cheaper than other places. In our area, that kind of trail access is a rare thing. We coped because we boarded with a great group of people and we sort of co-op'd daily oversight and care of the horses, and our horses were easy keepers who were older and able to take good care of themselves. The turnout was huge (30 acres for 16 horses, stalled at night) and the mixed herd was a happy bunch.

We put up with that (I shudder now that the boys are here at home) because the trails and our fellow boarders were awesome, and we were both working FT and the horses were our stress relief. We had no trailer back then and riding round in circles in a ring just wasn't going to be enough for us (particularly my hubby). That, and, at the time, we just didn't know any better. :winkgrin:

I don't regret it at all. I know there were risks, but we coped and boys were fine. And those trails... I still miss them. But I love having the horses at home.

All that to say -- it just really depends on what you're willing to put up with for good trail access. :yes: