View Full Version : WWYD? Tossing around some ideas, need advice

May. 28, 2010, 12:24 PM
I would really like to make ONE happy post, so I will start this one with some happy news (YAY) before moving into the doom and gloom....I apologise for the looooong post, but I'm hitting the wall and I would like some unbiased advice from the CoTH collective.... So here's some happy news:)

Horsie has been progressing leaps and bounds over the past few months, after an accupuncture treatment and teeth float, and a very consistent work schedule, he is going like a different horse. I'm VERY optimistic that we will be able to make it to a show this season and he wont lose his marbles. We may even...jump... at the show:eek: I'm on cloud 9, and am loving my rides again, which I am so thankful for. So, with that happy news comes the bad.

The barn I am at is a newish barn, they have been open for a couple years now, and have built up into a fairly successful riding school. Lessons run nightly....alll night...This is problem #1 for me, as they are often full lessons or beginner lessons, which boarders can't ride during, due to the # of horses in the ring being too many, or the kids don't have the steering/braking ability yet and things get too hectic with us trying to canter around with kids cutting corners and turning in to the middle. This is fine in the summer when the weather is good, we have 3 outdoor rings plus our indoor, so there is plenty of space, but during the winter, it's not fun. There is my first issue

Second issue, lack of T/O. Horses haven't been going out much lately, and there doesn't seem to be a reason why. It's been beautiful here, I don't see why they arent going out...:confused: This adds directly to my next issue. My horse's feet are rotting off his body. As they haven't been out much, they are standing in their stalls all day in wet bedding. It's hot, so they drink lots, then they pee, and the stalls are soaked. My horse has wicked bad thrush, but it's like pushing a ball of glue uphill trying to get rid of it and harden his feet up again. He has GREAT feet normally, but they are slowly going to moosh no matter what I do.

Now some positives. The feed program is great, my horse is fat and (mostly) happy, so the issues are *my* issues with the place. I'm not sure if it's worth it to move-this place is very close to my house and very affordable, but the rose coloured glasses are off, and if I'm going to be getting into "show mode" again, I want to have the amenities to support me. I have spoken to the BO, but I can't expect them to move the lessons just so I can ride, and the stalls will cost extra if I want it mucked twice a day and extra shavings added. The turnout issue I'm still struggling with, someone will have to be there (ME) to supervise my horse if I want to turn him out by myself if the rest of the horses have not been T/O and I will have to bring him in. I do have a couple of boarder horses that he could go out with, so he's not alone, but this still going to be a royal pain.

Not sure if it is worth the hassle of moving, I know if I do leave, they are wait listed, so I will lose my spot and probably won't be able to come back. I am happy-ish, but there are still some other issues that I would rather not post on a public forum about that I'm not totally cool with. Any advice would be greatly appreciated:) TIA guys

May. 28, 2010, 12:28 PM
I too would be bothered by horses not going out and the trush. Honestly, I would pay more and have the stall cleaned/more shavings added. I can tolderate less t/o but medical issues I can't.

HRF Second Chance
May. 28, 2010, 12:39 PM
I'm a big believer in turnout. I would think that there seems to be a bunch of issues perhaps not worth trying to overcome. If budget isn't an issue, can you find something better suited to you closer?

It seems that if he had turnout, his foot issue would solve itself correct? It sounds like riding around the lesson schedule would be tough too.

May. 28, 2010, 12:45 PM
I had a similar situation a couple of years ago, when I first moved to CT.

The barn was literally 5 minutes from my house. There was a nice group of adults doing the 3' hunters. I liked the trainer.

Turn out was so-so - smallish paddocks, and not a lot of them so the horses only got out for a couple hours a day at best, and they sometimes "didn't get" to the third shift of T/O which was a problem. IF the trainer was around - she'd make sure they all got out, and she also kept after the help to keep the stalls clean. Otherwise, without supervision, the help tended to pick out the obvious piles and put a dusting of clean shavings on top. They were pretty stingy with the shavings. The ammonia smell was not pleasant on those days.

Most of the boarders actually mucked the stalls themselves when they came to ride... hoping not to get in trouble with the BO for "taking extra shavings." (The board there was $1500 ... you would think that would pay for clean stalls at least.) I didn't mind doing the stall all that much and told the BO she could feel free to charge me for the extra shavings; she never did so it worked out OK for me.

But the real killer was when she instituted a rule about boarders riding during lessons.

Like your barn, this place had a lesson program, mostly beginner/ walk trotters. The rule was that you could ride during lessons BUT could only do whatever the lesson was doing. So if you happened to ride during a WT lesson... you could only walk and trot, along with the class. You could not change direction or canter or work over a pole on the ground. They had one lesson pony that was pretty off in one direction... so if you happened to ride when he was being used... you could only track left for your entire ride.

At that point, I gave up and left. Most of the other show-oriented boarders did too, and they now have a ton of empty stalls despite the fact that they have poured a ton of money into improving the turnout (now nice grass paddocks with brand new fencing)... new arena footing... etc. Apparently when people left, they used those issues as excuses instead of saying, "sorry, can't board somewhere that doesn't let me work my horse appropriately."

I've run into the owner a few times and they can't figure out why they can't attract new boarders.

That is a very long way of saying... I would move.

May. 28, 2010, 01:22 PM
After just moving from a barn where wet stalls from a leaky roof caused chronic thrush problems with my horse (in addition to not cleaned well)---to a barn with dry stalls- I would say move. With all the other issues you have already it is enough. I spent a lot of money trying to keep the thrush at bay on every product out there and now that I am in dry stalls-- no more thrush.

May. 28, 2010, 01:34 PM
the lack of TO would be an instant invitation for me to find a better place. The horse has too come first , if not , it's an inferior situation. Then again so would the restriction on when I could ride. You have a problem when you can't get your horse turned out and he can't be ridden either. The barn itself must decide what it's priorities are. Boarders and shows or a school program. If they can't balance both they need to choose one or the other.

May. 28, 2010, 03:00 PM
I would probably also move in this situation. It sounds like there are a whole bunch of things (some little, some not so little) that are adding up to make it a not-so-nice place to keep your horse.

I had my horse at a place with lots of little and not-so-little problems, none of which would have been a deal-breaker alone. I tried to stick it out. Every time something annoying happened, I just thought, "well, that could happen anywhere." And that was the truth. However, a lot of little things really builds up and can make the barn experience miserable. When I finally moved him, I was astonished at how much happier we both became! He went from a somewhat tense animal to a generally laid back dude. Some behavior problems we were having on the ground and in the saddle literally just melted away with no additional effort on my part.

Anyway, I'd at a minimum start looking around. Can't hurt to look.

May. 28, 2010, 08:56 PM
Since your barn does do some things right and may be hard to get back into, start your research on the alternatives.

I think people don't like-- and don't respect-- clients and boarders who "play musical barns." If I leave a place, I don't consider going back unless something substantial has changed. It's not likely to work, and not fair to the BO for me to show up, presumably knowing and accepting what they're offering, only to be unhappy again.

Since there are no perfect barns, but just better and worse fits, you need to look for and know what you want before you give your notice at this one.

May. 28, 2010, 09:19 PM
woah. if his feet are turning to mush, GET OUT! that sounds ridiculous, regarding the turnout situation. move move move move move! if you want to see a show this season, you do not want thrush to get bad, and it sounds like its getting very bad. even though some other parts must be nice at the barn, sometimes certain negatives outweigh any pro's and i think in this case that's one. if your horse cant be healthy then you need to get out asap. plus that's ridiculous that they want to charge extra for mucking twice a day :O mucking 2x a day isnt even enough sometimes, but that just depends. here during the summer, it's way too hot and muggy to let a stall be ith only 2x mucking a day. the guys are up and down the isles almost every other hour checking for any stalls that have a few poos laying around, they scoop them up and move on their way. plus, it makes their mucking in the morning MUCH faster because poop doesnt pile up all night. i know not every barn does this, some only have that little extra mid-day scoop up once or so but if your horses stall is soaking and disgusting, that's not healthy at all and its no surprise his feet are getting thrush

May. 28, 2010, 09:28 PM
I would start barn shopping NOW....

There must be someplace that suits your needs better. Like Lucassb's story - I agree..... however, no need to burn the bridge - if you find something that works, sounds like you might not have a trainer at this place - maybe your reason to look elsewhere... you might find a trainer that can take you to the shows etc. that will be fun for you.

And congrats on preparing for the shows..... it's so much fun.. but you do need the arena support.

I kind of have a similar situation - a public arena with what I call "weeble wobble" riders.. sometimes it becomes dangerous and I cannot look.. but thankfully I can adjust my riding to times they are not there. Sometimes I cannot... it's a large facility and there are other arenas if necessary.

Sounds like you might be able to stay through the summer and be looking for a better fit.. I would be concerned about the hooves..

Good luck and I hope it works out for you...

May. 28, 2010, 09:45 PM
I've left a barn for some of the same reasons. Fabulous coach, great friends and my horse was in good condition- but it just wasn't working.

As far as riding during lessons goes, it is a pain- even if you are allowed, not much can be accomplished other than a basic exercise- and you can't get very far show/improvement wise with that. It sounds like you and your horse are finally working well together, and it would be a shame to see your progress stop when Winter rolls around again. However, winter is cold and its not always the end of the world to do a quick ride. If it was just the lesson situation alone, I would stay. However, there is the turnout problem.

Turn-out... my horse is slightly arthritic and while he doesn't need hock injections or supplements, turn out and movement does wonders for him. Unfortunately, at the last barn, it was decided that the workers' hours were being cut back, which meant that my horse's time outside (already only 6ish hours) was going to be cut back too. I gave it a month to see how it went on the reduced turn out, and he became visibly stiff and a few horses even began to get cranky. I asked about adaptations/exceptions being made for him, and was told it wouldn't work.

It was time to leave... my horse's happiness and health are what matters. No matter how nice the barn and everything about it is, ultimately, the horse matters. No hoof, no horse, a happy horse is a happy rider, etc. My new barn is a little bit more expensive and a little bit further away, but thus far, it is a fabulous place with a great little group of boarders and minimal schoolie lessons.

Good luck with whatever you decide... decisions like this are never easy!

May. 28, 2010, 10:58 PM
Thanks everyone for the honest answers. I think I kind of already knew what was going to happen, but needed a bit of backup and some hand holding (I'm a baby, yes)

Firstly, thanks again for the support, I have finally started to hit my groove again, went up tonight and had a FANTABULOUS ride with the jump ring all to myself (wooo!). I am aiming for a July show, but that will be a whole 'nother thread for hand holding at a later date;) Horses were OUT all day today, and I struck up a deal with my BO that I can turn my guy out anytime I like as long as I'm there, so I will be taking advantage or that this summer-I can go up and clean tack or work my tan while he goes out for a few hours. I can mucking his stall myself, and since I'm going to be there several days a week now, I can give it a thorough cleaning and pick it out as needed. I packed his feet tonight with gauze and thrushbuster, hope that helps to clear things up. Turpentine was recommended by my farrier to help harden his soles, going to grab some tomorrow on my way out.

I think I've decided I'm going to stay the summer, I did quite a bit of looking around at local barns online today, and have 3-4 that I would like to have a look at. As bad as this situation is, everyone is right. No foot no horse, and those little things are really starting to add up. I currently don't have a trainer, since no outside coaching is allowed, so I agree, that may be an additional reason to move.

Thanks again, sometimes it helps to have that validation, and unfortunately none of my non horsey friends or bf really get what my issue is. Now I just have to survive the next few months lol:lol:

Brydelle Farm
May. 29, 2010, 12:04 AM
While you search, look into getting Nafcore bedding!! It is super absorbent and fluffy. Really saved my horses feet this past superduper wet winter.

Also, you can use Keratex Hoof Hardener and once his feet look better, you can use the Gel.

Best wishes and Happy showing!!

ET's Home
May. 29, 2010, 09:36 PM
Justabay - you mentioned other boarders' horses that yours could go out with. Do other boarders feel the way you do? Could you share turnout duty with some of them? Ie, you go in am and turnout, while other boarder comes in pm to bring in.

May. 30, 2010, 05:45 AM
I recently left a barn altogether based (almost) solely on the fact that I could never find any EMPTY arena time. I am a trainer with a small, adult client base, and the other trainer's lesson program just got so big that I got squeezed out. And I was there first dammitt.

About those feet..... Drying them out is one thing, then you've got to protect them. I don't know if Thrush Buster has the water-repellent properties of Koppertox, but that might be a product you want to consider either instead of, or in conjunction with. Koppertox makes a BARRIER to the moisture..... as do any number of other products, I'm sure. This is just my, well, let's not say "favorite" but my "Go-To" choice.
And remember that the trick with hooves is BALANCE! All that wetness will actually be leaching proper moisture from the hoofwall, too, so don't be afraid to treat the coronary band area with something moisturizing.
And feed-through hoof supplementation shouldn't be overlooked.

May. 30, 2010, 10:22 AM
I think the approach you've decided on is practical. Good for you.

If your horse's thrush is really bad - get some thrush remedy from Fairfield Equine. Deep thrush can cause lasting problems and may be beyond what thrushbuster/koppertox type products can deal with. Feet are too important to mess around with - get the good stuff and get it dealt with!

Then I would definitely pick up some Keratex for maintenance. Great stuff.

May. 30, 2010, 02:25 PM
The thrush would be a deal breaker for me. I'd be complaining long and loud to the BO. If that didn't work, I'd move.

May. 30, 2010, 08:48 PM
What I don't understand is that if they are not turning out much, why aren't the stalls getting cleaned 2x a day at least?? We have horses on lay up, horses on limited turnout and then those that go out all night/all day. The ones that stay in a lot get stalls cleaned 2x a day minimum and if bedding looks like it is getting wet (we have dirt floors in most stalls) fresh bedding is added as needed.
We don't do many lessons, we have freelance trainers come in and teach their students and the boarders are usually good about scheduling their lessons around less traffic hours.
I tell people who board here, if you are not happy, talk to me and I'll see if I can fix it, if I can't I do not take offence if you decide to leave. You cannot please everyone. I still keep in touch with many former boarders. Most that have left here have built their own farmettes.

May. 30, 2010, 11:47 PM
ET's Home- I actually did speak with another boarder this weekend about the (lack) of turnout situation. Our boys seem to get along quite well, so we are going to to TO shifts like you mentioned. I'm very happy that she is willing to do this with me, although we have to be there to *watch* our horses while they are out, so I will be spending a lot of time there now. :sigh:

Lucassb- Thank you! And I agree, feet are too important to mess with! Now, what is Keratex? I haven't used that before, I have used Pedocan hoof stuff in the orange tubbies for ages, http://www.tackroominc.com/pedocan-hoof-ointment-p-4829.html
This stuff... ^
but if the Keratex is a better product I am all for buying it. I am at the point where I will do just about anything to fix these feet! Another boarder's horse is starting to be a bit footsore, and her horse's feet are deteriorating too....I think this is starting to become an epidemic :mad:

HilltopfarmVA-Can I come board with you?? I promise I'm an easy keeper, I always pay my bills on time and my guy is very well mannered and easy going! I won't be a crazy I promise! :lol::winkgrin: But seriously, I don't know why stalls aren't done 2x daily, but I'm sure cost-wise it's ineffective for the BO which may be a factor....That and not too many people complain. I WISH they were done more, I would consider paying for it...but I don't know how much more it would cost me, and I'm not about to spend the extra $ on stall mucking when I have to come up and do my own turnout. Somehow that doesn't seem to equate well to me....If I'm doing my own TO, shouldn't I get a discount for my horse being less work??:confused: Ah well, a few more months and this won't be a problem. Maybe I can just buy a giant hamster ball and put my horse in that until it's time to leave?:confused::winkgrin::lol:

May. 31, 2010, 10:29 AM
Lucassb- Thank you! And I agree, feet are too important to mess with! Now, what is Keratex? I haven't used that before, I have used Pedocan hoof stuff in the orange tubbies for ages, http://www.tackroominc.com/pedocan-hoof-ointment-p-4829.html
This stuff... ^
but if the Keratex is a better product I am all for buying it. I am at the point where I will do just about anything to fix these feet! Another boarder's horse is starting to be a bit footsore, and her horse's feet are deteriorating too....I think this is starting to become an epidemic :mad:

Keratex is great stuff, and creates a barrier that will help protect your horse's feet if he ends up standing in wet bedding (ick.) http://www.keratex.net/hoof_hardener.htm

It doesn't cure thrush, though - for that you need meds. And I seriously wouldn't screw around with that, particularly if it's been a long standing problem. The OTC stuff you can buy in the tack store is OK for those transient episodes of minor thrush that can occur during a rainy spring when the horses are out in wet conditions for a few weeks, and you get right on it. If the thrush is more significant than that, I'd get something heavier duty. I really like the stuff that Fairfield Equine makes, but Hetacin K (a medicine made for cows, of all things) works quite well too.

If your barn owner cannot or will not do enough to keep the stall clean, I would do it myself. I doubt you'll get any kind of discount but hey, you're going to be there anyway so you'll have the time. I would not let my horse live on soiled or insufficient bedding. If needs be, you can always bring a few bags of your own shavings to supplement what the barn provides until you can move to a place that offers better care in the fall.