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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May. 11, 2008


    I am going to visit tomorrow. I have also talked to 3 families who have delt with the barn. So far, so good. Everyone likes the trainer and the owner has owned it for a very long time. I said though that a decision will be made when I come out and see the horses and meet BO/BM/Trainer. I'm still not TOTALLY comfortable with it but they are offering full price and good terms. We'll see.....

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Sep. 20, 2005

    Default My experience -

    I let a horse go out on trial to a lesson barn long ago. Two weeks later he came back miserable, dirty (not like he'd rolled, but like he hadn't been touched with a brush the whole time), and very nervous with some bad habits to fix. They didn't use the feed I had provided for the trial as it was too much work - which I can understand to some degree, but they just switched him over to their grain and hay w/o any acclimation time. He was a TB, and though not a hard keeper, not a horse you want to mess around with, diet-wise (which they were aware of prior to the trial).

    This was all with a friend of mine who boarded there checking in on him, too. I got the willies and backed out, though they did want to keep him. While he was certainly not mistreated, he wasn't really "treated" either. This was a very large (100+ horses) barn, and the premier facility for that discipline in the area. It was very well respected and had nothing but good reviews, and I even personally knew many of the boarders and trainers.

    Because of my experience, I would not be interested in considering such a situation again. Some of the posters, however, have mentioned their own school horses that sound as though they're getting excellent care - a situation like that would not be out of the question, but definitely not a big show barn again!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul. 21, 2006
    South Carolina


    I think it would be good to draw up a written agreement spelling out the details of the trial period: on what day it expires; who is responsible if the mare gets sick or is injured while on trial and what vet will be called; etc. Oh, and given the above poster's experience, I'd want them to promise to keep her on her regular feed so she doesn't get switched and then switched back again two weeks later if the trial doesn't work out.

    I understand the lesson barn wanting a trial period - I think it's a good idea for them and for the horse, to see if she's cut out to give lessons. I just think it would be good to write out the details so there aren't any misunderstandings.
    I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2004


    I would spend some time at the barn you are considering before you decide. I know some people have had bad experiences with lesson barns , as with everything you need to look at each individual situation. A barn with nothing to hide should have no problem with you hanging out and getting a feel of the place.

    Seriously though , at most decent barns you have to remember that good lesson horses are the bread and butter of most programs. I know I make way more teaching lessons than I do boarding. My lesson horses get the best of care , one older one eats Purina Ultium at 18.50 per bag ! The lesson kids absolutly love to pamper their favorite horse and often show up for lessons with homemade horse treats , carrots as well as little extras for their favorite mount like a fly mask or new brush or something. I have often thought how nice it would be if every old horse had a young girl who loved and adored it like my lesson kids love my horses. I am blessed to have some really great lesson horses and they are of no less value to me than my personal show horses. They bring so much happiness to the kids too, in the right program life as a lesson horse can be just great.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2003


    The barn I ride at takes very, very good care of their lesson horses. We are in a still somewhat rural area, and many of the clients have their own farms. Many of the lesson horses move on to retirement homes that way. In May, I got to take my all-time favorite lesson pony home to my place. Charlie is now happily retired.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2001
    MD, USA


    It all depends on the barn. I wouldn't let a horse of mine go to some I've seen, but I'd love my horse to be in a place like my current barn. I'm also at a barn that takes great care of the lesson horses, and they keep them through retirement.

    At my barn, most of the schoolies have up/down kids only. The kids weigh no more than a flea, and the horses have a pretty easy workload that's only once a day for four days a week. Sure, they get a lot of different riders, but they have one primary care giver (my barn owner) and the lessons are real easy stuff. I mean, how much can they stress over a flea weight kid doing up/down stuff?

    Then again, at some barns I've seen lesson horses subjected to horrible rides and really pushed to jump and do hard work when the horses weren't sound.

    So it all depends.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Apr. 14, 2004
    woodstock, ga


    Sorry in advance for the negativity. This is what I've seen at a lesson barn (fairly affluent barn and area)

    Lesson horses being ridden 3-5 times a day
    Lesson horses not being turned out because it was inconvienent
    Lesson horses being put back in the stall with the saddle on because it was inconvienent to unsaddle for the next lesson
    Lesson horses being left on the crossties tacked up because it was inconvienent to untack them and put them in their stall between lessons
    Old lesson horse being used into the ground because beginners could ride her, and they had lots of beginners. This horse should have been retired and treated like the queen she was.
    Lesson horse who was dragging it's hind foot so much it required shoes every 5 weeks with clips, it would literally wear a half-moon divet out of his toe. This was one of the horses used 4-5 times a day. Horse has since been moved to a private barn and after 8 months has a good foot again.
    Lesson horses being untacked and put away with no grooming, no feet picking, no nothing

    Like I said, sorry about the negativity. But to me some of the lesson barns are horrible about the way they treat and care for their horses.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan. 24, 2000
    Out of the loop


    Quote Originally Posted by lovemyrobin View Post
    Like I said, sorry about the negativity. But to me some of the lesson barns are horrible about the way they treat and care for their horses.
    It's true; some schoolies have a tough time of it. Some lesson "factories" do pound their horses into the ground. That's why it's a good idea to make several visits to see the daily operations, to see how (and how often) the horses are used, to see their living conditions.

    There are some lesson barns out there that treat their schoolies very well. I am delighted with the place I work part-time. The schoolies live in a huge, rolling pasture with free access to their stalls for shelter. Lessons are deliberately scheduled so they are kept out most of the time, and time spent standing in stalls is limited to just a few hours per day. The BO's much-loved former show horse is part of the string (and a definite favorite among students!). My own ex-show-horse occasionally makes a trip over to give a lesson if we have a particularly busy day and need an extra schoolie. The horses mostly work once a day, five to six days a week. Very occasionally, a horse might do two lessons in one day if one of those lessons is a tiny tot rank beginner that is mostly walking.

    On the farm are a couple of horses that are no longer sound enough to work. They are retired on site, relaxing in large pastures, with good food and consistent vet and farrier care. One of the school ponies has reached 30 ... she shows her age, but is still sound and perky. This wise little mare has an easy job no more than 4 days a week giving the smallest riders their first beginner lessons. When she is no longer happy doing that, she will join the retirees.

    Hopefully, the barn interested in the OP's horse is more toward this model than the one described by lovemyrobin. If not, it sounds like she's doing her research.
    Equinox Equine Massage

    In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
    -Albert Camus

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2001


    I retire my lesson horses here. There is a place in this area that I know for a fact sells their lesson horses off at auction. These are old, nobody is going to buy, faithful workers. The people who ride there by the dozens are clueless about this. They also leave the horses tied up, tacked up all day. And they are raking in the $$.
    Hopefully, this barn is like me

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