I am moving my horse in about a month or so and have been looking at 2 barns.
Barn 1) is 3 miles from my house. Owned by a CCI* eventer who is a vet. Small barn (maybe 8 other boarders?) but with a heated indoor that is to die for. Small property (10-12 acres) with a little cross country course. Access to a trail but I have to hack down a road to get to it. Can't keep my trailer there (no space and the husband will not let me keep it at home, even though we have space for it.) I don't mind riding alone and BO will let my trainer come in. Stall board only with a heated barn. (Nice, since I live where it can get quite cold.) Also, I am just a baby when it comes to eventing and I think it would be awesome to be able to watch her and have her occasionally school my horse.
Barn 2) A much larger barn, very busy. My trainer can come in. A friend is already there. This would be pasture board and I'd save about $100-$120/month over barn 1. Horse would be in with a group of 6 other geldings. They have a heated main barn where you can tack up and a heated arena that has mirrors. (Something I have been longing for). I could store my trailer there for an extra $25/month. I think my horse would really love being on pasture all the time. This barn has a huge outdoor, small cross country course and access to trails. My friend who is here and I go to shows together (I haul her) so it would be nice to be where she is. On the down side, it's about a half hour from my house. But between my house and work so if I was organized enough, I could go there after work.
The reason I am putting this out there is I really cannot make a decision. Husband has given me the go-ahead for either barn and says we'll find a place to rent to store the trailer if I go to barn 1. I have to admit, I really, REALLY like being very close to the horse. OTOH, barn 2 has a lot to offer, I can get lost in the crowd, my friend is there and so on.
If barn 1 will let you watch and or audit lessons/rides then I vote for barn 1. The learning experience/opportunities would be huge in my mind. Plus it's a smaller, closer knit place where more individual attention will be given to your horses needs. Not saying that Barn 2 wouldn't pay attention, just that sometimes you get lost in a crowd. Good luck they both sound great!
I'm all about turnout. My horse is simply a crazy mule without it. So for me, barn two would be the best option. If the owner of barn 1 is not your trainer, then it doesn't really seem that great of a deal to me -- especially if there is no or limited turnout.
Both have pastures, but Barn 2 has AMPLE pasture. I would say total they own about 200 acres. Barn 1 has 10-12 acres so probably 5 or so in pasture? What I think I might do is ask Barn 1 to keep me on their list and go with barn 2 for about a year or so, or until the masses drive me nuts.
Then, when I get some bills paid off and I am farther along in my training (we are not even jumping courses yet, just small gymnastics) I can relocate to barn 1. The owner of Barn 1 said I could tag along to any of her shows to see how it's done.
Since I am not planning on doing any major showing this year, barn 2 would be a good place I think since I failed to mention they also put on in-barn schooling shows. I really do think my horse will love 24 hour pasture. It's the only place he really wants to be. I also stopped blanketing my horse this year and I think he loved it. I know he moved around a lot more during the day without his blanket on.
True, I think we could get lost in the crowd but my pone will be in with only 6 other horses and I ride just about 5-6 days a week. So, I can keep my eye on him.
I much prefer the smaller barns after having been in both. I like knowing every single person there very well. They all know my horses so they can spot if one is acting weird in a moment's glance (which is great since one is prone to colic!) When I was at a barn that had 60+ boarders I didn't know half the people there at all and they sure didn't know my horses! But that's just my experience Both horses also prefer less activity (especially the one that's prone to colic lol) I also like having the horses close to home, though they are not close to me my mom is just 10 minutes down the road and knows horses well so it works out nicely. But hey JMO Ultimately you have to decide what's best for your horse. I know my one would love being outside all the time but the other one has about a 3 hour limit and then he sort of just stands at the gate and begs to come in. I guess I'm a little leary of pasture board because after having a horse injured when just turned out during the day our vet told us no turnout for him when ground is hard because if they run they can get stuck in holes that form when it's muddy and he really did a number on his tendon. It healed fine but after that we just turn out when the weather is okay. But that's just my experience. I'm sure if I had a horse injured in a stall I'd worry when they stayed in their stalls all day
What are your options at barn 2 if your horse is injured and needs to be in a stall, or if for some reason he needs to be taken off grass or have his grazing limited? Would a stall be immediately available, and if so what's the additional cost?
That would be my main concern with barn 2, because it otherwise sounds like a good option.
That said, I also like a smaller barn, so I would probably go with barn 1 for myself.
I would assume at Barn 1 the turn out is for most of the day. You are right, I settled on barn 2 for now. Here is why:
With all the activity going on, horse is exposed to more "stuff." For example, the outdoor is kind of up on a ridge, so when pasture horses are off on a run, we get some "training time" with excitement. Horses pulling carts, many horses coming and going to the trails, many horses in arena at once.
I felt my pone could use some exposure to many busy things.
At our current barn, pone is kind of herd bound. When I take him out of the field to work, he calls and watches.
I really do like them out to pasture and it will save on money. He's in with 4 and they have a "sick room" if a horse gets hurt/needs rest.
I think I will use the money saved on board (Over $150/month) from barn 1 to really hammer away at bills and to get extra lessons. Then in a year or so, see if Barn 1 will let me come. Then pone has had some time to get used to being away from the herd, seeing new things and we can go to close quiet place for some more intense work.
Thanks for your thoughts, it reminded me of the things I need to think of.
I think I will use the money saved on board (Over $150/month) from barn 1 to really hammer away at bills and to get extra lessons.
Bad news, you will probably have to use the money you save on the gas it takes to get to the barn 30 minutes away. When I moved from a barn 40 minutes from home to one that was 10 and gas was 3$ a gallon I saved almost $300 a month in gas. That doesn't include the savings on the wear and tear on my car as well as I got a whole extra hour in my day!