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  1. #1
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    Jan. 14, 2012
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    Default Unique Barn Offerings/Affordable Ways to Compete

    This is a question in response to another thread that mentioned WEF leases such as: http://www.castlewoodfarmsales.com/WEF_Leases.html

    I was wondering if anyone has stumbled upon other barns throughout the country that allow riders to show competitively, but through a unique program or for a more affordable rate. Or simply other specific barn suggestions (website?) that are high quality and attend shows, but are very affordable with regard to boarding, lessons, and fees.

    Where I live it seems to be black and white: you ride at a show barn for $1,500+ board alone, or you ride at a low-quality lesson factory with no chance to advance.

    As a spinoff, are certain areas of the country more affordable than others for competitive high quality riding? For example, showing around Virginia/Kentucky rather than New York/Connecticut? Or is the cost of an A horse show just what it is, not matter how many ways you slice it?

    Thanks for some input or suggestions!



  2. #2
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    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Westford, Massachusetts
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    This has nothing to do with showing, but as a parent, it would be great to have babysitting available at the barn. It could cost the BO nothing, employ some barn rat teens and reduce the number of unsupervised kids at barns...in addition to making it easier for boarders and lessoners with kids to ride.

    It could be as simple as parents having a place to list what times they would need a sitter at the barn and teens hanging around who need money for horse stuff signing up for slots. Extra cool if some of those teens were good students who might help the younger kids with homework for a higher pay rate .



  3. #3
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    Where I live I think there are show barns that have lesson horses you learn and show on. The $1500/month sounds about right if you own a horse and board it with a trainer who schools it in between giving you lessons; but I think it is quite a bit less if you use their horses. These are not necessarily "lesser" barns.

    What about a barn where you take lessons on a lesson horse, compete on that horse, and maybe catch rides on other barn horses (boarders' horses, etc.?)? Does that run a conflict about pro/am status?

    I don't know where you live but I could do more research in my area if you're interested.

    Doesn't showing on the A circuit require that you travel to certain shows? The expense of traveling longer distances would certainly offset any money you might save riding in a less pricey area, wouldn't it?

    ---------------------------------------------------------


    Why would there be unsupervised kids at a barn? What would they be doing there if not having lessons?

    I would think that would be a HUGE insurance issue!

    Why not just leave the kids at home and hire non-barn-rats to sit with them at home? Why haul them to a barn that isn't set up for babysitting--no playground, no playroom, no kids' rest room, etc. ???
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wellspotted View Post
    Why would there be unsupervised kids at a barn? What would they be doing there if not having lessons?

    I would think that would be a HUGE insurance issue!

    Why not just leave the kids at home and hire non-barn-rats to sit with them at home? Why haul them to a barn that isn't set up for babysitting--no playground, no playroom, no kids' rest room, etc. ???
    I don't even like to bring DS to DD's lessons where I am on the ground at all times. I can't fathom people thinking it is okay to bring children and leave them unattended while they ride. But I also have an issue with boarders who think it is great fun to bring loose pooches to the barn with them
    From AliCat518 "Seriously, why would you NOT put fried chicken in your purse?!"



  5. #5
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    Nov. 6, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canaqua View Post
    This has nothing to do with showing, but as a parent, it would be great to have babysitting available at the barn. It could cost the BO nothing, employ some barn rat teens and reduce the number of unsupervised kids at barns...in addition to making it easier for boarders and lessoners with kids to ride.

    It could be as simple as parents having a place to list what times they would need a sitter at the barn and teens hanging around who need money for horse stuff signing up for slots. Extra cool if some of those teens were good students who might help the younger kids with homework for a higher pay rate .
    I completely understand the need of mothers to get to have time to ride their horses, but I really think this would be impractical because barns are not set up to be safe babysitting venues. Also it would be a huge liability for the BO or trainer.



  6. #6
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    Aug. 15, 2003
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    Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeeHoney View Post
    I completely understand the need of mothers to get to have time to ride their horses, but I really think this would be impractical because barns are not set up to be safe babysitting venues. Also it would be a huge liability for the BO or trainer.
    Agreed. Nevermind those who enjoy barn time with as few kids around as possible.... if a barn I was at suddenly opened up babysitting and so suddenly had MORE kids around, I would probably have to barn shop....



  7. #7
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    Jul. 30, 2008
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    Agree with the above, babysitting is a complete liability issue, and probably would be annoying as well. At our barn, we don't have babysitters at the barn, but most of the mothers hire a few of the barn teens to pick their kids up/bring to barn if they ride, or have them come to their house while the parents ride. Still orchestrated through barn people, but has no liability issues with the barn itself and the kids aren't being watched at the barn.

    As far as cheaper options for showing, that program that OP posted seems awesome for WEF. I can't really help as I've never heard of anything like that but it's something I would definitely consider doing as I don't have a show horse right now!

    ETA, I think the price of an A show is the price of an A show. BUT, most of the bigger, more recognized shows will have higher hotel/travel costs because of the area they're in. And if you're going to shows that are farther away obviously your trailer fees are going to be more, depending on where you live. But I don't think the shows themselves are much different in price.



  8. #8
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    I see nothing that says anybody thinks they can bring their children and turn them loose free-range while mom rides. She's saying that it would be nice to have a babysitting option at the barn so you can ride and get babysitting in the same place. The babysitter is watching the kids.

    I think it is a great idea and some farms it could work, like ones with a large lounge area. Stick some yard sale toys, a TV with kid DVDs and some juice boxes in there, babyproof and give instructions for babysitter not to let the kid leave the room. Then mom only has to pay for a sitter while she's with horse, not for her driving time back and forth, etc.

    Not saying there are NO liability issues but it would be a nice option.



  9. #9
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    I can't really speak to the costs of showing issue but as far as baby sitting at a barn-

    It would work at some places. I could foresee it working at my current barn, since it has a seperate lounge area near the tack room, nice restroom, it is warm, well lit, has a small kitchen etc. But one thing I have noticed is the barns I have boarded at that have a set up for it don't seem to have many people with kids. In the last two years at this barn I have only known of one boarder that had a kid. The barn I was at previously wasn't set up very well for kids and there were tons of them. No clue why that is other than price ranges of each barn maybe.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by blairasb View Post
    Agreed. Nevermind those who enjoy barn time with as few kids around as possible.... if a barn I was at suddenly opened up babysitting and so suddenly had MORE kids around, I would probably have to barn shop....
    Yup. That's what websites like www.care.com are for.
    "It is not necessary for you to let everyone know everything about you. In fact, it is probably wise that you don't. There are some things that you need only discuss with God."



  11. #11
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    Ehh, I think babysitting at a barn could work with a responsible teenage baby sitter and a minimum age at which the service would be offered. BO could set up a lounge area as another poster suggested, or maybe a basketball hoop outside (a safe distance away from the barn, of course). Could also be an opportunity for a teen to teach kids basic grooming skills on a little pony.
    "A horse gallops with his lungs, perseveres with his heart, and wins with his character." - Tesio



  12. #12
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    Aug. 12, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donkerbruin View Post
    Ehh, I think babysitting at a barn could work with a responsible teenage baby sitter and a minimum age at which the service would be offered. BO could set up a lounge area as another poster suggested, or maybe a basketball hoop outside (a safe distance away from the barn, of course). Could also be an opportunity for a teen to teach kids basic grooming skills on a little pony.
    That's pretty much what I was thinking of. In fact, I had that experience, informally, at one barn. DS10 has lost interest in riding, but he used to take lessons. His lessons were only 1/2 an hour, so I'd be there longer than his lesson lasted. One of the older teens hanging around took an interest in him and would help him do things with his favorite pony, have him help her with some basic chores, sit around and talk about bugs and dragons with him. He was old enough (8 at the time) to sit quietly with a DS game or a book in the tackroom and wait for me, but it was sure nice for him to do something better than that. Teen was doing it because she enjoyed it and wasn't looking for pay, but I used to give her "tips" and nice Christmas presents and occaisional other random gifts.

    Sometimes you can't practically arrange to leave a child home (like with mine having a lesson). His school was also very close to the barn, it made sense for me to leave work, pick him up at school and go directly to the barn.

    I don't think anyone would want to bring a baby or toddler to the barn, I know I wouldn't be able to focus on what I was doing, but for school aged kids who can follow rules, having something for them to do other than hang around and play video games would be great. Sometimes you are stuck...spouse working late, can't find sitter, horse still needs to be ridden. My son was pretty good about coming along and behaving, but it wasn't much fun for him sometimes. He'll be old enough in the near future to leave home alone for a couple of hours, so he'll get that option soon. I'd pay a small fortune to have a high school student help him with his math homework while I was riding! He argues with me about it, but is good when other people help. There are picnic tables around, they could easily sit there and work on math without getting in anyone's way.



  13. #13
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    Jan. 14, 2012
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    I should change the name of this thread lol...
    that's okay, I'm glad you guys are getting answers



  14. #14
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    It is much more affordable if you board at a regular boarding barn and then trailer in for lessons.

    This also gives you the option to trailer in to different trainers for lessons, depending on which suits your needs best at the time (ie, one trainer for your four year old Baby Green horse and one for your Junior Hunter, a dressage trainer once a week if you are so inclined, etc), as well as greater control over what happens when a horse gets sold.

    You can also "hibernate" in the off season and not be paying creme-de-la-creme board in months when you aren't showing anyway or everyone has left you behind while they go to Fla.

    Once you go "trailer in" you'll never go back!



  15. #15
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    Mar. 7, 2012
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    Echoing the trailering in method. I found a nice, respected barn that was offering $250 field board or $375 stall board, rather than $1500 training board at my trainer's with a $25 haul-in fee. In my opinion, and in most cases (though not all) horses are happier in the field. Even after factoring in the trailer, gas, insurance, and time, I would save loads and be able to show more-saving $1000+ a month!



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by equestrian13 View Post
    I should change the name of this thread lol...
    that's okay, I'm glad you guys are getting answers
    I know...I'm sorry I inadvertently derailed your thread by hitting what is, apparently, a "hot button" emotional topic regarding kids at the barn. I tried to give a "thinking outside of the box" suggestion, since no one else was answering. Became a busy thread, anyway .



  17. #17
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    Aug. 16, 2012
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    Is castle wood farm the ONLY place that leases for WEF? I wish I knew of some others



  18. #18
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    I completely agree that boarding your horse at a more economical facility and then trailering out for lessons and clinics is a great option. However, the savings will be offset by the cost of a truck and trailer (plus maintenance) if you do not already own these items. I also think that you need to be at a certain level with your riding, horse management and grooming skills to be able to do this effectively. You also need to have more time on your hands to be doing all the stuff that a show barn would otherwise be doing for you, plus trailering each time you want a lesson, which is more time consuming than just showing up at the barn. In some areas there also are occasionally trainers who will come and teach at outside facilities. More horse dense areas are going to have a wider variety of barns and trainers to choose from to make it easier to put together a program like this.

    Back to the child care idea...not to be a wet blanket, but offering child care is NOT a simple thing, or a reasonable thing to expect a barn to do. For a business to offer child care each state has a long list of laws and regulations that have to be followed. Who is qualified to provide child care, what is required for a "safe" environment for child care, etc. Additional insurance would be necessary as well. AND, having on-site child care exposes the owners of boarded horses to additional liability. For example, let's say little Suzie wanders off from her caretaker and into the aisle where she gets stepped on by a horse, the owner of that horse could be considered liable.

    One thing is for sure, though, there are a lot more ways to advance with your riding than boarding at a barn that costs $1500/mo. and showing on the A circuit. "High quality riding" is something that is earned with lessons and hard work and is not something that is in any way exclusive to A show barns.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by meupatdoes View Post
    It is much more affordable if you board at a regular boarding barn and then trailer in for lessons.

    This also gives you the option to trailer in to different trainers for lessons, depending on which suits your needs best at the time (ie, one trainer for your four year old Baby Green horse and one for your Junior Hunter, a dressage trainer once a week if you are so inclined, etc), as well as greater control over what happens when a horse gets sold.

    You can also "hibernate" in the off season and not be paying creme-de-la-creme board in months when you aren't showing anyway or everyone has left you behind while they go to Fla.

    Once you go "trailer in" you'll never go back!
    I'm so looking forward to doing this. I've bought the towing vehicle, now I just need the trailer.

    I like working with a trainer, but I also value my independence. Boarding else where and shipping in is ideal for me.



  20. #20
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    Another good cost saver if you can't afford the shows your high dollar trainer attends is to take lessons with the best trainer you can find/afford and go to the shows by yourself (or in my case, with your horse show mom to video you). Take the video to your next lesson for a critique and spend 5 minutes of your hour getting feedback on your show.

    I did this a lot as a kid and it is invaluable to be able to know how to walk a course and form a plan, ride your plan, and otherwise put yourself in the ring without incurring day fees, grooming fees, coaching fees, hotel splits, etc. These are all skills you should have anyway if your trainer is really good.

    Many trainers will work with you to keep costs low if you work hard on your own and just can't afford the program. Mine all treated me as part of the team even though I was barely a blip on the bottom line. Many times my jumper trainer subsidized my expenses in exchange for helping him. If he had not been so supportive I could never have gone to Florida, etc. and I will always be very grateful for the opportunities he gave me.



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