Moving to Virginia, investigating boarding opperations!
I am a new member to these forums but I've heard nothing but glowing things from friends of mine. I read the forum rules and I hope I am putting this in the right place -- I am looking for boarding solicitations on this thread!
I presently live and board my gelding in Los Angeles, CA. I'm going to be moving to the Fairfax/Herndon area of Virginia very shortly - probably December or early January at the latest and my horse is coming along!
The quick move is for a work opportunity so I'm trying to do as much homework as possible in terms of finding a place to immediately board my horse while not knowing the area at all.
I could always leave him behind in training for a month while I find a barn but I would rather bring him with me as soon as possible because he is my heart and I would miss him terribly.
To keep it simple, here are a list of things I would very much love to find (while realizing I may not get all of them)
- Indoor or covered arena for winter months
- Lighted arena for night riding
- Access to trails
- Blanketing services available
- Daily turn out
- FRIENDLY boarders and owners/trainers
- Well trained, friendly dogs welcome
- Under or around $700/mo
- Professionally managed with horses checked throughout the day for issues or signs of illness/colic
- Show barn not required - I want to just get used to the area and enjoy my horse on the trails for a while and get acclimated.
- Jumps available in the ring and/or out on trail (less important for immediate move in)
My horse is a 10 y/o Swedish Warmblood hunter gelding who is sweet as pie. I've never lived in snow or outside of California (let alone boarded a horse there) so this is all very new to me.
I need a barn flexible enough that I can come visit every day or take a few days to a week off for business travel every once in a while and my horse will be well cared for.
Congrats on the move! Coming from California, hopefully you won't find the traffic gridlock overwhelming.
There are a bazillion threads on boarding in the NOVA area - do a search and you will see lots of great ideas. I was pulled kicking and screaming out of Virginia several years ago because of hubby's job...I miss the area terribly. A fantastic horse area with great horse people. You may also want to pose this question in the Off Course forum.
Since I no longer live there, I'm of no value to recommend where to board. The only suggestion that I might make is to consider leaving your guy behind for a bit. Get yourself into VA and take your time looking around for the best fit. Years ago, I made the mistake of moving my horse with me right away when I made a multi-state move and I regretted it. Not only did I uproot ~him~ from his home, in my haste to have him with me, I selected a boarding facility that really wasn't a fit - for either of us and I moved him again after 30 days. That was tough on him and me. If he is currently well cared for, take a few extra weeks to do your homework. If that's an option, I would do that.
Get yourself into VA and take your time looking around for the best fit. Years ago, I made the mistake of moving my horse with me right away when I made a multi-state move and I regretted it. Not only did I uproot ~him~ from his home, in my haste to have him with me, I selected a boarding facility that really wasn't a fit - for either of us and I moved him again after 30 days. That was tough on him and me. If he is currently well cared for, take a few extra weeks to do your homework. If that's an option, I would do that.
Thank you for your responses! As soon as I posted this I saw all the "similar topics" listed on the page and felt a little silly. Oh well, chalk it up to being a newb
I actually REALLY appreciate your advice on leaving him behind for a little bit. I was thinking about that but agonized over missing him and feeling "guilty" leaving him behind even if it was only for a short time.
I made a pros/cons list and have many more pros than cons for leaving him in California for an extra month or two in training at my current barn while I scout out the area and take barn tours first.
One thing I do think I need to do is schedule his shipping with a specific date, even if I don't necessarily know the exact barn. I'm just afraid if I don't bring him out right away that something may come up that delays his move even longer.
Anyways, hearing that from the experience if someone who has been there really does make me feel better about the idea of leaving him behind for a month. Thank you!
Good luck finding all of that for < $700 a month. Horses up here are expensive.
When I moved up to the DC/Nova area, I was lucky, the mare had already been moved out to eat cheap Indiana grass a year or so before and I didn't have to deal with her until later. Moving is a PITA. Turned out the lovely condo I was renting had a hot water heater with a bad pilot light & the master electrical breaker was shot. I showered at work for a week. So glad I didn't have to deal with a horse too.
I know you want him out here ASAP, but I would wait to set a date until you find a barn. You might find that the barn you want has a 30 day wait or something like that. I would move all but the essential tack to my house & have the mover's pack it.
I'll second those who suggest you leave your gelding where he is during the move. I think being able to actually visit the barn before making the move is really important (I say this as a former army brat who moved horses quite a bit). I was going to warn you about how awful traffic can be around here, but since you are coming from LA my guess is you're a traffic pro hehe.
If you are living in Fairfax/Herndon, you might be able to find all of your requirements around $700 if you're willing to do a little bit of driving. Welcome to NOVA!
I just moved the opposite direction after my whole 32 y in VA. Luckily, you will have TONS more choices in farms of every size, shape, color and distance than I am finding right now here in Wash.
So, there really aren't any places in Fairfax Co. There used to be, 15-20 y ago, but not really much anymore. Most are west and south (& north) of you. It depends on how far you want to drive- most will involve a commute of at least 30 mins without traffic.
I'd probably cross post on Hunters and ask about barns in Loudoun, Fauquier (pronounced Faw-keer , Prince William and then, if you can stand to drive, Montgomery County, MD.
And the wise, Jack Daniels drinking, slow-truck-driving, veteran TB handler who took "no shit from no hoss Miss L, y'hear," said: "She aint wrapped too tight."
The closest I've come to a situation like the one you want was in Great Falls (15 min from Herndon), and it had everything you listed except the indoor. It was $750/ month. There are a few larger boarding operations left in Fairfax County, but I'm not sure you will find exactly what you are looking for - that said, check out Southdown Farm in Great Falls (lighted outdoor, indoor, jumps and trails). Once you're a part of the NOVA community and start to make contacts, you may be able to find a smaller, private operation that might be a better fit for your needs (and cheaper) than a large boarding barn. If you know where to look, there are a lot of barns like this in the Vienna/Oakton/Fairfax Station/Great Falls area. Some even have access to indoors or lighted rings. There are also several county parks (Frying Pan Park in Herndon has an indoor, 3 outdoors and a XC course; Turner Farm in Great Falls has a jumping ring, dressage ring and XC course) in the vicinity, so if you have a trailer or can catch a ride with someone, not having an indoor or lighted ring on your property isn't the end of the world.
If you don't mind driving, you'll have a lot more options out toward Middleburg, Leesburg, and Manassas/Centreville. Just be warned, traffic in the DC area is TERRIBLE. If you are driving out west from Fairfax, expect at least an hour commute out to "real" horse country.
That said, NoVA is a WONDERFUL area for horses. Middleburg, Leesburg, the Plains, etc are prime hunt country, and even Fairfax county, which is much more developed, has a strong suburban horse presence - lots of 2-5 acre properties with horses in the backyard with community rings and trails.
Good luck! Feel free to PM with more specific questions.
Northern Virginia, 45 minutes east of paradise - 2 hrs during rush hour
I don't have personal experience with them but Something Stable in Catharpin is close by Reston and would at least get you through the winter. They have a covered arena and the property used to be a big time dressage place. I don't know what kind of trails they have but they are close to the Manassas BattleField. Their full board is $650. http://www.somethingstable.com/
"The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"
"...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x
You might try to line up something temporary and cheaper for the short term while you shop around once you get here. Else, you may find yourself having to pay double board at big $$$.
I just moved to the area (Fairfax County) about 2 weeks ago, my mare was shipped out a few days after I arrived but she's at a temp place while i look for something more permanent. Another COTHer moved her horse to the same farm while she looked (a day before my horse arrived) and found a place within days to move her boy to.
I think you'll want to actually get here and check stuff out before you sign the dotted line.
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
Buddyroo, I thought you settled on a place here. I know of a place in Potomac, MD which might be too far for you but just in case... Pretty basic, no frills place, excellent care and no requirements for showing, lessons, or horses to be in training. It is an older place showing its age but again, care is excellent. Friendly boarders and all that stuff.
One thing to also keep in mind it is winter and boarding facilities might have a waiting list so you might have to give up some on your wish list, temporarily, if the perfect place doesn't have a stall.
Do you HAVE to have a stall? I personally prefer my horses (eventers) to be out 24/7 and they just DO better, they stay moving, their minds stay active, they have shelter if they need it, and their shed is even divided so I can still feed them separately. They are still blanketed, checked, etc, everything they need, every day.
Do you HAVE to have an indoor? I mean, they are nice at times, but it's not upstate New York (even though I live in NC now, I spent three years in VA), but I will always choose riding outside and there are very few days I really can't do ANYTHING. All horses need some days off anyway. Plus it forces me to be creative and add variety to just working in circles which is always good for your horse too.
I know some horses and riders are just hothouse flowers and want controlled conditions (although it's usually just the rider) but the area you will be in, while it does get snow and ice, is not the arctic plains (although you may feel that way your first winter, LOL) and is certainly more hospitable in winter than say, the Sierras (don't know what part of CA you are from).
Just some thoughts that may widen your options and lower your price.