Would you board at a small facility with indoor & trails and most of the usual amenities, but not very many people? No resident trainer (tho' you could bring in yours, as needed). How important is the social aspect of riding to you? Would a quiet, child free, drama free barn be attractive? Or do you need the buzz of constant activity, watching lessons, a busy lunch room, etc.?
Just trying to get a bead on the population.
When you answer, care to share your age & goals as a rider?
I do not need or want a busy barn. I do find that I prefer a barn where there are some people around, sometimes seeing someone else tacking up is all the motivation I need. That said, I have boarded at a barn where I was usually there alone and I was perfectly happy. I'm in my mid 40's and a serious amateur trying to get to 2nd lever at least.
When I was looking for a place to board, I really didn't think much about the social aspect. I was more concerned about having stuff for the horse. However, in the 3 years that I've boarded there, we have developed a really nice social life. Most of it is very informal, but we trail ride together, go to shows together, have fun Christmas parties, and added a group exercise class this year. I like the fact that the boarders are a range of ages (19-70) but everyone gets along with everyone else. Definitely adds to my enjoyment of the horse.
There are some personality clashes but they have been worked out over time. I think we are quite tolerant of each other.
I'm a 60 yo amateur whose ultimate goal is to get a bronze medal in dressage.
The fewer people the better. I feel really uncomfortable at barns where there are lots of people always around, which translates into lots of cliques and clans with the inevitable gossip and drama. I've been in those before.
I like it where I am now. Since mid Nov of last year, I have seen other boarders there (at the same time as I) exactly thrice. Two were current boarders riding, the other a new boarder dropping off her horse. My only concern is being alone if I get hurt.
I am mid 40s with short term goal of going BN and long term to go N and maybe hunt a few times.
I'm 18, and an aspiring event rider, but I grew up riding at said small, boarding barn with no trainer (my mother owned it, we had maybe 5 or 6 boarders max, 10 stall barn, lots of trails and an indoor). Once a week my trainer would drive over for a lesson. I've always liked to just have alone time with my horse, no worries of other people looking over my shoulder or judging, and I do like having the ring to myself. I also tend to be pretty judgmental of other people's riding so the few times that I have hung out at a busier barn, I have to keep my mouth shut and it becomes a whole lot less fun. (Yes, I'm one of those people that will sit at shows and comment on other people's riding, a bit snarky but at least I accept it and it drives me to do better so people can say good things rather than bad )
Even when I've worked at bigger barns, one was a training barn, no clients except when we were showing horses, just the usual crew, drama free even if it was a lot of work, and now I'm once again working at a small facility, only two boarders, the trainer goes elsewhere to teach so I don't have to deal with the drama and I can ride alone or just enjoy hacks out with my boss/trainer or one of the boarders (both are college students, keeping their horses here on a more short term basis)
I love a barn with some activity level. I don't think I could stand just having my horse in my own back yard with nobody to ride with. I would find it hard to be motivated. My horses would probably enjoy it.
I love having people around, having ladies' night with barn friends, having big Christmas parties and bonfires roasting marshmallows, going on trail rides with a group.
It makes things interesting and fun provided you have the right group or people.
Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. Bernard M. Baruch
Oh, I would LOVE a quiet, child free, drama free barn. If I ever open a barn, it is going to be geared toward the serious AOT working a show horse. Offer care suitable to a showhorse without having to be in a trainer's program.
29, have competed on regional and national level, goal is to get my new horse equitated and compete in one of the adult finals in a couple years. Currently boarding at about the only saddlebred/saddle seat show horse friendly barn in my area but it's absolutely innundated by poorly behaved children (big lesson program....). I schedule my trips to the barn early in the morning or later in the evenign because otherwise you have to plan working your horse around beginner lessons, young boarders riding who don't really follow arena rules too well, etc....
I actually rather dislike socializing at the barn. People always try to wrap me up in their dramas and stories when all I want to do is enjoy my horse time. The place I board at has been getting some new boarders and I've (selfishly) feel a little bothered by the extra activity and by their somewhat dangerous behavior. They're new to the horse world and are overconfident in their abilities - it's an accident waiting to happen. I don't enjoy riding with most people, but then again I'm also hugely antisocial, so I don't generally like being around other people anyway.
I'm in my early 30's. I don't show right now but one day I'd like to win a bronze medal on Dressage, win a training level blue ribbon in eventing and maybe win a distance ride.
So IOW if I were looking for a boarding facility I would be disinclined to go to a busy barn.
I love having some activity at the barn. I am at a small private barn so most of the people there are kids, but they are nice and are respectful towards others. I don't need to talk but love that there is activity around me.
When I rode at a barn, I enjoyed the AM lesson crowd. Less than ten of us with like goals, some college students all the way up the to BO who was better than 65 and still making up hunters from OTTB. The IHSA girls were great, but I didn't care for the afternoon and Saturday lesson crowd because it was a crowd - similar to what Blairasb said. I also remember coming around the corner into the occasional altercation, and that was just . . . icky.
Right now I am riding pony at the trainer's and it's just me and the trainer doing other things, which is fine, but I do like chit chatting with the Thursday lesson gang of older ladies like me, 45 to 65. It's a group I can talk to about horses and we share the same goals of light showing as well as aches and pains, in my case I'm trying to equip the pony with the ability to be shown, as a trail rider's racking pony he has very fuzzy transitions and is unclear on the aids for transitions, then the plan is to work on trail obstacles and general desensitization. Things are slower now but we used to have potluck at the summer shows, easter egg hunts on the farm open to the public, a Christmas potluck, plenty to keep busy with the junior program. I'd be in heaven if we had barn trail rides at Shakertown but trail riding is more my goal than anyone else's.
To answer yout title I find a social life to be moderately important, in terms of providing me with some motivation, a little competition perhaps, but having like minded people is also very important. I'm a little too independent for full training but still need help.
Last edited by ReSomething; Jan. 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM.
I used to think I wanted a small, quiet barn....until I joined a huge, busy barn swarming with kids. It's the best move I've ever made. It may be psychological flooding, but Fella and I are much more relaxed and have much more fun there. I've unclenched significantly -I think the stick fell out!
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
I like the barn I am at now...Mostly, well almost all, adults and zero drama for the most part. There is enough activity to be friendly, but not so much as to be interfering. I am not alone, but not so crowded as to feel constrained.
I like a fairly active barn with access to a good trainer. I like having people around - the kind that are so involved with enjoying their own horses that they don't have time to create and sustain barn drama. I do not mind the children at my current barn as they are as nice and polite a group as one could wish for. I'm in my mid-50's and primarily trail ride.
I board at a barn like that (no indoor but there aren't many indoors in Georgia I found!). Often, I'm the only person there with my horse when I go out there. Which is both good (it's quiet and I don't mind having the time with my horse without worrying about being in someone else's way) and bad (my last barn almost always had someone around when I was there and it was nice to have someone to ride with and/or talk to).
While I sometimes love being at the barn all by myself and pretending I own the barn and all of the horses (haha), I do enjoy having a good barn crew to hang out with and hack out together. It keeps me motivated as a amateur in college, even if the other people are 16 or 60.
I also found that as a child, I was always more happy and willing to talk to a 60 year old than my other 12 year old non-barn friends. Horses really bridge the gap between age
I really prefer a social barn. I love riding and talking with others at the barn. Where I am at now is really quiet and I often ride alone and it's very unmotivating to arrive at the barn everyday to find it deserted. This is actually the reason I am planning on changing barns. Other than that this barn/trainer situation works for me, but I really dislike being at the barn alone every day.
I used to board at a large training facility, and I'll never do that again - too much drama for me. Now, I have two of my horses at my quiet barn at home (along with a few retirees (with well-meaning but rarely visiting owners)), and I have both a trainer that comes in to work with me, and I also haul out to our BNT about every other week to get her excellent input. My baby is at my best friend's barn, so that's some additional horse socializing opportunity. As a busy adult, I find that it all adds up to enough.
I used to not understand why some prefer to ride alone and really not care much about a barn social scene until I found myself alone at the barn most of the time.
Now I understand, and I would rather not have it any other way.
I did that for a while, and found that I like to be around people. I can generally ignore those I find to be annoying. The last barn, a training barn with primarily adults was great. In general, I can do w/o hunter ponies and kids.
ETA: I'm a confirmed, card carrying introvert, but have still found that I like some noise in the barn.
Last edited by red mares; Jan. 22, 2013 at 09:10 AM.