Have any H/J riders had success boarding at a facility with no ring?
I just heard of a situation today that might allow a great field boarding opportunity with a large run-in shed plus storage barn with running water and electricity, but no ring. I might be able to section off a portion of the field for riding though. There is also access to a ton of trails, and it's just a short hack to a barn with an indoor that may be available for rent, or it's a short trailering distance to a public riding facility that definitely offers unlimited ring use for a monthly fee. I'm not sure if I should jump on it or not, but the benefits are:
Less expensive board- even if I were to opt for full care and/or pay for multiple horses
My horse does better on 24-7 turn out anyway
It's closer to home
And the horse situation is this, I trailered out for lessons & shows all last summer and fall and never jump at home alone unless it's just an x on a circle or something. I may even end up transitioning current horse to a hack/trail/companion horse anyway and eventually get a new project. Third horse would be a tiny pony for my son that rides and drives- and will need to be muzzled or kept in a "sacrifice" area of the otherwise lush grass pasture.
Have any other "suburban horse wives" out there had success in a situation where they don't have a ring but they do okay shipping out for the most part? Or riding in a grass ring/pasture at home in between?
And this same situation would actually apply if my husband and I were to ever end up getting our own land as well since we were looking at only 3-5 acre properties, so it's good to think of now even if I don't go with this particular opportunity!
It sounds like you have everything you need-- access to trails and an indoor.... and keeping the show horse out 24/7, as God intended.
I can't tell you how often I have compromised on TO with a horse in order to get the other stuff I needed for his career. My TO standards are high, but you can almost *never* find a place that will give you 24/7 out-ness and good facilities.
Am I missing anything else? Can you get a farrier to come to you for one horse? Can you close Show Machine in for a night if you want him to stay clean? And do you realize that 90% of the training/conditioning you need to do is flat work..... which you an do in a field or on the trail?
If there aren't any other big holes in the situation I haven't seen, I'd say take it!
I was in a similar situation a while ago when I was looking for a new boarding place. Cute, little barn, good care, 24/7 hay in a hay hut and good fencing and about $100 cheaper than most other places around here but no ring. I dont have a trailer so hauling in and out isnt an option.
Anyways, I checked out the field I would be riding in and it was OK when the weather was perfect and not causing the field to be frozen, muddy, or drought condition hard as a rock.....which means I probably would have questional footing almost all the time with our weather patterns! Also, someone told me that turf that is grazed on doesnt work as footing because of some reason or another but she convinced me it wasnt a good idea. However.....being able to trailer somewhere else would make a difference.
If your footing is likely to get concrete-like in the summer, and you anticipate that you will be wanting to ride consistently in the summer, then I would suggest you make certain-sure you have ring access. I'm in MD and prefer to do most of my work outside the ring, and the footing is, for me, the limiting factor.
It sounds like it could be a really good fit if the "maybes" you mention become "absolutelys."
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Thank you for the vote of encouragement To answer your questions, I will have to look into a farrier but I believe that it is much closer for my old farrier (who dropped our barn because of distance) so he may be a possibility, and I'm sure my friend who boards at the other nearby farm would have another recommendation if need be. It is ALSO within throwing distance from my vet's office! Show Machine is on the fritz right now and up in the air career wise, but yes, the run in actually has the option of shutting a stall door for the night and to boot, most of our shows are away, overnight shows with stabling!
It probably depends on your location but we have always kept our horses on our little farm, it has a fenced in grass arena and two large fields to ride on. My DD has had some pretty good success with all her horses/ponies with this set up. She trailers herself out 1x or 2x a week for lessons if we're not showing. If it is a show week, she schools at home, then will lesson at the horseshow before showing. We do try to move to a barn with an indoor for winters, as we're in the Northeast.
I will tell you that DD and all her mounts over the years have learned to perform well in any type of ring and footing. We do have all the horses's shoes drilled for studs, so they can be ridden even when the ground is a little loose. If we have torrential weather, we're sunk but do have quick access to some indoor arenas within 10 - 20 minutes from the house.
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agreed on the footing in parts of the country (In FL it was never an issue, but here in GA... concrete has nothing on sun baked GA clay)... also jumps in the turn out pasture are like the most irresistible chew and play toys ever given to a horse, so that is kind of annoying.
But for YEARS I leased barns that had no ring and managed to get myself to rated shows, so it can be done. But it is a lot easier when the horse in question is flexible in his prep routine. For instance, if it was concrete hard or slippery-wet, I could skip my jump school(s) before a show and my horse was old/experienced/easy enough that it didn't hurt us... when he was younger/greener, the same was not true.
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I have boarded on 2 places in the last 7 years with no real ring. It really depends on the land. The last place I boarded at had a field that was a designated riding ring. It also had plenty of room to roam. It worked okay for me; the riding area was fairly flat and I could make it work. The current place I board at has a tiny indoor. The field surrounding it is the designated outdoor riding area. The land is all on a slope; there is no flat place to really set up a course on. I am really not happy there. I can trailer out but I work full time and many nights I just want to ride at home. I think I would be happy there if I could hack to a decent ring though.
This thread is so timely. I am going to be doing just what you speak of. I'm not worried about it at this point. I agree with everything mvp said. Plus I think show horses don't get hacked out as frequently as they should anyway.
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You know, a bona fide Show Machine is a great candidate for this place. That's true because the horse is broke enough to be able to do good flatwork anywhere. Also, JMHO, but I think these campaigners have *earned that*. If you haven't kept one outside before, you don't know what they are missing. It does a lot to extend their useful life.
My trainer keeps all of her show horses outside 24/7. They do just fine - in fact i think they thrive. She has both a sand arena and a grass arena....lately we've actually been using the grass arena more because the footing has been BETTER than the sand one given all the rain we've been having. That's partly because she hadn't had time to drag the sand arena (it is huge so takes forever to drag properly).
I think as long as you have a flattish area to ride you'll be fine. My lease guy, who also showed jumpers, was kept in a place with a grass riding "area" in the horses field and it was only a problem when the footing was super wet.
I truly feel it is so much better for horses state of minds to be kept out 24/7. In my experience there are far fewer high maintenance/difficult horses out west, and I honestly feel thats because they get 24/7 turnout and live as "naturally" as is possible when a horse is domesticated.
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I think that the new situation sounds like it would be perfect!
I grew up with grass "arenas" and 24/7 turnout for my ponies. Even when I had a stall, I let my ponies use it as a run-in.
The only thing I find uncomfortable to ride on is a hillside or uneven, bunchy tallish grass---and I have even made those work in the past.
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Supershorty recently posted her weekly schedule for training on another thread (I think its title was what is your weekly routine, or actually, I think it was "what do the top show horses do") and most of her training took place outside of a ring! And I would consider her very successful.
My old barn had an indoor that was filled with a round pen (the barn owner primarily did training/starting young horses) and the outdoor had terrible footing, so I almost always rode in a vacant pasture or on the trails, and it was great. The only issue was winter; if it was fluffy snow, I could ride in the pasture still (and it's super fun to go gallop through fresh fluffy snow!), but if it got frozen and hard packed, that would screw up my riding plans for a while. So while pasture board and a field to ride in and trails are all perfectly ideal for me, consider what you'll do in the winter if you still want to ride then.
Now, I'm in Ocala so take this with a grain of salt, but most of my friends (and a number of well-known trainers) do not have arenas. We all ride out on the grass. Eventually, I will put in an outdoor and a covered arena, but for the moment, the grass field is suiting me just fine!
Based on the specifics of your situation, it sounds like this could be a great match for you!
Best of luck!
Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.
I kept my horse at home for several years. Backyard, no ring. Access to trails (then, not now - the traffic has increased exponentially in 30+ years). If your horse is [at least] green-broke and level-headed, I believe you accomplish just as much and have a far happier horse by doing your schooling out on the trail. For starters, you can set stuff up so leg yielding makes sense - there's a tree/fence/ prickerbush in front of me. Ditto for backing. 'Stuff' happens - birds, squirrels, & heaven knows what else - horse learns 'whatever doesn't eat me is OK'.