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Stockholm spinoff: full service vs. DIY?

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  • Stockholm spinoff: full service vs. DIY?

    The Stockholom Syndrome thread got me thinking... how many of you ride at full-service barns, vs. "get ready yourself" barns?

    I'm 34 years old and have been riding since I was 5, lessons at various barns growing up and as an adult, one with a BNT, and am now on my second horse of my own... now granted, I've never been a "show" rider, but it wasn't until I started hanging out on the COTH forums that I realized full-service barns (where you don't groom/tack your own horse) even EXISTED.

    Seriously, it still baffles me that a rider wouldn't be expected to catch, groom, tack up, and cool out her own horse, whether it's her OWN horse or a schoolie... that's always been the expected norm, everywhere I've ridden. I occasionally teach beginner lessons at my current barn, and for a new student's first few months, at least HALF their lesson is spent learning the parts of the horse and tack, how to groom, pick hooves, properly tack up/untack, etc., whether the student is 5 years old or 50. It's just part of making someone into a RIDER-- the actual riding portion is only part of the equation.

    Honestly, I can't comprehend the concept of showing up at the barn, being handed my ready-to-go Horsie, riding around for 45 minutes, handing him back over to a groom, and heading home. Don't get me wrong, I love the riding part of my time at the barn, but if you took everything else away, I think going to the barn would feel more like another errand or something... I mean, how else do you bond with your horse than through all that time spent grooming, hand-grazing, mane pulling, etc., etc.???

    I'm not trying to "dis" anyone who's in the full-service arrangement; I just really don't understand it. Anyone care to educate me???
    *friend of bar.ka

    "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"

  • #2
    Originally posted by cnvh View Post
    The Stockholom Syndrome thread got me thinking... how many of you ride at full-service barns, vs. "get ready yourself" barns?

    I'm 34 years old and have been riding since I was 5, lessons at various barns growing up and as an adult, one with a BNT, and am now on my second horse of my own... now granted, I've never been a "show" rider, but it wasn't until I started hanging out on the COTH forums that I realized full-service barns (where you don't groom/tack your own horse) even EXISTED.

    Seriously, it still baffles me that a rider wouldn't be expected to catch, groom, tack up, and cool out her own horse, whether it's her OWN horse or a schoolie... that's always been the expected norm, everywhere I've ridden. I occasionally teach beginner lessons at my current barn, and for a new student's first few months, at least HALF their lesson is spent learning the parts of the horse and tack, how to groom, pick hooves, properly tack up/untack, etc., whether the student is 5 years old or 50. It's just part of making someone into a RIDER-- the actual riding portion is only part of the equation.

    Honestly, I can't comprehend the concept of showing up at the barn, being handed my ready-to-go Horsie, riding around for 45 minutes, handing him back over to a groom, and heading home. Don't get me wrong, I love the riding part of my time at the barn, but if you took everything else away, I think going to the barn would feel more like another errand or something... I mean, how else do you bond with your horse than through all that time spent grooming, hand-grazing, mane pulling, etc., etc.???

    I'm not trying to "dis" anyone who's in the full-service arrangement; I just really don't understand it. Anyone care to educate me???
    I wonder the EXACT same thing every time go to an away show and see dozens of grooms passing by as I happily clean my horsey up and get him ready for the day. Don't get me wrong, there are some times when I'd really appreciate a person to grab my horse and give him a bath, especially in the heat when I'm overheated, or to hold him while I'm waiting for the hack, but to me, all of that is just a part of showing (or back home at the barn, for that matter.)

    I do know some people who don't use the full service option at their full service barns, but that's because they love bonding with their horses and want to do it all by their own.
    Originally posted by MistyPony
    In all my years of riding, gravity is the one thing that has never failed on me!

    Comment


    • #3
      I admit I am a younger adult, but I am on my third horse I have actually owned (please bear in mind that I still have #2 and have been around him his whole life...can't say I owned him his whole life as our ages are pretty much identical), have ridden more horses than I can count, trained several from first backing on up to showing etc. I do not claim to be an expert by ANY stretch of the imagination, but I have been around horses my whole life (in fact if you consider that I really should probably be a lot farther along )

      I have either always had my horses at home or boarded them somewhere where I did all the work or a decent chunk of it, often including their daily care while boarded. I also often worked at the barn taking care of other people's horses to pay for my board. Now I am at a really fancy barn where they actually bring my horse in from the pasture once a day for grain and then turn him back out when he's done. Nicest barn I've ever been at (though they mostly only offer full stall board)! I always have done my own grooming, tacking up, warming up, and cooling out. I know- I probably sound a little weird. I am not saying that it is the best way to go- it is just the way I have had to do it.

      I thought that barns where grooms did that for you only existed in really far off lands and fiction until I started reading COTH forums. It still is amazing to me. I would love to try it for a day, to see what it is like...then I probably would go back to my current situation. I am not saying that having things done for you is wrong, but like the OP I would miss the quality time grooming and just hanging out with my horses.
      My blog:

      RAWR

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      • #4
        I've been at both types of barns. Ones where you do everything (cleaning stalls, feeding, etc), and ones where you just showed up for your lesson and the horse was led from the barn to the ring. I liked them both, for different reasons.

        The barn where I had to do everything was a bit of a pain because I had to rearrange everything else to make time for things like feeding and the farrier. But, the barn where the horse was led out wasn't great either. It's not that the care wasn't fantastic, it's just that I'm extremely particular about things. The grooms could have done everything 100% the way I would have, but it still makes me feel better to groom, tack up, etc by myself. I'm just the type of person that feels better doing everything and knowing exactly what my horses mood is, if he has a bug bite, everything. It was nice though if I was running late because of practice or having to pick my little brother up from school to be able to call and have my horse ready for me when I pulled up 30 seconds before my lesson was supposed to start.

        I see the reason for the full service facility, and I don't look down on people that use it. Personally, I couldn't handle letting a group of lesson kids loose to get the horses ready. I'd have no problem teaching them, but I'd want to make sure everything was put on correctly by myself or a trusted groom when it came down to working the horses. If I were leasing a horse to someone I didn't really know, I'd rather have an assistant that I knew was good at wrapping, fitting tack, etc to get the horse ready than someone I wasn't sure about. And, well, people are busy. Bonding on the ground is great, but some people don't have a lot of time to be at the barn. If I only had 30 minutes a day during the week, I'd have someone else get the horse ready, and spend time bonding with them on the weekend.

        Comment


        • #5
          At home, I get my own horses ready and put them away after a lesson. At shows, I get some help as I have two going. I get one ready for myself and the groom gets the other ready and brings it to the ring. For pro rides, I often get them both ready myself. At the end of the day, I get some help taking braids out, but generally do the rest of the put up myself.

          The groom(s) is usually busy helping a couple of customers who, to put it nicely, are "getting a horse ready" challenged. I just try to stay out of the way and not add stress to my trainer's already hectic day. I'm perfectly capable of getting things done myself.

          Comment


          • #6
            When I had my horse I felt I boarded in the perfect in between.

            The barn workers mucked stalls, fed, turned out, brought in, fed supplements, and I was in charge of all the grooming, wraps, and riding.
            Check out my Equine Genetics Blog! Updated April 25th with Splashed White!!!
            http://equinegenetics.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              Part of the reason I OWN a horse is so I can do all the fun stuff that comes with riding! I love to groom, hand graze and go over my boy with a fine tooth comb. When looking around I found a full service barn I admit I was moritfied when I read " just call before your ride and we will have your horse ready and tacked for you !" on the website.

              I love that my barn now will feed, muck , turn out, and hold for the farrier.... and I trust them very much so.

              But leave the rest for me TYVM. I am pretty possessive, kinda like a jealous lover with my horse. I mean I spend a good 15-20 mins just LOVING on him , inbetween grooming and tacking up. Kissing him, talking to him, rubbing his eyes, blowing into his nose, giving him carrots. Its sick I know, but gosh I love this horse! After a especially long, hot and awesome lesson, I relished being able to hose him off till he was nice and cool. Then I stood with him while he dried in the breezy shade . I finished with a good currying , massaging his muscles, finishing it off with a soft brush till he shined. Best day EVER. To let someone else do that for me, its just unthinkable.
              Formally Marinewife91

              Comment


              • #8
                Learning to ride includes learning to do all of the things you do OFF the horses back as well as riding him/her.
                My daughters are younger and their emotional bond with their ponies makes riding them a more enjoyable experience.
                I do believe that as you get older and more experienced you can hop on other horses and make them "go" but when you first start out there is something about the bonding experience that helps you understand how a horse "works" even just grooming or tacking up a school horse helps the student become more in tune with their animal.
                I also am not dissing full service barns, but I do really believe that riders get the MOST out of doing the work themselves. Now I am not saying that in order to be a good rider you need to muck every stall or hold your own horse each time the farrier comes. but grooming, bathing, and bonding is best done between owner and horse IMHO.
                Kim
                If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

                Comment


                • #9
                  So far all the responses this morning seem to be from the DIY'ers. Perhaps the others are sleeping in while the grooms are getting their horses ready to ride. There are definately some mornings I really really wish I could just drive out to the barn and have some groom hand me my horse already groomed, saddled and ready to step up on.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I own a barn where full grooming/tacking up/after-lesson care, etc. is optional. Some people have limited time, and prefer to have their horse ready for them when they get here. Others prefer to do it themselves. My rates are structured so that DIYers CAN do it themselves, and those that want the full service pay an additional monthly fee for it. I firmly believe in giving people options, rather than dictating to them how they do things. I have several tiered, all-inclusive packages (grooming, lessons, training, combinations thereof, etc.) from which my clients may choose.

                    I have one client that lives and works over an hour away (two hours with traffic), and just can't get up here during the week. Up until this month, she was paying for full grooming. Recently, she and her husband have started coming up on Friday evening and spending the weekend (I have a fully appointed, 1,200-square foot lounge/apartment upstairs in my barn) so that she can spend more time with her horse. Plus, when she's here, she helps out around the barn so I told her not the pay the full grooming fee for the month. It works well for both of us.
                    Whoever said money can't buy happiness never owned a horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by hellerkm View Post
                      Learning to ride includes learning to do all of the things you do OFF the horses back as well as riding him/her.
                      Ok, flame suit going on, it's a good thing the sprinklers are still going!

                      Learning to ride does NOT include all the things that happen on the ground. Learning to ride is just that, learning to ride. That means everything that happens when sitting on the horse.

                      Learning HORSEMANSHIP is everything that happens on the ground. It's a seperate but NO LESS IMPORTANT part of the sport.

                      When you are skilled in both riding AND horsemanship, then you are a HORSEMAN.

                      There are many great riders who are NOT great horsemen. If you go to a full service barn, chances are you will end up in this category. Yes, full service barns provide a needed nitch in the industry (and provide me with a job!), but there's nothing that says a rider at a full service barn can't come and watch the grooms, ask questions, practice on their own time, and still learn everything. They are simply not interested in being horsemen, only a rider. It's a matter of initiative and personal choice.

                      Just my two cents.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I disagree with AHunterGal. I think that being a good rider involves understanding the complete horse. So many things affect a horse's behavior and performance under saddle that you cannot separate them. And in order to log the necessary hours to become a good rider, you are also spending a lot of hours around horses in general, and can't help but learn some horsemanship as well. Name 25 good riders and you'll probably name 25 people who live in the barn. And there probably are people who have always been at full service barns who ride well, but you will find that they cannot work through a really rough spot by themselves and rely heavily on the trainers.
                        Man plans. God laughs.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by "A"HunterGal View Post
                          Ok, flame suit going on, it's a good thing the sprinklers are still going!

                          Learning to ride does NOT include all the things that happen on the ground. Learning to ride is just that, learning to ride. That means everything that happens when sitting on the horse.

                          Learning HORSEMANSHIP is everything that happens on the ground. It's a seperate but NO LESS IMPORTANT part of the sport.

                          When you are skilled in both riding AND horsemanship, then you are a HORSEMAN.

                          There are many great riders who are NOT great horsemen. If you go to a full service barn, chances are you will end up in this category. Yes, full service barns provide a needed nitch in the industry (and provide me with a job!), but there's nothing that says a rider at a full service barn can't come and watch the grooms, ask questions, practice on their own time, and still learn everything. They are simply not interested in being horsemen, only a rider. It's a matter of initiative and personal choice.

                          Just my two cents.
                          NO flames I do agree there is a difference between learning to ride and horsemanship, I was lucky enough to grow up knowing that learning BOTH was what made you a true HorseMAN, so I tend to forget that there is a difference! Sorry if I offended you with my original statement, around here learning one and not the other was/is not an option LOL!!!
                          Kim
                          If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There are somedays that I wish I could call, say "groom and tack my horse up for me". Mainly days when I have a limited time window to go ride. I could see using that service sporadically. It would make a difference between getting in a ride and skipping a day at the barn.

                            If I had say, my boss's schedule where I have like 30 minutes a day to myself- I'd need to be somewhere full service and would probably take advantage- but pine for days when I had time to do it myself.

                            And honestly- a lot of people who ride do it for fun/social/win ribbons and aren't interested in horsemanship. As long as the horse is well cared for, I don't care if someone wants the horse groomed and tacked because they don't want dirt on their new breeches. That horse is far better off than the horse that got stuck with some misguided DIY horseperson who provides care that lacks in knowledge.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              In the hunter world where I showed lightly and my daughter showed alot (A's) we always got our horses ready. Maybe just before a class,someone brushed off shavings, pulled horse out of stall into crossties, but we tacked up. Now, I show saddleseat and EVERYTHING is done for me. The only thing I do is double check the girth.(well, i actually eyeball stuff too but I try to be discreet) It felt odd for me at first as I am very hands on but I am getting used to it now

                              PS -of course, saddleseat is the exact opposite of h/j in almost everyway!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                i've always been at barns where riders were expected to care for their own horses. and i think learning horsemanship is essential.

                                once i was invited by an acquaintance to come spend the day with her at her BNT's barn to watch lessons and ride her big fancy regular working hunter. when it came time to hop on, i grabbed chaps and helmet, got ready to tack up pony, and was told to wait in the arena for him until a groom brought him out.

                                um... what???

                                i didn't even know what to do with myself! it was so bizzare to me to not take care of the horse before and after riding. plus, i'd rather know from grooming myself if pony has a cut, bug bite, twisted shoe, is rubbing his tail... whatever! i'd rather find it with my own eyes than be told by someone else.
                                Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

                                PONY'TUDE

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My barn (which I own, run and train out of) is in between. In some ways we are "full service" in that we schedule, catch, hold horses for farrier and vet. We can and will do mane pulling, baths and other things usually for a small charge. We do NOT tack up for you, cool out, catch horse etc unless you are a little kid that needs help. I am always here to help if needed and if I am not otherwise busy. All feeding and care is done by me, unless I have to go out of towm, which my hubby or a GOOD student handles it. My students are encouraged to pitch in and learn all they can about horsemanship, something sorely lacking in today's world!
                                  www.shawneeacres.net

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    here goes...

                                    all you DIY, get off your high horses!! [pun intended!]

                                    I have had horses for decades and right now my horse is at a full service show barn, but I was a DIY my entire life before being able to afford the luxury of a tack up service.

                                    Yes there is something to be said for knowing how to rub and wrap, but since I have the money to afford full service care for my man, I take advantage of it.

                                    You can't tell me that one five foot two thirty something year old person can take better care of a 17.2h horse than three Hispanic guys whose only job it is is to groom and bath 10 horses a day, every day.

                                    Don't get me wrong I still spend lots of quality time with my horse, [ie grazing, hand walking, snuggling] I just don't have to do the dirty work anymore and I LOVE it.

                                    I really don't see why everyone looks down their noses at this. I show up at the barn and my horse is clean. Not clean, SPOTLESS! And if I want to tack him up that day by myself, I do. If I had a really long day at work and can't get out to the barn until after the help has taken off, I atleast know my horse is clean as a whistle and I don't need to spend 30 minutes currying, sweating, and wasting daylight. I can just tack up and go.

                                    No matter what type of barn you are boarding at, it's up to the rider to determine what kind of experience they get from it.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by eas1012 View Post
                                      all you DIY, get off your high horses!! [pun intended!]

                                      I have had horses for decades and right now my horse is at a full service show barn, but I was a DIY my entire life before being able to afford the luxury of a tack up service.

                                      Yes there is something to be said for knowing how to rub and wrap, but since I have the money to afford full service care for my man, I take advantage of it.

                                      You can't tell me that one five foot two thirty something year old person can take better care of a 17.2h horse than three Hispanic guys whose only job it is is to groom and bath 10 horses a day, every day.

                                      Don't get me wrong I still spend lots of quality time with my horse, [ie grazing, hand walking, snuggling] I just don't have to do the dirty work anymore and I LOVE it.

                                      I really don't see why everyone looks down their noses at this. I show up at the barn and my horse is clean. Not clean, SPOTLESS! And if I want to tack him up that day by myself, I do. If I had a really long day at work and can't get out to the barn until after the help has taken off, I atleast know my horse is clean as a whistle and I don't need to spend 30 minutes currying, sweating, and wasting daylight. I can just tack up and go.

                                      No matter what type of barn you are boarding at, it's up to the rider to determine what kind of experience they get from it.
                                      Yes but, you CAN care for your horse if you need to, I think that is what most concerns me, that there are people or kids who just CAN"T do it. I find that concerning.
                                      More power to you if you can afford to have full service, but that fact that you already KNOW how to care for your horse or can read the signs that let you know something with your horse is "off" is knowledge that will serve you no matter how much money you have. Its the people who just don't want to learn that part of horsemanship that are missing out on a huge part of the experience IMO.
                                      Kim
                                      If you are lucky enough to ride, you are lucky enough.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Why, why, why do we always end up this way? BTW I did not sleep in today...took car for service. many of the full care people on here are...yeah...at WORK.

                                        Honestly, where do some of you get off assuming anybody who does not DIY is no horseman and does not bond with their horse and is ignorant and incapable?

                                        Quite an assumption... and, oh, I know some are thinking "she must be in a full service barn"...well yeah. Because I WORK, cannot keep the horse at home-even if I could it would starve as I am out of town 3 days a week, minimum.

                                        A glimpse of somebody using a groom at a show should not trouble you so much either. If you want to do it yourself, fine. I don't and have earned the right (and the money) to hand the horse over.

                                        Sorry, kind of a vent/rant there. But how childish to state or imply anybody in full service situations is somehow an inferior horseman. Maybe that choice is better horsemanship.

                                        Whether it's about grooms or full care barns, these threads all go this way.
                                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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