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Would you give up covered riding arena for dream barn? (Wet Climate Riders)

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  • Would you give up covered riding arena for dream barn? (Wet Climate Riders)

    I live near downtown Portland, Oregon and have dreamed of a barn close to my home that I can afford. I finally found one. It has everything I've been looking for EXCEPT a covered arena of some kind. It has a wonderful outdoor arena with great all-weather footing that is usable even after the worst rain...and that is a rare thing around here. Also lots of outdoor riding space and real pasture turnout, which the other place does not have.

    I currently board at a large, busy training barn with an indoor arena and outdoor arena and all the luxuries I could want..... but the drive is an hour round trip in busy highway traffic and winding country roads. It prevents me from getting out more than two days a week currently because there is simply no time..or I'll end up racing out for a quick lunge session and end up spending more time in my car than the barn.

    The new barn I'm considering cuts my drive time down to about 25 minutes round trip. It is beautiful and homey and I just love it...but no escape from the rain while riding. Given I don't ride every day anyway, this is not a big deal for me in the big picture. However, I have a set, strict lesson hour one morning per week with my instructor and that time is hugely important to me. Thankfully, she has agreed to teach me rain or shine and is devoted to me in that way..so I'm lucky in that! But I have no idea what the reality of this will like each week. Currently, I don't have a way to haul her so this is not an option.

    Thoughts? Experiences? Would you give it up to have your horse close by with everything on your dream barn list except the covered space? Hmmmm

  • #2
    In the situation you described... no. 35 minutes less of drive time isn't going to suddenly free up tons of time for you to ride more often. 30 minutes each way really is NOT far to drive, especially if you like the barn you are at. If you have other reasons you want to leave go for it, but don't give up an indoor just to have 35 minutes less driving.


    • #3
      Well, I've done it. Moved my horses home because I was so completely DONE with boarding, and put in an outdoor arena. My horses have the best care ever, they are healthier and sounder than ever, and I'm happy with the decision. But I have a ton of flexibility to work around the rains since I live and work here, and can check the weather radar and see a break and go ride, since my "commute" is a two minute walk (well, one down the hill to the barn and more like two coming back up the hill!).

      These last few weeks of monsoons, I've had multiple days where I can't ride, especially since my arena is new and I'm being really cautious about using it when wet so I don't damage the base. But my horses still get out since I have nice all weather paddocks, so I don't feel the guilt I would if they were locked in. And it isn't like a little rain stops me from riding - I have great rain gear and I'm not a princess, so I will ride in the rain as long as it is safe for the horses.

      Now boarding with only an outdoor...that might be tougher. Depends how flexible you can be on days and times to ride. Lights, with our shorter days now, might be a factor too. When I was boarding, and driving 45 mins one way, it would have been difficult to time things so I could ride...so I probably wouldn't do it (move to where I only had an outdoor). Or if I worked a normal job and had to ride only in the evening - well, it would be dark before I got there and that would make it even harder!

      Not sure I helped, but maybe gave you some things to think about! What a time of year to be thinking about moving to only an outdoor...we just had 2" of rain here yesterday through this morning! It can't get much worse than this...can it?!


      • #4
        I'm the kind of weirdo who doesn't mind riding in the rain so long as I have a way to keep my saddle dry and the footing safe. But how often is it really, truly pouring up there? There's a difference between riding in a drizzle and riding in a downpour.

        The other question is how much more often would the new barn allow you to get out? If it's significant, I'd go for it. If not, it may not be worthwhile.


        • #5
          You will be exchanging one issue for another: now, you sometimes don't make it to the barn because of the drive. If you move, you'll skip a ride because of the rain.

          I think having the horses closer is worth it. You can justify going to the barn more often even if you don't ride. I vote for buying rain gear and moving to your dream barn .


          • #6
            I live in the lower mainland of BC and have yet to use my indoor arena pass. I have access to a well drained outdoor and have just been using that. I can think of a few mornings this past week where taking a lesson would have been challenging - high winds and heavy rain. Since I just moved from a facility with an indoor in Alberta, I am really enjoying riding outside this time of year regardless of weather. I figure those missed "rain" days are going to add up to about the same as the days I missed in Alberta due to the roads being uncleared after snow.
            I would definitely move to the closer barn and enjoy the outdoor!


            • Original Poster

              Thanks everyone. Gave me some things to think about. I am glad to hear there are people out there riding in the rain! I hate the atmosphere of indoor arenas although they are obviously a huge necessity out here. I suppose the ultimate solution would be to eventually find a way to haul my horse to lessons once a week..and problem solved. But I'm not there yet! I also hate driving which is another motivator. I guess I'll find out what it's really like. Yes..bad time of year to make this decision but I stumbled across the barn unexpectedly. Guess I'll appreciate it more though when it does dry up around here

              Thanks everyone


              • #8
                I like driving in the rain less than riding but most people do not know what you are talking about with the kinds of rain we get here. The locals call it "dry" versus "wet" rain. I am just now somewhat getting used to it but wow is this a difficult climate with the long dark or gray days and the "extended" nights. If you have flexibility, and your trainer has flexibility I would leave. Homey is very important to me, high stress, highly competitive people I do not need but being able to be dry and and ride is really nice. Only you can answer this question ultimately because you and your trainer are the ones who have to dance around the "wet" versus "dry" rains.
                "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


                • #9
                  When I said this was a bad time to be looking at moving to an outdoor only situation, I was mostly referring to how overly wet it has been here lately -- this is not the norm, unless it is the "new" norm with climate change. Our rain is not usually quite so bad, believe it or not, and comes more as a drizzly thing over long periods of time rather than the big long downpours this last month has brought. So in those typical drizzly days, I have no problem with only doing the outdoor ring. It also depends on your focus, I suppose. If I was really working to a goal of competing at, say, Thermal this February, the outdoor only probably wouldn't cut it as I wouldn't be able to stay on a strict schedule. But for me, just plunking around with my now-backyard ponies, it is fine. And if it is really wet in the arena, I can take my horses for jaunts around our property and up our private road, so if you have some sort of trail or safe road access at the new place, that could be a plus.

                  Any chance you can try the new barn out and if it doesn't work, still move back to the current one in a month or two? You could look at that possibility.


                  • #10
                    No matter where your horse lives you are paying a lot in board, farrier, vet, etc. So, you might as well be able to ride the horse. I think that paying the extra money and having the indoor is a good value. I ride in the rain all the time, but I think that rainy weather in general is a drag on most people's motivation to ride. It isn't just about getting cold and wet, there is more gear and more cleanup involved. Not a a big deal to get the saddle cover on, but at the end of the ride you've got a sopping wet bridle to clean and a sopping wet horse that needs to dry before he can go back in his blankie. Your helmet is wet, your hair, your coat, your saddle pad, your pants. Lots of stuff to hang up to dry. It's a pain. I'd rather drive a few more minutes and ride in the indoor if I were in your shoes.

                    I don't think you should switch barns "just for a month" to try it out. That will be hard on your horse and irritate both BO's. Moving your horse to a new barn isn't like moving your car to a new parking spot.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
                      Any chance you can try the new barn out and if it doesn't work, still move back to the current one in a month or two? You could look at that possibility.
                      This would be the best way to find out, but I would give it more than just a month or two, more like the rest of the season to really get a good idea. Then you will also get an idea of the benefits in the summer. Maybe you can only ride 1-2x a week through the wet months in the winter, but 3-4 during the summer months and then evaluate if the tradeoff is worth it to you. Because that new barn sounds amazing except for the ring issue.

                      I'm also in the pnw and have had to weigh pros and cons of indoor or no. I've had lessons in the rain and honestly as long as it's not a torrential downpour and I'm dressed for it, I barely even notice the rain.

                      That said, torrential downpour is another story and last time I stubbornly rode out in one I thought to myself I wouldn't do it again! And this was after checking the detailed weather forecast that said it wouldn't be raining that afternoon. But like someone said, it's hard to time it right when you have to factor a 45min drive to the barn.

                      If you have a flexible schedule and can plan around the weather I think you will find that the days you are rained out are actually few and far in between. But if a rigid schedule works better for you, then an indoor makes a big difference.


                      • #12
                        We've had people in the past move and do a trial period of sorts, so it isn't that bad or uncommon. They might have to pay double board (pay new barn and pay old barn to hold stall), but it isn't necessarily that hard on anyone if you are upfront about it. Or if the old barn is never totally full, you can take a chance that you can move back as long as you don't burn any bridges. If we didn't ever want to move horses because it was too hard on them, we'd never go to horse shows, haul to lessons, etc. But it also depends on the horse.


                        • Original Poster

                          Luckily, my girl is very adaptable. I think it will be harder on me than her if we move back and forth!! But I like the idea of a trial. Wish I could just get regular access to a truck and trailer and then my problems would be over!!

                          One day


                          • #14
                            When I lived in one part of NJ I boarded almost one hour away at a large place with an indoor and a great trail system. Hated the drive but stayed there 5 years.

                            I moved to the other side of NJ and my horse is less than 15 minutes away at a small family owned private farm, no indoor, small lighted outdoor and a 15 acre field to play in (it's a hayfield so can ride when it's short). I don't miss the indoor at all, except in the winter when the snow has melted from the roads but the ring is still a mess. If I go to the barn and the weather becomes lousy, I just spend time fussing over him instead of riding. I still get my horsie time in and I didn't spend 2 hours driving. Since I can now ride 5 times a week and visit daily, I feel so much closer to my horse and more involved with what goes on with him.

                            If we were in training for shows, an indoor and trainer would be important to me. I just like doing my own thing and spending time with my horse.