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Great boarding barn thread...

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  • Great boarding barn thread...

    We often read about boarding gone wrong. But due to a recent development, I wanted to share a story about boarding gone very very right and I hope you'll add yours!

    I boarded my mare at a facility for a few years. The care was awesome. There are a lot of pretty fancy/talented horses and riders there. We were definitely outclassed! (by a LONG shot) Plus, it's a training facility. Most horses are either in training or the owners are taking several lessons per week. I moved two horses in, one to be in training/lessons but then rehomed that mare and was down just to my old lady but they let me stay and were always very kind to my mare.

    I moved my horse last spring to a facility closer to home (I had moved an hour away after getting married). Trainer told me then that my mare was always welcome back. I thought she was just being nice.

    My husband ended up getting a job out of state so another move occurred this fall. We will be heading overseas and won't be stationed back in the US for approx 20 years so I've been looking hard for a place to keep Miss Mare long term while we're gone. I've interviewed and/or visited about 30 barns in the last 2 mos. The one place (recommended by you guys) that I really thought I'd like is rather full.

    Also, because our home leave will always send us to MI not to VA, I started thinking that maybe I should just try to move her back home.

    I felt like it was a long shot, but I messaged my old barn this week and asked if they would be willing to take my old lady back. And they said yes.

    I got a good night of sleep that night. I've been having a lot of sleepless nights trying to work this out. Something in our budget (I no longer work) and something I felt like I could really trust in an emergency--even if I were unreachable being somewhere in Africa or something.

    The fact that they're willing to take her knowing full well there will be no training $$, no lesson $$, just board + additional for the extras? They're a class act. We don't fit into the "program" at all.

    And the sense of relief I've got knowing that when we have to go, my mare will be well cared for and I can just stop worrying now? Priceless.

    I've had good and bad boarding experiences. But this tops my list as GREAT. I quite literally cried when the trainer said she'd take my girl back. I'm sure I'm not the only one with such a good experience. So in light of the fact that we normally only hear the bad...share your GREAT ones!
    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

  • #2
    i love my Farm. it is a trail barn, we don't have shows, we don't have show people, we have very few kids enter the barn, and those who do must be supervised. no lessons here either. It is a bunch of people who love to ride and we all have a great time riding together in the state park which is in the back of the property. 18 miles of trails. I could not be happier. my horse is cared for amazingly and i am so happy here. i never want to leave.


    • #3
      What a great story!

      For 5 years I was lucky enough to board at a fabulous barn. They were as close to perfect as I'd ever experienced. I trusted them so much that I left my horses there when I had to move states for a year due to a teaching fellowship position-- and my horses were happy, healthy, and content when I came home.

      Unfortunately, some boarders are just difficult no matter how great the barn is. A couple bad eggs soured the barn owners and they decided they'd rather just get out of the business altogether. They sold their farm and downsized to smaller property for their own personal horses. I can't say I blame them, but it's a shame to lose a good barn!
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO


      • #4
        BuddyRoo- what a relief to be able to take your girl to a place you trust and she's happy. I'm sure that is a burden lifted.


        • Original Poster

          Tracy, it totally is. There's so much to "worry" about right now with more moves in the future. This was a real weight off of my shoulders. Truth is, I think Chey did this for herself much more than me. She's such a good egg that people can't help but enjoy her. She may not be fancy, but she's a good egg!
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


          • #6
            Wow, 20 years overseas? Holy moly. Is he a deeply placed spy?


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
              Wow, 20 years overseas? Holy moly. Is he a deeply placed spy?
              No, just Foreign Service. And once you head out, you don't come back til you're done it seems.

              We will get home leave. But we will not be posted back in the US for the duration.

              However, given the beard he's growing in order to go to a certain country, you'd think we were going undercover or something.
              A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

              Might be a reason, never an excuse...


              • #8
                I have many, many stories of boarding gone right.

                Great story, BuddyRoo, and a nice thread.

                Like you, I suspect that Loveable Slacker Horse was the better ambassador than I. Then again, I have met the best people by following him around. If you like/appreciate his Utterly Average Bayness, chances are I'll think you are a pretty nice person.

                In short, this horse has a string of BOs on both coasts who would take him back rather than leave him SOL.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat


                • #9
                  BR - you'll be like Paul and Julia Child then. Enjoy it! I have to be grateful to my trainer for letting us come back for a couple of months. She didn't have to do it, she doesn't have to keep an eye on me and give me tips for free while I work with the pony, she doesn't have to try to fine tune the best turn out for the old guy, but she is. She barely lets me help tote feed or turn my own horses out even though she's short staffed right now (I may have her trained to that in a few. Feed sacks are heavy.) Nope, they are out there. Treat them well!
                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                  Incredible Invisible


                  • #10
                    So glad you found somewhere for her! I can imagine what a relief it is
                    My current boarding barn is basically boarding nirvana.
                    It is small (only 6 or so boarders) and everyone there is fantastic. It is not just that there are no really problematic people, but I think they are all great people and we are friends who see each other outside of the barn.
                    The care is fantastic. I trust them 100%. A few years ago, I got a call about my mare and the lymphangitis she had developed while I was a thousand miles away on vacation. I told the BO to do whatever she would do if my mare were hers. If I had gotten this call while at my prior barn, I would have been stressed out for my entire vacation and desperately calling people to go check on her while I was gone because I did not have much faith in the BO and her judgment. No need for that here.
                    The BO has also become my trainer since moving my horses there and I love her. They also have clinics where top-notch folks come and do lessons at the farm on a regular basis.
                    The BO/trainer's mom (also a BO) is basically everyone's second mother.
                    I have told them more than once that the only way I will ever leave is if they kick me out
                    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                    • Original Poster

                      Bambam, I believe your barn may be the one I've been interested in.

                      MVP, yes, I think the critters sell themselves better than we can. Frankly, that makes me smile. My mom HATES my horse. I think that's because my horse always took a bit of control in the field, was a bit of a challenge to mom and well...she was mine and mom and I don't exactly get along well. She swears now that she loves Miss Mare and has offered to look after her, but I don't feel so good about it.

                      ReS--you've got it! they're out there. I was on a wait list for a time to get in and am glad we did. Even if outclassed, I've never felt more comfortable having my horse away from home.

                      I love these stories. Keep them coming!
                      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                      • #12
                        I know the feeling of trying to find the right place when you won't be there. I had my big guy in PA with a trainer I loved. We followed him to 3 different barns until the trainer decided to move to TX. I changed trainers and kept my big guy at this particular farm until spring 2011 when the "new" trainer kept voicing concerns that my horse wasn't getting fed enough. I had absolutely no idea whether to believe the BO (whom I had known for 4 years now), or the trainer (whom I had known for a year+ and was trying to get me to move horsie to her friend's place). My big issue with the barn that the trainer was pushing was that I had been there years before and knew exactly what happened to it after I left and it was sold. I could NOT bring myself to move horsie there.
                        So I called up another of my former trainers and asked if she had room for my guy. She didn't even hesitate saying yes! And even better, we're both helping each other out. She uses my guy in her therapeutic riding/lesson program, and he's taken care of so that I don't have to worry from 1000 miles away. Oh, and whenever I go home to PA, I can still ride him.
                        My May boys: Beau, Neon, Criss


                        • Original Poster

                          Lady, that is wonderful!
                          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                          Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                            Bambam, I believe your barn may be the one I've been interested in.
                            Really? It does get recommended a lot on the eventing forum. well, if we had room, you would have loved it but we rarely have openings since pretty much everybody loves it as much as I do.
                            But sounds like your solution is even better so good on you and your BO
                            There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


                            • #15
                              My barn is a training, not a boarding barn, but I can't underscore enough how thrilled I am with their care and program. My horses look better and seem happier than they've ever been (including when they were in super fancy-schmancy upper level barns). Their personalities have all come out since they moved to the current situation, their ears are up, the fussy-cranky-picky-eater is regularly polishing off his feed and keeping weight on, their coats are shining, they got dapples for the first time, it's ridiculous. The barn has a number of folks who have been there for a substantial number of years, and it's a fun, no-drama group. Primarily eventing focused, but we have folks who do dressage, ones who mainly trail ride, and some kids coming up with ponies. Small enough that everyone knows each other, but a strong enough program that it ends up meeting a wide variety of needs. Plus, most importantly, I never ever worry that my horses are being well-taken care of. So so worth it.


                              • #16
                                My barn is pretty small and a lot of the horses are almost practically retired, but I like it because it's quiet, there are some trails I don't have to trailer to, and I never have to fight for arena time. Well, that and it's only about 20-25 minutes from my house, the BOs are really great, my horse is happy, and the price is right.

                                Also, the BOs chickens and goats are hilarious.
                                The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                                Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.