I live outside of Atlanta, and there are loads of very posh, very expensive barns in my area. $600 – $700 a month for full board is the norm in the more affluent areas. $450 is considered less expensive. I pay waaaaaaaaaaaaaay less than that, but I clean my own stall, buy my own feed and hay and fill my own water bucket every day. This is not a big deal, because I live so close to the barn.
The up side of this is that it’s cheap and I have money left over to take weekly lessons. The down side is the lack of facilities and the hassle of trailering.
Last night my trainer called and said she is teaching at a brand new barn not too far from my house. They are looking for a horse to use for lessons for their intermediate riders. My trainer asked if I would consider letting them use Baron for lessons in exchange for reduced board. Um, yeah! I checked out the website and the barn is light years beyond where I’m at now. My current barn is fine, but it’s not fancy. I have to admit, I would love to be at a fancy barn with four board fencing, hot and cold wash racks, lighted arena, etc…
Also, since I’m pregnant, I will have to quit riding around 6 months because I’ll have a baby belly. If Baron were being used as a lesson horse, he would still be getting worked even while I can’t ride. He would be worked 3-4 times a week and I’m hoping he would progress more quickly with the extra time under saddle. I think this could be a win/win situation for me and the barn. I can’t wait to hear back from my trainer to see what the barn says.
I’m thinking of moving Baron to a different barn. I’m a little torn up about it because I know Baron is happy where he is. He gets along well with all the other horses; no one picks on him and he doesn’t constantly come in from the pasture with bite marks like he used to. But I have three major problems with my barn. First, I have to clean my stall every day. I actually enjoy doing this, but I know that when I am 9 months pregnant I won’t feel like it. Further, I probably won’t be able to do it once I have a newborn. It’s just not realistic to think that I’m going to escape to the barn every day and leave a two year old and a newborn with my husband. That will cause marital discord rather quickly. So my first requirement for my new barn is either a pasture board situation with no stall to clean or a full board situation that’s inexpensive enough for me to afford.
Second, my barn has no arena. There is a small pasture with a round pen, but the pasture is full of old farming equipment and piles of wood. It’s not exactly ideal, as it would be awful to fall off and land on any of that junk.
Third, because there is no arena, I have to trailer off to lessons. Not only is this a huge pain in the ass, it’s expensive. I have to pay $25 to use the trailer. I pay $50 for the lesson, $25 for the trailer, and usually $20 for someone to watch my kid. So I’m spending $95 on a $50 lesson. I could take that extra money, pay more to board at a barn with an arena and cut out the hassle and expense of trailering. It would also take less time because I could cut out about an hour and a half of hooking up the trailer, loading my horse, traveling there and back, unloading my horse and un-hooking the trailer. So my babysitter bill would be less. And my husband would be more likely to volunteer for an hour and a half than for 3 hours that usually turns into 4 hours because something always takes longer than expected.
So my barn search has begun. I would like to have Baron moved by December 1st. Luckily I live in a horsey area so there are several different options!
Fall is my favorite season. It takes a while for it to look like fall in Atlanta, but by November the trees are dropping leaves and the horses’ winter coats are starting to come in. I LOVE it when they get fuzzy for the winter. It makes them look like overgrown shetland ponies or oddly shaped teddy bears. Every night before I leave the barn, I give Baron a big hug and rest my head on his shoulder. (He is very indulgent.) Resting my head on a fuzzy shoulder feels even better.
It’s been raining a lot lately and there are lots of gloppy mud puddles. Baron has rolled every day and he is filthy. I’m going to clean him up tonight and hopefully get some good pics of his fuzziness. It’s too cold now to give him a bath but I’ll see what I can do with a currycomb and a dandy brush.