Friday, October 3, 2008

Ch-ch-changes for Riley (and his neurotic owner)

In my posts, I'm sure I've bragged shamelessly about a lot of things, not the least of which is Riley's current boarding facility. "Endless pasture!" I have proclaimed online. "Dutch doors!" I forgot that in my world, smugness is short-lived. There is always karmic payback.

The times they are a-changing
On Wednesday my trainer/barn manager "Judy" gave me notice that she is moving to another facility, and I am invited to move with her -- there is a stall for Riley. Our current digs will probably close, at least temporarily, while the property owners find a new lesee. I can see Judy's rationale business-wise. The facility is newer/fancier with a gigantic indoor ring. It is about five miles closer to me. I have not seen it but I have heard about it over the years, and I know some of its strengths and weaknesses. There are many things to make me feel good about the move, and two things that make me want to cry...

  • No dutch doors. Riley won't be able hang his head out and watch the world go by.
  • Limited pasture. Not cramped, but not lush either.
Did I mention I'm a worrier?
The anxiety of not having seen "the new place" is no doubt coloring my thoughts. Sunday there is a barn meeting and open house, and I'll be there early to walk around and get a feel for the place. I'll have my list of questions of course. It's not just about the facility either. The thought of change makes me feel the need to breathe into a paper bag. Riley's almost made it to adulthood with no career-compromising injury. Darn it, why change things now???

But I have known Judy for ten years. Our working relationship has had its ups and downs, but she has earned my trust, and I want her to help me with Riley. The bottom line is, I will make this move and try to have confidence that Judy will make it a safe and happy place for my horse.

Taking a step back...
It'll probably all be okay. The broader, scarier issue is that it's getting harder to find an affordable facility that is horse safe and horse friendly. People in the horse business are under pressure to cut corners. More and more horses are housed on less and less land. Everyone I know who is connected with horses is struggling, regardless of whether they're owners, trainers, managers, or breeders. I wonder if I'm part of the last generation of middle class horse owners.

Sorry to be such a downer. There's a good chance I'll be all bubbly and happy Sunday night. Maybe I'll love the place. We'll see.


Equestrian Land Conservation Resource

Land Trust Alliance

American Horse Council

American Trails


  1. You won't know how you feel about the new place until you walk around and see what's what. The dutch door thing isn't so bad and Riley can adapt, the thing I always worry about the most is pasture and turnout. I feel it's so important for any horse to have all day turnout on pasture for their health and mind. Good luck, hope you love the new place.

  2. I know how you feel :( We recently moved to a place that -- well, it's not perfect, but they're actually doing work on the place, there's a big 10-acre pasture for the mares, the arena's maintained. But there's nothing done in the way of pasture rotation, so any grass out there was long gone by the time we moved in August. Now it's beginning to turn to mud.

    Worse still, I think at a certain point in the winter, they don't want to put the horses out in that mud. Which means that they hardly get out at all in the winter.


    You just can't win, unfortunately. Once we get our own place we won't be able to afford half the things we want, like a nice indoor arena. But is it so much to ask to just want unlimited turnout on maintained fields whose fences are kept repaired, and a nice well-kept indoor arena? And maybe a washrack? That's really all I want.

    But, as grey horse said...horses adapt. Our horses have been fine no matter what boarding situation they've been in, and I'm sure Riley will be fine too.

  3. Please let us know how things go.

  4. Oh no, not you too! I just posted a blog with similar issues - my current barn booted me because they don't want to have boarders any longer. At least you have the benefit of a trainer you trust and feel you can rely on. I'm having the same struggles finding a place for my baby seems like I have to compromise either on pasture, price, distance, or the quality of the facility, and nothing quite seems to fit what I need. Sigh. Sorry you're dealing with a move as well!


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