They gave me a horse!

Discussion in 'Horse Training' started by billz, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. billz

    billz Full Member

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    Here's the story: the barn where I had been volunteering asked for a volunteer to ride one of the owner's horses in a bomb-proofing clinic that they were hosting. There was no cost to me so I volunteered after stating that I hadn't ridden in almost ten years. The clinic was a huge success for most participants and Sierra (that's her name) performed wonderfully. She brought me to tears as she gave me 110% when ever I asked her to "try" something. Sierra even mounted "the table." I was amazed!!! Someone had done more than a little work with this mare and she was trusting, gentle and compliant.

    Well, unknown to me, the owner had watched the entire clinic and thought that it was time to admit he wasn't going to ride that horse again (health issues) and thought that based on our performance that he wanted to give her to me. It took them almost three weeks to work out the surprise presentation as an early Christmas gift. Now I'm the owner of a 18 year old Arab cross of unknown breeding.

    Yesterday I went to the farm to begin working with Sierra and "restart" her using methods that I have been reading about that differ a lot from what I had used in the past. Most of the barn staff recognize her as one of the problem horses that is hard to catch. After about 30 minutes, she caught me three times! Once again, I was humbled by this little girl.

    I look forward to developing a willing partner in our relationship. We have a great start!
     
  2. Alsosusieq2

    Alsosusieq2 Senior Member

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    That's absolutely awesome to hear, thrilled for you-!!

    Congratulations-!!
     
  3. peg4x4

    peg4x4 Senior Member

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    :cheerleader:Many happy miles
     
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  4. GotaDunQH

    GotaDunQH Senior Member

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    Congrats!!!! what a wonderful surprise for you!!
     
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  5. mooselady

    mooselady Senior Member

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    Brilliant, hope you and her make a great team.
     
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  6. ginster

    ginster Senior Member

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    Wow, that is a nice gift!
    Have fun!
     
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  7. billz

    billz Full Member

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    My wonderful gift of a free horse has turned into a problem very quickly. I can't say that this is a surprise. I am not so naïve to think that any animal is truly free. There is always an expense to ownership and this issue is going to "get real," real fast.

    The farm owner/manager is suffering from serious health issues and has decided that he needs to protect his dwindling health and close the boarding operation and downsize. They will be moving by the spring and I'll need to find another place to board. I have notedover a month ago that there were problems and I thought that this was going to happen. I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. I have been volunteering to work at the farm and help with the more physical chores that require more muscle because I saw the strain the heavy lifting and hard work was placing on the property manager. Now, he's in trouble and they have made the "hard decision" to make a change in order to save the manager's health.

    I have already interviewed a local boarding operation and have an appointment to visit and tour a second farm this evening. The first location is 10 miles from my home, an easy drive and is recognized in the area as one of the premier farms. The second location I'll be visiting this evening is 25 miles away and is a place with which I have history. This second farm is where my wife and I co-hosted a 4H horse club when our children were very young and we all were just getting started "horsing around." At that time, this farm was newly constructed and everything was beautiful because the facilities were still shining and bright like a new penny, without the tarnish of age, wear and time. I admit that I have a soft spot in my heart for this place because of this history. The owner's that we knew from long ago have since sold the operation to another couple, almost ten years ago, and it has continued to blossom into a very viable operation including events and training opportunities. I will be very interested to visit and reacquaint myself with the property and see if the new owner's have managed to keep the penny as shiny.

    I know that this type of issue is not new to many on this forum. It's just new to me because we had our own place for over 25 years and when we sold our farm and moved to town, I created this problem by choosing to keep the horses and board them. I believe that pet ownership is a lifetime commitment and this decision was never a question. Now I'm just experiencing the complications negotiating a boarding agreement.
     
  8. manesntails

    manesntails Senior Member

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    Go to the place you know already.

    Just the fact that it's known as “Premier“ is off-putting to me.
     
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  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    Being known as a 'premier' boarding barn is not necessarily bad.

    If you want a very basic place, 'premier' places are not usually basic, not in cost, requirements for the boarders, nor care. Expensive barns tend to have more rules, more requirements of boarders, and more expensive facilities that the owners want to protect.

    And....some premier barns are really premier, and some are not. Premier usually means a little (or a lot) more expensive.

    I've stayed in several very, very 'premier' barns. Some were really good and some were not.

    It depends largely on what you need. Amenities at a premier barn could be:
    1. 24/7 surveillance or frequent barn checks - very handy if a horse gets cast or has a bad colic late at night. Or if someone else tries to hurt, ride or 'borrow' (or steal) your horse.
    2. If your horse gets sick, injured or has colic, you may be notified immediately and your instructions to go ahead and get the vet out followed to a 'T.'
    3. better quality staff, much more organized, prompt, reliable - and skilled - about giving meds and supplements, giving the correct type and amount of feed, exercising your horse per your instructions (if paid to do so), leading your horse out to pasture or paddock, holding your horse for vet or farrier(that may cost you extra, though).
    4. Better layout of facilities. Better maintained driveway, safer paths, wider, safer gates, good drainage around pasture areas where horses congregate, repairs on buildings done, footing in riding areas maintained in a safe condition.
    But not all 'premier in price' barns are really 'premier' in service or even in their attitude toward their customers. I've been at a few that were just awful.

    But I've also been to a few that were worth every single penny I paid and much more. The staffs at those barns were wonderful, efficient, skilled and knowledgeable. Problems were dealt with swiftly. Feed, bedding and care was top notch, and riding areas were beautifully maintained. Repairs were done promptly. And the facility - gates, walk ways, layout, everything was safe and very organized. "Problem" boarders were swiftly shown the door. Rules were reasonable and fair and enforced equally for all.

    However, for you, and I mean this in the nicest way possible, I think something else will be more important. You have definite ideas how things should be done, so it's going to be really important that you find a barn whose staff and boarders have values and opinions you are sympatico with.
     
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  10. billz

    billz Full Member

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    Well, that didn't go well. I visited the farm where I have had previous experience and was underwhelmed by how things are being managed. Specifically, they are over stocked with boarders so the horses end up sharing stalls on a rotation basis. I don't really care for that concept/practice. I don't normally want my horse in a stall because we don't believe in cultivating "hot house flowers" but sometimes there may be weather events, like ice storms that are common in our area, that require the extra protection. Also, there are run-ins in each paddock but the hay feeders fill up most of the space inside the run-in so that not all horse can get out of the sun or rain as desired. I'm not sure my mare would receive the proper attention for which I would be paying. SLC makes a reasonable comment about my need to find a place that fits with my understanding of "care."

    I did find another local barn that might have been an option; that was until I read their farm rules that included the statement, "Any rider over 220#s should find another facility at which to board." WTF?! Won't be patronizing any place that discriminates on those types of criteria. Nope, not me...

    I have two other locations that I intend to investigate today.
     
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