Next would be determining the future boarding home for Shiraz and I was pretty excited about this part. Having grown up on a farm with horses and then having a farm again as an adult, I have never had the need to board. I must admit I am a bit worried about not having full control over my horse's care. To offset my worries, I tried to make the best choice possible to find a good fit with my personal interpretation of ideal horse care.
The basics I was looking for that were non-negotiable included an indoor arena, safe fencing with shelter, safe hay and friendly owners.
|And this would be nice...|
If my new boarding barn ends up not being terribly far, I anticipate being able to ride more than I currently do on a regular basis simply because of not having to deal with outdoor snow or rain and ruined footing. On top of that, I hope to have regular coaching year-round because honestly, it takes a village to get this lady's ass over fences.
My search area consisted of a relatively small area surrounding Birds Hill Park. This area is considered horse country, full of everything from the large boarding businesses to the small hobby farmers. I made and list of every stable with a riding arena and started calling each one for the cost of outdoor board. This reduced my list by half due to cost or facilities not offering outdoor board. I made appointments with the places that were left on my list.
|Some of my options in pink. My chosen barn is blue. |
(will probably/maybe be living somewhere across the river west of East Saint Paul which is about a half hour's drive)
I visited a hunter/jumper barn and was given a tour by the owner who also gave all the lessons. She ended up giving me a 15-minute ground lesson of the 'five hand positions' and, well it was intense. Beautiful place though.
|So clean. Note the rubber tile flooring so no one slips.|
My top contender was a small barn that was really just getting started. The husband who gave me a tour was a sweet older guy who rides dressage and studies natural horsemanship. (WUT?!) The fencing was amazing white poly with electric. (YASS!) There were shelters. The indoor arena was new. (where do I sign?) Problem was, they did not actually have a spot available but *might* have one opening for April or May. (sigh...)
|Shiraz' future home.|