FYI proceed with caution. This post is highly unorganized, I display a couple of Bella’s injuries from the past year, and I’m not sure how much sense I make. I’m super tired but this is an update I definitely wanted to post before I got too far removed from the decision. – R
So it’s a little bit weird for me to be writing about this, mostly because leaving a barn where you’ve been happy is hard. We’ve been at the current barn over a year now and while things were good there were always little details here and there that bothered me ( AM that obsessive horse mom, okay?). However, I trusted that she was in good hands, because she was. She got injured a couple of times but that wasn’t a huge issue for me, because let’s face it, horses find trouble. It’s like one of their Ten Commandments or something. Find trouble, make your owner freak out. Check out her injuries (mostly because I still have trouble looking at the top set and figuring out how she never ever went lame or got super sore on it).
Pictured above is when she got kicked last spring. No lameness, no soreness, I literally stuck my finger all up in that to clean it and she just hung out happily. Tank mare.
Pictured below is when she somehow pictured & scratched her stifle area this summer. She got a little touchy about this one but again, never went lame. This was much worse than it looks here. I never did get good pictures of this one.
Neither of these were the barns fault. Bella’s been the only horse there with any injuries the entire time we’ve been there (speaks more to having a younger, more active horse than the older trail horses that populate the farm I guess).
The barn is, to put it simply, just not the right fit for what I need anymore. Looking at competing more this year and in the future I need to be able to put Bella in some different situations with jumps, other riders, trailering more. It would be helpful to have a real ring, be at a barn, and so on.
Honestly, it will also be a huge relief to know that she’s going to have someone physically putting hands on her once a day to bring her inside, feed her, and then putting her back out. Knowing that someone is going to be physically moving her around, and therefore should actually notice if she’s hurt herself (or thrown a shoe) and be able to get a text about it. Rather than finding it on my own when I come out.
I knew that was not going to be the type of barn this place was going to be when I moved there a year and a half ago. I knew that and it was fine with me, because honestly I needed to just be somewhere low-key while I figured my crap out again and got myself, and Bella, back in action. This farm has absolutely been everything I needed it to be. The owners have been great, and while I haven’t had anyone to ride with for the most part I’ve still done what I needed to do and Bella’s in great shape these days. But now, especially with a move coming up rather quickly in my future, I need to put Bella at a more full service barn.
When I started my search, I initially started looking out toward where I’ll be moving this summer. J and I are trying to stay in Raleigh near his school, but I wasn’t in love with any of the barns there. I’ve got a pretty short list of things I was looking for (okay, not at all this short but the key points that would keep me from even looking at a barn).
- Keep my vet.
- Keep my Ferrier.
- Don’t force me to take lessons and join a “show team.”
I found one place I really really liked, but the almost hour drive to and from my job was one strike against it. The fact that J and I couldn’t really find any houses to rent in that direction, close enough to make it worth it, was strike number two. At that point, strike number three wasn’t really necessary. I liked it, wasn’t in love with it, and the drive was just going to be way too much for me to handle.
In the end I texted my old boss at the barn I managed for five years and asked her if she would have room for Bella at the property (had to add in that I was not playing an April Fools Day prank). Thankfully D and I are still good friends (D & her dad are the people Bella & I went to the beach with) and she said she would absolutely have room for us! Which means that Bella gets to go out on pasture board there with the other mares, she’ll be blanketed for me over the winter from now on so I don’t have to do it, I have a huge covered arena, two small arenas, and a jump field, (3 out of the 4 have jumps too). Plus D has been the one letting me borrow her little single horse trailer so I no longer have to plan to go pick that up, then bring it back, and all of that. It’ll be in the same place my horse is.
This move is not only opening up more opportunities for me to ride Bella (no matter what the weather, no matter when dark falls) but it’s also opening up opportunities for us to get out and do stuff again! I’d love to do another beach trip next year, D has also been trying to get me to go on a hunt with her and the hunt group here for like a year now. This should be good. It’ll just be strange to be “home” and not work there… but honestly I’m going to enjoy it. Because it means I’m going to get to enjoy the property without having to think about anything else. I’m really excited.
This barn is also in J’s home town so he’ll have more of an excuse to go visit his friends on the weekends now by going with me when I ride. I know that this is still going to cause some schedule issues for us in the future, but J is being great about being very committed to making sure that I get to ride and do what I love, because he totally recognizes that I need it to stay sane.
(PS: If you remember the show we went to, we’ll be at THAT barn.)