I am in the midst of the longest period without riding in the last 6 years. It’s weird – a part of me is deeply sad but I’d be lying by omission if I did not say that another part of me is relieved. Trying to ride while also figuring out how to move would have brought new meaning to insanity.
I have been attending horse-related events (see Polo match) and checking the horse blogs that I follow on the daily. Not to mention scouring Instagram for Pony Finals related posts and pictures and videos from my old barnmates.
I am ready to find a new social circle of confidantes to whom I can outpour all of my thoughts and theories. While I am sure my “normal” friends would not mind hearing this type of conversation, I try not to burden anyone with my theories on Kent Farrington’s success or how much I love Beezie Madden.
In the meantime, I get to lurk places in my new city.
As I get to gather intelligence about a new barn, I am narrowing down my results. What better way than to organize a wish list?
My Barn Requirements
- Horses are happy, well-fed, and do not have any appearances of environment-induced stress.
- Every horse is different and can react differently to a given setting. Outliers should not be considered the average. But there should be few outliers.
- Anecdotally, I’ve always found horses who get regular turnout with friends seem the least anxious and have fewer health and soundness related issues.
- A knowledgeable person (or people) who is (are) regularly onsite.
- Horses can get into things and oftentimes need our assistance.
- A welcoming and supportive community of horse-lovers.
- Notice, I do not include competitors. I do not care if you regularly attend shows, but I do care if you create conflict for entertainment. Those who thrive on mean-spirited gossip can be toxic.
- If someone is being dangerous to themselves, their horse, or others, I try to maturely and calmly communicate with that Luckily, I have not had to do that to a fellow adult, but I have talked to children before.
- Stables that are functional and not falling apart.
- I have had good fortune of riding out of mind-boggling facilities, ones that likely cost as much to build as I will earn in my lifetime. Crazy as it may seem, I almost dislike riding at these facilities. To me, it’s so far removed from where I began in the sport, and it becomes more about opulence than the animal.
- That said, it is equally uncomfortable to be somewhere where I worry of structural failure.
- An indoor, outdoor, decent footing, comfortably-sized turnouts and stalls. That’s all I need. Leave the kitchen facilities, air conditioning, euro-walker, and free wifi for someone who will appreciate them.
- Access to good-value lessons.
- There is so much to learn, and I prefer someone on the ground for safety if I am jumping. I do not hesitate to pay handsomely if I feel as though the education received is equivalent. But I would also need a person that respects my budget – the higher the cost of lessons, the fewer I am able to take.
What a nice number five is. I did not set out to create five, but I think that’s all of my necessities. Although surely I am forgetting something.
Nice to haves include proximity to other life activities (ha, I’ve never gotten this as an urbanite), wash stalls, horse-involved facility owner, and smaller in size.