Friday afternoon I drove up to check out Barn #1. I had a pretty clear picture going in and felt like my expectations were pretty realistic.
The drive took 40 minutes and was 90% highway which made it pretty easy. The barn was tucked back on a side road and the entry was pretty and inviting. I didn't take any pictures, sorry, but it felt awkward taking pictures while looking at a potential new boarding barn.
The BO met me at the barn and was really nice, open and talkative much like when on the phone. She had moved in a year before and shared the property with her parents who lived in a second house. The property is 14 acres and was pretty run down when she moved in. She does eventing at the prelim level and quickly got to work making improvements that included a new 4 stall barn with insulated tack room, new fencing, an arena and a jump field. She is currently working on getting lights in the arena.
Everything about the place was clean and well organized. At the time of my visit the only horses on property were her two, but she informed me that the two stalls were spoken for and would be occupied come the weekend by two boarders.
Gem and Pete would get their own small pasture that was attached to a two stall barn with 11' X 16' stalls and storage room, but she said to store tack in the insulated room in the main barn. She just planted rye grass in the field for winter grazing and the green shoots were already up.
There is a 1.5 mile track to ride on, a brand new outdoor arena and a jump field. Her backyard neighbor owns 200 acres and has a trail head that spawns from her own track. The last owner had access to ride on those 200 acres, but this new BO hasn't been able to talk to them yet about it.
Board is $300/horse and includes the field, use of the barn, hay twice a day, blanketing if needed, holding for vet and farrier if needed. What it doesn't include is grain. She will feed it, but won't provide it.
I left and immediately called Dusty. How much would providing our own grain cost a month? Would it account for the extra $100 per month that Barn 2 would be because if so, then Barn #2 just got even better. We figured that it would be pretty darn close.
After seeing Barn #1 I left with the following perceptions:
1) the whole place was very clean even with all the mud and rain
2) it is a smaller facility, feels almost private like with only 3 total boarders. That would hopefully translate to minimal drama.
3) the BO was very knowledgeable and would provide excellent care
4) minimal on site riding opportunity with closest trails 40 minutes away. Doesn't save on my driving at all and in fact makes it worse to get to real trails.
5) higher cost with us providing own grain, but benefit would be that for the first time ever I would actually be in control of their nutrition.
There was a lot to think about, but my main focus was seeing Barn #2. My only con for that place was the cost and if it was now the same as Barn #1, I saw no reason to not go for it. Since I was already in the vicinity and it was only 4 pm, I called them and asked if I could come on over. They said sure. Stay tuned....