January 11, 2016

The Dynamic Duo's New Digs

Sunday morning I awoke with butterflies in my stomach. A big part of it was the fact that I had chosen the new barn without Dusty seeing it. Not that he didn't trust me or anything, but it was a little nerve wracking hoping I made the right choice.

We pulled into the old place to get Gem and Pete and debated what to tell the BO who we knew would be there at that time of the morning. We didn't want to burn any bridges and wanted to leave on a good note. Well, we needn't have spent any energy worrying about that. I won't go into detail because Dusty told me not to, but the BO stormed up to us, used a cuss word and told us we were evicted.

So that settled any unease we had about leaving. We loaded Gem, looking skinnier than ever, and Pete, looking more obese than ever, and drove the 40 minutes to the new barn.

I texted the BO that we were on our way and she met us at the barn with a smile.

From here, I will warn you that this post gets excessively mushy. I can't explain how extremely happy I am with our decision and how much stress has been removed that I didn't even know I really had at the old place.

The main 4 stall barn
Pete came off first and the BO stared at his excessive girth. We apologized for his heftiness and led him to his new pasture. He walked around and checked everything out while I went to get Gem.  The BO seemed a bit nervous about introducing them since they weren't together at the last barn and we reassured her it would be fine. 

Obese gelding checking out his surroundings

Gemmie backed off and her skin and bones body was in stark contrast to the horse we just led off. I'm sure we made a great first impression.

Gem went out and immediately started to eat the rye grass shoots in the field
It was great seeing the two together again. They used to be best friends and we never had a single issue with fights or injuries when they were together. They just looked at each other and got right back to life together. No squealing. No fuss. Good horses!

Two best buds
Their pasture is a big L and has plenty of grass, areas shaded by trees and is mostly flat. It is plenty large for the two of them to be safe and still be able to kick up their heels if they want.

The long side of the L shaped pasture.

Their pasture leads to their own two stall barn with large stalls and plenty of storage. For the first time in years we had a place to put their blankets!

Private chateau for two

Their stalls for use in case of injury, sickness or really bad weather. Gem's cooler is hung up on a blanket bar to the right and we added her light weight sheet and Pete's medium weight as well.

When I looked around the barn I saw this and my eyes just about popped out of my head:

A brand new hay delivery just for our two. She put out hay immediately and that night texted me to tell me she gave them 8 more flakes for overnight at 9 pm. I am in love.
We then wandered around the property to empty the trailer and show Dusty around. I took everything out and claimed spots in the tack room since I believe I will be riding on property more than trailering, at least for a while. We also emptied our lovely Triple Crown Senior feed into a bucket and discussed feeding. Gem will be getting 3/4 of a scoop (about 2 lbs) twice a day until she starts putting weight back on and then we will re evaluate. Pete will be getting a small handful twice a day and really could get by on just hay, but I don't want to deplete him too much. I briefly debated on just buying the Lite or 30% balancer for him, but honestly I just didn't want to invest in two different grains right off the bat. It turns out the BO is really good at horse nutrition and knows a ton, so I m sure I will be learning a lot. She said that she would bring Gem inside her barn to eat and leave Pete out until things settle with both their weights. What I really wish is that we had the money to pay her to ride Pete for us a couple times a week and get him in good shape. Unfortunately, right now we are tapped out.

Hot and cold water available. There is also an outside wash area next to Gem and Pete's private barn that also offers hot and cold water.

Inside the main barn. So clean and tidy!

Wyatt enjoyed playing in the mud puddles and making friends with Jerry, the barn cat, while we put our tack away and talked to the BO.

Wyatt and Jerry. The horses on the hill are her two plus the other boarder. Above that is the arena with lights to come. I forgot to take a picture of the arena.

The big pasture
We stayed a while and explored the area. One thing I hadn't seen before was the really steep hill that leads up the back way to the arena. That sucker is going to be great for hill conditioning. I can already see Gem and I working on gallop sets then working in the deep sand of the arena and then over to the cross country field and back down the hill to repeat.  It will be perfect conditioning and then supplement with the hunter paces and some longer rides as able.
Before we left they showed us the bathroom and gave Wyatt chocolate, water and gold fish crackers which won them a friend for life. We left relaxed and feeling really, really good.
During the day she made sure to text me (a first for me) with updates. At dinner she texted to ask if she could add warm water to the feed to make sure they are getting enough water and then at 9 pm she texted me a last check update. Seriously, she rocks.
As an aside - the blood work we took during her colic episode came back normal except for some anemia. Dusty talked to the vet and she said to check it at the end of the month, but that it is most likely due to restricted water access.  If we weren't already in a good place, I would be angry.
Last thoughts before ending this post. One of this biggest differences between where we are now and where we have always been before is that the BO is an active rider and competitor. She is young, enthusiastic and fully understands proper horse management for a horse under work. From the 24 hours we have been there it is clear that she honestly cares about horses, their welfare and how they are being cared for. This isn't a farm that overloads horses and drains your money. I can't wait for our future here and to get Gem back up to fighting weight and ready to go again.
Future, here we come!!!


  1. Wow, that place is a palace! Absolutely gorgeous, and good care, the most important. Lovely turnout, beautiful hay, and wash rack with warm water, wow!

    Nowhere in this area do barns supply grain, I've never encountered that. You might like figuring out grain yourself. I consulted with a nutritionist and just use a mineral balancer and hay pellets/beet pulp to keep it simple. Sounds like the horses are in good hands.

    1. We have never had the choice to supply our own grain due to the horses being fed as a group out in the pasture. Supplying a different feed wouldn't guarantee that my horse would even get to eat any of it. I am excited to be in charge of her nutrition for once!

  2. It is really beautiful. And I miss hot water. :)

    The barn I am in now does not do grain, but they will feed as much hay as your horse needs without extra charge. I figure it's a wash.

    So happy your horses are safe and in a good place.

    1. Thank you! I am very excited about our future there and the possibilities.

  3. Wow, that place is gorgeous! Sounds like a fabulous set up with the amenities, and even more important, an attentive barn owner. So glad you were able to find a good place -- been boarding for all my years of horse ownership and have done the nightmare barn search several times.

    1. Thanks :) I ma really looking forward to creating a relationship with our BO.

  4. SO glad you found a barn you and your horses can be happy with!

    RE TC Lite, that's what all my air ferns are on and they do great. I definitely recommend it as a ration balancer type feed for the easy keepers!

    1. I am thinking we will switch Pete to the TC Lite and maybe even Gem once her weight gets back to where I like it. I want to use the Senior during the endurance rides since it a) makes a marvelous mash b) is really easy to eat and has a ton of fiber and c) apparently tastes like crack.

  5. I want to board here! This place looks awesome. I love your little 2 stall barn all to yourselves.

    1. It is really great. I just need to figure out where to go to hit the trails since I don't know that area at all, but I am sure I will find some within a reasonable distance.