March 23, 2016

The Effect of Boarding Far Away

Gem has now lived at two barns in OH, two barns in WI, two barns when we lived an hour from where we do now, and three barns over this way. That's nine different barns. We left each one for very different reasons (moving, barn foreclosed, BO issues, feed issues, etc..) and each had its pros and cons.

With all the moves Gem has lived as close as being in my back yard to as far away as an hour down the turnpike with a toll every time I went to see her. By far my favorite location was the second barn in WI when she was only 10 minutes away, but right smack on my way home from work so it was super easy to bring clothes with me and stop after work. My least favorite location was an hour up the turnpike because not only was it super far away, but paying a toll each way was really annoying.

The last barn was seven minutes from the house and now she has been moved to just about forty minutes away (thankfully no tolls though). This has produced some interesting effects.

I would have thought that moving her further away would be a royal pain in my butt. I would have guessed that I would have seen her less, rode less often and not wanted to go see her due to the long drive. Lets face it, an eighty minute round trip drive basically means that a ride at the barn takes up at least half a day even when I only ride for an hour.

Now, after her being up there for nearly three months, I can honestly say that I am surprised with the reality of it.

I have found myself being at the barn more regularly, but wanting to trailer to trails less and less.

The second is easy to explain. After driving forty minutes there and knowing that I will have a forty minute drive back home afterward, my desire to then add an hour trailer ride on top of that is severely diminished. I do it because I need to for proper conditioning, but I believe that if the endurance ride wasn't looming in the distance, that I would instead choose to do more arena work versus trail riding. Hopefully, once I get a pass to the local FETA system the ten minute haul to the trail head will resolve this new found malaise.

The first part is more intriguing. When Gem was so close, it was easy to say "I will go later today" and then later becomes even later and next thing I knew I hadn't gone at all. With a longer drive, planning my visits is more important and I find myself looking at the weather, scanning my work schedule, and plotting with Dusty for Wyatt's pick up from school well in advance so as to get to the barn and enjoy the time there. This forces me to go at a scheduled time rather than just playing it by ear which usually resulted in not going at all.

In addition, I adore the location of the farm, the semi private nature of the barn, the happy nature of my beast and the ability to use an arena or jump field for training. Last night, I left work in a funky mood and yet still needed to get to the barn as it was my scheduled day. I arrived debating on not even riding, but saddled up and had the most beautiful sunset ride. Gem was responsive, moved fluidly and lightly, and was an overwhelming pleasure to be with. I ended the ride a bit early to snatch the last bit of daylight to hand graze her in the upper field.

There are some downsides to having her so far away. A quick stop isn't in the cards. An afternoon at the barn is truly an all afternoon affair. I liked being able to just drive by randomly and see her out in the pasture, but the BO is great at sending me text updates and pictures randomly which helps.

All in all this move has been a wonderful change for the Dynamic Duo and has helped keep me on track with my riding and the care they are getting is top notch.


  1. My endurance horse is currently 1.5 hours away and it is getting really old. There are no barns in my town and the closer ones have stalls and no turnout. Pasture is really important to an endurance horse, I think. Still I wonder what I could do with that extra three hours and it also means no weekday riding which is hard when you're trying to do 50s or more. He did 50s with his former owner but not with me yet. Sometimes I miss dressage or showing-it was so much easier in lots of ways! matilda

    1. Yes!! If I did an arena based discipline, riding would be way easier! 1.5 hours is a long way, but it is worth it if you love the facility.

  2. Hmmm. I can see what you mean! Although, for me boarding farther away has the exact opposite effect. I don't want to make the drive so I just say I'll go another day and it keeps getting pushed back and back and back and I never go lol. I'm glad your situation is working out for you!