Moving barns v. staying put
As I have detailed in a couple different posts on this forum, my mare is not very happy at her current barn. We moved in June and when she is turned out, she paces the fenceline. Last week she jumped out of her field. However, she is perfectly happy to be handled and ridden. She's just not settling into the stable routine, mostly because there isn't one as it is a one-woman operation and a working farm, so the owner can't feed and bring in horses at the same time every day as she hasn't transcended the laws of physics so can be in two places at once, nor is she going to hire staff. There are only seven horses at the barn.
That said, the barn has a lot of positive things going for it. They are trying really hard to accommodate Gypsum's neuroses and overall, they take excellent care of the horses. Gypsum never stands around in a stall, since the barn has these covered paddocks that owner puts the horses in at night, when the fields are too wet for turnout, or when the horse is throwing a fit about being in a field. This is brilliant. When we ride she warms up so much better than she does when she's been in a stall. So much less stiff! I think overall being able to move around is healthier for them and don't like stalls, but I think 24/7 turn-out for my mare would go over like a lead balloon (we've tried). It also has an indoor arena, which I find to be necessary in Scotland since the weather is pish. There are trails as well, most of which are on tracks and roads so you can still ride them even if it's been raining for a week straight. The location is beautiful, just beneath hills called the Campsies and it looks across a valley towards a mountain range called the Trossachs, the beginning of the Southern Highlands.
Other negatives include the lack of an outdoor arena, so if you want to school your horse on the odd sunny day, you still have to ride inside. I actually don't like indoors very much but like getting wet, freezing, and my horse pulling tendons on slippery ground even less. So I love outdoor arenas or any field you can school in when the weather behaves. As it is a wee barn, the social life at the place is nil. Not necessary but I haven't had a horsey social life for years as I have gone from one tiny barn to another. I kind of miss it. As I said, the location is pretty but a 40-45 minute drive from my current flat and will be more when I move closer to the city centre in October.
Livery at this place is about £355 per month.
One of the places I am consdering moving her to I saw today. The positives are that they have a very fixed routine and also lots of flexible turnout options, including some sacrificial ponies they can put her with to see what sort of horses she does (or more likely doesn't) get on with. They also have an indoor arena, two or three outdoor arenas, as well as two tracks on which you can go for a gallop, and access to trails. There is a cross country course as well but you can't use that without supervision (which I think is daft but whatever).
Horses are turned out from 9-3 and otherwise in their stalls. My horse will like the routine but I am not as excited by the stall.
This is a big stable, 60 horses, and will be busy. They run a lot of riding lessons and the Glasgow Uni riding club apparently goes to it for their training. I've been at big busy barns before, as well as quiet ones, and I like both for different reasons.
The location kind of sucks, to be honest. It is on the outskirts of some of Glasgow's more questionable suburbs and about equidistant from where I am living now as my current barn. It's not as nice a journey as the other barn, unless you like looking at motorways and council flats. However, when I move closer to the city centre the distance between flat and barn will decrease substantially.
A big downside to it that almost puts me off are its "opening hours." During the week it's 9am to 9pm, which isn't terrible. Sometimes I have to ride really late though, so it's not brilliant either. Weekends the opening hours are 9am to 5pm. Not good at all! I do a lot of evening rides on the weekends.
Livery at this place is £299/month. So less money for more facilities. That's a big positive.
As moving a horse around is stressful, I am not quite sure what to do. There is the chance that if we move we will both be happier. The risk is that we won't be happier, we'll just have different issues making us unhappy. As I have described, this other barn has lots of good points, but has problems that I can foresee driving me nuts. The place we are at sort of works, but only sort of. If it worked perfectly then I wouldn't be arsing about barn hunting.
So far the barn Gypsum lives at now and the one I described above are the two most suitable stables I have found in the Glasgow area. There remain a few more barns I haven't seen yet, but very few indeed, as I've seen a lot of stables and wasn't impressed by most of them. We have limited options here.
This turned into a bit of novel, so sorry about that, but I'm waffling about and was wondering what a bunch of random people on the internet thought. :)