Currently my gelding is boarded in a facility that once seemed the best there can be to me. 24/7 pastured in all seasons, large pastures, heated waterer in winters, free choice hay, salt and feeding with oats and/or my choice of feed once a day, a small, but reasonable outdoor arena, miles and miles of fantastic trails, a great bunch of fellow boarders and a friendly BO.
But lately, there's been a lot of drama going on. Mainly it is regarding the attitude of the BO. Many repairs have been had to be done a long time ago, but she hasn't taken care of them although the question would not be in money. Besides, some repairs would regard potentially unsafe issues - weak fencing, ripped off boards with nails sticking out near the feeding area, unsecured grain storage, unsafe hay keeping (it is wet a lot of the time, because the bales are kept in the field until put in the hay bin), flooded shelters or shelters filled with hay bales, thus unavailable for horses when they are needed. Also, there was a huge hole pawed by one of BO's horses in the grain feeding area (one of the stand stalls that are used for that), and recently a horse got dangerously stuck, when the hole had been flooded and then iced by the melting snow. This hasn't been repaired, and we (boarders) had to secure it off ourselves, as the BO didn't see a problem in it.
The BO is very kind to reply to any questions regarding these matters and tell all about here good-sounding plans how everything will be resolved, but nothing has been done over a year since I'm there. There is also a problem with our pastures - they are very overgrazed and some poisonous plants have been taking them over during last summer, but they cannot be renovated as the owner, from which these fields are leased, is against it, so they probably will stay the same for at least this season - besides, there is a huge risk that he will decide not to lease them out any more at some point.
Recently we had a barn meeting and the boarding fee was noticeably raised - it wasn't very expensive before, even below medium, and I completely understand that fees are raised according to the prices of hay, fuel and other factors. The BO is promising that she will use the income for repairs, for hiring a better barn hand, among other things - but, as far as I know, she is very talented at promising, not so much - at doing. There is a lot of chaos in the managment of our barn.
Two of the boarders, who are also my good friends, decided to move. One because of the fees, the other because of the lack of managment. They found a stable, close by, for the same price, but much more easy and cheaper to access. It has been set up in a barn where there used to be another stable years ago, so the place is still a bit scruffy and unpolished, but -
- Horses are 24/7 pastured during summers in a large acreage and well managed pastures - the fields are leased out too, though. Due to a dryer region, there is MUCH less of a problem with horseflies than in my current place, which is very close to a swamp.
- During winters, the horses are pastured for as long as possible (early morning to evening), and stabled for the night. The stalls are very spacey, the barn has almost the same temperature as outside, it is well ventilated and clean. And the BO is ready to consider in making a 24/7 winter paddock if there were enough people to request it.
- They get free choice hay, which is stored in a dry environment. However, in the same building as horses, so there is a fire hazard.
- There are no waterers in the stalls, so you have to take care for the watering during nights in winters yourself.
- It is a much more urban environment, compared to the foresty wonderland of my current place, and the trails aren't that great, but you still can go for a good ride.
- A large outdoor with jumps and a well sized indoor arena for no additional price!
When my friends announced that they are leaving, the BO got...inadequate. She started reproaching them for "being unfaithful to the idea", for harming their horses by stalling them (we all agree that pasturing 24/7 is better for their health), and stating that she will no longer respect them, neither wish to see them as guests - although she always stated that are all friends here.
After that, I have a choice and a couple of days to decide. I am actually scared to harm my horse in some way by stalling him, and I am not exactly sure the new barn would be the best choice - but there aren't many. I visited the barn and talked to the owner, and she seemed ok. I am also offended over how the current BO treated the leaving boarders - under all that mask of sunshine, smiles and frienship. What would you suggest?
And here's the dragon!