Okay so I haven't had time to update because it's been a WHIRLWIND!
So Wednesday, I had a barn appointment with a really nice woman 15 minutes away from my house (in the opposite direction from my work). She had a great set up, just her one horse, looking for another horse to keep her horse company. 24/7 turn out, run in type stalls, grass turn out, they grow their own hay. She seemed super sweet and checked my 6 or 7 references I sent her (my friends are AMAZING and sent her glowing reports!). She was expecting me to move in middle of September, but I needed to get out ASAP..
So I called that $800/month barn that's only 3/4 of a mile from me... Something about it seemed amazing... the way the woman was so nice on the phone, the way the boarders were so friendly, the 24/7 turn out with happy, healthy horses...
The second I mentioned that my mustang came from the Kokal brothers from Wild Horse, Wild Ride, she got so happy and said that they do natural horsemanship, go to Road to the Horse every year, go to the Mustang Makeovers in TX as a barn, etc. They even have cows at their barn to do roping (which is funny because NO BARN in my area, EVER does Western! It's just not a North Shore, MA thing!). She heard what barn I was coming from and said "oh dear, we need to get you out of there ASAP..." and said how she has had a handful of boarders come there over the years from where I am, in tears. Some are still there!! She said she would work with me to make it affordable, and I could make my own "hours" for helping out at the barn.
I got nervous at this, because I didn't want to be taken advantage of again. So I talked to a few other boarders that work off board, and they LOVE it. No one does a shift alone, so you never "do the whole barn yourself." Every single boarder I've talked to has been there for 5+ years and LOVES it, and they do lots of things together.
I told one girl there that I hope Vinnie will be a "cow pony" when he becomes sound, and she got a few ropes and gave me some roping lessons right there!
The posted barn rules even talk about encouraging and supporting each other in all we do, etc.
SO! If I can afford it I would love to stay here long term (just have to get him botulism shots before I turn him out in the big 5+ acre fields, because in the winter they do round bales). Only problem, is the other woman thinks I am moving in in a month!
So I am on a trial for a month at the awesome western place (even though I am an English rider, haha), and then see from there.