Okay, so tomorrow I will be paying off Aires (YAY) and I can move him if I so choose. Right now, I'm paying $275 per month for full care board (BO cleans his stall usually twice a week, changes his water out and feeds him alfalfa twice a day, but if I want him turned out, I either have to do it or I have to ask my best friend to do it), but because I don't get paid until the 5th and my other paycheck is for rent, I end up paying the $25 late fee, so basically I pay $300 a month. This was fine when I lived less than two miles away from the barn and was out there almost every day. Now, I live in a different town that is about 13 miles from the barn and, because of my work schedule, hardly ever get out to see him, much less ride or work with him (my amazing best friend has been helping me out A LOT in that department).
So, I'm thinking about changing barns to somewhere closer to me. There are three places I'm looking at, which I will call Ranch A, B, and C.
Ranch A is a small place that is 2.3 miles from my house. Aires would be in an outdoor stall about the same size he's in now with shelter on one end (so about 15ft by 30ft). His water would be filled/changed daily and he would be fed three times a day, grass or alfalfa, my choice, and he'd be turned out at least three times a week. They have a barn, but the stalls are TINY and they're a bit...cobbled together (the place looks run down with a fresh coat of red and white paint slapped on it). They do have a VERY nice dressage-size arena that is graded at least once a week and they have horse shows during the summer. They also have immediate access to plenty of trails. Board here would be $185 a month.
Ranch B is another small outfit that is about 2.5 miles from my house. Aires would be in an outdoor stall with shade on one end, but it would be considerably larger (somewhere around 20ft by 50ft if I remember correctly...one of my friends used to board here). They feed twice a day, only alfalfa. They have a large lighted arena and round pen, however it would be a much longer ride to trails along back roads (in a small, horse-oriented town...but Aires is green). This is a semi-areal pic of their facility and their Craigslist ad: Horse Boarding Board here would be $225 a month.
Ranch C is another small outfit that is less than two miles from my house. Aires would have an outdoor stall with shade, similar to what he is in now, however he would be out running the five, fully-fenced acres the owners have with the rest of their herd most of the time (they have five geldings that he would run with, along with two mares in foal and two studs...the studs have their own time that they get outside). He would be fed twice a day and it would be a mix of grass and alfalfa, along with supplements (whatever they feed their horses, who are in amazing condition). The owners train all the horse for the Arizona Rangers and the father used to ride third level dressage in England and Germany and also did eventing. Their horses are all extremely well-trained and they would be willing to work with Aires for me on a daily basis (just small, general things, like bathing in the stocks, etc.). They also do their own hoof trimming and vaccinations and would be willing to do both for me (for a small cost, but definitely cheaper than the farrier and/or vet). The way they train reminds me a lot of Clinton Anderson. They do not have an arena, but they do have a very nice round pen. They also have good access to trails. This is their website: FIRESKY RANCH, INC. - Home They haven't given me a firm number on board yet, but it would be between $200-250.
So, were you me, which ranch would you choose?