I live near New Orleans, LA (River Ridge to be exact). I've been taking riding lessons for quite some time now and feel like I'm ready to buy my first horse. I'm looking for a mature gelding who is dead broke. There are many out there that seem to fit the bill, so finding a horse shouldn't be a problem. Even though I am a new rider, I'm a woman of a "certain age" and want to be a responsible horse owner.
My problem is boarding. Ideally, I would like to find a place on the outskirts of the city (10-20 miles) so that I could see and ride my horse every day if feasible. In a perfect world, I would like a place that has a barn and pasture with arena and round pen. A bonus would be friendly owners and and a trainer readily available. Naturally, I know in my area it will be difficult to find a place that meets all my dreams. I would be more than happy to strike a deal with someone who has a little place they would be willing to share for a fee.
My questions: Is this the way it goes? Do most people have more trouble finding boarding than finding a horse? How do you go about finding "hidden gems"? What suggestions do you all have for me? This is new to me and I need some seasoned advice.