What is it like to board?
A silly question but it's one i've been wondering about lately. My horses have always been on my family's farm and I've only been to a different Stable a couple times (not with my horses but i took a couple lessons there.)
Is it fun? Difficult because of the location? Do you meet a lot of other kids around your age? How are the lessons? I've only taken 5 or so lessons at a different stable (i hated it..loved the horses though!) I'm just so curious about boarding. I don't think I'll ever board unless I go to college and whatnot but it's always nice to know things in advance!
We all know the bad things about boarding so I'll mention some things that I think are good. Of course this depends on the care level of the facility.
You meet new people who share your passion
You learn new ideas
You have backup if there is a problem
You can challenge yourself & get feedback
A sense of family with people who are not your family
You could meet a BF/GF
More eyes on your horse
You can sleep in or not go to the barn at all & your horse will still be cared for
Vacations!!! Holidays!!! Other events
You are not responsible for cleaning, maintenance, buying food, watering, turnout or any number of other things that are done daily
You actually have time to ride
I have my own place & there are many times I miss boarding, especially during a blizzard when I'm in a warm bed & know I have to shovel snow just to get to the barn.
Depends on the barn and the people. Some stables are like high school all over again. Drama, gossip, and backstabbing abound. Not all are like that of course, but a lot of them are.
My personal boarding experience was miserable. Boarded there for almost five years. The owner was a complete nutcase, the management had gone to hell, and there was a very diverse group of boarders, so you can imagine how the sparks flew. I did have a small group of friends who were (and still are) like family to me. But there were a couple people who managed to ruin it for everyone else at the barn. Needless to say, I do not miss it.
On the upside, boarding can be a wonderful thing if you're at the right barn. You can socialize and have friends to help you out. Plus you usually have amenities that few people have at home, like indoor arenas and wash stalls. I do miss my friends and I'd kill to have a wash area with warm water... hehe.
I have only boarded. I like the convenience of knowing someone else is caring for my horse when I am at home for holidays (like now) or when I am swamped with homework and can't make it out to the barn.
Right now, I'm getting a little annoyed because the management of my barn is all screwy and keeps switching back and forth. :?
Great posts so far.
Biggest change for someone going from a boarding barn to a home care situation is loss of the social aspect. This can either be a good or a bad thing. If it was a gossipy, nasty, backstabbing barn, being free of that environment can be a blessing. If it was a more positive environment, it's a real loss. People to ride with, people to ask "How does this look?", people to set fences for you, people to chat with through the dull stuff. The time I most miss barn buddies is tack cleaning. My tack was a lot better cared for when I was in a boarding barn.
Other losses moving from a busy barn to home care: your horses are less socialized. This sounds silly, but there's nothing like the ring at a busy boarding and lesson barn to prepare a horse for showing. Work them in that blissful solitude and isolation for a while; and going into a schooling area at a show becomes a BIG step.
For me, personally, since I no longer compete, home care is definitely preferable. I LOVE having my horses at home, and having everything done exactly the way I want, within my means. However, if I were still competing? If I could find a good barn at a reasonable price, it would be a blessing. No trying to put rugs on after dark, no 6AM knocks on the door with the message "Your horses are out.", no arranging care anytime we want to leave town, no riding alone wondering if what I feel is what I would see from the ground....
Thanks for all the responses guys! Although I probably won't board in the near future I like having all of this advice! If/when I do board, I'll make sure to look into every barn very carefully.
I love everybody's answers and I don't want to repeat so I won't. There is one thing that nobody said that is a definite PLUS for boarding.
It can be a great learning experience!
Much of what I have learned were from fellow boarders. I've learned from their mistakes, I've learned from their triumphs. We have held each other's hands in the face of sorrow (loss off an equine friend). I have learned about many different illnesses from watching fellow boarders horses going through them and asking questions. At my current stable everyone is like a big family, we share vet calls, etc. Usually there are a lot of us who show up for vet visits for someone's sick horse simply because we want to learn about what is going on in case we see something similar happen to our horse later. We are all open to that kind of thing. If you try to get to know people enough that you can kind of observe what they do, there will always be something new to learn.
Rules, rules, rules. Boarding somewhere else you obey by their rules. I would much rather keep my horse at home. But I would miss the friendship of other horsey people :)
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