Coming back to the horse world - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Maine
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Coming back to the horse world

Hello! After at least a decade and change, I am returning to riding. I grew up in farm country in southern Maine as a girl, took lessons, helped out at neighborhood farms, and rode whatever horse I could. I never learned to jump, and even though I did take lessons in English, I never progressed much further than trotting, and certainly never mastered legs cues, posting on the diagonal, and all that lovely stuff.

I always dreamt of owning a huge chunk of land and having horses, but life took me to the city as I pursued a career in opera (of all things). Recently, a plot of land near my parents' house (32 acres of hay fields, scrub and a treeline which holds a lot of sentimental value to my parents and I) came available for purchase and they bought it, and are helping my husband and I build a house on 6 acres of it. I am to inherit the rest of the land from them, but I have their permission to use the land for trails, pasture, etc.

So, I decided to resume my childhood dream of horse ownership. I am very fortunate that my cousin-in-law is a trained horse trainer and riding teacher (she went to college for it and is certified, and she also has worked with loads of barns and private students in the area). She has been teaching me lessons on several different horses, and we have attended a clinic for centered riding.

I have also been reading as many books about horse health, horse care, horse training, color genetics, building a barn, building an arena, trailering and devouring the contents of this website. I am very hopeful to have a barn and perhaps 2 or 3 horses within the next 5 years or so. I want very much to become a competent rider and know as much as I can about horses and how to care for them before I even consider building a barn and owning them.

So I suppose this post is my way of introducing myself. I am open to any suggestions in terms of books to read, websites to visit, threads to visit on this site, and any bits of wisdom you care to share with me. I am close to 31 years old, but I feel like a complete blank slate when it comes to horses and I am very eager to learn. Thank you for reading!
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post #2 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 04:12 PM
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Columbia, SC
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Welcome! There's lots of great stuff you'll find on the forum. I'm embarrassed to say I haven't picked up a book in a while, so I don't have a great idea of what you can get now.

Are there any questions you have in particular? Looking for advice on a certain subject?
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post #3 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Maine
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Thank you!

I am afraid I have so many, many questions, and I am sure there are questions I should be asking but I don't know enough to know I need to ask them!

I suppose I am in the baby stages of planning a barn; it's a ways off, but I tend to be an overplanner and I like to think of all possibilities.

If you were to build a barn for let's say, 3 horses max, would you build it with 4 stalls? I have read that having an extra stall is good in case of sickness, horses not getting along, etc.

Should you have enough trailer space to accommodate all of your horses? If you have 3, should you have a 3 horse trailer, just in case you should ever have to move all of your horses?

Is it a good idea to have a heated tack room in a cold weather place like Maine? Should a barn have a landline phone in case of emergency?

I have so many questions about hooves. How can you tell if your farrier is doing a good job? I have attended one barefoot trimming so far and have read many threads here about hoof care, but I do not understand how hoof mapping is done.

What is the safest/ best way to store hay? Shavings?

As far as riding is concerned, I tend to find it hard to feel the correct diagonal and often overthink it and have to look to find it. When posting the trot, sometimes my lesson horse stretch his head and it throws me a little off balance; any suggestions on how I can work on that balance issue?

I am sure I sound like a total newbie- and I am! (As a kid, form and technique in riding did not matter to me and the intricacies of horse ownership was completely lost on me...)
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post #4 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 05:04 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thlayly5 View Post
Thank you!

I am afraid I have so many, many questions, and I am sure there are questions I should be asking but I don't know enough to know I need to ask them!

I suppose I am in the baby stages of planning a barn; it's a ways off, but I tend to be an overplanner and I like to think of all possibilities.

If you were to build a barn for let's say, 3 horses max, would you build it with 4 stalls? I have read that having an extra stall is good in case of sickness, horses not getting along, etc.

Should you have enough trailer space to accommodate all of your horses? If you have 3, should you have a 3 horse trailer, just in case you should ever have to move all of your horses?

Is it a good idea to have a heated tack room in a cold weather place like Maine? Should a barn have a landline phone in case of emergency?

I have so many questions about hooves. How can you tell if your farrier is doing a good job? I have attended one barefoot trimming so far and have read many threads here about hoof care, but I do not understand how hoof mapping is done.

What is the safest/ best way to store hay? Shavings?

As far as riding is concerned, I tend to find it hard to feel the correct diagonal and often overthink it and have to look to find it. When posting the trot, sometimes my lesson horse stretch his head and it throws me a little off balance; any suggestions on how I can work on that balance issue?

I am sure I sound like a total newbie- and I am! (As a kid, form and technique in riding did not matter to me and the intricacies of horse ownership was completely lost on me...)
First, welcome to the forum! It sounds like you have a lot of potential in your situation. Some brief answers to your questions:

1. YES on the extra stall. You'll use it for something.
2. Trailering -- depends on how much you intend to trailer. If you fully intend to haul all your horses around a lot, then yes. But since you can't know that, just buy a two horse, you can always upgrade if you find the need.
3. In Maine, a heated tackroom sounds lovely!
4. Land line phone? I doubt it. What do you imagine happening that a cell phone wouldn't handle? How far away is your barn from the house?
5. For finding a good farrier, as well as a vet, that's a journey every horse owner must undertake . . . the best thing is to make connections and friends with the horse community near you and ask them. You'll be sure to get lots of opinions!
6. The safest way to store hay and shavings is in a building that is separate from the barn (fire safety). Hay storage to prevent spoilage is a skill, but it is pretty much summed up by keeping it dry dry dry and lots of air circulation all around.
7. Keeping your balance is a question for your instructor, and the answer is going to depend on why you lose it to begin with.
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post #5 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 05:15 PM
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Join Date: May 2017
Location: Columbia, SC
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Having a four stall barn is probably a good idea for a multitude of reasons, but it all comes down to preference, budget, ect. Stall normally have some time of separation like bars, so if a horse doesn't get along and they're stalled next to each other it's not the end of the world... And if you have three horses you might find yourself with four somehow... That's how they work!! Lol! Always better to have to space and not worry then to stress adding a new stall. Or if you have friends over. If you have the means to have four, I would!

In the event of emergencies, it is very nice to have a trailer that has enough room for all the animals. Several things can happen that may require evacuation such as flooding, wildfires, and so on. Having enough space for everyone is probably the best way to ensure their safety, although again, not necessary.

Unfortunately I have almost no experience with climates like that, I live in the Southeast (SC and FL) and have not had much experience with freezing climates. Although I will say, temperature controlled rooms are wonderful (especially when it's hot, boy is that nice).

@loosie has some great posts regarding trimming and mapping. I would look at those posts and hit the link in their signature. Some great info there.

I've always been told hay and shaving storage should be in a shed that is covered and weather proofed, detached from the barn so in the event of a fire it has less chance of harming horses. A few barns I've been at have stored in barn, and nothing has happened, but I wouldn't chance it.

When I first started riding it took me forever to find my diagonal. If you still have to look at it, then so be it. What I did when trying to learn was go into it, and after a couple steps look and see if it was right. With time and practice, it gets easier to feel out. You'll get it eventually. It's okay to look for now. Your seat/balance/overall riding techniques will get better with time. Talk to your trainer/instructor about the problems your having with your lesson pony, they should be able to help you as they should know the horse and how to correct it.

I totally understand the re-rider questions. I took about an 8 year break in riding and I'm just getting back into it after purchasing my first horse. It can be overwhelming- but horseforum is a great place to get opinions and have some questions answered. Good luck to you!
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post #6 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 05:48 PM
Green Broke
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Hildreth, FL
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If you haven't do so already, read this thread.

https://www.horseforum.com/barn-maint...-build-766921/
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post #7 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
Foal
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Maine
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Thank you both so much! Your responses are super helpful. Sounds like a separate building for hay and shavings is the safest way to go; I'd very much like to lessen the chance of fire in every way I can.

I will be sure to check out Loosie's information on hooves. Thank you!

Avna, my barn would be fairly close to the house. I thought a landline might be a good idea because the place I am moving to is pretty durned rural and I am not 100 percent on the reliability of cell phone reception either at the house or at the barn. But if a landline in a close-by house is enough, yay I say.

Thank you again for your help and the warm welcome!
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post #8 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 05:57 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Maine
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Thank you! I think Acadianartist and I share a climate, so that looks super helpful!!
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post #9 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 07:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Hi there! First of all congratulations on your new property! That is awesome, what a great opportunity.

As far a barn goes I would definitely build the extra stall if you can afford to.

Do you have an idea on what your future goals are? For example do you plan on just keeping them as pets and doing pleasure riding? Or do you want to train? Show? Etc. That can help you answer a lot of questions. For me, originally my goal was simple: just keep my horses at home. Simple right? But the more I examined my long term goals (being a professional trainer, showing more, etc) the more I realized I needed to re-evaulate my layout. What may work for a trail rider may not work for a pro trainer, or someone who wants to give lessons etc.
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post #10 of 17 Old 08-02-2017, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2017
Location: KS
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I just moved back to my home state of KS after 23 years of living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I think the climate in the UP is similar to the climate in Maine. I used to spend a lot of time at the barn when it was -30F. I had to wear wool socks, long johns, heavy pants and sweaters, coveralls and those hot things in my insulated boots just to spend time with my horse! Watering was a REAL treat. The barn owner kept her water hoses in her house and brought them out just long enough to fill the heated trough and the buckets. Before we could fill buckets we had to bust all the ice out of them.

Cleaning stalls was such a pain in that cold weather. Everything was frozen solid and we had to pound at it with shovels to break it up. It was quite a workout. During the hours and hours I spent in that barn, I dreamed about what the perfect barn would be like. The horses really didn't mind the cold, and didn't appreciate being locked up in their stalls. I didn't appreciate cleaning the stalls full of frozen poop.

If I had to live in a harsh climate like that again, I'd build a "barn" that was basically a big sheltered run-in on one side. The horses could get out of the wind but would have free access to all the space they needed 24/7 . Their hay would be across the paddock so they'd do most of their pooping outside the barn. The barn would have a nice tack room/grooming room/bathing area (for bathing in the summer only), which could be heated up enough to not be miserable - 40 degrees F, maybe - while I groomed and saddled and cared for the horses, and a nice big area to store hay. I'd be able to walk to the barn from the house through some sort of breezeway, and there would be heated pipes and heated troughs and no hauling hoses or water around. Oh - and a great big indoor arena, of course! :)
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