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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been trying to find a farm in my area that is willing to let me haul my horse to their farm in order to ride in their indoor throughout the rest of the winter. Well, I FINALLY found one!
There's only one "problem." It is a private farm, and boards and owns only "A" rated jumpers. It's an extremely high class facility. Lots of money. The kind of barn that's nicer than my home.
I went and visited last week. I talked with the barn owner who (while being stuffy at first) turned into a very nice lady. She introduced me to her horses and told me all about the levels of competition that each horse competed in.
I felt completely out of my element. I own a 17 y.o. grade QH gelding. He's still relatively "green" after spending the past 10 years or so (prior to me getting him) as a pasture pet (sold as a green 7 y.o). I want to be able to show huntseat at the local shows in the Adult W/T/C classes. I keep him at home. I do not have any sort of arena. When I'm schooling him, I just ride in the flat part of the cow pasture (which is impossible in the winter). My horse doesn't come into frame, he's still inconsistent about picking up the correct lead at the canter and he's very average. I did tell the lady about my showing goals, trying to get across the fact that we are not of her caliber.
I've never spent time at a barn like this... Am I going to be judged? What should I expect? What should I wear and how should I turn out my horse? What are the expectations as far as "unwritten rules" or big "no no's"...
I half expect that I'm going to pull in the yard and unload my little horse from the green monster of a stock trailer I have and have her tell me to load him right back up and go home...
 

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No matter what there will always be people who judge based on appearances. Don't let them get you down. :) My trainer one time told me that any "horse person" who judges and ignores/declines a horse based on their breed or looks is not a real horseman. If she tells you to load him right back up and go home than I'd say that isn't a trainer or person you need, even if she is that good or has a nice place.

I'd make sure that you and your horse look presentable (no burs or anything in the mane/tail, groomed and not with clothing that has any excessive tears in it). As for do's and dont's just follow the barn rules and do everything else how you usually do it.

Can't hurt to try and get a ring for the winter! :)
 

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As said by Incitatus show up with you, your horse and tack clean and neat. You don't need to go to the "show" level of presentation - no braiding, no hoof polish, no jacket (stuff like that). As far as you are concerned, breeches, boots, helmet plus a nice fleece top with/without a vest (I don't know what your temperatures are like where you are) should work. You'll want a written copy of the barn rules, if they have them, to use as reference. As far as unwritten rules, be courteous and polite, keep your eyes and ears open so the pair of you remain safe both in and out of the ring while you get the lay of the land (I suppose technically arena in this case).

Good luck with it and do let us know how it works out for you.
 

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I forgot to mention -- if you have time, try and go once or twice to sit and observe as that's great for finding out unwritten rules; and try to get a schedule of arena use and pick the quietest times for the first time or two that you go to minimize any stress on you and your trusty mount.
 

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Go have fun. I moved my guy to a stuffy upper level dressage barn-by stuffy, I mean not the BO-she is a friend. The boarders were teens who thought their poo didn't stink, with moms who catered to them, a lady who had a WB who was the same cold and markings as my grade horse….and one day I said something to her-she scoffed in a disgusted tone….and the other guy who "trained in Sweden with Anky….." I could not have cared less about any of these folks. I rode western, and was looked at like a foreigner, and the Bo-again-a friend-referred to my horse as her "little cow pony". However-I do reining. I went out and rode. I rode with whomever, and over time, noticed that they took notice, and were watching, in a positive way. I also had the only horse in the barn who had ground manners. Literally. Their horses were so rude and unruly it was ridiculous. So, while they were trying to get their cross tied mounts to stand to be groomed…..I found my own amusement in ground tying my horse in the aisle, and he, as he does-never moved. I would walk away, go to the tack room…..he stood right there. I got my own amusement in my own ways. So don;t let them get you down. They put on their pants the same as you, and are no better or worse.
 

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Give those folks a chance, they might surprise you and be very down to earth and friendly. I've found that if you go into something with a bad preconceived idea, it usually turns out that way. Either way, you're going there to ride your horse and NOTHING should deter you from having fun horse time!
 

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The above posters all have very valid points made.

Attitude is everything....

Go, ride and Enjoy!!

Go with a clean horse and tack, riding helmet and appropriate attire....doesn't mean boots & breeches, not everyone rides that way everyday every-time honestly. Be comfortable, be yourself.

You might be very pleasantly surprised that the BO and boarders may offer tidbits of information to help you along if you have a receptive attitude to them.
A very upscale barn may be more friendly than you think...

Fundamental ideas and practices of teaching a horse "movements" close the gaps of all riding disciplines in a hurry.

Don't sweat the small stuff... follow or lead by example ring etiquette and politeness astride and in the barn.
Ride your horse as best you can and remember that you were invited to use the arena.

Enjoy the atmosphere and learn by seeing how and why things may be done as they are. Some day in the future you never know if it will be you boarding in such a place and having "seen" also enlightens you to looking for the good and bad every barn has. That benefits your horse.

Go....Enjoy your ride!

:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all of the advice! I'm waiting on a "price list" before I schedule some riding time. I'll let you all know how it works out!
 

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Girl, don't you let ANYONE tell you that you or your horse isn't good enough. I ride a 15.1hh Appaloosa and let me tell you about those nasty looks at horse shows. Even judges will stare at me with a concerned look. Kind of like "you sure that thing is going to make it over a 18" jump, let alone a 3' one." And boy did me and my gelding shove them back in their place. Jumpers- psssh easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I kicked everyone's booty. So if you get judged by those fancy priss people, and get those mean looks, just get on and show them what you two can do.
Hope that helped.
I bet your horse is better then those "fancy" jumpers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No response...

So it's been about 2 weeks since I last heard from that barn. They actually did contact me through facebook shortly after I visited the farm saying that they had misplaced my phone number and e-mail address and if I could get that to them then they would send a price list and I could schedule some riding time. I sent them my information and I have received no response.... Oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be :(
 

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One of the things I hate about horse people is their inability to see that every horse has worth. Every person that loves a horse has the same worth in my mind. It might not be my cup of tea the way some people enjoy their horses (different disciplines) but if they love their horse and are good to it, I would proudly ride side by side with them.

Maybe it is because I am old and I have been lucky enough to have met great people of all disciplines. I can't imagine someone not wanting a person to ride in their arena just because their horse wasn't a class A horse. Their loss, I guess. Hopefully you find a wonderful place where you and your horse will be welcomed with open arms and caring hearts.
 

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Do not feel badly about what you DO have. I taught outside for 10 years and had to cancel lessons bc of bad weather. I often wished that I had an inside place to ride. NOW, I'm extremely happy that I have 5 acres of property that are MINE to do with. Get your horse to be as mannerly as possible. Ride ALWAYS when the footing is good and NEVER when it is poor. It wasn't that long ago that I was reading about an accident on a national x-country course when the horse slid in the mud towards a downhill vertical and flipped over the jump, landing on the rider. The top people don't always think ahead about these things, so YOU can be the brain who does.
In the meantime...learn to ground train and ride "in hand" for obedience. When the weather gets better drill, drill, drill on leads until you can think it, and your horse does it. Buy and use poles on the ground--SECURED WITH BRICKS SO THAT THEY DON'T ROLL!!--and set up a jumping course, where you change the order of the jumps and you'll ride these on the flat. A jumping course is really only obstacles in the way and your approach to them is paramount. Build two really good standards and teach yourself to NEVER interfere with your horse after the takeoff.
There are still many people who drop in and drop out of horses and depend upon their family's money to show. THESE are the ones with the out of control in the aisle horses. Until you cannot train at all, you just use what you have and your imagination. I did, and I had to best trained horses in my hobby and they turned heads, even though they weren't blooded, and certainly NOT show groomed.
 

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I'm sorry it didn't work out. Riding in the bad weather though will have its benefits! :) I ride mine year round, rain, wind, snow or shine and they're better horses for it! I was actually out riding today and we're in the middle of a blizzard... again. :p I don't know if I'd jump in bad weather but flat work can be great for teaching your horse balance and how to navigate through rough terrain. My dressage instructor works all of her green horses in this winter weather so they learn how to cope with all sorts of different footing.
 

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Never give up. And, while a well bred "fancy" horse may give you some advantages, they are not always the way to win. I have seen plenty of grade horses that, through hard work and dedication, became winners at the very top levels.

Just look at what Lendon Gray did with Seldom Seen, a grade cross with a Connemara/TB. He was an event PONY who showed so much talent at dressage that he was turned into a Grand Prix competitor who won the USDF horse of the year from third level all the way through GP and won the individual gold medal at the US Olympic Festival. All of this with a 14.2 pony!



On a lessor scale, I got hold of a 15 hand QH cow pony. I loved this guys attitude and he turned into a wonderful intermediate competitor. I am not sure what he did after he was sold.



When I first started showing up at events with this little guy (I am 5'9" and looked funny on the little guy) they chuckled. They didn't laugh long when he started winning.

So, don't let anything stop you....not even yourself. Go there with a clean and well groomed horse and act friendly and cheerful. Do not let them intimidate you. The insecure folks will try, you know.
 
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Just because it's a fancy, high level barn doesn't mean everyone there is stuck up or is going to judge you and your horse. I understand you not wanting to feel out of place, but if I had a nice barn and some great horses, I wouldn't want people automatically judging me for it and assuming I'm a snob.

It ain't a fashion show, so if you're following the barn rules and your horse and tack is safe/clean, they've probably got waaaay better things to do than pick apart your choice of riding attire. I've ridden at some VERY nice barns and board my horses at a really great facility, but I have still shown up to the barn in basketball shorts and dirty old boots when I was just lunging my horse or giving my sister a lesson.
 

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Give those folks a chance, they might surprise you and be very down to earth and friendly. I've found that if you go into something with a bad preconceived idea, it usually turns out that way. Either way, you're going there to ride your horse and NOTHING should deter you from having fun horse time!
I agree with gig in that if you find yourself prejudging the other riders than you are the one being a bit prejudiced. Just be yourself and try to relax. Enjoy the opportunity and just feel fortunate that you're at such a great facility. There is always going to be a transition period wherever you go and this will be no different.
Think good thoughts and I'm sure they will too.
 

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You probably will get judged but don't let it get to you because that'll happen anywhere you go. I'm guessing they'll probably make you wear a helmet if you don't already ride in one. I'd just do what I normally do and be proud of your horse no matter what.
 
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