I think i have made my decision but would like to bounce this off some cothers and I dont know about you guys, but I love reading these type of posts:
Barn A and Barn B are very similar except:
Barn A is 10 minutes from work and about 20 minutes from home. Outdoor ring with lights so I can ride after work. Footing is fine; not the best but not too hard. Lots of land to hack out on. Large pasture with all day tunout unless terrible weather. Offers pasture boarding. Its a big barn with a lot of boarders and working students doing most of the work. $25 more than Barn B.
Barn B is 35-40 minutes from work and 25 from home and is a lot smaller. Has an indoor ring with ok footing and an outdoor ring with good footing but they do not have lights so in the winter, I will be stuck in the indoor. Not a lot of land to ride out on. Does not offer pasture boarding. Turnout will be 6-12 hours depending on the weather. One person does all the work.
My horse has a sticky stifle so Im leaning towards barn A just because the turnout will be longer and there are a lot of hills and land to ride out on plus the distance is a huge plus. I will also have the option to switch to pasture boarding in the summer. The thing that makes me nervous about barn A is that there are so many different people doing the work. Ive never boarded at a large barn before with lots of different people in and out all day. Barn B's manager says she checks each horse herself 3 times a day, knows each horse's personality, and can see when things are not normal. At barn B, I will only be able to get out 3-4 times a week whereas Ill get out to Barn A probably 5-6 times a week.
The more I write this out, the more it seems like a no-brainer, huh?
Last edited by ActNatural; Oct. 31, 2012 at 12:10 PM.
I'd say barn A. If you are worried about your horse getting the right hay/feed/etc - make up a little stall card with all that information on it (along with any warnings - ie "he bites" or whatnot) and hang it right by the stall door. I'd also label your belongings with your name or your horses name (I usually do the horses name bc there could be another person at the barn with your name) so that they don't "walk off".
When I had first gotten my old TB, she had NO manners and would literally plow you over to get outside if you opened the stall door. Needless to say, she got a big "DO NOT HANDLE" sign on her stall so that only the barn owner and myself could handle her (we did not want any of the young working boarders to get hurt by her) Then once she was better to handle, I was able to take away the sign (tho shortly after I started noticing some behavior issues with her and found out they were smacking her around a bunch when cleaning her stall and such... so signs went up again and I would go clean her stall myself) That was also when I started bringing my own hay b/c she was losing weight from not having enough to eat... BUT that is a rare thing and was just a strange situation that winter where things got crazy. Everything improved the following spring.
I would go with barn A. As long as the place is organized, having several people do care shouldn't be a big deal. At my own barn, I have 3-4 people doing barn work. I'm a full time student so I just can't be there everyday. As long as the working students are sensible and can follow directions, it probably wouldn't be a big deal. The turnout and the proximity to your home and work are what would win me over. Turnout is the most important thing to make sure works for you, and you can't underestimate how nice it is to have a close barn!
I would also take hacking out over and indoor any day. Trails are great for muscle building and a sound mind, indoors....not so much, although dry and convenient.
It looks like barn A is your best bet! I feel like you're leanign towards it too. Concerning multiple people working around the horses. You can always talk to the manager of the barn or the owner and ask if you can maybe talk to a few people that you'd like to check on your horse. Take the time to meet some of the people so you're familiar with them, and see who you can trust. Make sure whoever takes care of feeding, turnout, stalls, or anything else that could involve moving or handling your horse is someone you know as well. It looks like it could be really fun for you to try something different!
One plus is; barn people are horse people! You're a horse person so you'll get along with them great! Don't be worried at all! Either barn will suit you and your horse's needs. (:
I'd say barn A. If you are worried about your horse getting the right hay/feed/etc - make up a little stall card with all that information on it (along with any warnings - ie "he bites" or whatnot) and hang it right by the stall door.
I would go with barn A, provided they have a stall card or feed chart system. Also, invest in getting a nice, lockable tack trunk that will fit all of your belongings in (except saddle). Some barns are full of super nice people, and some are not. Label everything. Don't use a brand-name saddle cover if you leave your saddle out.
If you get a tack locker, forget everything I just said.
Large barns are usually pretty well organized and the staff tend to get to know the critters pretty well. It's also closer and has a much better turnout situation for your horse.
Thanks guys for all the opinions and suggestions! I will get a lock for my trunk and getting a plain saddle cover is a good idea since mine says prestige. Barn A has feed cards on the stalls and I will be using smartpaks so that should help.
I also like how savethedate said that they are all barn people. Thats totally true! Its not like random non-horsey people will be doing the work. Im sure if she is colicing or really lame, they will be able to pick up on it.
Thanks everyone! I am going to look at Barn C tonight. Its in-between Barn A and B but I dont know much about it. I may have update tmorrow
I went out and looked at Barn C. Its about 25 minutes from work but only 10 minutes from my home so great on the weekends! I had no idea it existed because they dont advertise much and I only heard from word of mouth.
Anyways, the ring is nice, the footing is great and there is one light that will light up most of the ring. Not as much land to hack out on as barn A but there are plenty of hills and trails. Its larger than Barn B but one person does all the work unless out of town or really sick and then boarders pitch in. It was really clean and all the horses seemed really quiet and calm. Most of the boarders are working professionals and it seems low drama and I dont think Ill have to worry about locking my stuff up. Turnout at least 12 hours, if not more. Im really excited and cant wait to move. Im really trying to find a long-term barn so I dont have to move again and I think this might be it!