August 30, 2011

I am so done with leasing....

This last experience has been horrendous and taken every last breath of sanity I have left.  There have been many instances that have occurred that have made me seriously regret my leasing of Millie and this recent one in regards to a miscommunication about turn out and a misrepresentation of turn out in the leasing contract, that I have finally thrown my hands up and said, "Enough!"

1) I have been required by my contract to muck the stall each time I go out which is fine, I always did that with Willy's stall even though it was not required in that contract.  The only time on Wednesday I've been going out is after work and all summer it has been during a thunderstorm with lightning too close for comfort (not something to mess with out here).  Needless to say I have not ridden on MANY of my designated days so in essence have paid $200 a month to muck a stall!

2) Multiple times when I have been out to the stable there has been an accusation by another boarder that I knocked over her equipment or used her materials, neither of these things have I done, in fact I have replaced knocked off items (the most recent one being a screw driver laying on the floor) and been very conscientious about cleaning any tiny amount of manure that looked like it spilled from Millie's pen to Misty's (since Millie's stall is uphill of hers) 
3) I have not been having fun with Millie (can you tell by the amount of posts I've made since the lease started?) any techniques I have learned on Divine have not worked with her and I have not been able to work on any riding objectives I've wanted to.  I don't know if it's her training but I'm so frustrated that I don't want to go out there anymore...I don't even see the point

4) I'm tired of the situation at the facility and worried because of the upkeep at the facility that any injuries incurred to Millie because of the facility issues could be viewed as my liability

a) broken fences in her paddock (I ended up duct taping the ends so it was at least semi safe for the horses and to this day the farm still has not been repaired)
b) barbed wire fencing in the pasture (many areas in back of the pasture I have noted are very dangerous for a horse with loose, loopy wire and bent posts where a horse could easily cut a tendon)
c) the waterer issue, many times I stayed later than intended after my ride to make sure Millie had water in the bucket since the water only trickled out, it took forever.  I also purchased a bucket since the owner did not have one on hand and never asked her to pay me back.
d) The arena fencing was bent inwards for so long causing a hazard to horses and riders alike.  I wonder if a boarder eventually fixed it since Terri, the owner of Millie, has had to fix knocked out walls in her stall in the past since the boarding facility has not held up their end of the bargain

6) I've disliked the nasty attitude of the people that own the facility, even Terri is afraid to ask the people to fix something for fear she'll be kicked out of the facility.  Really?  I would have left ages ago!  How can someone tolerate being made to feel like you are putting them out to take care of the horse you are paying them to take care of?

7) The manure pile is also not being either spread, composted or disposed of properly.  In El Paso County manure cannot be piled up to just sit indefinitely, it has to be composted properly, regular thrown out in the garbage or spread thinly over a field so it dries quickly and reduces chances of fly breeding.  Even Susan's facility had a regular (weekly) trash pick up of the manure pile. I know that there is no facility that can be perfect but I guess what I find deplorable some people find acceptable.  Facilities at least need to be clean and safe.

8) The turn out pastures were for a few hours a day (hardly any time for a horse) and I needed prior approval to release Millie with other horses, from the owner and from the other horses owner.  I received that a couple months ago with Misty, Millie's neighbor.  Apparently something changed and Frieda didn't want Millie out with Misty anymore but this was never conveyed to me.  The contract also did not state I needed to ask the permission each and every time I release Millie on pasture.  Terri stated it had to be every time, I mentioned it didn't state that in the contract so I cannot be held responsible since I DID have prior permission, it had never been revoked.  Uge.  In hindsight I should have required her to write up an agreement on each and every horse Millie could be released with and had her and I and the other horse owner sign it so I had documentation for the permission.  Either that or I just should have left poor Millie in her pen gazing at the other horses in the pasture.

So I'm out $400 for the last two months and I don't care, I'm just glad to be out of the situation.  I could go after Terri for the last two months lease because she did not have a clause about early termination of the lease but I'm tired of dealing with her and hearing about some sort of accusation from the neighboring horses owner on a weekly basis.  I've research contract law and her contract is not as tight as she would try and have someone believe.

I'm just set on paying off debt, saving up money and buying my horse this spring, so I can settle into horse ownership, get training with the horse when I need it and continue lessons with Laurie on my own horse (trailer willing!).  Just wish I had not done this lease at all, $1200 could have been a lot of riding lessons with Laurie or a bill paid off....uge.  We live we learn, eh?

At least I've learned more about what signs I need to look for when I buy a horse, to take my time, since rushing into this lease was a VERY stupid mistake; to really get to know a horse and assess their training level.  A facility that is safe and has an indoor arena is a PRIORITY for a boarding place.  The price is worth it and I'm willing to pay for a nice facility that is up kept and has an indoor arena so I can ride with my limited schedule...and hopefully I can find one fairly close to either work or home!   I need to over analyze any contract I sign (including boarding agreements) and perhaps even have a legal person look over it...have money set aside for a lawyer just in case! 

I'm so tempted to "bring it on" but I'm just not like that.  The situation was getting bad, I wasn't having fun and I was being accused of things that were not true and I feared that I would get held liable for something that I did not do and have to go to court anyways!  I'm just glad to be rid of the situation!  Everyone, be very careful when you lease a horse and when you lease out your horse!  I saw so many loop holes in this contract that this lady could easily have been taken to the cleaners.  After finishing my end of the bargain and paying off the rest of the lease and mucking stall fees she still even had the nerve to say that I took advantage of her (referencing that it costs her $50 extra a month for mucking not $25 but sorry, $25 was in the contract she wrote).  She has $400 and $65 more for mucking I really didn't need to owe since I terminated the lease (contract law states that if there is not a termination clause deeming fines etc. that a contract can be terminated at any time unless otherwise written), with no lessee riding her horse for the next two months and that is taking advantage of her?!!!!???!!!  Hmm... 

Thanks everyone for letting me vent on this blog, I'm so angry at this situation and mostly angry that I was naive about the facility, the horse and the contract (which wasn't well written).  I've learned that legal documents need to be very specific.  In a court of law I don't think she would have much to stand on but again, it's something to remember for the future.  Cover my butt!  I have a nice riding lesson with Laurie to look forward to this Friday and now that Wednesdays are open I can see what would work best for Laurie and I's schedule.  I want to do two lessons for a little while since Laurie is working on my seat and balance with's hard and frustrating and sometime I want to quit but darn it, I can do it!  Cherrio!

August 24, 2011

A Sinking Feeling

I rode a lesson on a Tuesday, first time I've done that and it worked out pretty well.  I know Laurie is having a hard time with dance lessons for her girls and arranging lessons.  Things will get easier when I get my own horse since I can bring them to the lessons on a Saturday and not worry about how many "slots" Laurie has on her schedule.  Divine can only do so many lessons!

Legs' stall and the hay area, Laurie still has plans
for putting wall in and a bigger aisle door

The horses were out in the big field when I arrived so I hiked out to the very far corner where they all were grazing.  Eksodus came up to me, a little too much actually, he really gets into my space and I end up pushing him back with mixed results.  He still does the occasional try at a nip.  When I went to get Divine she moved off and around so I let her settle and then walked to her again but she then took off at a gallop, taking the rest of the herd with her.  I trudged back to the gate of the field and finally captured the "wild mare". 

Legs' stall
Laurie  had me on the lunge line again to work on my seat and balance.  It was still scary at first and I still have to keep one hand lightly, although sometimes not so lightly, on the pommel of the saddle for security. I definitely felt a difference of my weight sinking more into and through my horse.  I just had trouble keeping all the parts doing what they need to!
Gadiel came over for a pat so I took some pictures of him,
only problem was he was too close to get a good shot!
I would get that sinking feeling in my seat but end up pointing my toes down or out.  It helped more with my toes thinking about just my heel.  "Heels down!  Stretch the back of the calf."  That got me in a better leg position and brought my toe into a better place.  The heel is heavier so perhaps thinking about that is what helped me get a sinking feeling in all my parts.

Pstar grazing in the field
I still tensed at moments but felt I had better control at relaxing my legs on cue instead of the usual death grip!!  Other exercises Laurie had me do was pointing one hand towards Divine's ears and then doing slow circles back towards her tail.  This changed the dynamic a bit and made it harder to relax but eventually I got my seat to an acceptable state.  Then Laurie had me do transitions to trot with my legs completely lifted off the saddle with only my seat and crotch balancing...I felt like one of those Russian nesting doll balancing on a ball, on mono cycle pedaling on a tight rope!!  So begins my circus career!!

Divine intently listening to sounds outside the arena

Happy riding!

August 22, 2011

Circles, figure eights, seat bones and balance

I've started to ride more consistently with Laurie again....the summer excitement has slowly ended and I think I have my weekly and weekend routine back.  Oh but wait, there's a Red Cross drill this Saturday, an exercise the Friday before and an Emergency Preparedness night at Sky Sox this Friday.  There goes that idea!  But I am going out to ride on Tuesday at least!
Divine...the shocked look


Laurie's indoor arena

My last couple of lessons have been hard.  I can't put it in any other way.  I did free work, meaning off the lunge line while working with Divine on circles and figure eights.  I had issues getting her into the corners the way I wanted to but eventually succeeded, albeit with an ugly "opening rein" to get the mare to listen. 
Gadiel's stall Laurie and Dan have been building for a while

The last lesson was a lesson in tolerance for my derriere.  Sitting trot no stirrups and working on having my leg way back and sitting on my crotch more to accomplish that.  That laid back Aussie saddle is looking better and better!  I know I have a lot of work to do on my balance, I tense up and accentuate my chances of falling off.  Should I look for a older horse then?  Perhaps my husbands future horse?  A horse that is rock solid?  Am I being a wus?  I think some of my falls have created more fear than I realized.  I'm going to try to work with Laurie twice a week for a bit to get this balance thing worked on but I gotta say, the legs way back and crotch sitting feel so foreign and quite uncomfortable!

Stalls that were already existent in the barn

I do have to realize I'm not in this to look great riding.  Balance is one thing, perfect position while related to the balance is another.  I don't have to be perfect.  There are tons of riders that aren't perfect and do just fine safely riding.  I try not too beat myself up with thoughts of "damn it why can't you do this!", "chill out and relax you ninny!" or "it's a saddle not a slip n' slide!".  I have to have patience and tolerance of my weaknesses.
Divine..."oh no you're gonna ride me again!"

Eksodus in the field with the mares
And lastly I have to remember why I ride, to be near my favorite animal...the horse.  Equitation and collection aside, riding up a winding path with a warm and happy horse beneath me and the grand blue sky above me.
Hello little Psylk!

Trickles of water...

So days when I go out to see Millie, besides cleaning up the manure and grooming her I also refill her big bucket of water.

Her owner has decided that the automatic waterer is no good, and rightly so.  It's not consistant in refilling and then there is the issue that there is a lot of gunk and who knows what floating in the water.  It's disgusting.  I'll have to go with a flash light some day to get a picture of what I'm talking about but I know I've posted the rust bucket on here so you can guess the condition inside the water bowl!

I dump the big bucket, especially since I don't know how often that is done and it's pretty rancid smelling...I'm glad I dumped it!  Then I begin the refilling process.  The pump in the stall is great but EXTREMELY slow.  It just takes forever to fill a big bucket!  Oh well.

Guess I'll take pictures of Odie a cute weanling/yearling almost.  He is in love with Millie. 

Since I'm lazy I'll just post some more pictures of ponies....we all love pony pictures!

Maebree Ranch and Jennifer's (off Woodman Rd.)

I checked out a couple other locations for boarding.  This first one was Jennifer's private farm, she has about 8 stalls, an indoor arena and two smaller pastures.  Most of the time though the horses would be in runs of a decent size, right next to their friends.  Each horse had access to hay and water in the run and she rotates the horses through the it's not a daily turn out situation.  The indoor barn with stalls was nice and each stall was a good size.  When I arrived it was pouring outside so all the horses were inside munching on their hay ration.  The tack room was a nice size.  I asked about restrooms and she said I could use the house, she leaves it unlocked even when she's not home.  I just feel weird about walking into other peoples homes to use the restroom, possibly bothering their family and kind of feeling like I'm intruding.  I'd much prefer a porta potty even where I can just go and not bother anyone.  Parking for a trailer is free and the full board is $275.  There aren't many trails, just the neighborhood but the location is right off woodmen before even getting to falcon, so I like the proximity to my house.  I just prefer more turnout and with friends instead of individual turn out on a rotation...meaning not a daily thing.  It's definitely a pretty decent place though and I like the price!  Wish I outside pictures but it was a downpour!!!
Indoor arena is a good size

Indoor stalls for night time or during icky weather

Next I drove further north, near Fox Run Regional Park off of Baptist road.  The access would be pretty easy from work since work is off the interstate and so is the farm.  There are 40 acres and several really large pastures.  The cost is $350 and includes the free feed hay, pasture time and corn grain (what is that?)  The runs they had were very sloped, which didn't seem comfortable for a horse.  The indoor arena was nice and there were stalls inside that were nice and flat.  I think if I boarded here I wouldn't worry too much about the runs because my horse will hopefully be at pasture most of the time and perhaps I can request the horse being in the indoor stalls at night so they have a flat surface to lay down or just stand more comfortably!  The owner, Molly stated that it would take a little time to adjust my future horse to their pasture since it is pretty rich...and I can understand that.  I don't want more horse to get laminitis from being on pasture...we'll have to see.  The cost is up there and I know there are locations that are a little closer that may be around that price too but I'm not exactly writing this off.  The indoor arena, the neighborhood to ride in and being only a couple miles from Fox Run Regional Park is awesome, though there is a stable right across the street from it I still have on my list to view.  Trailer storage is an extra $30 a month so that brings the full cost of board to $380.  Oiy!
Looking from my car to the barn/indoor arena, the runs are in the
back and to the left, you can't see them in this picture

View of the fields and you can sort of see the
runs on the left of the barn

I know that my dream is to find a place where my horse can be on pasture 24/7 but this last barn made a good don't want your horse to founder or develop laminitis and that can happen.  Perhaps a farm with pastures that aren't so rich are a good option.  I'm concerned more with getting the horse into a natural situation where they will be moving a lot rather than standing in a stall looking bored or worse developing bad habits out of boredom!  I have many more places to check out, just not enough time in the week to go!  I'll keep posting!  These two I think are options, more so on Jennifer's but it's a smaller farm so who knows where she'll be come next spring! 

August 11, 2011

A Day Without Rain

I was pretty excited that today it was not raining and there was no sign of it not the horizon!!! I could actually go and ride on a Wednesday! I haven't done that in a while!!

I went out to the stable to see Millie, my bridle had collected a little bit of dust but that's not saying much, it's uncovered and the "tack room" is the feed area. It's pretty dusty with the hay bales and other supplies so things get dusty fast. My saddle is covered with an old towel since I'm going to wait to buy my real saddle once I have my horse and since it will be a dressage saddle I would need a different styled saddle case/bag or cover. I'm thinking a case will be the most versatile since I can carry it and put it in the trailer with more protection on it. I also plan on getting a synthetic Aussie saddle from Down Under Horse Tack (I'm butchering the name but it's an Aussie tack store in Denver). Then of course bridle bags etc.

Anyways I dust off the bridle and get Millie's halter and hook her up to start grooming her. She is not trained to stand very close to the tie up so I usually have three or four feet of rope. She stands nicely at least. Her owner is freaked out about her pulling back and falling while tied...guess she saw a horse do that once. Oh well, not my horse. Laurie has taught me to tie a horse with only about a foot of rope from the knot to the halter. I didn't tie that close with Willy but I certainly didn't have him as loose as Millie.

The flies were really bothering her today. She was stomping and swishing like crazy and biting at flies on her leg. After grooming I strayed her down with fly spray and she seemed to be much happier.

I rode in the little arena today to work on trots again. Last time I rode I was having issues with her speeding up really fast to where I just felt like I was being bounced around. I couldn't sit it and had issues with posting so fast! I pretty much had the same issues and dealt with Millie being really heaving on the forehand, pulling down on the reins.

I worked with her on the walk, doing half halts to get her to give up the strong pull. I think if I work at this issue at the walk it will get better and then I can move onto the trot. I need to do some groundwork again and try to bit her up some to teach her how to give herself the release rather than feeling like it's a tug of war to get the reins back so I can keep them nice and soft for her. She'll get it eventually. But again, I only ride her until October and then I'll be taking a break from leasing to get ready for my own horse! After the ride I groomed her down, mucked the stall and poured out the old water in the bucket. It reeked!! I then filled it up about half way, it took forever since the water trickles out of the pump and hose but it's a pretty big bucket and the auto waterer still works at least. I'm sure she appreciated new fresh water!!! Towards the end of my work Millie took one last poop so I decided to grab the pitchfork, get that last pile and fling it out to the manure pile. I wanted to leave a perfectly clean stall! LOL. Well Friday I have another Divine lesson coming up so I'm looking forward to that! Till next time!

August 03, 2011

If lightning was a horse...

...maybe I could then ride during a thunderstorm...but alas I cannot.  Everyday it seems to storm right when I get off work.  The worst weather being up north and near the mountains where the stable Millie is kept at.

I called Terri today and let me know I couldn't make it out and that I would pay the $25 for the next month to have her find someone to muck the stall.  She deducted that from the lease since I was willing to muck when I went out.  I just can't risk going out when there is lightning going all through the sky and landing near the mountains just above the Flying W.  I don't like to risk it when the clouds are nearby, lightning in Colorado is nothing to mess with out here, even on a blue sky day with a nearby dark cloud I've seen bright bolts of lightning appear from nowhere.  Better to be safe.

It still means I've paid a lot of money to not get a lot of riding in.  Most Sundays have been fine since I have all day to make it out there, it's just the darned weekday when I have a window of a few hours at the most.  Uge.  I only have myself to blame.  I settled for a horse lease when the facility lacked an indoor arena, so I'm a victim of nature and her ways.  I sometimes feel like I just washed the money down the drain everytime the rain pours out of the skies.  Terri will try and work with me to let me have some make up days when the weather is better so we'll see what happens.

Close your eyes

I went out on July 22nd to Laurie's for a lesson.  It has been WAY too long!  Riding Divine again was so nice, she has such a nice gait, and well I'm kinda partial to the Arabian so it was nice to see the beauties again.

Laurie had me on the lungeline since it had been so long, I would have suggested that anyways!  We worked on the sitting trot, two point, posting trot and also did various stretching exercises with my arms and twisting my body...good balance exercises.

Driving back out the driveway and looking back at the pony dots in the distance
Then Laurie had me sit the walk but with my eyes closed and just feel the horse beneath me.  We did a few stops during the walk as well, just to shake things up.  I have to say it was a little scary at times but it made me realize that my eyes fool me into thinking I don't need my seat as much as I really do.  I think that if I see that evil thing that's going to scare my horse or cause a quick change in pace, seeing it will keep me safe...or so I think!  Nope, seeing it will often make me tense and actually prevent me from relaxing and moving with my horse.  Towards the end I was beginning to feel myself trust my seat and the horse beneath it, I let my body move with her through the speed ups and halts. 

Clouds rolling in as I drive home from Falcon
I think that with some of my recent set backs with falls, spooks etc. going back to basics is a very good thing for me, I'm sure Laurie would agree.  My seat is pretty good in the walk but I tense up in the trot.  Once I got into the canter with Willy I would relax again, only to tense up again if he picked up speed or suddenly something didn't go the way I wanted.  The transitions, the quickening of pace, the sudden movements cause me to lose my steady seat and tense up like a log.  Hmm, maybe I should take some cutting lessons on a horse!  That would really teach me to move with the horse and balance with my seat!  LOL. 

Well this Friday I have another lesson with Laurie.  I can't wait to go out again and see her and the horses.  I know my frustration with my lease will melt away!

Trotting Tempos and Fast Halts

Nothing like almost going over your horses head!!  Millie responds very quick to me asking her to halt or slow down.  I don't feel I'm asking for it any different than I have before or when I ride Divine.  I've been working on Millie with smaller circles trying to keep her trot at a steady pace.  The arena is pretty flat so I don't have that issue to work with but she still tends to speed up the trot and it's a choppy short paced quick trot.

I've been bringing her to a halt and she doesn't ease into the halt, she halts on the spot and I get thrown off balance.  I guess that is good practice for my seat but I still don't like the sensation. It's just going to take some time and work but hopefully I can do more trail riding to just enjoy that with Millie for the next three months.  My wednesdays which I was thinking would be good days for just working in the arena have been few and far between due to really heavy storms with lightning.  In Colorado you don't mess with that!

I found that smaller circles helped with her staying at a nicer trot and not trying to speed up as quickly.  Maybe I should work on posting though to that fast trot, it just seems so quick and choppy, not like Divine.  I'm not a good judge as to whether the gaits can be enhanced by collection so that's why I have such difficulty or if it's all me needing to work on better balance so I don't feel so much bounce and inconsistancy.  Maybe it's a combination of an uncollected horse and an unsteady rider?  I have two lessons soon with Laurie, I think Friday evenings will work out the best for both of us for now.  We'll see how things go.  I miss my Arabs and can't wait to go see them again!

Quick Starts Trail Ride

I took Millie out on a trail ride again after a long time of working on her with ground work and riding in the arena.  She's even less trained than Willie, meaning she's not good with leg yielding, and has an even rougher way of going.  I love sitting the trot on Divine, it's far as sitting trot goes.  Millie it's rather difficult with, but anyways I'm getting on a tangent.

I figured I needed to go on another trail with Millie to get over that little hump.  Walking up to the gate that leads to the back of the Flying W property and the trails Millie stopped several times and needed some good proding.  I need to bring my crop for incentive I think.  I went up the actual trail, no to the right like I had done before.  Every little thing Millie spooked at, a bird flew overhead, she started.  A butterfly, a stick, the bird songs.  Uge!  I ended up walking her up and down the same little bit of trail to the point of me and hopefully her getting bored.  She eventually calmed down.  I tried myself to remain pretty calm and relaxed but that is certainly an ordeal when the horse you are on stops and starts every few steps!

After the trail ride I gave her a nice grooming and mucked her stall.  I haven't been as into this lease horse.  There just isn't much of a connection.  I don't know if it's her or her breed.  Arabians do have that something special don't they?  My lease ends October 31st and at that point I feel I am done leasing.  I want to get ready for my own horse and then I can just work with my horse and my horses problems and not feel like I have to deal with some body elses issues.  It's hard to not have a consistant approach to the horse.  I doubt the way I ride or work with a horse is like Terri her owner.  That's the same problem I had with Willy.  At least I still get to go out and do things with a horse.  Millie is sweet in her own way and I do get satisfaction when I can release her from her pen into the nice pasture.  We'll see how the next trail ride goes with Millie!  We'll get there, at least to the point where we can have a nice ride without any major scares!

August 01, 2011

Armada Bay Equestrian Center

Armada Bay is right across the street from where Willy is on Meridian, pretty convenient since I felt that was a good distance from my house.  It's a nice area I already know!  The facility is about 10 acres or so.  The owner bases her boarding on the "Paddock Paradise" book, which is a philosophy based on research of wild horse habits where the paddocks are set up as tracks so the horses are in constant motion to go eat hay, find shelter or drink water.  It was an interesting concept and I want to find that book to read to better understand this.  She pretty much only has pasture board for $335 a month, trailer parking is included.  There are several track boarding areas and then one large pasture that she rotates the horses through.  It was very impressive.

She had an outdoor arena, another arena type area and a small indoor arena.  The tack room was a good size and then there was an area near the tacking stalls for people to put their trunks etc if they had them.  No extra cost.  There might be an extra cost for grain depending on the amount the horse needed.  I know the area and the neighborhoods so I know of some riding plus there is the trail that goes out to Peyton and then from there another park to ride in.  It's pretty close in Falcon so easy access to trailer out somewhere too.

Next to the outdoor arena looking at the indoor arena/tack room building
The only catch is that each horse there has to be in a training program or lesson program.  I asked her what that entailed and what regular sessions meant.  She stated a couple times a month is fine and the sessions are $25 each.  I know I will most likely have my new horse in some type of training when I first get him or her and it may be really convenient to have a trainer that I like at the facility I'm boarding at.  I'll just have to tread carefully and see what the contract details would entail.  I like the facility but I don't know if I want to be tied to a training regimen at all times.  On the same token it might be a good idea.  Who knows how soon I'll have a trailer and be able to trailer my horse over to Laurie's. 

The facility had mostly boarders in their 30's and up she stated and they have regular excursions where they go out for rides as a group.  Sounds fun!  I definitely will keep this facility on the list.  It might not be at the top because of training requirement but I feel it was a good concept and the pasture board I desire.

Norris-Penrose Equestrian Center

Norris-Penrose is a nice big facility located right in town.  Only ten minutes from home or work.  It features many large arenas and an indoor arena plus access to a cross country course with access to trails galore.

Inside the barn
 Those are really the only good things.  The facility board starts at $400 a month for indoor stall board.  Turnout is $40 for half day $75 for full day, the turnout are in smaller pen type areas that really do not equate to turn out in my opinion.  Everything is extra here, blanketing in bad weather $60 a month, parking the trailer $10 a month, private locked tack rooms....they nickel and dime you to death.  For what I would want it would easily be $500 a month and I still wouldn't get the type of pasture board I think a horse deserves.

The stable is big and there are a lot of boarders and a good chance to meet people to ride with.  A lot of different disciplines are represented here and the stable manager really does seem to genuinely care about the horses.  It's just the "standard" accepted boarding style of stalls and small runs, it's the "norm" here.  Their pasture turn outs are no more than big runs really.  At least the horses can be turned out with another horse or two. 

One of the multiple outdoor arenas
 The biggest thing going for it is the location and the amenities as it relates to humans.  If I could find this exact same facility, in this location but with several acres of pasture that the horses could be turned out on I would be very inclined to board here.  I just can't justify the stall and run type board at this cost....honestly I can't justify it for even a cheaper price.  I think it's much better and healthier for a horse to be out and about in a pasture with other horses getting socialization, having the natural movement of grazing etc.  That may mean more scratches and bumps but I think a horse should be a horse.  Oh well...moving on.  It may be a good facility to go to if my horse is injured and required to be stall bound and only hand walked but this facility is very low on the list.

Boarding facility Criteria

I've started taking a look at boarding facilities.  I figure it's a good idea to have a list of facilities that I find acceptable so when I do have my horse on the way I can call down the list and find one that has an opening.  I'll have done the legwork beforehand so I have less to worry about when I have the major undertaking of getting my future horse vet checked and then transported home. 

My top three criteria for a boarding facility:
1) Pasture Board/combo pasture board with safe fencing
I believe horses are happiest when they can be outside with friends in a natural environment with a small herd.  I don't like the pen situation that a lot of boarding facilities have.  One facility I contacted stated that most horses that were let out to the arena alone would stand by the gate to get back to their stalls.  Um...yeah, no forage and being away from their friends, of course the horse wouldn't want to stay there.  Now if there was forage and a few other horses with them I think the situation would be totally different.

2) Indoor arena
As I've experienced lately, an indoor arena is paramount during the week when often times the summer storms come at the exact time I can go riding.  I've come to enjoy the freedom of an indoor arena.  No matter the weather I can ride.  Granted I would prefer to be outside on a trail but any work that can be done during bad weather is good work!

3) Access to "trail" riding
I really would like at least some trail access directly from the property.  I don't want to have to trailer my horse to a trail every day.  Weekends are one thing since I'll have more time but after work during the week it's good to at least have some trail access so I can trail ride even during my busy weekdays.

Of course I want good care that includes regular feeding (at least twice a day or more of hay and grain) and pasture foraging or free access to hay in the pasture, inexpensive or included trailer parking, tack room or locker for me to put my stuff, and then a decent amount of boarders around my age to form a little horse community.  I also don't want the facility to be too far away from my work or home so I can see my horse nearly everyday and not rack up a huge gas bill.  Oh and an easily accessible bathroom!  The one at Flying W is a porta potty, which is fine, but it's out of the way in a dark area of the stable so it's really hard to see without a flashlight!  LOL.

I love Laurie's facility but I would be the only boarder, it's pretty far out for me and I don't think there are many trails around (although neighborhood riding is fine with me).  It's pretty much an ideal place for a horse and I'm not just saying that.  She takes very good care of the horses, they are in a herd situation and have nice pasture in which to frolick and be horses!  Plus she now has a indoor arena!!  I think it's more the distance and the fact I couldn't network as much with other riders.  I'd like to find a facility where I can meet others that I could ride with and become friends with.  None of my friends are horsie people so it would be nice to have that community.  So the search begins!