Saturday, January 11, 2014

Share Your Barn Blog Hop - The Barebones Edition

It's time for a blog hop of barn tours! Ever wonder where your horsey Blogger friends spend most of their day? Want to show off the amazing place you get to keep your fur child? Now is your chance to share and get to know your friends just a little bit more!

Here's how it's going to work; its simple and fun!

Share with us the following 5 photos:

A View of the Barn
Your Horse's Living Space
The Tack Room
View of Where You Ride
Your Favorite Feature of Your Facility

I *had* to join the blog hop, because our operation is BAREBONES at best. And also, it is the BEST.

If you want to see a TRULY incredible facility, go check out the one I used to manage when I lived in CT. Now THAT place was unreal beautiful.

HOWEVER. Since that time, I have changed almost all of my management practices. My horses are SO much happier, super sound, and super well cared for, even though our facility is humble and small at best. We do not need big fancy stalls and big fancy arenas. Sure, they're pretty and all, but who is benefiting from all of that - us or them?

1) A view of the barn

Yep, there you go. That's the entire barn. There are four big stalls (12x15), one of which is filled with random storage things. The horses don't go in the stalls except for random things (feeding if we're being lazy, it's a tornado outside, etc). There's a feed room that is filled with the best quality timothy/orchard/alf that we can get - we have it shipped in from WA or OR. There are two big paddocks with horse-safe pipe fence, one of which belongs to my mares. There is an additional 15 acres of native pasture that S's horses run on, and sometimes mine run on too. 

2) Your horse's living space

My mares have it MADE. A huge run-in shed with soft sand to sleep in, a big tank with fishies in it, and two or three big huge bags of slow-netted high quality hay that they have in front of them 24/7. There are rocks and weeds and bushes and some trees in and around their pen. What horse wouldn't want to live there! I am very lucky to be able to offer this kind of arrangement to them. I can't ever imagine having horses in stalls after seeing how happy and healthy they are living out all the time. 

3) In the tack room

HA! Tack room. That's funny. 
I groom in the barn, then lead up to my trailer, tie and tack there and off we go. Tack doesn't stay in the barn because there is nowhere to lock it up, and also the kitties like to scratch on saddles... no bueno.

4) Where you ride:

Wherever there is relatively flat and un-potholed ground. Those are ground poles. Actually they are big sticks cleaved in half. 
We have a 15 acre pasture that has a flat upper portion, and that's where I do most of my flatwork and lunging. (I don't recommend lunging in a wide open space, but you do what you have to do.) I do flatwork down by the barn sometimes, but it is on a hill so it's not great. We have somewhere between 50-100 acres of awesome cattle pasture directly behind us that we have access to and ride on all the time - we have jumps set up and everything. Across the road is a field that we mowed and set up a dressage arena in (or well, we have measured cones, it's close enough). We have miles of quiet roadway to hack down. We trailer out to arenas when we need to, but we often don't need to. We make the best of what we have - we ride rain or shine!

5) My favorite feature

What DON'T I love about this situation? It's quiet. It's private. It's self-care - S and I are the only ones there and we take care of each other's horses. We feed whatever we want, however much we want. We only feed the best stuff, and I can afford to do that because I don't pay board. We have a Theraplate, which is excellent. The horses get to live out all the time and they love it. We have a lot of beers and go ride all day sometimes. 
Yeah, we don't have an arena, and sometimes that sucks. It's a solid half-hour away and that's an annoying drive to make every day. But these are very small sacrifices to make. I've been here officially a year now, and this is the longest I've stayed at a barn since I've owned horses, literally. 13 years of horse ownership ya'll. That's a LOT of barn moving. I am a hateful boarder, I am horrible to deal with because I tend to be  constantly picking about details and I can't deal with ignorance or laziness. Picky is a cute and polite term for it... maybe a more accurate description would be 'hatefully OCD.' I was a fantastic barn manager because I am a neverending whirlwind around the barn, always fixing and improving things, always changing a blanket out here, altering a feed schedule there. But when my horses are not under my direct care and supervision - if I am not laying my hands on them EVERY day, or if I don't know they are in seriously competent care - I am not happy.

In summary... it's not fancy, but our horses look ridiculously incredibly awesomely good and they are happy and healthy. They are all rippling muscles and gleaming. There isn't a single vice in our barn, not one. No lamenesses, no colics (ok, knock on wood for this one... not one lameness or colic YET I should say!). They are all performance horses and we ride them HARD, so things can and do happen, but even when things teeter around on the edge of a problem - like with O coming back after her ride on the edge of having a gastritis - our situation is excellent for curbing those kinds of things and keeping them at bay. Two days of aloe/slippery elm/marshmallow root/bentonite and munching hay and my horse is brilliantly vivacious again. 

So really, what more could I ask for? 

(I tried to do that linked in code thing. Unfortunately I am computer illiterate and have the patience of a rabid squirrel, so I gave up trying after about 3 minutes.)

By the way, speaking of places to ride, check out adorable little Tre on a trail ride today...

She is so cute it's criminal. Don't you just want to squeeze her??


  1. Love your set up! My last barn, Shy had 15 acres to roam at her will with grassy areas, sandy areas, trees. Sometimes, I could not even find the herd, they would be in a hidden tree section. I was sad I had to move to a friends' due to financial reasons. The barn before that, the barn owner refused to let the horses out if there was a 10% chance of rain or there was mud or snow or. . .Shy had hind end issues there. Current place is low key like yours, horses only come in for a few hours overnight in the bad weather to eat. I do miss an arena though. In my opinion and for what I want to do with Shy, outside 24/7 is best for her. She loves it and has been healthiest with that set up.

  2. Your set up is really similar to the one where my horses graze! I converted from stabling at the slightest chance of rain, to 24/7 turnout and my horses are 100x happier as a result of it!
    I laughed at the 'where you ride' part, as I also ride anywhere flat and without potholes!
    Can anybody do this post or do you have to be tagged?

  3. I honestly wish I could buy Tre, like no joke. She is my kind of horse. Compact, super athletic and adorable

  4. Looove 24/7 turnout--and your setup looks like the best ever! Also, man I wish I was closer to TX (and had some extra cash), I would snap up Tre in a second! Just the right size and adorable!

  5. No qualms about putting her on a trailer and sending her to one of you ;)

  6. Blerg, I miss self care/horses living out. They are happier and healthier that way, truly. I wish where I lived (10 miles outside Philly) everything wasn't so RIDICULOUSLY expensive, even field board. In the meantime, I push as much forage at my horse as I possibly can, ride out whenever possible, and work in the barn for his board so at least I see him as much as possible. It's not ideal, but it works!

    Seriously though, I love love love your setup. It's what I prefer and you are incredibly lucky!

  7. Their living space sounds amazing!

  8. I love that you have really made this space work for you, and by the way, I am uber jealous of your theraplate! Is that yours?

  9. I love watching you and your horse(s) transition from the indoor life in the East to dealing with Texas. So glad your girls are doing well.

  10. I would love to have the chance to keep my pony at home with me! Your set up looks awesome. :)

  11. You'd like it in Australia. Wot barn??

    Nice set-up mate. Horse heaven!

  12. My strictly pasture puff lives on a flat acre with one other horse and a 36'x12' bedded run in (with fly screen, even, and canvas up in winter).
    They have access to a somewhat larger, grassy 3 acres at times. Since he does best staying off hills, this works for him.

    Pasture puff is the way to go!

  13. I love your setup! I love having my horses at home.... if I had to board they would have to give me a stall to live in too. I think hatefully OCD might describe me well too lol.

    I wish I could have Tre. She is gorgeous! I can't have a mare though, so it's just wishful thinking.