Wednesday, February 3, 2010

One Year

First, let me say that I LOVED reading your stories about picking your horse (or them picking you!!!) Keep them coming, I'll check back!! :)

It's been a year since Denali and I moved to our current barn. Before that she had been at 3 different barns in 4 months. During that time I was living overseas, and left her with a friend. She's my first horse, and there was a lot I didn't know about boarding when I got her. Needless to say, through those experiences I learned a lot about boarding, and what to expect.

I liked Denali's first barn, a friend of mine ran it, and without her (the friend) I wouldn't have Denali. She gave me the go-ahead to buy Denali and so to her I'm forever grateful. I didn't like some of the people who boarded there. They would steal my stuff, and feed Denali's grain to their horses and then act like nothing happened. Actually, Denali was moved from that barn to a pasture 5 days after I moved to Denmark, and during those 5 days I'll bet at least $300.00 of my stuff walked off. I didn't realize it until I got back from Copenhagen, and the friend of mine who had Denali didn't want to tell me her blanket was missing so she borrowed one. (She didn't want me to get upset.) I think I know who has it, she keeps adding me as a friend on facebook, and I keep hitting "ignore." You'd think after 6 times she'd get the hint.

I don't know much about the second place Denali went. It was a huge pasture, and I know that she LOVED to run around the pastures. It was really far from where I live, and even if she had stayed there I would have had to move her because 35 miles one way is just a little too far. Plus, in the spring the whole pasture floods, and I don't care how cheap it is! It's not worth the threat of her getting hurt.

The last place, OH the last place... My friend who had Denali got hired to train out of the barn. The owner was a complete and utter CRAZY CRAZY bitch!! One day she stood in the driveway throwing the mail at my friend because she (my friend) had forgotten to get it out of the mailbox. I mean SCREAMING!!! One night Denali broke out of her "pen" and got into 16 flakes of hay and 8 cups of grain(other horses breakfast) and the crazy bitch wanted me to pay for it. I laughed at her and walked away. I had asked her a million times to fix the lock on the gate. My horse could have coliced and you want me to pay you?

The arena that my Ninja horse took out in a rage. (Best part? After taking out the arena wall, she let herself into a paddock and was drinking water, without a mark on her!! Scariest DAY EVER!!)

I was back in the states for about three weeks when I realized that Denali was majorly depressed. She was also a HUGE nutball. She had NO room to run, and when she did (see picture above)it was a disaster. It's a horrible, horrible place and it makes me sad that they still run a boarding facility and pony parties out of it. They spray paint their horses and have "pony parties" the horses they use are 30 and blind. It's horrible.

My friend bawled when I told her I was leaving, mostly because she wanted out too but needed a barn to work out of. I found her one on craigslist (I can find almost anything on craigslist!) a few weeks after Ophie's mom and I left.

I love my current barn! It's amazing and I love how well Denali is being taken care of. It's so nice that I am able to leave her for days and not worry that she's not getting her supplements or meds. It's great to know that she gets simple things like water and food. I love that I don't get charged for extra things like blanket removal, holding fees, etc. I love that Denali has a huge stall that is level and cleaned daily. I love that my trainer is more anal with her care than I am.

I can't describe the HELL HOLE that she lived in!! Maybe someday I will be able to, but I just HATE IT!! Look at the pictures under the labels "hell hole" that will give you an idea!!

One thing about living in the Seattle area is the board is NOT cheap. I pay a super cheap price for board when you factor in what I get for my board. My board is $450.00 a month. That's for a huge stall, a large turn out, indoor arena, round pen, etc. It's AMAZING!! The normal price is $425.00, but Ms. Denali and Ophelia cost a little more since they get twice as much food. The trainer was super cute about it, she was all worried that I'd be upset at the price. Twice as much grain and hay for only $25.00 a month? That is fine with me!!

She gets the hay from the same guy, and it's AMAZING!! If it's not perfect she'll send it back in a heartbeat, and he knows it. Actually, Denali LOVES delivery day. One day she was in her stall when they were dropping it off and she spent 30 minutes nickering at everyone trying, JUST TRYING to get a small taste. She's super cute!!

Board in the Seattle area ranges from $350-$1,100 a month for full care. Cheaper board is a lot farther out! I have no problems with barns that have employees that don't speak a lot of English, but I must say that I really enjoy that I don't need to worry that someone will get something wrong. I love that Denali isn't fed some cookie cutter diet and she is fed what SHE needs.

Long story short. We're never leaving our barn. I love it, I love telling everyone that I love it, the problem is (well, not really a problem for me) is that there is a wait list so after babbling about how amazing it is I have to tell people that she's full.

Any horror stories of boarding? How did you pick your barn?


Frizzle said...

The last barn I was at was owned by friends until they decided to sell the place -- then it was bought by someone who knew NOTHING about horses. This guy thought he knew everything and, of course, if we women could handle horses, then he would certainly have no problems whatsoever (cuz, ya know, he has a penis, afterall, which makes him All Powerfull *rolls eyes*).
Anyways, this guy hired someone to take care of the horses who, get this, ALSO knew nothing about horses! Isn't that a great idea?! I could probably write 47,000 pages about how incompetent, stupid, and ignorant this guy was. There were so many problems and accidents and screw-ups. I had to be there every day to turn my horse out and set up his hay and grain (even though I was on full board) because I didn't trust that it would get done otherwise. I wrote numerous letters, had countless conversations, and finally decided that I HAD to move when I found out they hadn't turned my horse out in six weeks.
I LOVE my new barn. There are some things I would change, but it is by far the best barn in my area. Board is $570 -- well, actually, the base board is $500, but Salem's is $50 higher because he has a huge paddock (maybe 1/3 acre) attached to his stall, so he can go in and out as he pleases. He also gets Triple Crown, which raised the board by $20 (totally worth it, in my opinion).
I am SO glad that I moved out of the last barn because, if I hadn't, my horse Mac would have died alone and had zero pain meds or treatment. At the new place, the guy who takes care of the horses lives about 20 feet from the barn, so he heard when Mac coliced in the middle of the night. I got a phone call at 4 am that I needed to come out immediately and call the vet. At the old place, I would have gotten a call at 8:30 that my horse was dead.
The great thing is that the old place can't keep boarders -- they just had 7 horses move out and they only have one full boarder left. The idiot guy just doesn't understand that horse people can't be fooled into thinking that their horses are well-cared for when they're obviously not.

Bo Delmont said...

Well if there is a bad barn in the Seattle area; I've probably boarded there. UGH...

Well I have also had the privlage of boarding at some really nice barns too.

One of the worst is "Hell Hole". The owner is f'ing nuts and if I see her crossing the road I will think twice about applying the break peddle. When I left the hole, she tried to steal 2 tons of high priced timothy I had paid for. Claiming she was going to call the sheriff and say I was the one stealing the grass that I paid for. It all ended up in some really foul language. I run into her from time to time and she won't look me in the eye.

Another horrible barn is off Novelty Road here in Redmond. OMG that place is a mess and the owner if way off the deep-end in craziness. Some how the barn manager was getting screwed out of labor and supply. Every time we ran into the owner she claimed the manager owed her more and more money. Some days in the AM it was $1000, by lunch it was $2000. When they decided to leave the owner locked up all the tack and horses. Then some how she decided I now owed her $3000 for the manager bailing on them. Who knows how that made sense in her mind.

We have been lucky most times. We have more issues of when we find a barn we like it getting bulldozed over for new homes or a mega church. Or the owners go bankrupt.

In the end you can't make money with horses. I'm done with boarding; we are at a close friends barn and will be there till the market picks up and I can sell my house to build my own barn.

Rachel said...

I have a happy story? Will you take that? Actually I have three!! (I'm a lucky girl)

1- First barn ever with my first horse (I was 10). It was self care but included 3 stalls (one for the horse, one for hay storage, one for tack storage) an arena, miles of trails, pond, large pastures and run-in sheds. $100 a month!

2- I was in High School and I kept my horse at this amazing barn. It was water-front. The facilities were nice but the owners were amazing. My mare was getting old (mid-20s) and I was moving up in jumping, so they asked me to show their nice AQHA show horse. I showed him for 4 years with much success!

3- My current situation. Amazing owners. Pasture board with large pastures, run-in sheds, round pen, arena, wash stall, access to a stall if I ever need it. $250 a month. She also blankets, arranges for vet/farrier, holds for the vet and farrier, supplements for me, feed/hay/wormer all included in board. She notices anything wrong with my horse and is wonderful at communicating with me when I am out of town or have questions/requests!

For as many horrible nuts as there are in the horse business out there, there are a handful of amazing, knowledgeable, caring barn owners who care about the animals entrusted to them.

KatieI said...

I love our barn and we kind of just fell into it. We started taking lessons there when we first moved and then we purchased our first horse Vinnie from another boarder there. It's not any spectacular but the horses get amazing care, there is an indoor arena for us to ride in and the people are really laid back. I definitely did not want to be at any type of show barn so the atmosphere is perfect for us:) Plus everyone is so friendly and always willing to stop and help or give you advice on training and such:)

Denali said...

On Novelty Hill Road?!?!?! I use to board up there! I wonder if you use to board at the same place I did? Humm.... NOW I'm interested!!! When did you board up there? Interesting, interesting, interesting!!

Boarding is such a scary thing!! You're trusting that the person will take care of your most prized possesion. I am just so happy that I found my current boarding facility!! She lives there (which I didn't mention, but someone else did) and that makes me feel a million time safer. My first boarding facility no one lived there (by the time I got my horse) and that always scared me!!!

goodtimetoreview said...

At my last barn I trusted people to take care of my horse and they failed to do so. Being there was my biggest regret and mistake. I only wish I would have known about my current barn and the fact that working off board is a possibility here. At my barn board is right around $425 a month and I manage to work off at least half every month. If I would have known this my palomino would probably still be alive. The Barn owner at my current barn is also my riding instructor and she is amazing! She is so passionate and knowledgeable about horses. I can talk to her about everything and anything and I never feel stupid asking questions or asking for help. Our barn motto is “it takes a village” and that is so true. We all help each other out. We laugh, we cry, we’ve driven each other to the hospital, we cheer each other on at shows, we ride shotgun on trips to pick up horses, we help groom, we go with to the equine hospital when it’s time to say good bye to your best friend, and then tell you that you did the right thing. We do it all together. There are only 6 boarders and a handful of students. The support system is HUGE at this barn. We are mostly a dressage barn but we aren’t “dressage queen” types. We actually make fun of those types. The barn owner has a strict no gossip policy which I love. I’ve learned so much in my last year at this barn. I started here just feeding after my horse died, then started taking lessons, then I got my OTTB which now lives there. One night I was having a rough patch about a few things and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep my horse because it was just one bill, after another, after another for little bit after I got him and I started crying telling the barn owner this…she laughed and said “this is a ‘Stepford’ barn…you are now one of us and you can’t ever leave!”. I love my barn!
But if you want some absolute horror stories I can go into detail about the last place I was at. The more I think about it the angrier I get. I live in Fargo, ND and during our “little” flood last spring they abandoned 55 horses at a barn on the river…nice folks huh?

Bo Delmont said...

Novelty Road Barn no we didn't board together I'm sure you would remember my crew of horses. We were up in Redmond Oct to Nov 20ish. When it got so messy; I bailed early and moved my ponies out to Monroe. The drive sux, 35 min from home; but the barn manager is great the staff is supper great. Managers and Staff live on site which like you said makes a huge difference. Especially when you have a 34yr old and 28 year old. I don't like having older horses unsupervised.

Ashley from Hell Hole says hi! She laughed about the broken arena pics. Hopefully D didn't get hurt in the incident.

Denali said...

I was on Novelty Hill from September 2006-September 2008 the barn was know as something different then. It's behind some sort of fire extinguisher business. *(I leased a horse before I bought D) So you're familiar with the hell hole? Ashley, Ashley,.... Hum... The name sounds familiar… Did she work there? Did she own a beautiful pinto? D didn't get hurt, but she was sore as hell for a few days. D's not too far from the hell hole now, I actually drive past it on 522 on our way to "heaven" :)

Bo Delmont said...

M***a, or formerly known as M***a. It was T******m for a while and the gals running it then were really nice and the horses were supper healthy looking. They moved to the other barn on novelty there I mentioned before and really got screwed over. But my time with them was really short; I never really knew the whole story behind M***a. For years it was kinda a shamble and needed a ton of work. My current trainer C was out there for a bit, but that was years ago. But if I threw her name out you probably would recognize it.

Yea you posted something about hell hole on another blog "bad ways to sell your horse"; and that's how I found your blog.

Ashley worked and/or lived there for a while she is good friends with the owner. I'm not sure the details of the whole story. She's a younger gal 21~22 ish now. I don't know when you were there.

It's been like 5 or more years since I was there and she was just a teenager when I meet her. I don't remember what horse(s) she last had. She moved to another state recently. She found me on Facebook recently so there is a large time gap between when we last saw each other. Plus when Ashley and I were both at Hell Hole it was her and my ex wife that were friends and I was more of just a bystandard then.

D's lucky she didn't get hurt. My quarter horse went through a fence last summer; was getting beat up by a Percheron. Ended up with a bone bruise on the coffin bone and his fence wasn't nearly as heavy as D's wall. He's been off work for 6 months. It's only been the last two weeks we have felt comfortable getting on him to cool him off after a lunge. Last night was the first time I've ridden him in 8 months; mostly he's the GF's horse, and I don't ride him that much anyway.

Denali said...

We were at the same barn I think. I was at M***a, with C** as the trainer.

I do remember Ashley. Her horse was beautiful!!

Small, small world!!

Becky said...

Blah. Boarding... BLAH! So I had Cheyenne at a nice little barn, nothing fancy, just paddocks set up with run in shelters... enough room to run & stretch their legs but no grass...

SO... my friend & I ended up finding a barn on craigslist & leasing it out (small barn) and taking care of the horses ourselves. To make a little extra $ to pay to lease the barn we decided to bring in 2 boarders... seemed like nice girls.
THEN things started getting weird. All of a sudden our boarders didn't want to pay the agreed upon price & started taking to the property owner behind our back. The property owner said one thing to our face & another behind our back and somehow the two girls talked her into letting THEM lease the property & have us pay as "boarders" (of course they promised the property owner they would make her tons of money... you know horse people, $ always seems to come before civility.) So long story short our board shot up $400 over night & we were on the next trailer out of that hell hole.

Was the barn nice? YES! & full of all the grass Cheyenne could eat! But was I willing to leave my horse in the hands of some backstabbing creeps who I couldn't trust to care for my horse? Absolutely not. So we're back at the first barn. It's not the ritz but it is full of knowledgeable kind horse people & I know Cheyenne is in good hands & being well cared for. Ideally I would love to have my own property for her and I hope one day I will, but for now I am content to be where I am. :)

Becky said...

P.S. She could not only have coliced but foundered, what a crazy mofo to expect you to pay to REPLACE the feed. I'm glad you laughed!

Denali said...

Oh, I did a lot of laughing at her ideas. I seriously spent everyday there with Denali (I didn't have a job since I was JUST back from Denmark) because I was terrified of what could happend to her, and I loved her too much, and was WAY too guilty to leave her.

Don't you love horse people!!? Crazy, CRAZY horse people! There is one at every barn!! (Although at mine I can't say that we have one, maybe I'm it ;) )

tcross27 said...

You are sooo making me wish I had a horse. It sounds an awful lot like having a child though, boarding is just like day care!

anyway keep bloggin sister!

Nicku said...

Yes, owning horses is like having kids, but ummm....more expensive I feel like!!! I've boarded at a few different barns. The one I am at currently was the one I boarded my horses at in jr. high and high school. I chose it because it just feels like home to me. However, recently the owner has me confused about how she is pricing things, I tried to move my horse to a new stall paddock and was quoted a rate that was WAY more than what I knew other people in similar situations were paying...what's up with that? I am now looking at another barn in the area and might move, we'll see :)

Becky said...

Now you're got me curious what you were up to in Denmark, my apologies if it's mentioned in an earlier entry, I'm still a fairly new reader! :)

Denali said...

Denmark, OH Denmark!! My husband was researching and so I took a year off and went with him. I worked at a bike shop and LOVED my job. A friend I met there took her son to lessons so I would go there and hang out with the ponies. Super SMALL and super nasty. Lol. I went to a HUGE training facility and I saw huge HUGE horses!! It was amazing!!

thenamesmarry said...

Bo Delmont - Is the trainer you're talking about C****? I believe she owned a few arabians, she wasn't at the Novelty barn for very long. She was the first person to get me to understand the half-halt, if it's who I'm thinking it is. She was good...Do you mind me asking where you board now? I'm in Monroe, as well. It's really the place to go for cheaper boarding, if you don't mind the drive.

Ah, boarding...the wonders of boarding. When I got my first horse dumped on me, 150 lbs underweight, I was exactly where you were, on Novelty Hill at M****. But you know that. I don't have nearly as many good things to say about it though. The trainer had a lot of good intentions, but there were so many things wrong with the place. Grain stopped being fed, hay quantities got continually smaller, the stalls were disgusting (I cleaned them, too), the arena was horrible, and things were being stolen left and right. I wish I had gotten my old gelding out of there sooner.

The next place I boarded at was fantastic though. Manager and staff lived on site, care was fantastic, the arenas were nice, and there weren't very many boarders. It was way up in Duvall, but it was really great. My gelding finally got up to weight because they...ya know...FED!

And now I'm at my current barn. $550 a month for 3 meals of high quality timothy a day, barn-provided grain (if you ask for it), nice turnout, blanket changes, a huge outdoor arena, a lit indoor arena, an old track out back, hot washrack, and full of gorgeous horses and nice boarders...I never thought it could be under $700 a month, but not too many people know about it, so it's just excellent. :)