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?