Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Great Barn Search - Day 1

Today I visited three barns, and scheduled a time to tour a fourth. All are very different, and the appeal of each is different too (some more appealing than others). I'd forgotten how discouraging barn hunting is, though — there are a lot of bad barns, not very many good ones, and very few affordable good ones.

Ultimately, I think I'm very picky compared to some people. I don't want to see junk in the pasture, poor-quality hay, or uncared-for horses. I prefer my horse to have a corral, pasture, or turnout so that he gets enough exercise, shelter or a stall because I know he likes that, and companionship so that he doesn't get lonely.

Apparently these things are a lot to ask for.

Here's a basic rundown of Day 1 of the Great Barn Search:

Barn 1 was a self-care barn about a 20-minute drive from my house (a bit far, by my standards). It's $175 a month, a steal in Denver where property values are quite high.


* Affordable
* Large stall and run
* For an extra $1 a day, they'll feed, so I'll only have to clean
* Large round pen and a makeshift arena


* Self-clean stalls
* I'd have to buy my own hay
* No pasture
* Makeshift arena is very makeshift
* Trail access requires walking a half mile along a rather busy road
* All in all, kind of a sketchy setup, though I see nothing unsafe about it

Barn 2 is a very different sort of place: a full-care barn situated in a large open space park with tons of direct trail access. It's more expensive: $480 for a box stall in the indoor barn, but I may be able to get into a corral with shelter for $325, if the one person on the waiting list is no longer interested. I'll find out tomorrow.


* Full care
* Awesome trail access with no roads to cross
* Several outdoor arenas and a fabulous indoor with well-maintained footing
* Corral is close to what I've got now, only less expensive
* Stalls are matted, bedded with shavings, and cleaned twice a day
* The $480 for the stalls includes turnout ($455 without turnout, but I wouldn't do that)
* Indoor tie stalls and wash rack in between the barn and indoor arena, all connected so that you never have to go outside


* A stall is more than I wanted to spend
* The corral may not be ideal, as Panama would be with a gelding that is a bit aggressive toward other geldings
* The barn is a bit farther away than I'm accustomed to
* It's a bigger barn, and although everyone seems nice, sharing facilities will take some getting used to

Barn 3 is another self-care barn, just up the street from the barn I left last summer. I actually tried to get into that barn then, but an opening didn't come up at the time, and then I found the place I'm currently at so I stopped checking back.


* Only $125 a month!
* Good trail access, after only a short walk down a sidewalk on a moderately busy road
* Nice green pasture
* Fenced outdoor arena


* Self care
* I'd have to buy my own hay
* Although I like the boarders I met last summer, who are still there, there's a new boarder from whom I got a very bad feeling... and she's the one I'd likely be sharing a corral with

Right now I'm leaning toward Barn 2. If the corral is available, I'll probably try that — the gelding has had problems with other, more dominant geldings, so the owner thinks he may be more accepting of a young, submissive horse like Panama, who doesn't have a dominant bone in his body. She says he's not violent, just guards the food and water, which she has solved in the past by feeding and watering at both ends of the corral. Also if it doesn't work out I can always move into the barn as soon as there is another opening (assuming the current openings are gone by then).

Of course, I may change my mind after tomorrow, when I get the official tour of the self-care barn I visited a few weeks ago with my friend. Regardless, though, I plan on moving Panama before October 29th — the eviction deadline at the place I'm at now!



At September 30, 2009 at 5:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck with that - looking for barns is very hard work!

At September 30, 2009 at 8:53 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Thanks Kate... It definitely is hard, but I'm hopeful that I'll be happier once the hard work is over and I've got Panama someplace else!

At October 1, 2009 at 6:42 AM, Blogger Vectormom said...

I think the only thing extra you could factor in is gas consumption going to & from. Also is it worth a couple extra (ok maybe more than a couple) bux to have peace of mind on where Panama is and the care? That's subjective to a bank account of course. Good luck and I hope you find a great barn!


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