Thursday, September 3, 2009

A-D Barn Style

So I received an email today from a woman wanting to have her horse trained and shown English Pleasure. Not a problem. A Can DO! But, then towards the bottom of the email she was stating how she wanted the facilities to be a certain way, style, basically borderline high maintenance, which made me think of this.... In a horse persons life there are certain barns, facilities, that I am now going to put into a classification system.

The A+. This is the premier facility. Has anywhere from 50 to 80+ boarders. This is the place that is $800+ for boarding ONLY. These facilities are more dedicated to one specific discipline. Dressage, Hunter/Jumper. They have 20 workers, their barn floors could be EATEN off of.Their stalls are 15x20 with sold iron bars and metal so the horses can not crib away at the stall. The horses get turned out for maybe a few hours a day and the pastures have beautiful loafing sheds. The stalls and pastures are cleaned and picked several times a day. Brand new equipment. Premium hay and grains, feeding 3-4 times a day. Their pastures and fencing are primo and in brand new condition. This is a place where the horses don't really get to be horses because the pasture may get torn up, or the $150,000 horse may throw one of his $300 shoes. This place has EVERYTHING! Hot walkers, maybe a track, trails, just to the NINES!!! This is a place that we all dream of owning. Rolling lush fields, white fences, immaculate arenas, yes ARENAS, more than one. All Olympic sized. Ahhh very drool worthy!!!! Most of us will never board here.

The A. A Nice facility. Has around 30-60 boarders. Hard to know everybody. Also more specified to one discipline. Western pleasure, dressage, H/J. It looks a little older, may have some scuffs or marks in the wood, but they keep it nice. Pressure washed, nice pastures, probably running about $400-$500 for boarding. A decent covered arena, good sized. Good hay, a few workers a clean nice place. The horses get turned out for maybe a half day to a full day (MAYBE). The horses could be turned out in small groups of 2 or 3. Has some tack lockers, hot cold wash rack, grooming stall. Good equipment, property is kept up on, nicely.

The B. A Working Facility. Around $250-$350 for board. A nice covered, tilled arena, round pen, 12x12 stalls, offers both full or partial care. Usually has 15-30 boarders, more of a close knit friends type of place. Nice hay. Trails. Hot/cold washrack, cross ties, a shared tackroom. Smaller sized pastures, but nice. More set up for breaking and training horses. Well kept, decent equipment. this is a bit more diverse. Western pleasure, reining, cows, jumping, gaming, etc. These are nice places and happy horses. This is where 80% of us end up.

The C. A Small Facility. Typically $150-$250 for board. This has a few stalls, nicely kept, an arena, not covered, a few pieces of equipment. You supply your own hay. Self care or partial care. Has on 2-3 boarders. It probably has one or two pastures that the horses share. Nice quiet down home place.

The D. A Homeowner's facility. A piece of property, maybe a stall or two in someone's back yard. $100-$200 for board. Probably self care, maybe partial. Has only only 2-3 boarders. You supply your own hay, the horses run together in the pastures. May or may not have stalls. No arena.

I have experienced every single one of these places except for the A+. And in fact as a trainer, I worked my way up from a D, to where I am now, HAPPILY at a B. I LOVE IT!!! I think it is the perfect place for what I do. Now there is NOTHING wrong with any of these places, it's all personal preference... So Where are you now??? And where would you dream to be????


The Margarita Girls said...

I worked at an A+ facility when I was growing up and did not really appreciate how nice it was until I moved out into the real world. I thought all facilities looked like that! LOL

Before I had my own little farm, I kept my horse mainly at a B facilities across the country. Tried a D facility once - NEVER AGAIN. There is a wide range in the B category - but no matter where you keep your horse - check on them regularly!

I currently keep one horse at my house and the other at a friend's house - I supply his hay and grain and help out as much as possible as I keep my horse there for free.

Nicely dun said...

I've worked at the A+ barn, except it only had about 25 horses (haha ONLY 25) on the property. They were hunter/jumper. $900 a month for board-not including lessons/blanketing/booting etc. Wash stall, Arena, Outdoor arena, trails, tongue-in-groove-looked like cherry wood stalls with black powder coated bars. Not a tendril of hay in sight-that was all stored above with individual slots to throw hay down into the stalls. Outdoor board also. THey did all the A/Trillium shows. Some $50K+ horses.
I also worked at a TB breeding facility, they had HUNDREDS of horses, and TONNES of employees. THe barns weren't too great, but it was the burial site of Northern Dancer, so I got to walk past his grave a lot. (Windfield Farms)

Right now I'm at an A+ facility also. Except that its not exactly A+ in all of the ways you described. It's got rubber matting througout the entire barn, aisle/stalls and all. Its got a "solarium" for those winter days when you need to warm up/dry off your horse. Hot/Cold wash stall, Coverall arena and Acres upon acres of turn out and trails. Rolling green fields, horses out either individual(depending on the horse) or with a buddy. Option to live in/out(my horse lives in/out-he loves it).

Beautiful place, affordable, small close knit group of friends.

First place I boarded at was a D facility, even though they DID the stalls and FILLED the water...I was there everyday to make sure that his stall was actually clean. It usually was, but I was used to having him at HOME (parents farm until I moved out!).

hehe Either way, I still check on him regularly-thats just the horse mom in me :D

SweetPea said...

I have boarded at the B and the C type facility. I, personally, enjoyed the C style better. It was a close-knit group that got along well and we split the chores to keep costs down. The arena was partially covered and was kept watered.

Now I keep my horses on my own property. 20+ acres cross-fenced. 6 25x25 pens with auto-waterers and a round-pen. No arena, but we're working on that. Gotta say I love having the beasties at home :)

36 & Single

peaches1111_00 said...

I don't have a horse right now but I do own stalls. Where I board doesn't really fit into any of yours listed...but it doesn't fit in pretty much anywhere.

You buy the stall set (normally 2 stalls & a tack room - I happen to have 2 rooms) from the previous owner. It also includes a very small turnout area behind your stall. Condition isn't uniform from set to set either. You own the stalls and are responsible for upkeep and ALL of your horse's needs. People (I'd say an average of 35 members) out there range from super nice and helpful to rank, hateful SOBs. You do not own the land your stalls are on and must be a member of the club to be out there (and pay fees). You also have to do 30 service hours/year out there or pay $10/hour that isn't done (cleaning the grounds, bathrooms, or working at shows, ect). As soon as my stalls have a whole roof agian, I'll start searching for another horse.

The_Black_Mare said...

Hmmm, I guess I'm sort of at a "C" level place right now. I think I generally prefer "B" sorts of places. Where I am now, there are about 30-ish horses who are mostly in large individual paddocks with run-in sheds. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of keeping pleasure horses stalled all the time. If you're showing and giving your horse very consistent exercise or if the weather is flat-out terrible, I think stalls are OK, but otherwise, I prefer not to stall my horse. There are no stalls within a barn where I'm at now -- barn is divided up into super-small individual tack rooms. (Seriously, they're so small that there's no room for tack! I can only fit in 6 bales of hay + my grain bin in mine -- my saddle stays at home in my garage.) No indoor arena either :( So sad!! And no trails. Facilities aren't kept up as well as I'd like, but it's safe, and the location's awesome.

While I do love seeing all my "stable" friends regularly, a big part of me really misses having horses on my own property. Had that when I was a kid. It's definitely one of those things where you don't realize how lucky you are until it's gone!

twhlady said...

I am classified as "None of the above". My horses have their own 45 acre pasture in winter, 15 in summer and it is self care(family land). They are turned out 24/7 there are two run-ins and four water troughs (five when the other is fixed). My OTTB mares really seem to like the full turnout having come from barns and constant lights to open fields and quiet nights.

Grocery Girl said...

i'm at about a B+ right now. board is $550/month for full care. there are about 15 boarders and about 60 horses on the property. it's a working QH breeding/training facility. the barn is state of the art with a really nice outdoor arena and an indoor arena on the way. black 4 board post and rail fencing (i *am* in kentucky...) and 40 miles of trails. i'm never planning on leaving this facility unless i move forever and a half away.

i've also been at the D and F facilities and i hated them.

Paigeley said...

i board at a B right now and absolutly love it!!! (thanks mom!!!)
before this barn i was at a D barn and before that an -F barn it sucked, the lady across from me cleaned her stall once a month in a tutu, the whole place was just falling down :P
i love Bs

kylie said...

I've honestly never boarded anywhere like any of them.
I guess that's what I get for living in So Cal.
We have a small arena, a round pen, wash rack, tack boxes in front of the stalls, and Bella's in a 24 by 24 half covered stall, on oat/orchard hay for $385.
Never ridden in a covered arena....pastures? lmao.

Before I moved here, she was always in a 12-24 half covered where I did everything (fed, cleaned, etc) plus $125/month. Small turnout, shared tack room.