Today is the Equinox, which means that it is officially spring. That date never really runs true in this part of the world. We'll definitely have more snow and cold snaps until May at least. However there is at least a hope of spring now. The days are getting longer. The cold snaps aren't quite as cold. There are windows of nice weather... and the fair weather riders start appearing at my barn.
I board at a quiet barn. There are more boarders and horses than the quietness would suggest though. I think there are around 26 boarded horses at my barn, owned by about 20 different people. That number fluctuates from time to time but is based on the last conversation I had with the owner. Despite those numbers, there are only about five of us that are long-term boarders who actually do stuff with our horses regularly throughout the year. I am used to coming out to the barn and being the only one there.
|How the arena frequently looks... empty|
Some of the boarders have had their horses at my barn for years but never ever come out, except to drop off more board cheques. I do not understand why people pay hundreds of dollars every month to board their horse and then don't do anything with them. I also feel sorry for the horses. The pens at my barn are a generous size, when supplemented with riding and other exercise, but they aren't designed to have a horse spend their entire life in them.
The people who never come out are one group of people who puzzle and frustrate me. The other is the group that comes out only occasionally in nice weather and do questionable things with their horse.
One of these was out yesterday while I was grooming Kachina. Their horse has been boarded in a pen near Kachina's for about a year, but this is only the third time I have seen them. I will be one of the first to admit that there is more than one valid way to work with a horse, and you can't know the full story as a bystander. However what I saw them do looked like a recipe for disaster. There were two adults and about 5 kids of varying ages. They had the horse tied up very loosely to the fence (lead rope almost touching the ground), had a western saddle on top of a very muddy horse that didn't look groomed at all, and had a kid in the saddle on the horse while the horse was tied up. The only saving graces were that they did have a helmet on the kid who was mounted, and it wasn't long before they untacked the horse and put him back in his pen (still muddy).
|A trail ride with the regulars (plus one of the new boarders from last year)|
Then there are the new boarders. Every year we will get some new boarders that I might see frequently for a few months but then they quit coming or move elsewhere. We have three new boarders at the barn in the last month. The first is a lovely lady who has been riding for years and looks well matched with her horse, and I hope they stick around and become regulars. The second I haven't met yet. The third arrived yesterday. She and her boyfriend and dad had come out to meet the lady who had hauled their new horse to them from another city. I am trying very hard to reserve judgement until I know more, but I see some warning signs. First, I overheard part of their conversation and the horse is being adopted from an adoption agency. I don't know what type of adoption agency, but if the horse was a mustang, neglect case, or off the track, they are going to need some special care and training. Second, the new owner was asking the lady what the adoption contract included and what the buy back clause meant. I'm pretty sure that's something you should understand before you get to the point of having the horse delivered. Third, it seemed like the lady from the adoption agency was also supplying tack etc, the owners didn't have anything of their own that I could see. Fourth, the new owner kept on literally running over to look at her new horse in his pen, and she couldn't figure out how to carry the saddle and needed help. Fifth, the boyfriend and dad didn't seem horsey at all. It all screams first-time horse owner with no trainer or good support system and a horse who may need an experienced hand.
Unless I am asked for help, or I see outright abuse, I try to keep my opinions to myself. However days like yesterday get my judgy muscles twitching. How do you deal when you see things like that? And do you do anything for horses when they have absentee owners?
In lighter news, I had a great ride on Kachina.