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.
It can be hard not to judge, but I try to keep in mind that just because someone has a different attitude about their horse than I do doesn't make either of us wrong. I also know my barn currently has a lot of college girls who come out during the day, whereas my job limits me to mostly evening riding, so just because I don't see them doesn't mean they're not working horses when I'm not around. At any rate, I try to just focus on doing the best I can for my particular horse ☺ boarding situations can be tough that way, so many people with sometimes vastly different ideas about horses under one roof!ReplyDelete
Glad you had a great ride on Kachina!
Different riding schedules is definitely a thing. A couple of the regular riders are retired and come out during the day so I see less of them than I otherwise would. But the owner lives on the property and is almost always home and she doesn't see a lot of the boarders either. Also pretty easy to tell in the winter based on the lack of tracks in the snow.Delete
Wehn I boarded I would sometimes go for weeks without seeing another boarder. I am amazed that people pay the money for 'nothing'. But the horses are at least looked after.ReplyDelete
I've seen the situation before where a green person adopts a rescue horse- I think it's a recipe for disaster and disappointment and I think that the rescues need to take more responsibility so that the horses don't end up worse than before. I have stories but won't go into them here. Now I'm glad that i Have my horses home and all my issues are with myself. :0)
Yes, I suppose a boarded horse with an absentee owner is better than a horse in a field somewhere with nobody to check on them. Still makes me feel bad for them though.Delete
We're lucky at my barn in that the majority of the privately owned horses are used in the lesson program - although their owners may only come out once or twice a week, they are used pretty regularly (especially during show season). There's only one case that I can think of where the horse ends up sitting most of the time, and it does suck a lot, but there isn't a whole lot that anyone can do about it other than try to encourage the owners to come out more frequently.ReplyDelete
Having a trainer at a barn I think does make it more likely that the horses will be all treated more similarly. I sometimes love that my barn doesn't offer lessons (more freedom to do my own thing, no restrictions on arena use), but it does have its downsides as well.Delete
Well I hope no one gets hurt. Because of California's insane liability laws, I try to never give any sort of advice. Thankfully our barn is currently tiny and drama free.ReplyDelete
You guys do seem to be more sue-happy down there in general than we are up here. That's a shame if it makes you feel like you can't speak up.Delete
oy those types of situations frustrate me too. most of the barns i've ridden at have been operating lesson programs tho, with trainers installed and regular school horses - so they sort of automatically have a type of safety net in place for folks who maybe need it (should they be inclined to use it!). as for the absentee owners or weekend warriors.... idk, i don't really get it either but it's definitely a real thing.ReplyDelete
I could sometimes be classified as a weekend warrior when work gets crazy, but at least I am out every week, it's the people who come out less than once a month that baffle me. A trainer around is definitely a good thing if someone ends up with a horse that is not a good fit.Delete