Monday 12 March 2018


In lieu of related media, please enjoy these pictures of
life size horse models and armour in the Tower of London
Wooden horses are circa 1685-1690 

For the last year I feel like I have been pretty positive about how much my area is improving when it comes to dressage and riding: horse friends, clinics, dressage show are all things that I didn't have here before but I do now and they are growing and getting better. However, lately I've been in a funk about how much we are still lacking.

In December a local instructor and one of my friends moved away to take a working student position with a big trainer in another city. Just last week I learned that one of my AA dressage friends is moving to another city as well, a place where she has already procured boarding for her horses at a dressage-specific barn that sounds totally drool-worthy. I am beyond thrilled for both of these friends for the positive changes they have made in their personal and horse lives, but it also makes me feel a bit sorry for myself to be the one left behind.

While things are slowly improving here, they are still miles behind many locations. One thing that makes that abundantly clear is the boarding options. I'm actively looking for a situation where Kachina would be happier, but it's a matter of choosing a lesser evil rather than a truly good option. I am being realistic in my hunt and trying not to hope for too much, but even my fairly basic list is hard to work with.

- indoor riding availability
- good horse care (with a really low definition meaning that someone will notice if my horse is bleeding or colicing)
- constant water supply
- hay in front of her for most of day (either via round bale, slow feed net, or just reliable feedings)
- decent sized pen/paddock/pasture with safe fencing (okay with almost any type of fence including barbed wire, as long as it is in good repair)
- a place to groom my horse where she can see or smell other horses

Of course there are other features of a barn that I would love but so far I haven't even been able to find a place that meets these basic requirements. I honestly don't know how I can whittle down these priorities farther, they really are pared down already. Notice that price and location aren't in the priority list? Even being willing to pay a bunch more and drive a bunch more don't help me find a better place and that really sucks.

I know I'm being whiny, but I'm really struggling to kick this funk. Once I'm in a funk like this I get discouraged by all things horsey and that makes me not want to ride, but of course riding is my happy place so not riding just makes me more depressed, and it's a vicious circle. I'm super stoked for longer days and warmer weather though (relatively, it is still Alberta, but I was driving with my windows down today because it was a sunny -4C) and I hope spring fever might be enough to break me out of this funk. In the meantime any pep talks or words of wisdom would be appreciated.


  1. That is a pretty basic list for boarding- it sucks that you're unable to find something to meet your needs. You've done a fantastic job in helping the local dressage scene grow. You've organized clinics and shows, which is no easy feat! That doesn't help with the boarding situation, but maybe reflecting on those successes will help you feel less down. Longer days and better weather can't hurt either!

    1. Thanks. I'm almost more down about the situation because I have done so much work on the clinic and show front - I'm willing to put in the work but I don't know of anyway I can make the boarding better

  2. :( tough situation. Frequently I see well-meaning people say "just change barns" or "change trainers" but for many people, that's just not a feasible reality due to location and lack of options. I hope you find something that's a better fit soon.

    Hopefully spring helps give you a boost!

    1. Very true, I'm definitely not the only one in this boat

  3. Come on spring! I ended up in a similar boat when I was living in lloydminster - there was nothing remotely adequate there at the time besides a reined cowhorse place 60km away that still compromised on your wish list slightly. I'm sorry its not all that great there either. Re: motivation - Right now on the coast I'm 3 hours from lessons and 5 from shows. Have you considered the new EC program where you can video your tests and get free feedback from judges? For the cost to upgrade to a silver membership I've been thinking it could be worth it. I've also been pondering some sort of arrangement with my coach where she can watch my rides and give feedback remotely - I need a good internet connection for that, though if I want live feedback as I ride. Just some thoughts!

    1. Thanks for the ideas T, I haven't looked into the new EC program yet but it does sound interesting. I'm actually feeling pretty good about the lesson set up now, just not the boarding one.

  4. I can totally relate to what you are writing. Boarding in my area is so uncertain that it was one of the main reasons I was able to talk my husband around that we needed our own place. It's stressful! I don't have an indoor because of it but it's a small price to pay. Your list is very reasonable. I wonder if there are any smaller/private places around?

  5. Ugh yeah I know what you mean, I feel like even when there are lots of options you are still picking only slightly better options over others (and everything is yet still a compromise!) Best of luck!