Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Ellie
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Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby Ellie » Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:57 pm

First, let me say that I put my mare's safety and care first and foremost, so please, no comments about my priorities. That said, for the past two years I have boarded at a lovely facility with exceptional care and amenities. Stalls are huge, bedding deep, footing is terrific, we have laundry facilities, custom feeding plan, owners live on the property and are terrific. Turnout is all day in an acre of irrigated pasture that my girl has all to herself - very unusual in northern California. My trainer comes to me once a week and she loves it as well. Here's the rub - the clientele is almost fully non-riders or owners of retired horses. By non-rider, I mean gals who fall into the "my pretty pony" category - they come occasionally and groom or feed carrots, but don't ride. We also have a husband/wife team (trainers) who work three or four other horses 3x a week. The owners work fulltime and maybe ride twice a month, but keep the horses in training in the event that they may want to do more at some point. The husband/wife team take over the arena those three days, and while it's okay to share, it's not encouraged. For all of these reasons, I find myself riding alone or more recently, not riding at all because there is no one there. Part of it is the total lack of any social interaction and part of it is safety related. My mare is super safe, but I don't like to ride when I'm totally alone. I'm over 60 and life happens! I have been encouraged to consider going back to my old barn, where I have many friends, an okay arena (trails - which I don't have now) and where my trainer could still come to me. The issue is that the horses are on dry lot with no grass except in the early spring, she would be with one other horse in her pasture and when she is in a stall in the wintertime, she would only have turnout in a sand arena for an hour or so a day. Bedding is skimpy to say the least. However, the horses are well fed, the manager does a wellness check daily and it is clean, if not fancy like my current barn. More mud in the winter, a multi-discipline facility so there are cowboys and cows occasionally, and always lots going on. I am quite honestly, lonely and bored and it's hard to get motivated to ride all alone every day. I feel guilty about even considering a move, given how happy my mare is, but part of riding is the social aspect. Please give me your experience with situations similar to mine and hopefully some perspective or ideas that I have not considered. I love my mare and she did fine at the old barn for the first year I had her, but no grass to graze on and no-climb fencing with rough edges vs vinyl fences and a totally safe pasture? I'm obviously in a muddle over all of this!! Thanks in advance!

PaulaO
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby PaulaO » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:28 pm

The horse's well-being always comes first. However, you said your mare did fine at the old barn. Move back to the old barn, explaining to the current BO that you want a more social environment, and ask if you can come back if your mare isn't happy.

I boarded my gelding for 25 years at a quiet barn. Never rode with anyone but I didn't care. Now I board (new mare) at a barn with 100 horses, always someone in the arena, people around, and I really like it. Giant arena so no chance of getting on top of each other. At this point I prefer the hub-bub to the quiet.

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Chisamba
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby Chisamba » Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:25 pm

If part of your riding is social, then of course have a safe environment for your horse, but try to fulfill the social side too. My barn friends are my best friends. I would miss them totally if i only kept my horses at home.

Dapple Field
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby Dapple Field » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:19 pm

I'm not a social rider but almost 70 so take this for what it's worth. The horse comes first. If you are afraid to ride alone just call someone and tell them if you haven't heard from me by - insert time - come looking for me. Wear your cell phone. I've done this for years at home and on the trail so even fewer people around than there would be at your current barn.

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Chisamba
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby Chisamba » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:40 pm

Dapple Field wrote:I'm not a social rider but almost 70 so take this for what it's worth. The horse comes first. If you are afraid to ride alone just call someone and tell them if you haven't heard from me by - insert time - come looking for me. Wear your cell phone. I've done this for years at home and on the trail so even fewer people around than there would be at your current barn.


having a designated check on me person is not in any way as safe as having company. No question.

kande50
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby kande50 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:39 pm

Dapple Field wrote:If you are afraid to ride alone just call someone and tell them if you haven't heard from me by - insert time - come looking for me. Wear your cell phone. I've done this for years at home and on the trail so even fewer people around than there would be at your current barn.


For some reason I don't worry overly much about riding alone even though I don't have a cell phone. If I ever did start worrying about it, or started avoiding riding because of it, I'd probably get a cell for trail riding and maybe a security camera so the dh could check on me when I was riding in the ring? A security camera might be handy for spying on the horses too, so it could serve multiple purposes.

Srhorselady
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby Srhorselady » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:46 am

Have you considered encouraging any of your riding friends to move their horses to your current barn? It sounds like a wonderful barn so spread the word and create a social life at this barn. Then you wouldn't need to move for a riding buddy.

Ellie
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby Ellie » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:14 pm

Thanks for the ideas. I have been lobbying my friends to move to my barn and they all agree that the amenities area fabulous, but they also area all committed trail riders, so giving up on site access would be hard. I get it - I miss the trails too!

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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby westisbest » Fri Aug 25, 2017 5:20 pm

Dapple Field wrote:I'm not a social rider but almost 70 so take this for what it's worth. The horse comes first. If you are afraid to ride alone just call someone and tell them if you haven't heard from me by - insert time - come looking for me. Wear your cell phone. I've done this for years at home and on the trail so even fewer people around than there would be at your current barn.


I'm 69.5 ACK! I'm also in a beautiful private facility with only about 8 other owner riders 6 of whom work full time. I also left a very busy barn well we all did to move to friends place last year. My horse is 24 and is thriving beyond belief in the safe quiet beautiful surroundings. Also I'm only 18 minutes away. We do have closed circuit cameras everywhere so if one of us wants to go ride alone we can text our coach to monitor the camera. But in the past I did the text to a friend or SO that I was riding and would check in later. No situation has ever been ideal for me, either a punishing long drive, too many hunter jumper kids over running the place, poor feed. This place is horse heaven, so I've had to rebuild the brave muscle and it is coming along. If I think he needs a lunge before I get on, yes at 24 he can still be a firecracker! then we do that. At our ages, he and I this is likely the last hurrah so doubt that I would move for any reason.

texsuze
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby texsuze » Sat Aug 26, 2017 4:04 pm

Are there any designated equestrian trails or parks within reasonable hauling distance? Perhaps you could work a plan to meet with former barn buddies every few weeks or once a month for an off-site trail ride. Keeps you and your horse in practice for hauling and provides some needed stimulation. The peace of mind that a great barn and great care provides is priceless.

calvin
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby calvin » Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:03 pm

Ellie, This IS a dilemma. Encouraging friends to come and board seems to be the #1 option - or, if not full time, can they trailer in from time to time? Come for a weekend? (i.e. organize a "test riding clinic" or "braiding clinic" or whatever, as an inducement!)

My thought is that the amenities you describe are greatly appreciated by humans, but the horses value routine and great care: from that perspective, both locations can work.

What I hear you expressing is that it IS lonely to be riding alone all or most of the time. An additional factor is that of safety, but there are ways around that, as suggested above. I agree with you that it is lonely to ride alone and it is not motivating to ride alone. Many people build their own arena / barn and move their horse(s) home, and gradually stop riding, presumably because it is lonely. Most of us enjoy the social interactions which arise naturally in the barn environment. And for many of us, our best friends are our barn friends. An additional perk in our horse world is that we tend to share our passion with people of varied ages and backgrounds, and that's just plain fun.

I have been in your situation from time to time. I do not have much to suggest. You know your viable alternatives. However, I fully agree with you that riding enjoyment is enhanced when there are people around, at least some of the time!

Red's Mom
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Re: Wonderful facility/amenities, but no one rides and I'm lonely!

Postby Red's Mom » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:48 am

Horses are social animals. They like to be with other horses. How do you know your horse is happy being all by itself? For the same reason you are lonely, maybe your horse is too?


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