Stuck

The catalyst for all of this
Last year around this time I posted looking for advice about memberships needed to show and you guys were so kind and helpful. Recently I've been chewing over a more difficult, long term problem and realized that maybe what I need is some fresh perspective.

For the past 20 years I've been lucky enough to own horses and unlucky enough to have no way to transport them. I've never had the use of or owned a trailer in that time and while my friends recently have been amazing and offered to help out it's always fallen through for one reason or another (Katai's lack of willingness to load, family plans, emergencies, etc)

One of the few times recently that plans
didn't fall through and we had SO MUCH FUN!!!
I've never been able to plan a show schedule, plan for clinics I want to go to, or go on trail rides off property. Last year I planned for a trailer and that fell through. This year I was even more certain it would happen and now it's likely fallen through again since I needed to replace my car. At this point I have limited availability (maybe 4 times per year?) to show and no ability to ride outside of the arena except for another arena sized area in the grass near the barn.

I'm so sick of being stuck in this same predicament time after time after time.

Katai's vote is for more pasture, more trail rides, and more friends but no trailer
Also more peppermints would be her favorite
In considering this I've looked at how I "keep" horses really holistically which in my case means looking at my boarding situation. In order for me to not need a trailer I'd need the following things.

-Indoor arena (an absolute necessity in this area unless I want to skip riding for at least 5 months out of the year)
-Dressage instruction on site
-Trails of some sort or fairly significant property to ride around
-Friends/fellow boarders/coach who was consistently trailering to shows and welcomed me to tag along with Katai (as well as allowing me time to practice loading her in their trailer)
-Decent distance to drive (my cut off so far has been 40-45 minutes each way)
-Within budget (I could spend a bit more than I do right now but not significantly more like I was at the last barn and this is also a dealbreaker)
-Ability for Katai to get her supplements, at least the Magnesium

I have not found a single barn so far that meets more than a few of the items on the list. J's barn came closest but there was the whole abusive trainer thing.

In addition the things I'd prefer are:
-Plenty of turnout (I don't think Katai gets enough right now)
-Heated barn at least for grooming and tacking up
-Wash stall
-More people to ride with
-Open minded people who want to do things like trail ride, do canter sets, go to clinics unrelated to dressage, and basically just enjoy their horses

Jane's barn also meets four of the top items items but if we were looking at "ruthlessly excluding" that doesn't meet it either and I am getting really bored, tired, and annoyed with only ever being able to ride in the indoor arena. I can't do canter sets, I can't really work on fitness, I can't give Katai new challenges or exposure to the things she'll see at a show. The trailer this year was going to fix all of this but now I'm just trying to re-examin. I REALLY don't want to leave Jane but I have thought of a couple of options.
Hand grazing only has been our jam recently
1. Find pasture board (with an indoor arena) and use the difference between what I pay now and that to buy a trailer. This hasn't been an option because of grass but I could try the Greenguard muzzle and since I'm riding more consistently I may potentially be able to keep Katai's weight down. I could manage without a dressage instructor on site as long as I could trailer to one (Jane) on some sort of regular basis. Also, unless pasture board is really close I'll need them to be able to give Katai her supplements.

2. Find a more active dressage show barn that would trailer me places and potentially meet all of the items above except the distance. I know of two within this category and one that would meet everything except budget which is a huge deal breaker. This way I could skip the truck and trailer (which would be my preference) and have more show/trail ride camaraderie at the same time.

3. ?

So, fellow bloggers, I'm looking for some advice. What would you do? What are deal breakers for you? Please give me blunt and honest feedback. If I'm being a baby for wanting more and you think I should just stick it out and save up for a trailer let me know. If you have advice let me know. I really do want your opinions.

Comments

  1. I'm sorry. Your situation sounds really frustrating. I don't have ay real advice. I think deal breakers are different for everyone. We spent years doing self-care board and cleaning our own stalls every day to make it possible to afford keep our horses within a decent commute. Other people choose driving further to still get full care. I don't think one or the other is right or wrong, just different things work for different people.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a tough spot to be in. Honestly getting my truck and trailer revolutionized my horse habit so completely that it's hard to imagine not having the rig now. It was a game changer, but it's also an expense that must be weighed appropriately and isn't the right choice for everyone. I've always been very happy to bring my friends places in my trailer bc the company is so great for both me and my horse, so ideally if you had a likeminded friend with a trailer (who didn't already have a buddy with first dibs on the extra trailer spot) that could help. Really tho, I get that it's tough making plans when you need to rely on someone else's wheels.

    Finding a barn situation that reduces the needs for a trailer makes a lot of sense too, provided it meets your criteria for care and facilities and budget. Barns that have bustling clinic and show schedules and extensive grounds can be great. Tho sometimes they also can attract a slightly different type of horse person. For myself, since I spend so so so much time at the barn it's really important that it's a happy warm feeling environment socially too, and that I'm very comfortable there and have friends. It just makes it more enjoyable, ya know?

    Anyway none of this really answers your questions but is maybe just food for thought? Good luck figuring out the right choice!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a really tough dilemma. For years I didn't have a trailer and either paid someone or got a lift with a friend. Both of those things, while great, really limited what I did. So we saved up and I bought my first trailer - it was a European light weight trailer that I could pull with our SUV. It was awesome. Now I have a heavier trailer and a truck. I can't imagine being without it. But that's me.

    What I might do in your situation if figure out the payments for a trailer and compare to the difference in board. It might end up being the same. You can get some used trailers for a great deal and since you have a pony it might be even easier to find a smaller one.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It's definitely a frustrating dilemma to be in. I ended up buying my own trailer because it was more controllable and cheaper financially/emotionally to just do it that way. I couldn't help but think that my previous boarding barn might be a decent fit (and there are some great people there) but it's a bit more expensive than I, at least, wanted to pay, and I had some disagreements on hay. I do have hard keepers, so hay was really important to me. I'd be happy to talk to you about it if you'd like a relatively local opinion. Either way... It's so hard to find a balance - I gave up an indoor and we bought our own place, and while I have done a lot less riding this winter, it hasn't been totally devoid of riding - just have to be prepared to invest in the right clothes - but that isn't most people's cup of tea. I hope you're able to find a solution that works for all of the factors involved!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Echoing the other Teresa :) look at costs carefully. I borrow a friend's trailer and the little maintenance things it's needed have added up to more than I'd have paid to share rides with someone. I was also boarding at a place where I could tag along to shows with trainer, and trailering costs were still substantial, not to mention you might get coaching fees, etc tacked on whether you want it or not. I'd be tempted to stay where you are now and are happy and save for a trailer fund. Another thought: does anyone in you area offer trailer rentals? That might be an idea if you're feeling stuck and only want to get out a few times a year.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd shop around for a truck and trailer just to see how many different prices you could come up with. I think both of those things seem like Big Purchases, but there really are great deals out there with some sleuthing. You don't need anything fancy for a starter--my first trailer was about the jankiest looking thing on the planet, but the floors and frame were rock solid. Likewise my current truck is old and rusty and sounds like a jet plane, but mechanically it does its job safely.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't know your personal situation. But with out my husband, the upkeep and maintenance on a truck/trailer would be cost prohibitive. And mine are paid for. I would board at the expensive barn and forgo the truck/trailer. unless you can buy a vehicle that would be your daily driver and tow a trailer.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts