Thursday, August 11, 2011

Winter Woes.

Some of you may have noticed that in my last post, I made mention of not knowing what to do with Moon this winter.

Last year, I wasn't his proud owner until Christmas, and since we weren't really 'doing much', it wasn't a big deal that he sat in the field during the cold months, often going unridden for weeks at a time. No biggie, as long as he was fed and warm.

Well, this year, I seriously do not want to lose all of the training and hardwork that W and I have put in by leaving him untouched for so long. Which means we need a serious way to keep training and riding all winter. I had thought previously that I could just trailer to W's for my weekly lesson and then convince her to let me trailer out one extra day to practice...

...until I realized yesterday that there's ZERO way that I'll be able to access the trailer, as T's farm gets snowed in. And even if we could get the trailer out, we'd have to back it down the narrow driveway each time, since there'll be too much snow to turn around... NOT fun with such a big trailer, doing it twice a week.


So I did a little math...(whilest cursing Mare, since she had assured me a couple posts ago that my determination NOT to spend $$ would guarantee that I would)...

And my current situation, including gasoline costs me about $250/month.

I investigated all the local barns, a maximum of 1 hour away from my house with an indoor (either fully enclosed, or at least covered), and costing under $300/month in board (outdoor or indoor).

That narrowed my list down to 5 stables I MIGHT consider keeping him at; of which 3 had known less then ideal reputations (one was cliquey and I've had some un-positive experiences with; one had recently lost a fair number of boards due to a sudden control freak taking over, and the last had experienced a severe case of Strangles and neglected both containment and lock-down...).

Which left me with two barns, one which I'm not even sure still offers outdoor board (indoor is a bit more expensive).

The First:
- It's under new ownership after a number of years sitting empty. I used to take lessons there, LOVED the barn.
- It's got TWO indoor arenas (and a smaller lunge arena), outdoor ring, huge heated barn, heated viewing area...
- It's the closest one to my house and work, cutting my fuel costs in half.
- Likely no arena use during lessons, but with two arenas...
- It has the higher price of the two, being $50/month more even after fuel, for a total of $375.

The Second (assuming it has outdoor board still):
- It's small and personal.
- Has one indoor arena, and an outdoor ring.
- Close to lots of trails.
- Slightly more fuels costs/distance, but $330/month total.
- No arena use during lessons.

I've emailed both to see if there's any chance they'd have an opening for October 1st (the earliest I'd really like to move, so I can get 2 more months in with W, and a couple of trail rides in with T). I unfortunately can't afford W AND fancy boarding, which means I'll be riding on my own until Spring when I can move back to T's, and continue back with her. I *might* be able to get a lesson in once/month at the second barn ($10/arena use), but barn #1 is too far from her, but does have some on-site coaches.

Thoughts folks? I'm really hoping that T will understand why I'm hoping to move this winter, and doesn't think it's anything personal. : ( It's really hard to leave a place you know and love (and Moon's been at forever), but I think it's best if we really want to be serious about dressage...


  1. Where I board there is an unheated arena. In the winter it can get quite crowded. :-) An arena, in my opinion, is a must have if you want to ride in Canada in the winter. We have trails, too, which is a nice change.

    The one that that has two arenas sounds good, as long as one arena is free of lessons and open to boarders to ride when they want. Trails are nice, but if the weather is bad, they can ice up and reduce riding/exercise time. I am not sure what the weather is like in your part of the country, but where I am in Ontario, the less driving in the winter, the better!!! If you are OK with driving, then perhaps the less expensive option is better. You can see if you can manage working with their lesson schedule, etc. If not, then next year you will know to go to the other place. :-)

    I think T will understand and support your decision to move Moon for the winter so you can continue training. As long as T knows you are coming back, everything should be fine.