Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Fresh New Start, Old Comfortable Home

Home again.
Back in April I left my favorite barn, giving up a palace devoted to horses. It was hard, but the right decision for my horse. He needed a place to heal and learn to be himself, to grow up. Here we are eight months later, more mature and settled than ever. And we're moving back.
Palace indeed.
I'm so excited!

In fact, we're not only moving back, we are subletting a stall in the main barn for the rest of the winter. Bast moved in on New Year's Eve with no drama.
Happy boy with his muddy neck and pile of hay.
I'm being careful about his stomach for this move, planning another month of Gastrogard doses to help him settle without an ulcer flare up. So far he's been super quiet and only a little tense under saddle. I am hoping by the end of the week he'll be back to his fairly loose self and we can start actually working.
Because this indoor arena is glorious and I missed it so, so, so much.
There were several reasons for our move. First, this year we've had almost double the rainfall of a regular year. (We saw 67 inches of rain in 2018 vs an average of only 40 inches. This has been the wettest year in the DC area since 1889.) While the uncovered ring at the other barn is fine, it very hard to find the motivation to ride in the freezing rain and darkness of winter. Plus the footing is either frozen, a pond, or hard as a rock. Not conducive to regular schooling.
Definitely no frozen footing here... 
Then, I realized this year how hard it can be to stay on task when you're surrounded by an environment that has different values from you. I want to train hard and show. I have competition goals that require my horse to be in excellent shape. This takes the support of not only the barn staff, but the others around you at the barn. A thoroughbred in full training has a very different need and look than a draft pony on semi-retirement. It's important that those around me understand those needs and the barn where I board is set up to accommodate the type of schooling I will be doing.
Of course, this barn goes above and beyond "adequate" facilities.
Towards the end of the year, I realized the barn wasn't a place I wanted to spend a lot of time. I didn't feel welcome and it wasn't comfortable for me go about my daily business. As someone who takes her joy from working with her animals, this was really unfortunate. Little things such as no dry place to set down my grooming bag were weighing on me. I saw no point in cleaning my tack, and had no where to do it where I wasn't in the way. Plus my saddles were stored on the top rack, just below the ceiling. Every night I had to climb over the tack of those who never come out, only to almost fall backwards off a step stool to place my saddle on the rack.

Was I being picky? Yes. Absolutely. But those little things really were adding up to an overall negative experience keeping me from wanting to even ride at all.
Don't suck my joy, little things!
Finally, I am not happy with the way my horse was thriving. Bast can't seem to hold topline, and I don't like the feed offered. As an adult amateur with a busy career and competitive goals, I need my barn staff to care as much about my horse's condition as I do. That sort of attention was lacking where we had moved. It's a thing I knew when I relocated, but not a thing I wanted to live with forever.
Gotta look out for this guy!
So when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on the chance to move back to my dream farm. To move my horse "home." It's a further drive from my house, but worth it for all the opportunities and conveniences it offers. Plus, my feet haven't been covered in mud since I came back. In this rainy year, that's a downright miracle.
Can it be this dry March again soon?
I can't wait to really dig in and get to work this month. I plan to use our time hanging out in the comfort and luxury of the main barn to put a solid base of fitness back on both Bast and myself. A new year has started, and it's time to get cracking.
Lyra is happy to be back, too.

16 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh that barn is gorgeous! I've watched clips of the Janet Foy clinic at your barn I think based on that picture. I'm totally jealous of your ability to move back to a place like that and hope that someday I may be able to be back in a barn more like that with heat and less mud and without the need to climb over the tack of people who are never there :)

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    1. Yes! Janet comes out each spring. Pig and I did her clinic a couple of years ago, and it was amazing.

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  2. What a beautiful place. I can see why you want to be there. Has Pig come too?

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  3. That farm is gorgeous. I’m glad your move went smoothly and hope bast gets settled so you guys can start working again. :)

    Couldn’t agree more about being around like minded individuals.

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    1. It helps so much, especially to keep me motivated!

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  4. I'm so freaking happy for you to be back. After experiencing the community at the other barn I completely understand all of your reasons for wanting to return. Having not only a boost in care quality but also a community that understands and supports your goals/desires is a really special thing. Add in the fact that you don't have to climb over people's shit, deal with constant mud, and feel like you're never "in the way" and it's basically heaven.

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    1. Yeah, I mean. It was fine, just not for me. :)

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  5. im soooo excited youre back, but it was so smart and kind of you to move Bast to a different farm while he sorted his shit out. I am very jealous of your lack of mud and palatial indoor!!!

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    1. He really needed it, and I'm so lucky I had a place like that to take him!

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  6. "Then, I realized this year how hard it can be to stay on task when you're surrounded by an environment that has different values from you."

    This is so useful to think about and remember. I've struggled at barns before for just this reason, and it's hard when you're at a place that is nice or adequate for everyone else but just not working for you. I'm glad you're back in your happy place!

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  7. SUPER JEALOUS THAT FARM IS AMAZING AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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  8. I have similar problems with my current barn. Unfortunately, I cant afford any options that I'd prefer right now. I'm glad you're moving back to a place you feel happy with and want to go out to.

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