This barn tour blog hop comes from L. Williams of the blog Viva Carlos! It took me a while to stop drooling over the facilities at her new barn, but once I’d finished cleaning the puddle off of my desk I figured this was a good chance to share a little bit more about my own stable (plus I’m always looking for an excuse to wander around taking pictures).
The equestrian center has four barns. The northern most barn is filled with horses that are owned by the owner of the facility and is also the barn the Farrier works out of. The other three barns are occupied by boarders (like me!). At last count the SEC had over 100 horses in residence, with the majority of them in the Main Barn where Ezhno and the R2R lesson program horses are housed. Trainer A (the owner of the R2R program) owns something like seven or eight lesson horses and partially leases around five more from other owners. Each stall has a laminated placard on the front that lists the horse’s owner, trainer, vet, and feed information (you can see Ezhno’s in the recent Christmas decoration photo I took).
The Ready Area is attached to the Main Barn. It has a kichenette, the R2R office, dozens of tack lockers, a small locker area, and a heated bathroom, plus five sets of cross ties in the main area and two more sets back in the wash racks. It’s where I take a majority of my pictures of Ezhno, since I always have my phone on hand and he stands patiently in the cross ties.
Trainer A and Trainer M use the whiteboards at the back of the cross tie area to map out their schedule of lessons and training horses for the day. R2R has two tack rooms, both of which are at the very end of the cross tie area on the right (just before the door to the wash racks). My tack room is back by the restroom (just to the left of the picture I took of the cross tie area). I casually share my tack room with a young teen that just got her first horse (Star) right around the time that I bought Ezhno. She keeps her horse at home, but hauls her in every once in a while for a weekend to use the facilities (she wants to train her horse to run barrels), during which she stows her stuff with me.
One of the best parts of the SEC is the amount of riding space we have on site. We have two indoor arenas, known as the Main Arena (attached to the Main Barn, 80′ x 210′ with deep footing designed for gaming) and the West Arena (across the parking lot from the Main Barn, 80′ x 192′ with a lighter footing meant for performance riding and jumping). The lesson program typically uses the West Arena, since it’s closed to haul-ins, and I usually end up riding in there while lessons are running throughout the week (it’s like auditing from the back of a horse!). There is also a 60′ round pen that was recently rebuilt and two outdoor arenas (150′ x 300′ each, though they’re currently a little overgrown and wet).
Our most unusual attraction is probably the track, though. The track itself is 3/4 of a mile and there’s a 20 acre cross country/trail course in the middle of it (!!!). The track is too muddy to ride on right now, but during the dryer months the footing’s suitable for everything from cooling out to going for a gallop and the owner mows down the grass so that the obstacles (mounds, logs, barrels, bridges, tires, giant weathervanes, tents, pool noodles, ponds, etc.) and jumps are available for use. I’ve never gone over any of them (they’re high, man!), but maybe some day…
The SEC also has something like 50 turnout paddocks, though the nature of a big boarding barn means that horses are typically turned out without a buddy (so any socializing has to happen over the electric fencing). If there was one thing I was going to add to the barn, it would be bigger turnout pastures with the option of group turnout.
Altogether, for the $400 I pay in monthly board, the SEC has all the facilities I could dream of (and it’s about half the price of similar stables just thirty miles south). More importantly, I love the lesson program and have made more progress over the past ten months of instruction under the Trainer than I have in my entire history as an equestrian. That’s invaluable, and it’s why I have no intention of moving Ezhno in the near future. 🙂 🙂 🙂