Barn Tour

Olivia   December 12, 2016   31 Comments on Barn Tour

I already did a tour of my tack room(s) and discussion the location of my barn. Finally, here’s a tour of my specific barn. My barn was a lucky find and I am grateful to be able to board there. I’m not sure that we’d be able to have the lifestyle that we do without this barn. I may dislike living in the Bay Area, but I love my barn.

Our barn is a small, private, backyard barn. When we first moved in there were 13 horses. There are now only 9 and my husband I own 3 of them. Before Shasta left for the pasture life, we owned 4 out of 10, which is rather ridiculous. And if you consider that 1 of those 9 is my previous horse, Dijon, I practically own half the horses at the barn.

The small size of the barn has it’s pros and cons. The best part of having so few people is that there’s very little opportunity for drama. The most consistent source of drama moved to another barn in October – we actually volunteered to trailer her horse there just to get rid of her – and now there’s basically no barn drama. I absolutely love this. The barn is truly an enjoyable place to be. Because there are so few of us and we all get along, the barn really has a community. We have all-barn camping trips and BBQs.

The main con to the small size is the lack of in-house training. We have a seasonal trainer who comes in the fall and spring only and even then usually for 1 or 2 days a week. Thankfully, I have a dressage trainer who is willing to come in for lessons. I have yet to find a good jumping trainer who travels, but I will probably have to just go out for jumping training.

barn zoomed out

For as small as the barn is, we actually have two arenas. One is only slightly larger than a round pen, but it’s nice to have when it’s raining and the main arena is closed. I use it for lunging all year long, but it’s also used as a small turnout for rolling and running around.

small arena

The larger arena is up the driveway about a 1/4 mile. I’m not 100% sure of the size of the arena, but it’s about 25m x 70m? I know that width wise we can fit a 20 meter circle in with a little bit of room on each side. It’s a bit tight for jumping, so we can’t do a lot of courses or gymnastics that are more than a few jumps long, but it’s still pretty great.


Pretty much every jump in the arena was built by my husband and myself. We bought all the poles and jump cups as well. The plastic step/pyramid standard is the only thing we didn’t bring ourselves. We’re not the only ones who jump at the barn, but the 2 girls who used to jump are off at college and the one remaining teenager doesn’t jump that often. It’s another downside to being at a small barn, there just aren’t enough people to justify a lot of arena equipment. But on the plus side, our BO is happy for us to bring in whatever we’d like.

barn zoomed in

Our barn is all paddocks with shelters. There are a few different styles of shelter. Four of the paddocks just have a roof over one section. These are the best paddocks though because they’re the biggest. Levi has one of them and he gallops around it like a nut. The other 4 stalls have tarp covers for shelter. Dijon lives in one of those right now, but I don’t have any pictures of that set up.

Levi's paddock and shelter

Levi’s paddock and shelter

Shasta, Nilla, and Eugene live in smaller paddocks that have actual stalls attached to them. It’s a little shed barn that looks very cute and keeps ours all together, which is convenient for feeding and caring for them. I don’t have a more recent picture, but here’s an older one from when we had Shasta, Cinder, and Dijon in these stalls.


Because our paddocks are much smaller than the other horses’, our BO built on a small pasture that attaches to the paddocks. I think she put that in about 3 years ago. Unfortunately, the pasture is on a hill so we’re not allowed to use it during the rainy season because the horses will destroy the footing. Shasta had her paddock opened to the pasture for most of the summer since Eugene and Nilla get out with us much more. With winter coming on and her not getting enough exercise, we actually sent her to live at another barn about 2 hours away where she could have consistent turnout in a pasture.

paddock board

This is now Eugene’s paddock. You can see the pasture behind it.

We have a combined grooming/wash stall area. Because of the drought we’re not supposed to do baths more than once per month. It was actually no baths at all for a few years, so I’m happy to get even one a month. In the summer, our BO puts up an orange shade over the grooming area to help with the heat (this is what you see in the satellite picture).


One of the best things about our barn is the trail access that we have. In one direction, we can ride out to miles of trails. It’s a lot of hills though and some of the footing can be questionable in the winter. A few years ago someone built a house on the empty lot we used to ride through to get to a larger open space. We can still get there, but we’d have to ride on the road for a bit. Now that we have a trailer, if we want to go for a longer ride, we just trailer out. In the other direction, if we ride down the road a bit, we can go to a small open space that has a winery. We frequently ride over there and sometimes stop for a wine tasting and picnic lunch.

By far, the best thing about our barn is our Barn Owner. She overfeeds all of our horses and generally takes great care of them. In the last year, she has gone out of her way to find someone to come in and clean stalls so that we didn’t have to do it ourselves every day. She built us a pasture. Seriously, pasture space is very rare in this area and we are very, very lucky to have one even if it is small and only available for part of the year. She lets us do whatever we want. Wanna buy another horse? Go ahead. Wanna buy chickens? Go ahead. You want to build XC jumps and put them along the trail? Sure, why not. She has come to a few of our shows and after coming to the last eventing show, she now wants to build a XC course in the field near the arena. She had our private tack room built for us when we first moved in. She regularly does what she can to make things nice for us like buying the shade for the grooming area.

While it’s frustrating sometimes to not have electricity, let alone a lighted arena, or to not have a covered when it’s raining, or a trainer and group to show with, I do love my barn. Really, the only real problem with it is that it’s not ours. My husband and I would like to have our horses on our own property. As condos in our area regularly sell for 1 million dollars, we will most likely need to move in order to realize that dream – unless one of us wins the lottery and since we don’t play the lottery, that seems unlikely.

What do you like or dislike about your own barn? I’m always curious what appeals to people most when they look for stabling.