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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.