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.
Sounds like a blog hop question, that last bit does. I ought to blog on it, right after I finish the location one and this weekend’s trail riding adventures. There’s a LOT I like about my barn, but then there’s a lot I don’t. I really like being self care (even if it’s a pain-in-the-posterior to get up and feed on rainy mornings) especially since we moved and I’m only 2 miles from the barn. I’m not crazy about the lack of trails. We have some, but it’s not the ‘6 miles’ advertised (I used my endomondo app and got 3 miles with a couple of loops). I’m jelly of people who can ride right off property onto trails, like a friend of mine can. But now that I’ve got a trailer, hauling off to ride isn’t impossible anymore. I’ll blog more on my blog about it, but it really comes down to being 100% in control of horsecare and accessibility. I’m willing to overlook what I dislike over what I’m able to do, and it’s pretty favorable.
Our little winery park only has about 3 miles of trails and the other direction is about 4 (out and back). If we do the long road ride to the further park, that park has about 10 miles of trails, but I tend to trailer out rather than ride there. Our previous barn backed up to a much larger park and I really liked that.
I’d love to be able to ride for 3 miles on trails in one direction. If I do the trails around the barn, it’s all on the same property so a loop takes us back to the mare motels and tack room before too much time elapses. It’s still better than nothing though, and worth it for those late afternoon rides on the weekdays when I don’t have time to hook the trailer up.
I’m never moving back to cali.
Most of the barns around here still allow baths. My barn has to have water trucked in for the horses so bathing is really a waste.
Your place is lovely. The no electricity would be hard but check out the solar spot lighs- they work very well.
I hose regularly but don’t bathe more than once a month so that seemed fine to me. The cost though- good heavens!
Hosing counts as bathing. We can’t do hosing either, though we can if it’s for medical reasons. Do you have solar arena lights? I think those are probably out of my price range.
They were actually pretty inexpensive, search for solar lights at Costco.
We have some of the little solar lights from Costco in the shared tack room and I keep meaning to get some for our tack room, but I don’t think the costco spotlights would be enough for an arena.
I have a Gama Sonic Light My Shed Solar LED Shed Light in the bigger side of my tack/hay shed where I store the hay. Oh yay, LED lights. It works nicely since I’m too far from the electricity on the full care part of the property. I just bought a little $15 light from Amazon for the tack portion of my shed. It hangs on a little hook, has LED lights and a solar plate that I threw on the roof (proper side up so it will charge the battery) and a remote control.
I really want to do a post like this but I’m not 100% on how much of my setup I want online…decisions. My barn setup is pretty nice. Everyone is on 24/7 turnout but have run ins and stalls if the weather is bad. I like your set up with the shed row barns. If it were warmer here in winter, I’d want to go that route.
The shed row set up works for this climate, but I’m not sure I’d do it in colder. The stalls aren’t insulated and don’t close up fully.
I’ve turned a bit into a nutrition nazi after the last year, so being able to supply my own feed and making sure Gem gets it is top of my list. Owning a very pansy mare makes me paranoid about who she is in with. The last place with a mean mare had Gem run through a fence resulting in an expensive surgery followed by loss of weight and colic.
Your set up seems really great. Nice and private, no drama and no worries about your horses getting hurt by another. I think I bathe my horse like 2 times a year, so no problems there for me!
Our barn owner supplies hay, but we buy our own beet pulp and rice bran. We don’t feed grain, but could if we wanted to. Dijon got run through a fence at the previous barn we were at so I also prefer having control over who my horses get turned out with.
Your barn is amazing and I want it.
Me too. I wish I could buy it.
west coast barns are all so wildly different from what i’ve known here on the east coast – i kinda love getting to see all the set ups!
I grew up on the East Coast and I still find this whole west coast barn thing to be really weird.
I cannot imagine no baths! How did you keep your horses so dang clean? They’re always gleaming in pictures lol
They’re generally pretty filthy actually, I guess they just photograph well.
I love all the jumps you and your husband made!
What a nice setup! Glad to see I’m not the only one making tarp shade. Val’s run-in has a tarp canopy, and I built a fancy one for the Shimmy Shack (my trailer mansion).
These are like the carport tarp things. Pretty decent and most people have tarped the sides or added plywood on the side to offer more windbreak.
Your barn owner sounds so nice! I love all the trees and hills you have–very picturesque.
The barn is in a very pretty place.
Great tour! I love small, private boarding barns, and having two arenas is great!
It’s a great little barn.
Sounds like a great place to be! It’s so wonderful that your barn owner actually cares about you. Seriously, it’s not easy to find people like that.
If I could change anything about my place, it would definitely be the lack of turnout. I wish I could have my horses all out at the same time in nice sized paddocks. But alas, unless I too win the lotto I don’t play, it can’t happen. My dream is that someday my neighbor will sell his house, and then I can buy it, knock it down, and build some paddocks…. Hey, it’s nice to have dreams, right?!
I like your barn a lot, but I’d also want turnout.
I really like your barn. Quiet and drama free is always most important. As well as 100% care for the horses. I’ve been at TOO many (all but 1) place where my horse wasn’t treated up to par. I can’t stand it
The care is the best.