Monday, November 19, 2007

BFO. Blinding Flash of the Obvious. That is what we call it when we have a sudden, blinding insight, an "oh, DUH" moment during horseplay. I've been having a lot of those lately.

Last week, I was playing in the round pen with Cheerios. This was just after playing with a visiting yearling at the BM's request. The yearling was in for "training"—respect and manners—and I suspect the BM wanted to confirm her suspicions that it wasn't the horse, it was the owner. Meaning, she knew she could get the horse to respond, because that's what she does (train and give riding lessons). She wanted to see if someone else could get a response, I think, especially a non-trainer.

Of course, I got great responses, bonded with the filly, fell in love, and wanted to buy her. Of course, she's for sale. Of course, I can't justify it because the BM might raise board in January (due to rising hay/bedding costs) nor can I justify a horse that will need far more attention than I'm already (not) giving my Levels Partner. Plus I'm only L1 officially.

But it did soften the way I asked, and that carried over to Cheerios, and was I surprised to get BETTER responses from a light suggestion. I know that's the tip of the iceberg, that there is subtlety I'm missing with regard to when he changes from LB Confident to RB Unconfident and so on, but it was a major BFO.

Then I mounted up bareback, just to do Passenger Lessons. I just wanted to sit on him. Move with him. Remember how to do that. Because last time I tried to ride, I realized, dear me, I've forgotten how to trot. Yes. I've been that lackadaisical this year. I've fallen away.

I shut my eyes and just "listened" to him with my body as he stood there. The oddest thing happened. I suddenly became acutely aware of his body under mine, and acutely aware of the most incremental shifts in his balance or stance. Just standing still, he had to focus carefully on maintaining his balance, or rather, balancing me. If I shifted ever so slightly, he had to shift to accommodate my shift. Likewise, I could feel him swaying beneath me—swaying I say, but if you looked at us you wouldn't see it—and I had to focus on maintaining my own balance point.

It wasn't like big human sitting on broad backed beast anymore. It was like gigantic upside-down pyramid poised on top of gigantic right-side up pyramid, where the only contact point, the balance point, is the tippy tops of the pyramids. Any great shift would cause it to topple.

It dawned on me just how difficult it must be for a horse to carry a human rider, and why some horses are just plain impossible to ride no matter how well balanced you are—it's because THEY have not learned how to carry themselves balanced, let alone with weight added. Then toss an unbalanced rider into the mix—disaster.

Now THAT is a BFO.

Cheerios received many apologies that day.

We have a round pen now, btw, thanks to me and my generosity. I bought the panels and gate and helped assemble it, and the BM is paying me back in board trade. They also fenced in the back pasture so there is a riding area now. Perfect timing, Winter is here. Of course. But that's all right. I'm thoroughly studying L&HB and will be well prepared come first thaw.

Friday, October 05, 2007

I'm sorry to say this, but so far, I'm not impressed with Parelli's new release, the Success Series. It's 10 DVDs sold as a set but also available individually. Thank God I"m in the Savvy Club and got a huge discount because if I'd purchased these separately at regular price (or as the set) I'd be complaining.

But that's because I have the original VHS version of the Seven Games, and when compared to the Seven Games DVD included here, the new version is lame (so far). I've watched Horsenality all the way through—interesting, but there is far more information in the Liberty & Horse Behavior set released last year.

Part of me suspects Success is a well-crafted teaser advert designed to promote sales of the two Levels packages and L&HB. If so, that's sad.

This is the first product of theirs that I've been disappointed with. Perhaps I'll change my opinion after viewing the remaining eight DVDs. It doesn't make me want to quit PNH, mind you. I still believe PNH is THE BEST horsemanship program in the universe. This release just left me wanting a lot more.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Happy Horses
The move was the best thing for my horses and me. I think they've adjusted more quickly than I have, though. They settled right in. Cheerios has a new buddy. Shaveya has a huge new stall with plenty of room to turn around in, and for the first time ever, I witnessed a happy relaxed mare quietly munching hay in her stall. That is new. The expression on her face was worth all the hassle of moving. She is at peace with her new life. Relieved. (Right now mares are turned out part of the day and rotate the second pasture with the one stallion on the lot; they'll soon have a third pasture, but they don't want to turn out a stallion with mares next door and I'm totally in agreement with that. Beside, it's better for Shaveya to be off grass more than on.)

I'm not used to it yet. I still have an automatic reaction of dread when I think "go to the barn". It takes a moment before I remember, "Oh yeah. That place is history. We're at the new barn now! It's closer, and I am actually allowed to enjoy myself now!" It will be nice when it finally sinks in and I have an automatic reaction like I used to of "OH BOY! I get to go to the BARN!" Time will help.

It's also wonderful to have a barn manager who CARES. In addition, she fully grasps the healthcare program and is unbelievably helpful. Heaven has a special place for her when her time is through. She's good people. She calls to let me know about oat levels. She even asked if I wanted her to pick up some oats at the grain elevator when she went out, because it's less expensive than the local feed store. Wow. What a difference! What a 180 from the last place.

Now, before you say "too good to be true", let me remind you: there are no riding trails, there is no round pen (yet) in which to work, there is no arena in which to play. There are only two pastures and a barn with stalls and a nice owner/manager. But that's all right. Because the health, well-being, and safety of my horses is far more important than whether I have a place to ride right now. I hardly went on the trails, anyway. But I did make use of the round pen at the old place (when there wasn't a horse being "stalled" there) and the arena (when the mares weren't turned out in the "mud lot"). In other words, I had all the amenities, but I wasn't ever able to take advantage of them in recent years.

The BM said that Shaveya still isn't sound, but she does see a bit of improvement. She's a little better. That's good news.

Well, Shaveya has probably been yanked around feed-wise for so long that the diet stopped working. It only works if it's consistent. Research shows that horses with Insulin Resistance can have an episode (lameness) from JUST ONE MEAL containing sugar. If that's the case, what would a yo-yo diet of a couple days on oats followed by a few days on sweet feed and back and forth do to her? It took six weeks when we started the diet before noticeable improvement occurred. She's been out there three weeks. By the end of July, Shaveya should be much better. I don't know. We may have lost all the ground we made last year, thanks to the old barn. We might be back at square one, and it might take another year and a half to get her back to where she was before the management changed at the old barn. I hope not; I'm just preparing for the worst while expecting a complete and dramatic turnaround with no lost ground.

The holistic vet is coming out Thursday! I am so looking forward to hearing her diagnosis. My gut instinct says it will probably be an easily correctable issue in her organs—maybe her reproductive system or her liver—and that adding some Chinese herbs will right the imbalance and render her sound. We'll see.

Anyway, happier days are finally here. Now if I can just motivate myself to GO to the barn. It'll come back to me. I just have to get used to the idea of having FUN at the barn again.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Heaven Obliged

We're Home
Less than 24 hours after posting my intent, I found the barn through a bizarre long-distance connection I have, and I went right out Friday to have a look-see. We moved Monday. It was totally stealth, which is great for me, but begs the question of security at the old barn. I mean, anybody could have just drove up any old time, picked out a horse, and drove off. After all, I did. But they were legally my horses. The new barn fits most of my criteria.
  • be 10 miles from my home or less
It's about 17 minutes to drive, which is closer than the old barn.

  • be Parelli all the way

Not officially. But judging by how my horses were trailer loaded, I've chosen the right place. They did exactly what I would have done, with only a couple of minor things. Parelli Practitioners stand outside the trailer and Send the horse into the trailer. They got in the trailer and tugged on the lead rope (barely). That's fine. Everything else was perfect. The bonus is that the girl who runs the barn expressed a strong unsolicited desire to learn Parelli, and to go to Parelli Events with me. This may turn into a PNH barn after all. She's already a very Naturally-based person.

  • be advocates for natural health and hoof care

And then some! She gave me the number of the holistic vet who lives just up the road. This vet can "see" inside the horse. I know it sounds crazy, but I've had strange enough experiences that I know it's possible.

  • have no more than 12 horses including my two

Eight total, counting my two, with plans to build four more stalls and no more.

  • be run by people who support what I choose to do for my horses and oblige my requests

Absolutely. They're very nice.

  • cost half as much per horse as my current barn

Ehh, it's a little less. It's not more, that's the main thing. Unless it was a very fancy show barn, I would not expect to pay more than my old barn charged because the old barn had 30 acres, an outdoor arena, a round pen, and instant trail access to the metropark trails. This barn is on 13 acres. That's it. Barn, acreage, house, and pastures.

  • have a round pen and arena that are actually open and available to be USED by the boarders as a round pen and arena to ride in

However. Not yet, but she plans to. They just bought the place last year on foreclosure and are working to make it the way they want it. The round pen is going up this summer, the indoor? Someday. More pastures will be fenced off and four more stalls added. So it WILL be that way if I can be patient.

  • have two open stalls RIGHT NOW.

This is how nice they are. They didn't have the stalls all built yet. But the stall parts were "in", so she and her hubby spent all day Saturday moving stuff around and building more stalls so they'd have a place for my horses because she understood how concerned I was for their safety.

It feels like an enormous weight has been lifted. I feel lighter. I really do. Now I can go watch all of the Liberty & Horse Behavior course and actually start practicing it again! She has a truck and trailer. She's very interested in PNH. Who knows? I foresee play dates, a Parelli Playground, and possibly some clinics in our future. Even if I'm the only official PNH student, it feels better.

It feels like "home".

Friday, June 15, 2007

As the Saddle Burns

Barn Drama
The situation at the barn is pretty bad. I'm not sure I trust the current management after the discussion I was dragged into today concerning my lame horse. Apparently this guy actually supports the woman that verbally assaulted me last month, and said at least she had the balls to confront me. Anyone who supports someone who treats another human being the way this bitch did is NOT someone I wish to entrust with the care of my horses.

I need a new barn and I need one fast. It has to:
  • be 10 miles from my home or less
  • be Parelli all the way
  • be advocates for natural health and hoof care
  • have no more than 12 horses including my two
  • be run by people who support what I choose to do for my horses and oblige my requests
  • cost half as much per horse as my current barn
  • have a round pen and arena that are actually open and available to be USED by the boarders as a round pen and arena to ride in
  • have two open stalls RIGHT NOW.
Heaven help us.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Lame? Sound? Who Knows?

We'll See
Tomorrow, I'll be at the barn to ride with my new trail buddy and her horse. I find it interesting that her mare is nearly a dead ringer for my beloved Wildflower. But that horse's personality is different from my Wildie. My friend's mare has threshold issues outside of the arena, gets nervous in the woods (or at the mouth of the woods, which is as far as we got before the skeeters divebombed us despite copious layers of OFF and we had to turn back), and needs to learn to be patient when waiting.

Luckily, my new friend is very open-minded, possibly even a future convert to the Cult of Parelli. When we couldn't ride in the woods, we spent the time playing in the lane. She rode up and down the lane, getting her mare comfortable with being there. I worked on Cheerios' leadership issue. Thanks to his former leaser, he has the idea that he can make decisions under saddle. When it's time to go home, it's time to go home. Going southward down the lane means going to the barn, being untacked, and being turned loose or grazed. It does NOT mean turn around and go back up the lane several times.

Unfortunately for him, with me, it means we go where I decide, and the ride isn't done until I say it's done, and you need to learn that pointing south is not an automatic ending to the ride, and threatening to buck me off isn't going to change my plan. That girl ingrained a pattern into him, boy-oh. I have my work cut out for me. And the girl (and everyone else at the barn familiar with my financial situation at the moment) wonders why I refuse to consider leasing him out again.

Let's be honest. I like the girl who leased him. She was kind to him, really fell for him, and she took good care of him. But after three years, she began to act a bit too familiar with him. He was viewed almost as if she were his owner. That created problems. However, she was quite gracious when I asked to end the lease after Wildflower died. I thought it was clear: sure, if you're out riding the next horse you lease, you can certainly say hello to him. It's not like I want to keep them apart. But there is a boundary issue. It's OK to give him a hello pat when he comes up to you in the field. It's OK to give him one cookie if you have an extra. It is NOT OK to halter him, lead him to the front of the barn and graze him for an hour. It is NOT OK to cross-tie him and spend the afternoon grooming him without my knowledge. It is NOT OK to give him special treats, like fixing warm bran mash for your favorite horses, without my knowledge.

He is not YOURS.

He never was. You were borrowing him. You were granted the privilege of use for a period of time that has now ended.

It can be likened to having your ex's gf stop by for a back rub once in awhile, after he's already engaged to you. It's one thing to say a polite hello passing on the street; it's another to have it off for shits and giggles every now and then.

It also confuses Cheerios. He's not sure who his leader is. When she's around, he's treated one way and he can get away with things. When I'm around, I expect better behavior than that. It's like good cop/bad cop and guess who's the bad one?

I tried to converse with her about it. I've explained my goals with PNH and what she'd need to do if she wanted to continue leasing Cheerios. Basically, she would have to get with the program. I would have willingly loaned her my study materials and equipment, rather than making her buy them, and I wouldn't expect her to assess, but she'd have to behave the same way around him, and help me maintain that consistency.

She wasn't interested.

OK then. Back off.

But nobody gets this. They think the logical solution to my problems is to lease him again. It's all about money. Yeah, sure, that's the easy answer. Lease out my horse to someone whose inconsistency with my program causes me to have to undo everything every time I'm with him; oh, but it'll make me able to "help" my other lame horse.

Y'know, I CAN afford to do further diagnostics, to a point. Or, I will once my parents' estate settles and my house sells and Grandma's house sells. But right now, I'm in a holding pattern. However, my mare is being fed, watered, turned out, exercised, trimmed regularly, and is absolutely fine despite occasional bouts of stiffness or soreness. She CAN wait a little while longer. She has not changed. No matter what I do or don't do, I have no control over it. And the vet, well, I wasted all that money proving what I already knew to be true. I didn't need a second set of x-rays to tell me, gee, George, there's no visible sign of the problem here. Would they x-ray further up? NO. Because they can't. Or won't.

Can I afford to drag her to MSU for MRIs of her shoulders and spine? Yeah, probably. Is it worth it? I don't know. Can we fix her? I don't know. I haven't given up on her. I really believe that moving her will change everything. I really believe that the management is harming more than helping via non-compliance while pushing the shoeing agenda and thinking their way is better and doing it their way without my knowledge. She WAS BETTER before they came on board and started pushing their own agenda.



We tried boots. They BARELY helped. Had the problem been in her feet, which everyone but my NHCP and I insist is the case, the boots would have caused dramatic, immediate improvement. It didn't.

If boots didn't help, guess what—NEITHER WILL SHOEING HER. Boots serve exactly the same purpose as shoeing, without the resulting damage to the hoof wall from nails and constriction of the hoof mechanism.

But they are so deaf and blind out there. They saw it. They cheered at the improvements. Uh, funny—my NHCP and I are the ones trained to look for the slightest change, and we saw nothing. But people see what they want to see. Yes, that could be turned around on me. But we both desperately wanted to see IMPROVEMENT to avoid having the shoeing agenda thrust upon us further. So, why would we not see it and the shoeing advocates claim they saw it?

Then, they insist on adhering to the "shoes will fix it" campaign despite evidence that IT IS NOT IN HER FEET therefore shoes, boots, pads, styrofoam, duct tape, etcetera won't help!!!

AAAAGGGGGHH!!!! *banging my head against the wall*

I don't want to pour anymore money or worry into this mare. I just want the problem to GO AWAY. Period. I just want that horse to miraculously, overnight, without human intervention, become perfectly, wonderfully, beautifully, consistently sound.

We'll see how she's doing tomorrow.

Crap. It's nearly 3:00 AM. Time to hit the hay.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lameness Rides Again

Shaveya's Troubles
So I've been absent again. Not much going on with horses lately; I was in school again, taking five classes, going crazy. Now that school is out, though...

Shaveya is on the downside of the lameness rollercoaster again. I am not sure of the cause. Here is the chronology:

Right before winter, my NHCP proclaimed her darn near sound. I was told she finally had a good hoof on her. After a year and a half of careful trims and the sugar-free feeding regimen, it seemed we'd turned the corner at last and that 2007 would be the year she was finally sound. I envisioned happy spring days playing with her and taking her on trail rides (along with bringing Cheerios through L2).

But it was not to be. Due to the weather, school, and estate issues, I got somewhat lax on the trim schedule.

She was lame again. Now. I'm not here to make accusations. But I find it somewhat troubling that the onset of the lameness coincided with two things at the barn:
  • running out of her oats, putting her back on sweet feed, and not telling me;
  • the manager deciding that it was too much trouble to measure out her special feed once a day and unless I had SmartPak do it or prepackaged it myself, they weren't going to do it at all.
She'd been on sweet feed for three weeks and was horribly lame. I told them that she had to go back on oats etc immediately and delivered the oats. They claimed to be giving her the rest of the diet... until this spring when they told me they hadn't been. I mean, OH, MY, GOD, do they think I have her on special food because I enjoy the extra expense? There is a REASON for it, people! I know they don't believe me when I tell them she is insulin resistant, but that's NOT UP TO THEM TO DECIDE, is it? It is, after all, MY horse, and I'm paying them to take care of her according to my wishes. Correct?

I had her trimmed. She went back on her feed. I got a call two days later informing me that she was MUCH better after adjusting to her trim.

Here's the thing. Barn management changed again. Right after Wildflower died in 2005, the girl managing the barn quit. A nice lesbian couple came onboard and were there about a year. Then they bought their own place and a new couple (hetero) took over sometime in 2006.

The lesbian couple were skeptical about the treatment plan, but went along with it anyway, and were pleasantly surprised when Shaveya made a huge turnaround.

The new managers aren't so accomodating. They are BOTH farriers of the shoeing variety. They believe that shoes are the solution to everything. They claim to be forward-thinking and they are to an extent, but it's a small extent compared to where MY thinking is. They have been pushing and pushing and pushing for me to shoe Shaveya. I have been politely refusing, and have even had my NHCP talk to them.

Shaveya was x-rayed in 2005. The x-rays showed nothing significant; a little sidebone (ossification of the lateral cartileges) but not enough to cause such severe lameness. This is what we ruled out:
  • abcess
  • laminitis
  • navicular
  • founder
  • rotation of the P3
  • osteitis
  • arthritis
  • fractures
  • degeneration of any kind
In other words, her feet looked FINE. Still, the vet recommended shoes and pads on all four feet. That was when I went searching for a non-shoe alternative because of the barn policy against rear shoes. The NHCP program was working. Shaveya was sound enough to go on a couple of light trail rides last year with no trouble. Then management changed to the current team. Her lameness returned intermittently, and ALWAYS coincided, oddly enough, with her being fed sweet feed instead of her special diet. Fast forward to today.

MAY 2007
The barn manager trailered us to the vet for ANOTHER set of x-rays. I was quite resistant to this. They have been pushing for this for a couple of months. I've been explaining to them the importance of keeping her on her diet AT ALL COSTS—according to, in an IR horse, even ONE meal of sugary food can cause a relapse/episode. ONE. MEAL. It falls on deaf ears. They pretty much do what they want out there now.

But I finally agreed to go after being bitched at by the barn manager as well as HIS manager (the guy who sold me the horse, isn't that funny). The topper was an incident that occurred at the barn last weekend where another boarder verbally attacked me over Shaveya's care, insinuated that I was being cruel letting her suffer like that, ignored my facts and my pointing out that Shaveya was in fact greatly improved since last year, then told me either I put down that horse or she'll call the Humane Society on me.

Can you EVEN believe that?

First of all, yes, Shaveya limps. She is sore. BUT. She is NOT grinding her teeth. She does that when she is miserable. I know what she looks like miserable. She'll be extremely stiff-legged. Her face is all tense. She'll grind her teeth. She'll breath shortly and sharply with each step. She'll stay far far away from other horses and not want to interact with me. She'll look off into the distance and tune out. OK?

Lately, she's been bright-eyed, happy to see me, relaxed, a little gimpy, but she still trots around, comes to me, interacts with me, and does NOT grind. She is present, she is focused on me, and her breathing is good. Her hoof care specialist says her feet are perfect. There is no sign of anything causing her pain.

But when her diet is changed back to sweet feed, she becomes lame, and it takes several weeks to get her righted again. They are playing a ping-pong game with her out there. If she goes off the feeding regimen, she goes lame; the longer she's off, the lamer she gets. They complain; I insist they rectify the feeding issue; they put her back on it (or say they do); she begins to heal; they take her off it (without my knowing); she regresses again; they complain to me; I find out she's out of something; I insist they put her back on the diet; they agree... repeat. She never has the chance to recuperate before they pull her food for whatever excuse it is this time, and it takes weeks to heal her so she's just riding a rollercoaster.

I am so mad.

I got the second set of x-rays done. The barn manager was expecting to see laminitis or founder or even, shock gasp, rotation. He was just sure of it.



Feet look GREAT. In fact, the only change since 2005's set is that they have improved (gotten stronger).
This is what we ruled out:
  • abcess
  • laminitis
  • navicular
  • founder
  • rotation of the P3
  • osteitis
  • arthritis
  • fractures
She still has the sidebone but IT HAS NOT CHANGED. She has what the vet thinks MIGHT be a slight bit of degeneration in the P3, but it was inconclusive.

I had him x-ray up her leg.

Nothing. Not a single damned thing.

She's clean.

OK, so it's NOT her feet. So tell me, then—why on EARTH did the vet then tell me to go ahead and put shoes and pads on her front feet and call him at the end of the week to let him know how she's doing? If it ISN'T her feet, shoes and pads will do NOTHING to stop the pain. But they will cause long-term damage to the hoof, this I know; a beautiful, perfect hoof that we have been so carefully tending and healing for almost two years WITHOUT shoes.

My guess? He's clueless. Not as a vet, but with respect to Shaveya's case. I think he just is at a loss because the x-rays didn't back up their expectations, and he has no idea what other sources there might be. So he fell back onto the standard issue response: well, if the horse is lame, stick a shoe on it and see if that helps. (If it does help, it's because it's a bandaid masking the real symptoms.)

See, I know more than I did two years ago. I began studying natural hoof care and was on the road to becoming an NHCP myself until my parents got sick. I was a three-day clinic away (hoof dissection and anatomy) from being out in the field working as a practitioner in training. I've been at seminars where we studied lameness, hoof anatomy, and looked at cadaver hooves to learn about the structure and function of the hoof and what different treatments do.

I'm not just a stupid horse owner who believes everything the vet or some horse-shoer tells me (no offense to the qualified ones).

I know, for example, that the reason shoes damage hooves is because they restrict blood flow to the hoof. Inside the hoof, the coffin bone or P3 bone which is shaped like a miniature hoof sits nestled in a basket of blood vessels (yum). When the horse puts weight on the hoof (loads it), the hoof expands, and the blood vessels open to allow blood to flow into the hoof area. When the horse unloads (picks up his foot), the hoof contracts, pushing the blood out of the hoof up into the leg. Good blood flow is essential for healing damaged tissue; it's also necessary to keep the tissue in the hoof alive.

When they shoe a horse, the foot is off the ground, unloaded, and contracted. The metal shoe then holds the hoof in that contracted position even when he's loading it—meaning the blood flow is restricted. That's bad. Long-term restriction of blood flow to the hoof causes things to die in there (such as the laminae, which are little tubes inside the hoof that connect the hoof to the bone... when they die, the hoof wall begins to separate from the hoof and that isn't good—and they do NOT grow back). Add in the nails that compromise the integrity of the hoof wall (think drywall and lots of nails), and you have a prescription for long term damage that CAUSES things like laminitis, navicular, and all the other nasties that make a horse so lame they need to be euthanized. Yet, because it's the way it's been done for centuries, they keep on shoeing horses. Even if the shoe is glued on, it's a short-term solution because the hoof can expand in that instance and grows beyond the shoe. The shoe is a solid inflexible object; the hoof is a living, flexing organism. The two don't mix well.

That's why natural hoof care practitioners take an oath never to put another shoe on a horse, and advocate for the use of boots, which protect the feet yet allow for natural expansion and contraction of the hoof wall.

OK? So please respect my intelligence and my knowledge base/philosophy and do not insult me by telling me that "sometimes shoes are the only way". Excuse me. Tell an Irish Catholic that the Protestant religion is the only way to get to Heaven or vice versa. Tell a black person that only white people are smart. Go on, do it. I dare you.

Shoes are NOT the only way. If they were, then there would be no controversy surrounding hoof care because there wouldn't be anything going up against it.

Basically, I am right back where I was two years ago, and I have a set of resistant barn managers to contend with. I know the obvious solution is just find another barn. Well, I'm looking. It is a challenge to find a barn that:
  • has dry lots
  • has a round pen/outdoor arena in which to work
  • is Parelli-friendly
  • is open and accepting of natural and holistic care
  • is willing to feed according to my plan
  • believes horses belong on 24-7 turnout (not cooped up in a stall all day)
  • believes in letting horses run naked (ie not requiring turnout in halters)
  • costs less than where I'm currently boarding
  • is safe, clean, and close by
  • caters to a non-competing non-showing crowd
  • has sane owners that I can trust implicitly with the lives of my beloved horses
  • has open stalls at the peak of riding season
  • understands my treatment methods and is agreeable with them (ie won't try to change it behind my back according to their own rules)
I'm looking, believe me. I'll find it. That, or maybe somebody else will take over the management (yet again) who fits the bill. The current managers just had a baby. I think they're busy enough without running a 40-stall boarding barn.