Things on the horse front have been pretty quiet.  I opted to move Tiny from Emma’s place in December, for a number of reasons.  After I moved in August, it became a lot more inconvenient to go ride as she was now more than 30 minutes away from my house.  Plus, going to visit your horse that lives 3 houses down from the ex-boyfriend that you’re trying to get over isn’t very conducive to healing.  Combine all that with Emma’s new life – which doesn’t really involve a lot of horsing around – and you get a lonely Michelle that doesn’t see her horse enough.  Soooo… I opted to move her.  I’m lucky enough to live on the East side of Orlando, near where there is about as much green space as you can hope to find in a city.  I felt that I’d have lots of options to choose from that would put Tiny closer to me and allow us to resume the fun we used to have – plus maybe I could meet some new horse friends.  HA!  I learned lots of things during my barn hunting, among them:

  • *Apparently barbed wire fencing is considered “horse safe fencing” in a number of facilities in Orlando.  Um…do these people even LOOK at their horses after bringing them in, or are they just the luckiest collection of horse managers in the world?  Don’t know, don’t want to find out.
  • *Barrel horses (and apparently mares in general, at least according to one barn owner) are discriminated against here.  As in banned.  Actually, unless you have a hunter or a dressage horse, you pretty much experience some level of discrimination at many places.  Ok, I guess these barn owners must be independently wealthy if they can turn away any boarders in this economy.
  • *The term “full board” doesn’t necessarily include lots of things.  Like supplements, or blanketing, or cleaning water buckets, or fly spraying, or even feeding/turnout at one ridiculous place that somehow managed to con people into thinking they were getting a great deal even though they were paying way more than most real full care barns. 
  • *Speaking of full board, I had several quotes from barns that were greater than $750 for full board NOT including training.  And these were not Roberts Quarter Horses type barns.  They were acceptable, at best.  And yes, they had a number of clueless doofuses that happily shelled out the equivalent of a second mortgage to keep their horse in an overpriced, grassless desert.  Um, hello?  You can BUY a property for that price and keep your own horse, and hey, maybe even charge some OTHER doofus ridiculous fees to keep their horse there too.  See?  Win-win.  Maybe I should consult these morons and charge them exhorbitant fees for my services because they are apparently going home from the barn and rolling around in their boatloads of money.
  • *Grass is at a premium.  Like, if you want grass you gotta sell your soul to get it.  And you pay.  Lots. 
  • *And those people that HAVE grass in their turnouts?  Oh, they’ll do ANYTHING to keep it.  Including telling you that horses don’t need to be turned out every day.  Or that 2 or 3 hours is sufficient.  Ok, I had show horses for years.  I know a lot of people don’t believe in turnout or a lot of it.  I don’t agree with that philosophy, but AT LEAST those horses are on a strict riding and training regimen NOT standing in their stalls for the remaining 22 hours per day. 
  • *I had one brilliant barn owner try to convince me that horses don’t even need grass.  Lady, I spent five years doing a Master’s degree in herbivore nutrition.  Uh, yes.  They do.  Or at the very least, lots and lots of high quality hay.  They are GRAZERS!!! …Sigh.

Consensus is that I was really lucky (no, make that REALLY lucky) to find Emma six years ago.

So after visiting all these charming little places, I finally settled on a place that was very close to my house (5 minutes drive!) and seemed relatively safe.  Nice barn, well kept, kind of in my price range, lots of activity.  The downside?  No grass.  Not even a blade of it.  They do provide high quality hay though, so that was the compromise I settled for.  I can take Tiny next door to a large field and hand graze her, which I often do.   She doesn’t like it though.  I can tell she doesn’t get the attention she got from Emma, even with all the kids around.  She looks for me and when I come to see her she is excited.  Gotta say that’s good for the ego, but it pains me.  She couldn’t have cared less about me when she was at Em’s place.  And she misses her friend Abby.  She’s gone through two buddies in her time there and they both beat her up.  She despises being put out alone and does nothing but pace the fence all day long, especially since there’s no grass to distract her. 

Soooo….we move again.  Sigh.   I’ll keep you posted.