Stable hunting


posted by on Barn tales

On the hunt for the perfect barn

After I decided that an OTTB was what I wanted I needed to find a place to keep her. I of course started with the Google. Unlike Los Angeles where you only have a handful of places to board your horse Maryland and Virginia have a lot. I know I needed a place as close to my home as possible so I could spend more time with my horse and less time on the road getting to my horse. The first place I went to look at was about 10 minutes from my home. As part of my process in picking a place I like to show up unannounced. I want to see what the place is like when they are not expecting a potential boarder, what the place looks like and how they respond to me, etc.

Well place number one was a total fail. The barn was old which is cool with me but it wasn’t kept up well and by that I mean it was dirty. Hey it’s a barn I know they are dirty but the stall doors were caked in year old dust, cobwebs were in every corner and the horses just didn’t seem for lack of a better word, happy. To top it off the staff couldn’t have been less friendly, or less helpful.  It was clear they didn’t want my business, it was also clear that this barn although very close to my home wasn’t a good fit for me at all. I crossed it off my list.

Number two was a schooling barn a little further out from my home about a 15 minute drive. I had reservations about a barn with a big lesson program, but the benefits are you can always enlist a horse crazy girl to help you out with your horse. Plus I really do love kids especially horse crazy girls because I once was one. The barn was old (I’m beginning to feel a theme) and mostly filled with school horses, not so many boarders here. Both outdoor rings were full with ongoing lessons and the indoor ring was small. I worried about getting in any ring time. I asked to see the barn manager and she had just left. An assistant happily got a couple of the girls to show me around the barn. I was underwhelmed. The turnout was small and the footing was terrible. Granted we had some recent rains but it was just a big mud bowl. I left my name and number for the barn manager with her assistant in the office who I witnessed writing it down and pinning it to a message board. They never called me to follow up. To this day I’m still waiting for a call back. I suppose boarders aren’t really what they are looking for.


Number three on my list was a boarders only horse farm about 25 minutes from my house. No lesson program and no school horses. I took the drive on a Monday about noon. Driving up the long driveway. I could see a difference from the last two places I visited immediately. Beautiful pasture fields and lots of blanketed horses grazing and playing. The barn manager gladly showed me around the barn pointing out their facilities and after she found out I was in the market for an OTTB asked me very pointed questions about my experience. It was clear this women not only cared about horses but was very knowledgeable. The barn was clean, the stalls were clean, the fields had green grass growing in them and most of all the horses looked happy. I knew I found my barn. I made the deal and began my search for my OTTB.

In less then a month Jezebel was trailering in to my new barn….