Funny how things work out.
Sue had to move Raven from Bourbon Stables in early June.
The owner of Bourbon stable had changed his fickle mind and change his open boarding stable to an exclusive show horse stable. He didn’t bother to tell any of his paying clients of the changes. He just made ’em, and if you didn’t like it, tough shit. He made life as difficult as possible for both horse and rider.
Horses don’t like changes to things like hay, feed, neighbors, turn out paddocks, etc. He switched from good oats to a mixture of soybean and corn mixed with molasses. The hay changed from good (if expensive) orchard grass to some anonymous bundle of tightly compressed crapola weedy looking stuff that is more stems than blades. I’m a biologist. I know my plants. I have no idea what plant is in the “compressed’ bale. It looks like a rush, really, rather than a grass. It’s wrapped in plastic. It looks and smells like weeds. No one knows where it’s from, how it was grown, even when it was baled. But it’s cheap. (and dirty..my goodness, the amount of dirt in it is astounding. )
The riders didn’t like that we could no longer use the covered arena except from a few hours on Sunday evenings and Wednesday afternoons. They didn’t like that the jumping paddock was now “hay field” and therefore, no longer used for jumps. The trail obstacle course (one of the very few in the country officially sanctioned by the AQHA AND the Competitive Trail Riding Association) was “unsightly, and show horses don’t need it”, so that is being torn out. For this we’re paying almost $500 a month??
By the way, Owner had the jumping paddock “mowed for hay”. However, he apparently didn’t realize that hay doesn’t bale itself nor make its way into nice stacks in the barn. How unreasonable! I suppose he expected the boarders to turn, bale and stack hay? Those stupid, lazy women.
The cut grass is still laying on the ground, months after being cut, having been rained on, and now dried to a crisp from our unusually long and hot summer.
Virtually everyone left. I believe there’s only one person left from the original population of 14 (give or take) boarders. Not to say the barns are empty. Oh, no. Owner had Duke the Show Horse Trainer move in with 40 horses. To accommodate them, Owner had a second barn turned into what can only be called a dungeon. The show horses are kept inside the barn, 24/7. No turn out. No paddocks. No windows, meaning the barn is dark during the day…but it’s lit up at night, insuring the horse doesn’t get darkness in which to sleep. Rubber floor mats with just a bare covering of shavings for a bed. Railings on the stall doors keep the horses heads inside, and the solid walls insure the horse sees only one horse, the one across the aisle. The only time the horse gets out of its cell is when it is lunged at full tilt in the covered arena for twenty minutes. The conditions those horses are being kept in are nothing short of criminal…but they’re fed, and watered, and mucked out, so there is no ‘crime’.
Although-when you see a horse kept in these conditions and then kept tied to the wall to ‘keep him from pawing/weaving/chewing the walls/self mutilating’ you have to restrain yourself from bludgeoning Duke. It’s heartbreaking. It’s cruelty. It’s ‘legal’.
That’s the life of a show horse.
Sue did a lot of searching for a new home for Raven. He was cached at a friend’s home, a two hour drive away, while she looked. Finally, she found just the right place. It’s quite a ways from my home, but only 8 miles from Sue’s. It’s not as fancy as Bourbon, but it is a neat, tidy barn. Two folks from Bourbon are there already.
The paddocks are a bit smaller, but have shade trees. I’ve not been in the covered arena, but it will do.
What’s rather ironic, though, is who owns it.
If you’ve read some of my posts about a bad horse named Rebel, in one of them is a mention of Cynthia. Cynthia is rather reclusive, I’ve known about her for years but only met her once or twice.
She had two Welsh Corgis when I met her the last time. Her dogs managed to corral the loose Rebel after many others had tried to capture him.
Well, she has not only those two Corgis, but about a hundred others at her lovely barn. She has (from a faulty memory, because I didn’t really take the time to count) about eight other boarders, not counting Raven.
I had no idea she was a horseman as well as a Corgi fan.
When we went up north to pick up Raven, I’d not seen him since late May.
The friend had not let him moulder in the paddock. She worked him daily and took about a hundred pounds off him, weight he needed to lose.
He looked fabulous and seemed happy to see me. Sue had gone up there at least three times. I’d been too busy, or on vacation the entire time.
I’ve been horseless more often than not, so I had, subconsciously put Raven in that little pocket of my heart where all good friends go when they leave, animal as well as human. Because, quite honestly, I had convinced myself that I ‘d never see him again.
I was surprised at how happy I was to see him.
While I wasn’t crazy about the sea of noisy, obtrusive Corgis swirling about my feet like a furry barking tide, there are things I like about the New Barn. It’s clean and neat. Each horse has not only a small yard from his stall, to go in and out at will, but also has a paddock for daily turnout. Cynthia has some rules that some may take as anal, but I see the necessity for and the wisdom behind. For instance, one of the first things she ‘demanded’ was that Raven have a ‘flat’ halter.
Sue’s had him in a rope halter for years. At first I didn’t like it, but came to appreciate it and now prefer it. What I like about it is the lack of metal on the rope halter. Metal rings detract from the beauty of a horse’s head, in my opinion, as well as pose a possible danger of catching on something. And, these days, they come in the most hideous colors-pink, for instance. No horse should be forced to wear pink.
Cynthia not only wanted a flat halter but she wanted a lead rope attached to it and hung on the hook on the stall in a very specific way. The nose band is forward, the attached lead rope hanging in a loose loop to the right of the halter. Every stall door had the halter/lead rope hung exactly the same way.
She has no issues with our continuing to use a rope halter on Raven, and we will. When it’s not on Raven, it is to be hung BEHIND the flat halter.
Her reasoning??? In case of fire, she wants to be able to lay her hands on a halter in the smoke/panic/dark without having to figure out how it goes on the horse. She wants to evacuate the barn as fast as possible!
Now THAT is forward thinking. We have a very great danger of wildfire here. Right now, half my state has been torched by wildfires. Several hundred thousand acres having already been burned and entire villages have been burned off the map.
Cynthia’s way of thinking matches mine. I’m not the type of person to butt heads with the rules an owner of a property makes, and I shan’t this time, either. Her rules make sense.
So things are back on track. It will probably take Raven a few days to become accustomed to the new barn/routine, but he has two friends from Bourbon there to make the process easier. And, of course, he has me to baby him.
That has always been easy.