Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Barns I have known - part 2

Anonymous (Gainesville, FL): After I came back from China, Zinger was back at my dad's (see Summer Song above). I then made a move to Gainesville to prepare for going back to school. I brought him to Eclipse directly after his second splint bone surgery. My mom came with me when I dropped him off, and did not get a good feeling from the barn owner, but didn't say anything to me about it. Turns out she was right. The barn owner had college and high school kids who were new to horses work off their lessons by working at the boarding barn. Turns out people who have no background in horses make for pretty poor unsupervised labor. Care was super inconsistent, and I left after I found him without water twice. 

  • I met three of my best friends at this barn 
  • Access to great dirt roads for trails 
  • Care 
  • Property did not have perimeter fencing. This was fine for Zing, but my friend's mare objected to her acupuncture one evening, and broke the cross ties and went galavanting down towards major roads for a good 1/2 mile before we could catch her 
  • Deep, deep sand footing in the ring 
Set-up: Stall rest 

Why we left: Care! 

Cost: Somehow I've suppressed this one. We were only there for 3 months, so I don't recall. 

Sawhorse Farm (Gainesville, FL): Zing and I spent 5 years here. The barn owner was absolutely amazing and became like family to us. My friend and I showed up to check out her place one morning while she was feeding. She had us climb in the little trailer she pulled behind the four wheeler with the morning hay on it and took us for a ride around the farm. It was a very, very Florida set up. There were multiple barns on the property. The main barn was 6 stalls with a center aisle and the main feed and tack room. There were three 4-stall barns, and four 2-stall barns (if you can call two stalls a barn). They all opened out into the pastures, so there was basically no turn-in/out. Everyone went out at night year round, so you just opened up stall doors and let them in every morning and then opened them up to kick them out at night. The back of the property was more prone to flooding, so most of her own horses lived back there. Zinger was back there for 6-9 months until someone left from one of the drier pastures up front and he got to move there. There were 70+ acres of woods with trails and the farm backed up to a state park with miles and miles of trails. There was a HUGE jump field and a dressage arena. The dressage arena had questionable footing once a lot of people started riding in it - the outside track wore down to dirt. 

She let me work off almost all of my board for most of school, which was fantastic. It was hard work, 24-30 stalls to clean and buckets to dump daily, but it was an amazing opportunity that let me keep my student loans much lower than they would have been. She also generously hauled my friend and I places and even let us take her amazing F-450 and 4 horse gooseneck places. 

Playing with his pasture mate in their turnout. Grey mare (Spirit) supervises from across the fence

Can kind of see his barn set up here - he was in a block of 4 stalls most of his time there

Jump field on a frosty morning 

Sleepy in his freshly bedded stall on a cold morning 

Bareback trail rides down the driveway

The wash rack was right next to the tack room that myself + 4 other boarders used

  • See above, barn owner was amazing 
  • Pretty decent grass 
  • Great jump field 
  • Use of truck/trailer 
  • Cost 
  • Due to the low-lying parts of the property and the woods it was on, the bugs were pretty bad here
  • Flooding in the back of the property, but once he moved up front this no longer was a concern
Set-up: In 14x14' stall during the day under fans. Out at night in a 1/2 acre pasture with one other horse. Hay supplemented for grass during the fall and winter. 

Why we left: Moved to Atlanta after graduation 

Cost: $350 for stall board - so cheap! 

Long View Farm (Ball Ground, GA): This barn came highly recommended from a friend of a friend and it did not disappoint. It was a solid 1 hour+ from my apartment in north Atlanta, but really, any place was. A few of my friends boarded slightly closer to where we lived, but it was still an hour in traffic, and 40 minutes without and the cost was MUCH higher. It was the first and only time I've ever kept horses outside of Florida and it was a bit of a learning curve. The barn was basically at the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains which meant a lot more terrain than I was used to. There was plenty of turnout, but not much grass in the turnout Zing was in because it was on a pretty steep slope. 

Covered arena 

View down the hill, storm clouds rolling in


Zing apparently did not want to get turned out in the snow that morning. When I came to visit he asked if he could come in. FL horse all the way. 

A few more gentle trails were available

  • Covered arena - the one and only time I've ever boarded anywhere with a covered arena. Too bad it came at the time in my life where I was least able to take advantage of it! 
  • Peace of mind. I could only come out 2-3 times a week, much less than at any other point in my life, so it was well worth it to know he was being well cared for when I couldn't see him. 
  • We found THE BEST barbecue place I have ever eaten at on the long drive between our apartment and the barn
  • Good trails - a little rocky and steep for Zing at 23-24, but we would have had such a blast when he was younger 
  • Distance from apartment... welcome to Atlanta 
  • Cost, although for a covered dressage arena and footed jump arena it really was not at all expensive. It was just between my job and his age, we didn't take full advantage of those amenities. If we'd stayed in the area longer I would have tried to find a place with fewer amenities but just as solid care. 
  • COLD! Laugh all you want, but it snowed a lot in north Georgia in winter 2017 - 2018, and I'd never experienced horse keeping in the snow. The barn was beautifully set on a hill top, but the wind chill was in the low teens a few days. 
Set-up: In 12x12' stall at night, out during the day in a 2+ acre pasture with 3-4 other horses. Free choice hay and some grass. 

Why we left: Moved to Tallahassee

Cost: $650/month 

Flying Colors Farm (Tallahassee, FL): This was a semi-private barn but she did board some horses. I have mixed emotions about this farm. It was lovely and the care was excellent. But it was also where Zing died, so I can't think about the farm without those emotions coming through. 

  • Great care 
  • Beautiful arena under shaded oaks
  • A bank and a few cross country logs 
  • Barn owner would haul us out to trail ride when she went 
  • It was a beautiful place to bury Zing
  • Yeah... the place where Zing is buried. His two pasture mates actually died/were euthanized in the two months following his death. One was a retired hunter who was only about 18, but retired early due to a heart murmur that was worsening. They were aware sudden death was a risk with him. The other was a freak thing, he was older (26-28 if I remember right) but was kicked by another horse and fractured his skull and was euthanized. The barn owner planted a cherry tree in the field he and his pasture mates were buried in. 
Cost: $550/month 

Set-up: In during the day under fans. Out at night in a 3/4-1 acre grass pasture with 2 other horses. 

This just about brings us up to present day. Leila briefly lived with my friend who rescued her. Her farm was about 45 minutes away from my house though and there was nowhere to ride other than trails, so I moved her to my prior barn about 1.5 months after I got her. 


  1. That barn you stayed at for 5 years sounds nice

    1. It was really lovely. Definitely nothing fancy, but all the things I needed at the time.