People often ask me why I board my horse. I have a few acres, pasture, a nice barn, and an all-weather outdoor arena. I could give the standard answer, and often do, that I want to be at my trainer's barn so she can ride the horse a few days a week.
Truth be told, while that's a good reason, it's not the main reason. I've kept my horse at home quite a bit over the years. It's been fun. In a lot of ways, I miss seeing her every morning and hanging out with her in the evenings. Yet, keeping your horses at home can be a solitary venture. At least, it is where I live. No one around me has horses so I'm pretty much on my own unless I want to trailer somewhere. With my busy schedule, that's often not possible.
The main reason I board is because of the people I meet at the barn. With the exception of childhood and college friends, I've met the majority of my good friends through horses. Let's face it, horse people are little different. Most of the time the only other person who can understand us in another horse lover. Over the years, my dearest and closest friends have been met through a boarding stable. Usually we share a love of horses and dressage that it's hard to find elsewhere.
When we meet for drinks, horses are the main topics of conversations. We talk about other horse people we know, their horses, where they're boarding and training now, etc. We go to clinics together, sometimes making it a girl's weekend out. Now those are the best of times.
While my barn is competitive at shows, most of the people who board there are not wealthy. We're working people who are willing to make sacrifices in our lives so we can afford our horses. We mortgage our homes to buy our next show horse or work two jobs to afford extra training and show fees.
I enjoy the personalities, both horse and human, you find at boarding stables. At least most of them. I could do without a few of thoses personalities, especially when their behavoior endangers themselves and others. For the most part, I like everyone at my barn. We hang out at shows together. Have parties together. Spend time at the barn together.
I'm a social person, so being around people is important to me, even if it costs me twice what I'd pay to keep the horse at home. So I imagine I'll continue to board for now.
There are other ways to socialize and ride horses. Perhaps, I'll cover some of them in later posts. Does anyone have suggestions? Especially those of you who keep your horses at home?