I made a mistake, got myself into a giant pickle, and now I’m kicking myself. You see, yesterday, I moved Qrac to different stable, five minutes from where he was before. I gave my notice to Steph back in September, when I realized that there was no way she’d have her indoor arena built before the winter, and didn’t want to find myself slip sliding around on snow and ice, unable to work Qrac for weeks on end. Greg, my second, more recent trainer, was going to move his horses to a place in another village close by, so I figured it would be a good solution for the cold, wet months ahead.
I visited the new stables once at the end of August, or maybe in early September, during a run of dry, warm weather. Back then the indoor arena, although not chi-chi or state of the art as far in terms of architecture and flooring, seemed ok. I mean, I saw that it was narrow, and that the floor wasn’t as fluffy and delightful as the floors at Steph’s place, but the damp sand looked like it would work. I should have looked at it carefully, but I didn’t; I was simply happy to have found a place for the winter.
It was warm and sunny when I arrived there with Qrac yesterday, so I rode him in the big outdoor arena for about half an hour. He behaved beautifully, he didn’t spook or get full of himself or anything. I was so pleased with and praised him over and over, telling him he was such a good boy. Once we’d finished our little workout I walked him off in the outside arena, and then thought I’d take him into the indoor arena, just to show him and to see how he liked that.
Well, neither of us liked it one bit. The floor was like wet, gloopy clay, the kind that sucks off your shoes when you walk around in it. It was full of water-filled hoof marks, with the added bonus of a nice wide puddle-pond in the middle. It was dark and dingy and, well, kind of depressing. We plodded around, gloopety-gloop. It felt like riding in a swamp. Water dripped on us; I looked up and saw that the roof had holes in it. I almost burst into tears.
On top of the not-so-nice indoor arena issue, Qrac’s stable door doesn’t close properly; well it does, except it’s fiddly, and when I’m in there with him I’d rather shut myself in so he doesn’t run off and cause mayhem. Trouble is, I have to reach over, channel my inner contortionist and fiddle for ages to let myself out again. This morning, I got stuck in the stable with Qrac for about five minutes before the damn door finally surrendered to my fury and bad language.
I actually attempted to ride in the indoor this morning seeing as they’d been over it with the tractor and it didn’t look quite so bad. But once we were inside I realized the place reeked of diesel fumes, and that every step Qrac made turned made rude squelchy noises, forming hoof shaped puddles underneath him. I was pissed, he was pissed, and the diesel fumes were giving me a headache, so we soon went into the outside arena and squelched around there for a while instead seeing as it had poured during the night.
Once we’d walked off as much heat as possible (Qrac seriously needs clipping) I put him back in his stable and immediately got locked in again, for much longer this time. After about ten minutes I started cursing a little more loudly, and yelling for someone, ANYONE, to come and let me out. Nobody came, but eventually the door yielded and I staggered out like a semi-crazed sweat-infused banshee.
I guess you get the picture. I don’t like it. I know it’s petty and that it’s small potatoes in the grand scheme of things, and as my husband rightly says, it’s a rich person’s problem, but it’s my passion, I love my horse and, believe it or not, this place is costing me much more money than my more up-market previous stable. Yes, the new place has an indoor, but if I can’t stand being in it then what’s the point?
So on my way home I stopped at three other places. The first one didn’t accept stallions, the second was nice but way too expensive (you have to pay extra for this and that and the other, to the point where you almost have to pay extra to use the bathroom) and, anyway, my long-time trainer, Marie-Valentine won’t go there as it’s way off her route. The third place was such a mess that I was depressed before I even got out of the car.
Maybe I’m spoilt, maybe I’m super-picky. Because I’ve wracked my brain yet can’t think of anywhere within a half-hour radius of my house where I’d be content to put my horse, and, more importantly, where Marie-Valentine would be allowed to come and work with me. Yes, there’s one place, and it’s amazing and not too expensive, and I’m on the waiting list. I’ve a feeling it’s a long waiting list…
So I’m actually considering taking Qrac miles away. And when I saw miles away, I really mean miles and miles. Like, it would take me just over an hour to get there. Which sounds utterly crazy, but, according to Marie-Valentine, it’s a really nice place and I’d like it a lot (she knows me well!). My husband thinks it’s menopausal madness to even consider stabling my horse somewhere so far away. But I have a friend who just moved there who is thrilled (okay, so she lives much closer) and who tells me that if I want to bring my horse there I can take him tomorrow as they have space. It’s reasonably priced, with everything included. So in my menopausal madness I may just drive up there tomorrow morning to check it out and assess just how far away it is. The thing is, I quite enjoy driving, and although my car is permanently filthy (dog hairs and mud) it’s also super comfortable, and I’m not the type to get all riled up and hyperventilated by slow traffic. So if the place is nice, I might be tempted, at least for the next few months. It doesn’t have to be forever, as Steph might finally get her indoor built, and the super nice not too expensive place with the waiting list might finally have an opening.
What do you think? Is it menopausal madness? What would you do? What do you do? How far do you have travel? Or, for those of you who have horses at home, how far have you travelled for comfortable, pleasant equestrian facilities?