Monday, July 31, 2017

leaving hunterlandia, entering paradise

So. Big changes in Charlieland: He moved to a new farm! Specifically, Charlie moved to OF - site of our weekly jump lessons with trainer P.

room with an unusual view!
I've been hauling in to this farm for weekly jump lessons since early 2014. It was never really a big deal from Isabel's barn, which was just ten miles down a country road. Plus after Brita and Wick started coming to lessons with us, the horses were usually together on the trailer - making it pretty easy for them too.

charlie's not used to seeing the world from such a low vantage point haha
However, Charlie's erstwhile h/j barn was 30 miles away, across two major highways. One of which was the Baltimore Beltway - meaning there's constant local traffic in both directions as drivers whizzed on and off and all over the place. Definitely..... not pleasant for those of us with very precious cargo on board.

his stall also has a weird little alcove section
Add in the fact that Charlie was always alone for this trip, and it became more difficult for him. The worst days were show days - when we'd pick up Brita (whose lease mare Bella lives at OF) in the morning, then take her home at the end of the day. Charlie would get pretty upset when his friend got off the trailer, while he still had another 40 minutes of travel.

but damn it's a giant stall - it's designed for foaling
More than once, other drivers would try to flag me down for my horse looking "freaked out" on the trailer. Bc.... well. Charlie weaves. And he would weave on the trailer. Which I guess is a pretty startling sight for those unfamiliar with horses.

hopefully charlie likes the visual variety!
It was becoming clear tho that something had to give. The travel was becoming unsustainable for Charlie. Meanwhile, I was feeling a little stymied in getting the full level of my desired training while boarding at the h/j barn, since they wouldn't allow outside trainers on the property.

subterranean pony! and look at all those other windows!
I loved that h/j barn very much tho - and esp loved that it was a mere 15 minutes from home. The care was top notch and I never worried about Charlie getting what he needed (even tho they could be a little alarmist at times, and occasionally slow to make changes).

plus he's surrounded by cute neighbors, situated as he is in the corner
Plus, with the demanding and occasionally unpredictable nature of my job, I was a little uncomfortable with boarding Charlie very far from home. But. I reevaluated routes and have come to the conclusion that it's better having me on the road vs Charlie.

looking down the aisle straight away from his stall
Obviously that also includes the benefit of reducing wear and tear on my truck and trailer - letting my more efficient daily driver sedan do all those extra miles. But there are actually quite a few more time and cost savings to be found in the change too.

looking down the other end past the cute neighbors and toward my tack locker
Time is the biggest immediate win when it comes to lessons. Removing the shipping from our weekly jump lesson routine cuts my time down by actual hours. Dressage trainer C also comes on site weekly for lessons - meaning I can see her without shipping now too. So right off the bat, I'm able to see two of my favorite trainers without my horse ever stepping foot onto the trailer.

he seems to like this door shape too - i haven't seen him weaving once yet!
It doesn't end there tho - the next big obvious cost savings is OF's onsite cross country course. Gone are the days of hauling to and paying schooling fees to work over xc fences. The facility here includes full courses from starter through training, and they're building out the prelim options. They host an annual USEA recognized event and a schooling HT.

plus he got his own stall sign <3
As a boarder, I can go out there however often I want, whenever I want, and do whatever I want. Whether that's just dabbling a little in the water here and there, or making ditches and banks part of our weekly (or daily!) routine. This is obviously a huge advantage.

Check out this helmet cam video of me and Isabel rocketing across the BN course there for a nearly-full tour of the cross country course.

yep. still the cutest!
Regular readers should already be pretty familiar with the rest of the facilities at this farm - even if you didn't realize they're all at the same place. For instance, basically any jump lesson recap (like this one) takes place in the large upper jump ring here. Tho I've never seen them, reports are that this arena has lights too.

solo turnout to start - but in a field surrounded by ponies and mares
Plus all the dressage schooling shows Charlie has done (like MDA's schooling show back in June) are held in the lovely outdoor dressage court. This ring also has lights for evening rides.

saying hello to a neighboring mare
There's also a modest but workable indoor, which you saw if you read the (hilarious) post about Charlie learning (and kinda failing) to free jump. So ya know. There are plenty of places to ride - and that's not even counting just hacking through the fields, woods, trails, and pasture lines. Options. We's got them now.

and the tack locker, omg!!
left side: getting dusted and sponged down with some murphy's oil soap. right side: all moved in!
Then, of course, there are the actual day to day living arrangements. Charlie's living in a stall designed for a mare and foal. It's legit the biggest stall I've ever seen. Plus it's got windows to look out, and is right in the middle of all the horses and ppl and goings on in the barn - something Charlie seems to like.

The construction of being built so deeply into the ground means that temperatures are fairly well controlled all year round too.

guys. i can't even explain what a dream come true this locker is haha
And for me, there's a very generously sized tack locker. I can even fit almost all my junk in there (almost haha). It was dusty and cobweb-y to start, but a quick wipe down cleared that out. Plus I went through the thing with a hammer, getting rid of any unnecessary pointy odds and ends bc ain't nobody want tetanus around here lol.

just one matted grooming area among many
Some LED tap-on lights are in the mail, and I've christened the locker with a berry-scented air freshener. Guys. This is legit my 12yo dream coming true (after, obvi, getting the horse haha).

familiar dressage court
The barn also sports a wide range of matted grooming spots, a deep sink with hot water, an outdoor wash stall (a bit of a down grade for us, but I can live lol), and two different farriers who come onsite weekly. One of whom, actually, was specifically recommended by Charlie's past farrier - who tragically could not keep us on after the move.

So while I am still feeling some trepidation about the change in farriery for my special needs, boat-shoe-wearing snowflake, I think it'll be ok.

and nice wooded walks between the rings and the barn!
Maybe the best thing about this place tho is that I actually already know so many folks here - a distinct benefit of having been coming onto the farm weekly for over three years.

there's a tiny stream crossing on this walk too - perfect for Mr Green About water
So right off the bat, I've had riding buddies who have been eager to show us around and get us acclimated, and show Charlie the ways to and from all the rings.

al fresco wash stall
Actually it was pretty hilarious - since I moved him in about an hour before our typical jump lesson. Charlie found it very surprising to go from a strange and new place (the barn) and within a few hundred feet, suddenly be back into familiar territory lol.

it's less fancy than the h/j barn wash stall - but it works just fine
Hopefully he'll connect the dots soon that those familiar arenas are all now part of his 'home.' Actually he's been settling pretty well - he likes the big stall and I haven't noticed him weaving at all in it. I'm sure that habit will persist bc horses don't usually quit it completely... but perhaps it'll be reduced?

plus there's still grass!
And especially once he gets fully integrated into the turnout situation, I expect him to continue settling more and more. Homeboy loves having friends!

and, of course, he's already got his friend Bella on the premises <3
Which, of course, I do too - maybe the #1 best thing about this move is that Brita and I are now boarding at the same barn again! Yay riding friends!

So that's the big change I've been mulling over for the last couple weeks. It feels like a pretty momentous shift for us, and it's not without its trade offs. But I'm very hopeful that it'll be a big change for the better as Charlie continues his development as an event horse-in-training!

73 comments:

  1. What great news. That place looks like it has everything you could possibly need. Irish and Carmen approve of the grass right outside the window too.

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    1. Ha Charlie thought the "all you can eat buffet" was pretty perfect too

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  2. I have so much love for that huge old stall!

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  3. I had a feeling this was going to happen someday!! I haven't been to OF in forever, but when I was a kid I was soooo jealous of the people that boarded there!

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    1. It's such a neat (and huge!) old farm! I'd always imagined I would board there some day, that day just arrived sooner than I anticipated lol

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  4. Fun place, I love that barn!! Glad Charlie is moved in safely.

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  5. SO freaking amazing. And I'm SO happy for you. Wish I had a teleporter to gain better situations like this! How freaking awesome.

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    1. Ha thanks - I wish I had a teleporter too, it's a bit far. But so far not too bad!

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  6. That is a super cool barn. I wish my barn looked like that! It sounds like it's great, I hope it's everything you dreamed of!

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    1. thanks - it's definitely a major departure from the pristine h/j facility we just left, but i kinda love the rustic, well-established feel of it!

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  7. Decreasing wear and tear on the truck and reducing trailering stress are two big wins. I bet he will appreciate it. That old style barn is gorgeous. We boarded at a slightly underground old barn in WI and it stayed such a lovely temperature all year round.

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    1. that's great to hear! this is a new style design for me so i'm eager to see how it works out for charlie

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  8. SO MANY GOOD THINGS!! I love his giant bank barn stall! :D

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    1. omg that giant stall is so great tho! when i first looked at the place, i was actually a little concerned about stall size. little did i know that this behemoth awaited us!

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  9. Having a xc course like that on site?! OMGDREAMCOMETRUE. Congrats on the move and the storage locker :D

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    1. omg i'm so excited about the xc course haha - can't wait to get out there!

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  10. You had me at onsite XC course. I'd kill for one- right now I'm just dragging my little green carpet around to make things look somewhat solid at home. Blech. That stall is ginormous and so glad you'll be able to see both your trainers without having to haul! I'll live vicariously through you.

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    1. the xc course is definitely a boon. really there's a lot to like about this farm - except how far it is from home. i'm hoping it'll work out to be fine tho!

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    2. without traffic it's about the same distance from my house as it was from charlie's old barn. so, a doable 35-40 min. i'm slightly concerned that the route will be very susceptible to rush hour traffic disruptions - but that's still to be discovered.

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    3. Wow, that's a lot of driving. Well, fingers crossed that rush hour won't impact it too much!

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    4. well... it's either me and charlie together on the road, or just me. so. we're gonna go with just me in the more efficient vehicle.

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  11. Ahh! Sounds like a wonderful move for you and Charlie!

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  12. Congrats on the move, having an onsite XC course (or even just a few jumps) makes such a big difference. So jealous!

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    1. yea i feel lucky that we have more than just a few jumps - we've got the full shebang, and i'm pretty pumped about it!

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  13. Yay, congrats! It sounds so perfect!

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  14. cool place. How exciting!! And Remus was in a barn like that once and the ground was ABOVE Him. he could not figure out how to look out the window (SHORT HORSE, TALL WINDOW, ground level) HA. Charlie looks pretty happy. I am excited for you! YAY

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    1. haha yea charlie's a little perplexed by the new view lol. and apparently there are dogs that will run up to the window....

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  15. This farm looks like a DREAM! So awesome! (Also totes jealous of that amazing tack locker 😍)

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    1. omg the tack locker tho - i'm obsessed! i'm trying to get it set up as well as possible to start out bc it'll eventually devolve into a hole if i'm not careful lol (hoarder status over here!)

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  16. Congrats on the move! It sounds like an awesome setup for you and Charlie to progress!

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    1. i hope so - it's got all the cool ingredients for an event horse for sure!

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  17. Congrats, seems like its a pretty perfect set up for you guys!

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  18. Oh, nice - congrats! I love old barns (and the creativity to get things done that always seem to go with them, lol).

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    1. i definitely can appreciate the rustic feel! tho in all honesty, it's such a vast departure from the slightly posh feel of charlie's h/j barn that i might feel differently had i not just visited the windurra facility lol

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  19. I love bank barns like that! We don't have them here.

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    1. it's such a neat design! apparently the foundation for this barn is suuuuuper old but it's had to be rebuilt a couple times for various reasons

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  20. I also LOVE that barn. Maybe because it reminds me of the dairy barn I grew up with. Sounds like a really great thing and I'm sure he'll appreciate less time in the trailer :)

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    1. i think we'll all appreciate less time in the trailer for sure. it's been years since i've been able to just 'show up' for a lesson without having to go anywhere!

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  21. Oh my goodness that farm looks fantastic! Being able to have your trainers on site will be so so nice!

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    1. yea definitely. tho actually neither trainer is really there other than lessons - trainer P is there twice a week and trainer c is there once a week. but at least we won't have to haul out to see them!

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  22. im soooo happy you moved to OF - and im really jealous of the on-site schooling ht and event. and that you can go school water, banks and ditches whenever you want.

    that's the biggest stall ive ever seen in my whole life!

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    1. the stall is ridiculously giant. like charlie looks small in it. and yea i'm super excited to get out and school - esp right now while they've got everything all set up and prepared for the upcoming HT!!

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  23. Congrats on the move! Sounds like a fantastic decision!

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    1. i hope so! i've been so attached to having my horse closer in proximity to my home, but i think this will end up being fine too

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  24. What a cool looking barn! Sounds like the amenities are awesome as well - jealous of your woods / trail access

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    1. omg i'm so freaking excited about the woods and trails and fields!! actually charlie's first ever trail ride was on this property!

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  25. That is great! It is always a bit stressful to move to a new barn, but it seems like you guys are fitting in well!

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    1. yea it's definitely super stressful, ugh. i'm feeling pretty determined to really settle in and establish ourselves in the way that i want tho. fingers crossed!

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  26. Oh congrats! That's awesome! I was going to say that I bet the barn is pretty temp controlled being partially enclosed in the ground. And I really love the look of those old, standing the test of time barns lol. I get worried they'll collapse but I just love the look of them. And yeah I hear you about the driving. Even though driving to the barn is farther, you still probably save so much time and gas money by not having to haul. I'd definitely agree that the pluses about the place outweigh the drive! I'm so happy for you that you can ride xc whenever, jump whenever, and take lessons now with ease! Also, love that pasture Charlie is in!

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    1. i'm actually not sure how old this barn is, but would venture to say that it's less than 20yrs old. the foundation has been there for longer, but it's been through a couple builds due to various reasons, like fires and whatnot.

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    2. Oh gotcha. That makes sense. I love the way it looks so! Those are my favorites <3

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    3. yea it's a really cool style. very different from where we were previously, but maybe actually not so different from where i started many years ago. hopefully he likes it too!

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  27. I love love love these old east coast barns!! I boarded Dublin at a converted cow barn and yeah, tough to keep clean (cobwebs LOVED it there) but it was cool in the summer and well insulated. Happy for you and the change. Not having to haul will be LIFE CHANGING. So many caps, I'm just so excited for you!

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    1. i'm so freakin excited about not having to haul all the time. like, i parked my trailer with this weird sense of "hm wow i wonder when i'll actually use you again!" bc it might be a little while!! what a nice change of pace hahaha

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  28. WOW! This place looks like a dream come true. I can't imagine what a relief it is to not have to haul for lessons every week. And to have a XC course literally on your backyard?! So amazing! So excited for you!! - Kelly @ Hunkyhanoverian

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    1. thanks! there's lot to be excited about for sure!

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  29. Congrats on the move, the perks of the new place sound amazing. Hopefully any downsides end up being minimal

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  30. The little nook in his stall is AMAZING.

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  31. Yay, congrats! It sounds so perfect!

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  32. That place sounds fantastic. My pare Penny weaves too and loves her racing door, really helps! I LOVE their barn!

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  33. Aww yay!! What an awesome situation :)

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