Holiday Gifts for Horse Professionals
What’s the appropriate etiquette for holiday gifts in the horse world? There are a lot of people who are essential to my horse’s well-being: the vet; the farrier; the barn manager at my boarding stable; my riding instructor. I know they’re all professionals who are being paid for their work, but I really appreciate them and would like to show it. However, I’m not sure what’s an appropriate gift. Is it appropriate to give a monetary tip, or would that be awkward? What’s a good holiday gift idea for trainers, vets, etc.?
How to Find a Boarding Barn
I will soon be moving to a new region of the country and I’m looking forward to getting involved in a new horse community. I’ve been searching for a boarding stable and trainer/instructor near where I’ll be living, but I don’t know anyone in that area, which means I’m dependent upon looking at farms’ websites or reading the opinions of strangers on message boards. What can I do to find a good home for my horse when I don’t have the luxury of visiting lots of farms or talking to trusted people in the area?
Time for Riding
My family keeps our two horses on our 7-acre property. The horses have it great and we know they are loved and cared for. The downside is that I spend so much time on chores that I don’t get to ride much. When I think I have a free moment, something always comes up, like fence repairs or dealing with hay suppliers on top of regular chores. I am considering boarding to have more free time with my horse. Is this a good solution? Are there any other ways to make time to ride and enjoy my horses when there is so much work to do for them?
Leaving Your Comfort Zone
In a recent article, called You Want Me to Ride What? the writer described what she calls “The Bond Of False Perfection.” This is when a rider develops a comfort zone around her own horse and balks at riding any other horse, even when doing so could help improve her riding skill. This really relates to me, and I’m not proud of it. How can I overcome this so that I can have fun riding new horses?
My best friend and I board at the same stable and we often ride together, and she never wears a helmet. She rides English now, but grew up riding western and doing speed events. I asked her once why she doesn’t wear a helmet and she sort of shrugged it off, saying she didn’t feel like it was necessary unless she’s showing in a class where helmets are required. How can I explain to her why I think she should wear a helmet—at least during high-risk activities like jumping—without sounding like a nag?
A Lack of Enthusiasm
My horse has developed some medical issues and my vet has advised me to stop riding him. I’m fine with that; I’m happy to keep my horse as a pet for as long as he lives. The problem is that he costs as much now as he did when he was an active horse, and that means I don’t have extra money to buy or lease another horse or take weekly lessons. I’m thinking about just taking a break from riding until I have the financial means to devote to it, but I don’t know if that’s wise.
Bringing Home the Horses
After boarding my horses for more than 10 years, I have finally bought a horse-friendly property and will be bringing them home this summer. I’m very excited, and also very nervous. I’m an experienced horse owner, but I’m worried that I’ll make mistakes. I’d like to know what advice other horse owners have for keeping horses at home. What do you wish you’d known when you set up your farm?
Theft at the Boarding Stable
There has been a problem recently with feed theft at our self-care boarding stable. Every boarder has their own feed stall, but they can’t be locked. No one seems to know who is doing it, and the barn owner is very lackadaisical about security. Most of us are very close, and we care for each other’s horses. I’m extremely offended that someone would steal from other boarders, considering how close everyone is. There are no other stables nearby for us. How should we address this, especially with hay?
Who Knows Best?
I recently bought a horse and keep her at a boarding stable. The stable owner is very experienced and knowledgeable, but I don’t always agree with how she does things. For example, I think she’s feeding my horse way too much grain. How can I approach this and other conflicts when I’m much younger and less experienced with horses than she is?
Don’t Judge Me
My parents question me all the time about my finances and my horse’s bills. My non-horsey friends make jokes about how I must have a secret trust fund to afford my equestrian hobby. I know my parents are just worried about me because they’re my parents, and I know my friends think they’re just teasing, but it still stings. I’m proud of myself for managing my own life and finances well enough to be able to own a horse. How do I get other people in my life to respect that?
Moving on to a Different Instructor
I’ve been riding with the same instructor since I was a beginner. She’s helped me a lot as a rider, but I feel like I’ve hit a plateau. I want to keep progressing, and I think that will require moving on to a more advanced instructor. I really like my instructor as a person and I want to maintain a good relationship with her after I leave the barn. Is there a way to make an amicable split from a longtime instructor?
Vet Appointments Are Not a Spectator Sport
It seems like every time I have a vet appointment, another boarder shows up and starts asking the vet questions. I get that they’re curious about what’s happening and want to learn, but I also feel like the vet is only there for a short time, and I should be able to use that time to get the information I need. How do I politely tell my fellow boarders to butt out when the vet’s around?