Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lament of an Indoorless Rider

Let me begin this post by giving you a little background about the barn I board at...it's no state of the art equestrian facility; it's dusty, cobwebby, old, and falling apart in a few places. Full board is not offered - we all do rough board. But even though it's nothing fancy, we all take good care of our horses. They get plenty of food and attention and one of the things I like best about this barn is that all our horses have generously sized in-and-outs attached to their stalls. We also have access to great trails to ride on and we have a decent sized arena (albeit with some sketchy footing in places.) But we don't have an indoor. 

Maggie napping at the end of her paddock. Barn in he background.
This gets to be a pretty big problem right about this time of year, because now that daylight savings is over it's dark by the time I get to the barn after work. We used to have a flood light over the arena, but the bulb burnt out about this time last year and the barn owner STILL hasn't bothered to fix it.

Our arena. A little grassy, a little muddy, a few rocks...but workable.
It's also getting cold out. Sure, I could ride in the dark (on the flat of course) for now, but when the ground freezes it's all over.

Fortunately though, it's not a completely hopeless situation. The barn I board at is actually right next to another horse farm. One that does have an indoor. And the owner of that barn is nice enough to let us poor folk next door rent the use of her indoor for a monthly fee. 

Last year I gave Maggie November and December almost completely off. I rode after work occasionally through November as long as I had enough light, but then in December only mostly on the weekends in the daylight hours (if at all.) Then in January I rented the indoor and started working her again and taking dressage lessons as often as possible, preparing for the upcoming show season. This past  summer was our first "real" show season.  The year prior to that I had only just taken her to her first show in the fall!

Playing around with ground driving Maggie last winter - the indoor and the neighboring barn are in the background.
So here I am at the beginning of November trying to decide if I'm going to rent the indoor right away and keep her in some sort of work throughout the winter, or if I should just give her November and December off like last year and kick it in to gear at the beginning of 2015. Decisions, decisions...

Here are some factors to consider:

  • My goals for next season are to start at elementary level again and hopefully do a recognized BN event at the end of the season.
  • The indoor costs $120 per month to rent.
So is there anything else I should be factoring into this decision? Anyone have any opinions? What do you do with your horses in the "off season"?


  1. I'm lucky that we don't really need an indoor here. Occasionally I'll miss a few days due to rain, but not too often. I'd say if you need to keep her in work this winter then rent the indoor!

    1. Yeah, right about now is the time of year get really envious of you all down south ;) Do you have big arena lights over our outdoor ring? I guess I haven't really decided if I need to keep her in work all winter!

  2. One of my absolute must-haves in a boarding facility is an indoor arena. I truly respect those that do without, even for a few months, because I don't think I'd ever be able to get anything done!!

    1. It's tough sometimes, that's for sure! If it weren't for the group of friends I have at my current place, I'd be somewhere else with an indoor for sure!

  3. I think you'd definitely get the benefit out of paying for the indoor. I'm sure I pay the equivalent of that on my board bill every month because we do have an indoor. I try to give Connor a couple of weeks of doing nothing and then a couple of weeks of light hacking as a vacation every year.

    1. Yeah, I think it would definitely be a good idea. She's been having a pretty easy couple weeks lately. Not much hacking though - need to do some more trail rides before it gets too crazy cold!