For many, many a years this Bay Horse owner has boarded her ponies. Starting with the first bay Turdybred, Milo, way back when I was a young lass in college. Aside from two short full board stints, it has always been rough board. So, every day, at least once and generally twice, rain/snow/sleet/shine, I dragged my butt to a barn to take care of said ponies. Anywhere from 10 minutes to nearly an hour. For many, many a year this has been my life. Seriously, 20+ years worth. And it has never bothered me.
Until this year.
I was driving from work to the current barn when for no reason, out of the blue, I said to myself (and to Terry Gross) "I. Am. So. Tired. Of. Driving. To. Barns." It hit me like that, and I suddenly had an overwhelming need to condense my life.
It had always been the plan with the new house, and its 10 acres, to put in a small barn. But I'd never been in a big rush. I loved my boarding barns, I loved the people that came with them. And maybe the biggest reason, I knew the money I'd spend on my own barn, fencing, site work, etc would probably be enough to put my horses in full board for 20 years :-D
We had already been clearing for a new area for the goats, and that extended further to include a space for a prefab barn. I searched high and low online, debated sheds, shedrows, center aisle, balanced costs against features. Then I stumbled across an old thread on the Chronicle of the Horse boards, along with a recommendation for Eberly Barns out of Pennsylvania.
I contacted them, with my idea of a 4 stall, shedrow overhang barn. They countered with a sketch of an L-shaped design, three 12x12 stalls, one 12x16 stall and a small 12x6 tackroom, 10 foot overhang. It was love at first sight. Papers were signed, prices agreed upon and suddenly I was the owner of a not-yet-built barn.
Fast forward a few months, literally, Amish barn builders play no games when it comes to delivering, and there was a barn in my backyard. Fast forward a few days, I was also playing no games, and the kids were home.
The kids are now one bay horse (aka Leila) and Stella, a very un-bay Haflinger (aka the babysitter). Her story and pics to follow, at some point, in the distant future :-)
Thomas' donkey friends, Clover and Burrito, remained at my old barn, where they are happily doted upon by two young girls. I try to play the tough guy, but making children cry makes even my cold heart sad, and I knew they'd have the absolutely best home I could wish for.
There's still tons to do in regards to the barn, mostly cosmetic, organizing the mounds of horse "stuff" I've collected over the years (selling most of it), arraigning for electric and water, then whatever else I'm completely forgetting about.
I guess the gigantic novel above is the super longest way possible I could have said "sorry, I've gone AWOL lately, but life, ya know?". My heart is the happiest it's probably ever been and every time I walk out my backdoor to take care of the ponies, I'm grateful all over again for the path that has brought me here.
(ps, buy soap, the bay one has already needed the vet out :-D )