My Dilemma is Stalled

Sky lives in a stall. It was very hard to find a place within reasonable driving time from our home to board her that wasn’t loaded with filth or dangerous rusty tin panels. And so we are here, in the self-proclaimed “best” facility in the area. It is very clean. Her care is assured and there is a full range of under utilized facilities including two outdoor arenas, round pen, and indoor arena.

My gripe? She spends most of her life in her stall. I’m told they go out around 8 in the morning. She goes out to a very small (one acre?) pasture for a couple hours with an old broodmare then is led to a small paddock behind the barn, where she stays till late afternoon. Recently they’ve been bringing her in around 3:30.

So we’ve been coming in the evening to spend time with her, work her, graze her, and get her out of that stall.

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Without going into full detail about the questions I’ve already asked and concerns I’ve raised, I don’t think the situation is going to change unless I request that she only be grained in her stall.

By the way I was told that a stall was the only option.

Now, when did horse boarding in the midwest become so guarded and constrained? 17 years ago when I was boarding south of Minneapolis full board included grain and turn out in a spacious pasture, no questions asked. I guess things are different now. But I’m starting to feel like I live east of the Mississippi here in a region that prides itself on being some kind of gateway to the West. What is going on? Why does there appear to be plenty of room out in the back and my filly is stuck in a routine where she can’t learn how to use her feet or interact with others?

So my dilemma is stalled. Except for one nearby pasture. Incredibly, it’s within walking distance of my house. It is a beautiful, four acre hillside with safe horse fencing around the entire perimeter. But there’s nothing else. No arena, no place to keep tack, no roundpen. There are some trees in a small gully for the horses. There are a couple horses currently inside and the owner is looking for more.

What is better for Sky? I know that the space and 24/7 companionship would be better for her. I also know that the facilities in our current location are better for my long term relationship with her. However, maybe our relationship could grow without the facilities? It gets a little chilly in Iowa in January. But nothing like Minnesota.

She’s a yearling and the next year is so important for her bones. I think I know what the best option is for her, but it will be hard to give up some of the frills. Our medium term goal is to have a place of our own. Until then we keep playing with our young horse and enjoying every moment.

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