April 12, 2024

New Boarder #2

After a long winter of having three horses and just two of us in the co-op, Leah and I were certainly ready for some extra sets of hands. But that didn't mean we just wanted anyone off the street to join the co-op. This boarding model isn't for everyone, and we have to really know and trust those we entrust with our horses.

So I was delighted when within the span of two weeks, we suddenly found ourselves with five horses and four humans, which is a sweet spot for us. And not only that, they were humans we know and trust: Deb, and my college friend, Tricia.

She, uh, LOVES orange, lol.

Tricia and I have known each other for almost 20 years at this point, and last year she relocated back to the Midwest, specifically choosing to live close enough to my barn to join the co-op. But she temporarily left her 17 year old OTTB where he was on the other side of the country, working off his board by dutifully giving H/J lessons and great trips at shows to a bunch of barn rats.

He is kind of awesome.

He was arriving via a trailer too long to fit up my barn's winding, hilly driveway, so we had to meet him after his multi-day cross-country trip and hope he would walk onto my 1H in Walmart's parking lot. As I told his owner, I had Plan A, B, C, and D, with Plan D being her riding him the mile home down the shoulder of the state highway.

(Side note: COULD NOT be more impressed with CTS Equine Transport. The custom-built air-ride rig was immaculate, the owner/driver was a smart guy who absolutely loves his job, and he went well out of his way for the sake of the horse's welfare, even when he didn't need to. Will definitely give them a call when Disco comes home.)

But - bless a good OTTB - I needn't have worried, as he just walked right off one trailer and onto another without even stopping to sniff it. And his introduction to everyone else at my barn went just as smoothly. We are so blessed that the two newest guys at the barn might just be the best behaved out of everyone on the property, lol.

Magnum's first time seeing grass in 6 years! Our whole herd is acclimating slowly in 15 minute increments this month.

I couldn't be happier to have both horse and owner in the barn. He's sweet, easy to handle, and gets along with everyone without asserting himself. And Tricia has jumped right in on chores and picking up extra work when one of us was sick.

And with that, we are basically "full", with five stalls filled with horses, one stall being used for hay (and oh my goodness I am so loathe to put hay back up in the loft again, so I want to keep it that way!) and one stall that will be Disco's when he comes home late this year or early next year. "Full" barn, and full heart.


  1. This is wonderful. I'm not gonna lie, this model really appeals to me. I think there's a lot to recommend it, even if there is a chance that things can go terribly wrong with the wrong person in the mix.

    1. I agree. We are coming up on our third year anniversary of it with no major issues and no missed shifts. I intend to write a post about it at some point, because I agree and I do think more barns could adopt this model to avoid paying criminally low wages to staff or closing entirely when they can't find help.

  2. You've put a lot of thought into having a lovely setup! As someone who keeps my horses at home happily, the flexibility that a co-op gives makes me a little jealous.

  3. It's so cool to see success stories like this (and great co-manager to boot!) If I had a co-op close enough to me to join, I'd totally sign up.

  4. There's nothing better than the perfect mix of horses and people at the barn. Glad it's working out for you!! I love the co-op idea (but also can appreciate how tricky it can be to really get the right mix of people to make it work).

  5. Love this so much for you all! Sounds like the perfect set up and perfect mix of people and horses.
    And what a good boy to switch trailers so easily. OTTB's don't get enough credit for everything they are exposed to being racehorses. He looks and sounds like a really cool guy!