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Re: Question for the serious trail rider.

Having recently been through the agony of searching for a new farm to board
my gelding, I know exactly what I must have and what I'd really like to have
(all of this is in addition to the things that should apply to *any* horse
boarding facility, such as good quality hay, good manure management,
generously sized stalls that are kept clean and well-bedded, salt blocks
indoors and out, fresh water available at all times, etc.).

Here's what I was able to find in a full-board arrangement:
- Easy hacking access to extensive trails with hilly terrain.
- 23/7 turn-out (they bring the horses in for twice daily feeding and in
case of nasty weather -- though I think they're a bit over protective about
the latter).
- Dutch doors and stall guards so that my antsy guy can hang his head out
when he does have to stay inside (he hates it!!) -- I provided the cotton
guard because a chain will not do -- he'll go right under a chain.
- Willingness to feed whatever I want in the way of supplements, soaked
beetpulp, etc. (even though they hate the smell of the powdered garlic !!);
I provide the beetpulp since they don't feed that to the other horses.
- Ability to use the farrier and vet of my choice.
- Willingness to install extra 'stuff' in his stall -- such as my
mini-feeder for free-choice loose salt and minerals.
- No chintzing about my giving him extra hay (for instance, when I put him
in his stall to dry his feet so I can apply Keratex, etc.)
- Storage for all my tack AND for my camping paraphenalia (tack room is
heated in winter and has a defumidifier going in the summer -- my camping
stuff in upstairs in the bank barn).
- Blanketing when needed (when extremely cold and windy).
- No restrictions on when I can come to the farm.
- Clean toilet facilites for me.

Here's what I'd also like to have:
- Lighted outdoor ring.
- Run-in shelters (so the horses could stay out even more often on winter

And here's what I do to help make the relationship work with what is a
private farm that had room for one more gelding:
- Clean up after myself and my horse when I'm there -- if he poops in the
stall while his feet are drying. I clean up the mess; if I've groomed my
mudball in the aisle, I sweep out the dirt.
- When I leave, turn off the lights in the barn and make sure the tack room
is closed.
- Help with the evening feed when I'm there at that time.
- If the other four geldings follow us back to the barn, that means that
they've eaten all their hay, so I throw more over the fence.
- Let the owners know if I see that one of the other horses looks off,
collect found flymasks, re-install the ring around the top of an automatic
waterer that someone (my gelding? never!!) has knocked off, etc.

What I'd MOST like to have (in addition to what's provided):
- The lighted outdoor ring
- A location closer than 55 minutes from my home.

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