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Re: Question for the serious trail ride

I keep my own horses and have done so for the last 16
years.  We sacrifice time & convenience for this
privilege, but it is worth every minute to look out of
the kitchen window & see them playing & runing full
tilt up the hill.  We do what I feel is essential care
and what I'd look for if I was in a situation where I
had to board...

We have 3 horses, two who compete & one who is
retired.  They have turn out on 16 acres that is
crossed fenced into 4 sections for rotation.  When
they have to come in because of bad weather or injury,
they each have a 10 X 12 stall with rubber mats and
moderately thick shavings.  Stalls are cleaned at
least every 8-12 hours (more if we're home).  I'd like
to reduce their parsite exposure & keep healthy feet. 
Each stall has a window and a dutch door so they can
hang thier heads out to socialize.

Our barn is in front & to one side of the house where
we can view it easily.  I walk all of 75 feet to get
to the front doors.  VERY important when it is below
zero & icy out!  We positioned the barn to take
advantage of summer breezes yet shelter the animal
area from the worst of the winter winds.

They receive all the timothy/orchard hay they can eat.
 We have good pasture in the summer, but I consider it
a supplement and buy enough hay to keep it in front of
them at all times.  We add just enough grain to keep
their weight up to between 5 & 6 on the condition
scale.  It runs from zero to as much as 2.5 pounds
daily of a 10% sweet feed.  The older retired horse
gets MSM, Glucosamine and biotin supplements.  Each
horse has a salt brick in their stall and a salt block
in the pasture.  Everyone is on the same rotational
worming schedule.  Pastures are mowed as needed to
reduce weeds and keep the grass fresh & succulent.

We use centaur fencing for safety.  (Poly material
between high tensile wire to make a nice rail.)  Very
visible, durable, and safe.

We have water tanks in each pasture that are scrubbed
out monthly.  Two 5 gallon water buckets in each stall
(if they are in) are changed twice daily and scrubbed
weekly.  In the winter, all tanks and buckets are
heated to provide good drinkable water (instead of ice

Our vet is out twice yearly for preventative health
care (more if there are owies - we hope there never
are.)  The farrier is out every 6 weeks.  We are there
for all vet/farrier work to direct what needs to be
done & to hear what we need to be doing.

Our farm is about 40 minutes from work.  That's a LONG
commute for our area in WV.  We purposely chose this
location because of the rural atmosphere & access to
trails.  We have anything from a 2 mile to a 34 mile
loop.  Trail access is from the front or back of our

One of our fields (3.5 acres) is level for schooling,
including cavalettis and a full-size dressage area. 
Again, hard to find that much level land in WV.  

We have a large graveled area for trailer parking. 
(If I ever get an addition on the garage long enough
for my 8' bed club cab truck, the trailer will have an
indoor parking spot in the equipment bay of the barn. 
Truck lives there now.)

We have a 10 X 10 tack room with lots of trunks, hooks
and saddle racks.  There is hay storage for a year's
supply of hay for the 3 horses.  We have acces to our
animals 24/7.

This is my ideal set up.  I wish I had the chance to
design the house!  It was here in an open hay field
when we moved in 4 years ago.  It'll do, though.

Linda Flemmer
Blue Wolf Ranch
Bruceton Mills, WV

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