I'm slightly behind on bloggin, per usual.
Last week I went to Florida to look for apartments and horse boarding barns. From the get-go, it was a stressful adventure.
When we first decided to move (about 6 months ago) I was mostly just super pumped and ready to event in eventing land. There is literally an event within a 4 hour radius of where I will be living, like, every weekend.
Then adult reality set in and I was like, I guess I need to focus on a job. And a place to live. And one for my horse to. Shucks. I was having a swell time in fantasyland, dreaming up all the things I can't afford to do quite yet (like buy a second horse, and decorate my apartment really swanky and event every weekend and board at $1500 mo barns...etc)..
I spent countless hours researching, calling, reading and organizing apartments and barns. There were 82 barns within an hour of Jax. I emailed/called about 22 of them. I could really only afford about 11 of them. I only heard back from 8 of them. Great.
There were about a thousand apartment complexes. I didn't even know where to start, so I set a cap on rent and selected bathrooms, bedrooms and excluded places that don't allow two dogs. Apartment Finder is great, but really you need to just be in the area to find one.
My anxiety was skyrocketing. My notebook was a jumble of numbers, addresses and prices. I NEEDED to visit these places.
So we booked a flight and went down.
Trying to schedule 4 days of appointments is WAY more difficult than I initially presumed. Also, I hate flying.
I only got FIVE of the initial 22 barns to meet with me. And I had 7 apartments to look at. I was SO nervous. I wish I could've gotten more booked, but a lot of the barns were at shows. Didn't think of that when I scheduled a visit from thursday-Sunday. DUMB DUMB DUMB.
Also right before we left, I was got deathly ill. Like, i'm pretty sure I was gonna die. This complicated matters. I was miserable the entire trip.
The first barn I visited was...not as advertised.
I stayed around and chatted to be polite but left ASAP.
The second barn was Janky and definitely not a "show barn". And you weren't allowed to jump unless you were in a lesson. And there were two pastures. No hay. And the owner/trainer was a total BITCH. Ugh, no thanks. Bye.
I was beginning to worry. We had at this point wasted 3 hours (45 minute drive times) and I was losing hope I would find a barn in my budget.
Then we arrived at OHE.
I was entranced. Captivated. Stunned. Floored. In love. I HAD to board here. It was absolute perfection.
The owner was...like an angel. She has to be the nicest horse person I have ever met in my life. Genuine nice. The boarders...so sweet.
The barn. Fucking gorgeous. I can't even begin to describe it. Its not worthy of my futile attempts.
The facilities..I'm..I can't..its too...perfect. Two swimming ponds, 50 acres of gallop paths/trails, a GP jump ring, a massive outdoor, 3 barns, individual turnout or massive pastures, gaited, heated wash racks, a riders lounge, a full bath, lockers and absolutely gorgeous landscaping.
It was too good to be true. This could not possibly be a barn I could afford. I had written down that it was $550/mo. Theres no way.
Yeah there wasn't. I mixed the prices up with a different barn. Its $800. BUT there's a pasture board option, for $450. And its not even the typical "pasture" board. They still have stalls and a gorgeous barn to live in, they're just never shut in. And they're turned out together instead of individually. And in Florida, the grass is good almost all year. So, there's that option.
I want it so bad.
The next day we went ahead and visited two more barns, but after OHE I was not as impressed. I also had that icky feeling that my horse would not get fed everyday. I did find a second option though. Nice facilities. Its an old show grounds bought out and taken over by an ex jumper lady. The barn is like, 600 ft long and there's a dressage ring, jump ring and gallop paths. PLus pretty nice pastures. And the horses seemed happy and well fed. The only red light was the amount of rubble on the property. The unused old stalls barns (the 3 other 600ft barns-that used to be stalls for shows) were crumbling and untouched. There were large pieces of equipment everywhere and weeds growing up around unused pastures. Slight red flag.
I think we found an apartment too, so thats a relief. We also had quite the time with those. Several of them were in the ghetto and we were like...uh no. We had to up our cap price a bit to find a safe place to live, but its worth it. The place we found is beautiful. The boy is moving down before me, so thats a little stressful. But mostly I am excited.
Sadly the trip didn't go as smoothly as I meticulously planned. I was in misery the entire time being sick. I could barely wake up in the mornings and was suffering through all our visits. It was so sad. I made my self get up and go to the beach and take a picture, since we were there, but man, I just wanted to sleep.
All in all though we did what we came to accomplish, even if I didn't have the energy to extracurricular activities.
I think I will go with OHE pasture board for now. Perhaps in summer months when its really hot I will bite the bullet and stable him, but I just don't see myself being as confident with his care as I will be at OHE.