So once again it has been awhile since I have posted an update, but after receiving a (very nice!) comment from a reader, I realized I had never posted the actual “after” picture of the barn. It took me forever to choose the paint colors, and we’ve started focusing on improvements to the house vs. the pony facilities lately, which let me procrastinate on that decision. But we’re heading into cooler/wetter weather now and wanted to get the barn painted before that really kicked in.
So… here is what we chose. I am very happy with how it turned out!
We did end up painting the cupola as well – same colors as the barn doors. I keep forgetting to take a photo of that! But surprisingly, it is especially pretty at night.
Still needs more landscaping and so on but that will get done in the spring.
The next “horsey” project is to fence the arena. This was another issue that we really debated. I love the open look of the training surface we put in, and for now we have deferred the idea of covering it; that would require a variance and I just don’t have the bandwidth for that project at the moment. (Plus, once we got the quotes on the construction, I realized I could winter in FL with both the in-training horses for YEARS for that kind of money, LOL.) So – for now, that is the plan, and the arena has gone on the, “maybe someday,” list.
But back to the arena fencing.
As I mentioned, late fall and winter here is generally quite rainy. We have worked so hard to improve the pastures, while still allowing the horses to have the maximum amount of turnout, and have been pretty darn successful. Well, I say we… but really it is my fabulous husband who has done all the work. (He now refers to himself as “FarmOps.”) We had grass even through our late summer drought, when other farms in the area all looked really crispy. But we all know what shod hooves do to nice grass when it’s super wet, and when that goes on for weeks or months… it’s really tough on the turnouts.
The obvious solution would be dry lots, or a sacrifice area. And originally, that was the plan. But the one paddock that would be best suited to that kind of conversion – the one with the run in shed – also (of course!!) has the Best.Grass.On.The.Property. I mean, perfect, lush, yummy grass. All the time.
It’s because of where that paddock sits, toward the back of the farm and in a spot that holds water fairly well next to the creek. There are some nice shade trees too, which helps in the summer. I just can’t bear to tear it all out. And the other spot I might use, which is the smaller paddock close to the barn that we refer to as the sacrifice paddock, has really gotten re-established so the grass in there is good too. Plus, when it is super wet out, the slope by the gate there makes it sub-optimal, even with all the reinforcement we installed last year with the 57-stone.
So that leaves me with the option of fencing the arena, and using that as an option of last resort, so to speak, for getting the horses out in bad weather. I have been very impressed with the way that surface holds up to water, and even when we’ve had very fresh (dare I say naughty?) horses – they have never punched through to the base, and the surface is never the least bit slick or slippery. It’s not ideal, and I am sure my arena contractor would be horrified, but we built this place for the horses’ welfare, and if that means that every spring I need to do some extra maintenance on it, I’m prepared to do that. So we’ll see what happens. The fencing goes in next week, weather permitting.