So, I got an email yesterday around lunch time saying that our barn has been sold, is closing, and the horses all have to be out by June 9.
Yeah, not kidding.
I’m equal parts sad and upset. Sad because I have really enjoyed being at that barn. The fields are huge and beautiful, it’s small enough to where I could do whatever I want and no one cared, it was 20 minutes from my house, it has lots of turnout, and it was NEVER too wet to ride. The barn worker is fantastic and takes amazing care of my boys. Plus I was getting a great deal for having two horses there. The place wasn’t fancy by any means, and it had plenty of short-comings, but all-in-all it’s worked really well for me for the past 2.5 years.
A place like that is hard to find around here. Land is at a premium, there isn’t a lot of space to be found anymore, and good ground is even more difficult to find. A lot of places have that terrible black gumbo soil that will suck the shoes right off a foot when it’s wet, but gets huge gaping hoof-swallowing cracks in it when it’s dry. We won’t even talk about how much the standard of care can vary at boarding barns, y’all know how that goes. Boarding is EXPENSIVE here, and traffic in Austin is so bad that if you don’t find something relatively close, you’ll end up with a wicked commute that just isn’t doable for the 7 days a week that I go to the barn. Something will have to give, I just don’t know what yet.
I’ve had the feeling for a while that the owners were going to sell the place, but they’ve hinted at it several times before and never actually followed through. This barn used to be out in the middle of nowhere, but as Austin has exploded, development has moved in all around. The big chunk of land that it’s sitting on is worth a buttload to those gross subdivision guys, and the barn owners are elderly. I don’t blame them for cashing in, but I was hoping they’d hold out. Which they have up to now, but I guess my time has run out. The barn as been sold… to developers. Just the thought of those fields being bulldozed and covered with houses legit makes me want to cry. I’m devastated. It’s a fucking travesty.
It’s also a travesty that we’ve been given such short notice. 5 weeks isn’t much when you’re talking about moving 3 horses. Finding somewhere suitable is hard enough, finding somewhere suitable without a waiting list is even harder. So now here we are, scrambling, trying to find another needle in the haystack. I have no idea where to even start with finding a place that will suit our needs. It’s even tougher now that I have to consider that I need the right facilities to keep a Prelim horse fit and sound… that adds a whole ‘nother layer of footing and space concerns that I didn’t have when Henry was competing at a lower level.
Luckily we won’t be hung out to dry completely, no matter what happens. I’ve had several very kind friends that have generously offered me space at their own farm as a temporary or even longer term solution, if needed. Most of them would be quite a long drive, but they’re options that are there if it comes to it, and that peace of mind is definitely appreciated right now. It’s the only thing stopping me from entering full blown panic attack mode, to be honest. That and I basically put all my feelings inside a whole bunch of brownies last night and ate them until I wanted to puke.
So far, from all of the internet scouring I’ve done since yesterday, there’s nothing that seems particularly promising yet. Big compromises are going to have to be made somewhere. I’m so sad, y’all. It’s the end of an era. I LOVE MY FIELDS, and they’re going to be murdered, and then disgusting cheap cookie cutter houses are going to be erected on their graves. Just the thought of it makes me sick to my stomach. It’s not right.