On Saturday I visited 3 potential boarding barns near Algonac. The first barn we visited was spur of the moment, and only 15 minutes away.
Blue Ribbon Stables
Pretty big facility with a nice big indoor arena. Surprisingly, no one was there on Saturday except the daughter of the owner and her father who was dragging the indoor. There's lots of turnout, an outdoor arena and trails on property. It's 350/month, so definitely cheaper than what I pay now. The horses looked to be in good condition and nothing gave me the heebie jeebies. Currently it's at the top of my list.
Mac Erin Equestrian Center
Just about as big as Blue Ribbon but 35 minutes away. Smaller indoor, two outdoor arenas and a round pen. No trails. More expensive board. I liked it, but when I can get the same for cheaper and closer I put it lower on the list.
Across the Street from Mac Erin
A run down, tiny barn with future trails and a trainer. Indoor as well, no outdoor that I noticed unless it was in back. One side of the aisle has a very low roof on the stalls, Gwyn would need to be on the indoor side to have the height for safety. The trainer was showing off her never raced OTTB who was skinny and had no topline to speak of. It was awful. I thought she was telling me the mare was recently off the track. No. 10 years. She's had the horse 10 years. I played polite and made my way out. I was considering her barn for the training potential with Gwyn, but I don't want her working incorrectly with a trainer to lose top line. Oh I was so grossed out. So that's off the list. I also sent a message to Jim and told him thank you for giving me a discerning eye.
Jim recommended a trainer, but I looked him up and that guy gets the same weird reviews that a trainer in Washington did, basically that they're kooky and to avoid them.
I was contacted by Pfeiffer Farms, which would be top of my budget at $550 but includes 2 training rides a month at a Hunter/Jumper barn that winters in Florida (LOL). That would be nice, but maybe I'll just trailer in for lessons there rather than do training board.
I think I might aim for beginning of May arrival date for Gwyn, just to keep it consistent for when I tend to move her cross country. This gives me time to set up a vet appointment for a coggins and health certificate and schedule the shippers. Blue Ribbon is unlikely to not have space, in fact their full period is in the winter when locals move their horses to a place that has an indoor. By May most of them will have gone home. So I'll be losing some community aspect, but it's not a huge deal.
I just want to have my car (tomorrow or Thursday!) so I can start searching on my own and get out of the house.