Nine HundredThat is the amount, come first of the year, that I may be expected to pay in horse boarding fees if I have three horses AND if the barn manager does indeed raise the board by $100 by then. She called with information about Bella for me, and let me know that due to increased costs for hay and shavings (bedding), she may be raising the board by $50-100 in January.
Since my purple bracelet has yet to arrive and I'm under no obligation to withhold my complaining, I'm free to bitch.
I like this barn. I really do. I like the barn manager couple. I like that their philosophies resonate with mine. I like how they take care of my horses. My horses are happier and healthier than they were at the other place.
However. My old barn charged $225/horse/month for full care with a round pen, outdoor riding arena, and instant access to 18 miles of wooded bridle trails.
My current barn charges $200/horse/month for full care. When I arrived, there were only two pastures, no round pen, no place to ride. Now they've added a round pen and fenced off the back lot, so the two small pastures are suitable riding areas. But there is nowhere else to ride.
If a barn in this area is to justify $300/month per horse, then they need to have an indoor arena or trail access and a much nicer stable (not a barn) than either place has/had. For $300, I could board at a show barn with a heated indoor arena. Granted, they rarely turn out horses onto grass, they balk at Parelli, and I'd probably clash in philosophies, but really. That's a bit rich for my blood. If it goes up to $250, I can swing it for awhile. But if it goes up more than that, rather than increasing, I'll likely be culling my herd down to just one horse (Cheerios) and praying I can find Shaveya a better home. God, I just HATE to do that.
My horses basically exist 24/7 on pasture, only come in during extreme seasons (heat on summer days, cold on winter nights), to eat, or in inclement weather, and one of them isn't even being "used" (ridden, shown, etc). She's special needs, requires extra supplements. All they need is a pasture to live in and an enclosure of some sort for protection. They don't even really need stalls. Partitions to separate them when eating, maybe. But not full-on stalls.
For $900/month, I could own my own property and take care of them myself. (OK maybe a little more, but we're talking house, barn, horse food, etc.).
Maybe that's what the Universe is trying to tell me. Oy. But I'm not ready. I want to do that test-it-out thing first, where I go visit Nashville and Austin and Vermont and any other place that strikes my fancy, live there for a few weeks each and see how it works for me. I can't just go out and buy a place yet.
Although... if I can swing the board for a little while, I could size up the locations and THEN buy a place. Hmmm.
Jus when you think you have it all worked out, another wrench is tossed into the toolbox.