Phase One - Permission
A few years ago (maybe 5, I can't remember) when I was boarding at my current barn I was concerned that there wasn't enough footing in the ring. The footing that was there was very powdery and if it was watered then it got slippery because there wasn't enough footing on the base. So you could either ride in the dust or risk having your horse fall down on top of you. At that time I convinced Marge and the other boarders to all chip in and re-do the arena. After I did a little research on footing, I called a company which supplied sand for horse arenas and they advised how much sand we should purchase.
Marge's son spent a day removing the old footing. Surprisingly the base was almost level and looked like it was in good shape. The sand people showed up with the truck and everyone pitched in spreading it around. I thought it looked kind of deep at the time but after having too little footing it seemed like a huge improvement. A few weeks later two of the borders commented on how much better their horses felt on the sand. At some point I moved Kaswyn and didn't think much of the footing. Until I moved back in. Now I'm certain that the sand is too deep.
It comes down to this - the reason there is too much sand in that ring is my fault. Maybe not 100% my fault, but I was the one who was driving the bus to get different footing in there. So, besides the fact that I'm scared to ride in there as it is, I feel responsible for the situation and I want to fix it. I was scared to mention it to Marge for a few reasons. First I figured she'd get a bit annoyed that I was the one who said "Yeah! Let's put all this sand in your arena! It will be great!" but now I'm saying "Uh, now it's too deep. Oops! My bad." I also didn't want her to think that I moved my horse in and now I want to make a bunch of changes. Lastly I didn't want her to get offended or for her to think that she's a bad barn owner.
On Tuesday I decided to approach her about it. I just laid it on the line, saying the footing was too deep, that it was kind of my fault and I feel responsible, and that I'm concerned that working horses in that footing could result in injuries. I then suggested that someone who has experience with arenas should come over and evaluate the situation so that we don't make a bad thing worse. Then I told her who I would ask.
Mr. K has a repuatation in our area for being a tough guy to get along with. He's a very experienced horseman, rides well, and runs more than one business. But he is the kind of guy who wants what he wants, when he wants it, and how he wants it. And he has no problem telling you if he's not happy. I boarded my horse at his barn for about two years and I was always very careful not to break any of the rules because Mr. K did not like that at all. I never had a problem with him. In fact, we've have some very enjoyable conversations in the tack room while I was cleaning my tack. Mr. K has been in the horse business in this area for a long time. He knows a lot of people. But most importantly he is very knowledgeable about horses, barns, pastures, and footing in arenas. Some of the best footing I've ever ridden on has been at his barn - both the indoor and outdoor arenas.
Marge said she'd have to think about it, since she didn't know Mr. K personally but had heard about him, and needed to decide if it was a good idea to invite him into the situation. Last night she called me and said that her number one concern was for the horses, and that if I thought that Mr. K could advise us about the arena then I should contact him and see if he'd come over.
Phase One completed!
On to Phase Two - Consultation
The Harmany Muzzle
3 days ago