Monday, January 13, 2014

Blog Hop: A Dressage Barn in Vermont

(please note, if you think you saw this yesterday - you are not losing your mind, I apologize! I accidentally published the draft before I was finished adding photos)

SprinklerBandit is hosting a blog hop encouraging everyone to show photos of their barn. I've had a couple of photos up here before, but this is a good comprehensive overview. For the record, the barn in question is a dressage barn in semi-rural Vermont. (As in, outside of the capital city, so clearly not the middle of nowhere; but all of Vermont is classified as rural according to broader standards.)

1) A View of the Barn

There are actually two barns on the property. Here's the main all-season barn, attached to the indoor (which is on the left, and shares the roofline). It has 20 stalls. Not a lot of frills but quality through and through. Everything is lived-in and there are tons of little tweaks that make life easier.

Here's the summer barn, in winter. It sits just behind the main barn and has an additional 10 stalls. It houses the trainer's horses in summer, but she's in Florida November-May. It is quite a bit fancier than the winter barn, and is newer.

One of my favorite pictures, looking back out the door - basically up to where the first two photos were taken. When the visibility is good, you can see a perfect frame of Camel's Hump through this door. I have watched many sunsets leaning against the wall and just staring.

2) Your Horse's Living Space

Drunk pony after a vet visit.

Home soon after his surgery.

3) In the Tack Room

Downstairs, looking left. It is actually a bit messy right now, barn manager would probably kill me if she knew there were photos on the internet...

Downstairs, looking right. You can't quite see it, but the wire racks in the back are the best saddle pad & wrap storage system I have ever seen. Hose in the foreground = a necessity in winter. It freezes in less than an hour if left in the aisle.

Upstairs, where my tack is kept! You can't see my tack; my trunk is just behind the saddle covered with the towel.

4) Where You Ride

There is basically no way to get good photos of an indoor, especially if you're almost always there after dark. Regardless: small court dressage size indoor, our primary home right now. Lovely springy mixed rubber & washed sand footing that is dragged every 2-3 days and, believe it or not, doesn't kick up ANY dust clouds.

Outdoor #1, jumping / schooling arena. Not quite sure of the size, but it's not huge - a bit wider than a full dressage arena. We are often here in the summer for schooling.

Outdoor #2, fancy-pants dressage arena, all-weather mixed rubber footing. This was taken sitting in the permanent judge's booth. I have actually never ridden here! This summer, maybe. There are so many other good options and this arena is about 50 ft from the barn owner's back door, so it often feels invasive to ride there when I'm riding at night.

And, of course, the fields! This is the big hayfield - no idea on acreage, somewhere around 10, maybe? Believe it or not, the dressage arena above is at the very top of this hill.

Oh, and the roads. So may dirt roads. I could go for miles and miles and miles. Did you know that 70% of Vermont's roads are dirt? Now you do!

5) My Favorite Feature

I have been in some beautiful places, but this one has them beat all hollow. It never comes out well in photos, but the fire of that sunset is touching the tips of the Monroe Skyline; in the winter you can see the ski trails of Mad River Glen and Sugarbush. You can see weather coming before it gets to the barn, in the clouds on the mountains and through the valley. The property itself is sprawling and lush and achingly pretty even on gross days. It's in one of my favorite spots in my favorite place in the whole world (I will argue to the death that Vermont is, objectively, the best state). I feel lucky every single day that I can live and ride here.

(this is not to say that the barn has many, many other wonderful features! but this is the one that gives me an almost physical pang of happiness in my heart when I think about it.)


  1. Your tack room looks so organized!! Beautiful place!

    1. It is! The medical supplies in particular are really clearly organized and labeled. Someone at the barn really, really loves their labelmaker. (To the point that the wall for manure forks is labeled!)

  2. I lived in VT before my husband's job moved us to KY! I miss it so much! Not many dressage barns in that area, where are you at? I rode with Becky Train at Frogs Leap Farm in Milton. :)

    1. Oh, fun! I'm at East Hill Farm in Plainfield. Tristan's surgery last spring was at Vermont Large Animal in Milton - very pretty up there as well!

      I also started Tris at The Equestry in New Haven, and I rode in IHSA shows at Imajica. So I've been a little bit of everywhere.

  3. Replies
    1. It's tough to find another color in Vermont! We like our tradition.

  4. Did you know that once a dirt road is classified as a scenic road in VT is cannot be paved? A neighbor told me this when she was trying to get some dirt roads surrounding us classified as scenic roads. She drove her horses so it was really important to her!

    1. Ha, I had no idea! That doesn't surprise me, somehow. I did know that a good quality dirt road is easier and less expensive to maintain than pavement, especially up in the mountains.

      I hope they never pave these roads. They're very driveable and maintained well, and I can trot endlessly on them now.

  5. Love the fancy pants dressage arena...and those sunsets look spectacular!

  6. LOVE the outdoor areas to ride and all that grass!!


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