I can definitely sympathise with Dressage Mom's situation. I knew that my finances were a little stretched at the moment, but this weekend, thanks to my super organised boyfriend, I managed to have a proper look at them. The outcome was not good. If I am going to be able to keep Echo, which is an absolute necessity, I am going to have to save myself a vast amount of money each month.
Whilst I am extremely happy with the yard she is at right now, they don't do anything other than full livery, so in order to save money I will have to move her. The yard is also a good twenty minutes from my house, so even if they could offer me a better deal, I couldn't afford to drive down there twice a day. There are a couple of yards near where I live - one literally about five minutes away, and one about ten minutes. My problem is deciding which one I prefer!
The one five minutes away is a lovely old-fashioned stable block inthe grounds of a huge manor house. I know the girl that manages it, but it is very small - only about nine liveries I think. Knowing well what people can be like, I am just concerned that such a close-knit group could get bitchy. Of course, it might go the other way and I might make some great friends. The hacking there is better than at the one further away, although of course nowhere near as good as I have at the moment. I have been very spoiled up until now.
Both yards have an outdoor school with (rather inadequate) floodlights. However, the one further away has other facilities like some cross country and showjumps. There must be some jumps at the nearer yard, as three of the liveries apparently event. Not that Echo and I are exactly jumping enthusiasts at the moment!
I am most tempted by the nearer yard, not only because I will save extra money on petrol, but because the hacking will be better (apparently you can still get to the forest on longer hacks :) and there are plenty of bridlepaths) and I like how quiet the yard is. However, the stable is not quite what I would like. It is on the main yard, but it is set slightly away from the others and so she wouldn't be able to touch the other horses. This would not be such a problem, but when turned out, all the horses are in individual fields and although they can 'talk' over the fence, it isn't really the same. She has done this before when we first went to our previous yard, and she didn't seem to mind...except when she was in season and used to climb into the field with the gelding next door!
The yard further away would be good, as it is a big barn with all internal stables: all the horses can see each other and touch through the bars, which would be really nice. My only real problem is the hacking - lots of roads.
The nearer yard is also difficult, because most of the people bring in their horses by 4 o'clock in the afternoon - I don't finish work until quarter past and definitely couldn't be there until half past. This would be less of a problem in the summer, but at the moment, I don't want her left out in the field on her own. They said they would bring her in for me, pick out her feet and change her rugs, but at a fairly big cost (comparatively to the livery price). I need to see if that is negotiable, as it would only need to be five days a week and they wouldn't have to change rugs as I would be there shortly after.
As you can probably tell, I'm in a bit of a pickle over it. Added to this, I have no idea how I am going to manage to do everything myself and teach at school - I'm already exhausted as it is! My plan is to get rubber mats for the stable and reduce the bedding, only to ride four times a week, and to really use my time carefully. I will have to exist on less sleep, as I never finish school work until about half past eleven or midnight, but would have to be up at six to muck out. I guess the good thing is that it will start to get lighter soon - if we were heading into winter now then it would be horrible, but it can only get easier.
The other good thing will be that Echo and I will still be together, and essentially, that is all that's important.