The coming of spring always brings new people to the barns, both as students and boarders. These new and potential clients are curious about the history, culture, clientele, and staff at the stables, and so I've found myself needing to describe what makes this farm different, and special, several times recently. That reflection has, as it always does, reminded me just how lucky we are to be able to call the Stables at Frederica home.
The Stables is a unique place, both in its business model as well as its atmosphere. Most farms specialize in boarding, lessons, training, or some other commercial aspect. We offer all of the above, which provides a good check and balance for the farm. Our resort business helps allow us to have a beautifully maintained facility and quality staff. These transient guests bring a refreshing breath of life to the barn, as they are always so filled with the unbridled joy and excitement that an unexpected horseback ride brings.
The Stables, however, is not for all horse owners. We are not a FEI-type show facility or completely customizable. Like all boarding barns we are limited to what we can offer by what we charge, and vice versa. Our boarding rates are the highest in the area, but for good reason, mainly convenience. The convenience of a high-quality facility on St. Simons Island is costly, as most of the best conveniences are. Our facilities are consistently clean, in good repair, and designed and maintained to provide a safe and relaxing environment to all our clientele, from equines to humans. We offer quality feeds and quality hays, although there are upcharges for using hays that are hard to procure and therefore much costlier. Our staff is conscientious about our horses and facilities, and follow procedures to the letter. We have contingency plans should something go wrong, such as an employee unfamiliar with feeding schedules needing to mix grains. We pride ourselves on the consistently smooth operation that is the result of simplicity and organization. Our stables does not offer complete customization of programs such as feeding programs; instead we offer a selection of feeds that cover a wide range of needs for the gamut of horses. I, as the owner, have to maintain a balance between more options for clients, and therefore more employees to manage the demands or risk mistakes, and the appropriate costs associated with those demands. That balance, however, is what drives most decisions regarding the barns. What is best for the herd and the individual horse must be considered.
With the multi-faceted nature of our Stables we are able to provide many "lifestyle" options for our equine clients and their owners. There is no policy of required participation in barn events. Of course, I hope that all clients will come to the various potlucks, movie nights, and big events that we host. We celebrate the learning lifestyle of horses in training and students in regular lessons. We delight in the single 45-minute session introducing a child to horseback riding, knowing full well many of these kids will be soccer and gymnastic stars next week, month, year. Our trail-ride-only clients are the coveted companions for our show horses to trail alongside.
Our horses, both the 27 that belong to the barn itself and the 30+ that belong to private owners, are always our #1 priority. I am so happy that the Stables is able to provide such a healthy and safe home for our horses, no matter what their "jobs" are. Decisions and policies are always considered with horses in mind first, and human clients second, as these lovely animals are much less vocal about their opinions than owners, and therefore we must try our hardest to read their language. The reward of a content stable with pleased owners is incredibly satisfying, and I find that we attract and retain clients who are honest, open, realistic, and passionate about their animals. Our clients appreciate the hard work and consideration that is given every day to their horses, and in return our team recognizes the sacrifices clients make to be part of the Stables, whether it is financial sacrifices, or time out of busy schedules. The amount of trust given to us to keep these animals healthy and happy is immense, and is not a responsibility taken lightly.
Our farm is absolutely breathtaking; every day we are reminded of the sheer beauty of our locale. Our horses are a joy to work with; we don't have a single bad egg in the group. Our clients are friendly, engaged, and most importantly are in just as much awe as we are to be able to be here. The entire family here at the Stables creates such a lovely environment that makes it easy to remind ourselves every once in awhile just how incredibly lucky we are to have the privilege of taking part in this amazing place.