I’ve been to Webb Ranch. It’s a sprawling facility covering a lot of scenic acreage, and according to their homepage currently boards 250 horses. I can attest to that figure. I can also attest to something else; namely the quality of fencing.
I went to the ranch to meet an Internet friend and her horse for the first time. It was also a great opportunity to stake out a possible boarding facility for one of my horses, since I was new to the area. The driveway is long and winding, so long it acts as an independent road and the ranch itself is more than a 1/2 mile from the secondary road that it’s connected to. But that secondary road is right off a very busy six-lane highway.
Within seconds of getting in view of the barns and stabling area, I knew there wasn’t a chance in hell I’d bring a horse there to board. There’s hardly a fence on the property that could hold a pony. I saw many fences that barely came to chest level of the horses behind them. Lots of broken boards, broken posts or too small posts that moved with a little pressure, and lots of ‘wiring’ jobs. It therefore comes as no surprise to me that these four horses ‘escaped’ the ranch, even though this escape is being blamed on a gate not being locked. I suspect ‘escapes’ are a regular occurrence, at least the condition of the fencing suggests such a thing with all the temporary fixes I saw. Don’t believe me? Have a look at the pictures in the article. And that’s some of the better fencing.
I also know that the cost of boarding at this ranch isn’t cheap and at the time my friend said there was going to be a price increase. Depending on the housing situation, upwards of $750/mo. For that price your horse got a stall in a barn with an attached paddock. Some of those paddocks were pipe fencing and pretty solid. For $100 less per month you got a small paddock with shelter and fencing as seen in the news article, or worse. A lot of the horse owners have done their own fence repair jobs. (I don’t recommend hiring any of them for construction work.)
Raise your hand if you could sleep at night knowing that ‘that’ was all that separated your horse from a possible run down a busy American highway.