I was welcomed to Hamburg, Germany, after an uneventful flight. I was struck immediately by how green it was; trees were blooming, there were fields of crops, gardens of colorful flowers and grass as far as the eye can see. The area is extremely beautiful. We drove to Börnsen, east of Hamburg, and among the buildings of the town we turned right and there was the barn! It used to be a farm for a variety of animals, and it was constructed of a couple huge brick buildings around a stone courtyard. It was remodeled for horses, and about 40 large stalls were constructed within the existing walls to create a labyrinth of aisles. The smell of fragrant hay was apparent. The stalls are bedded with ground straw, which has the consistency of shavings but, as I understand it, is easier to obtain and dispose of. The stalls are fluffy and the horses look content.
As I walked through the maze (try finding your way through there jet lagged!), I was comforted to see many familiar faces. These horses are ancestors and relatives of horses I have met throughout my career. I guessed bloodlines and made mental notes to check their papers. They are mostly warmbloods and some ponies. About half the horses are in regular training for hobby, sale or show, and the rest are hobby horses. The horses are fed a mixture of grain and pellets three times a day along with hay and straw. We make a mash that smells like oatmeal and mix it up with the supplements or medications once per day for the horses that receive them. Each horse receives turnout in a sandy paddock or a field. Some horses go out together, but not the ones in training. There is a Horse Gym treadmill, which many of the horses use for walking. On the premise are also a vet clinic and a three-story tack store. It has more than one can ask for!!!