Keeping My Horse At Home Vs. Boarding. . .opinions?
Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:50 AM
I've got a fairly good setup at my current barn right now. Thanks to an agreement with my friend who owns the barn, I get free board in exchange for helping out with cleaning stalls on weekends. My horse is very well cared for and I have an indoor arena to ride in during bad weather, as well as a round pen and an outdoor riding area, too. However, this is barn is also 25 miles away -- one way -- from where I live, and I not only put almost 100 extra miles on my car on weekends, but also about 50 miles per day during the week when I drive to my work place in the same area. Moving my horse close to home would help my car last a little bit longer. Also, while I don't mind cleaning stalls on weekends in exchange for board -- I've been doing it for 2 1/2 years now, so I could keep my horse -- it would be nice to have my weekends back again. I have not have a free one for more than two years now and have almost forgotten what that feels like. The only other way I can get my weekends back is to sell my horse, something that I'm not ready or willing to do.
Also, the last trainer at our barn moved out a month ago, and many of his customers went too. While I have a much lighter workload now that I used to, I'm concerned about the future of the barn as well. My friend, who has some health issues and has split from her husband, only has a few paying customers now, and relies pretty much on the boarders'fees for her income. She's doing all right at the moment, but if something happens and she can't hang onto the place, I think that making some plans for my horses's future might not be a bad idea.
I really like the idea of having my horse close to home. But there is also a LOT to consider too. My parents live on land that is zoned for livestock, and we have plenty of room for a pasture. There are also a lot of nice trails and places to ride as well. However, I would have to come up with the money -- and the materials -- to build a fence, a shelter, and a shed. I would have to haul hay and grain home -- something I've never had to do before -- and do regular feedings (plus finding someone to do it for me if I go on vacation). I would also have to come up with a new farrier (the one I use now would cost me too much to come to where I live). And I've learned from experience that setting up farrier appointments can be a HUGE headache -- where I'm at now, the farrier comes around on a regular schedule and he is an excellent shoer, even though he charges a little bit more than some others in the area do. However, finding a vet would NOT be a problem -- the vet I take my dogs and cats to also treats horses and other livestock animals; she's a great vet and I've been using her for years.
Another problem with moving is the social aspect. Where I'm at now, I have contact with other horsey people and there are other barns around the area for me to take riding lessons at, including one that's close enough for me to take my horse to on foot. I've dabbled in the idea of showing my horse and if I move her to my home, I will be pretty much on my own as far as social riding goes -- especially since I do not own a trailer. There are no stables closer than 25 miles where I live. I would be pretty much just doing trail riding around the area if I move her home.
I also have to consider whether or not to get a companion for my horse. The problem is, I'm not sure I can afford to care for two full-sized horses, and I'm afraid that my mare, who is highly social and very herd-bound, will go ballistic if I keep her all alone. True, horses don't always need other horses; sometimes a donkey, pony or even a goat can provide companionship. However, I'm not a big fan of donkeys and goats, although I could probably handle a pony if it has a nice temperament. But then another problem I would have is having to take the "buddy" out every time I go trail riding or end up with both of them going nuts every time I try to take my mare out alone.
So, suggestions anyone?
Posted 13 February 2011 - 04:07 AM
Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:26 AM
Posted 13 February 2011 - 12:48 PM
You will never get stuck in problems. All you have to do is ask here.
Edited by missyclare, 13 February 2011 - 12:51 PM.
Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:36 PM
The first place was 12 miles there and back, twice a day everyday, since I still had to feed and clean. The place backs a trail that goes for miles, and was 11 acres as well. Nice outdoor arena and a large round pen.
The new place is a mile each way, has a round pen and some areas for riding. No trails and if I eventually want to ride for a long time, then I would have to trailer. But I have to say, there is no comparison in having the horses so close to home, and if I had the chance, I would put them in my backyard in a heart beat!
I agree with missyclare as to asking your parents if they would help with the fencing. It will improve their property values after all. Also, just having your horse there, may make you friends with people that you didnt know before. And if you were to get a pony, then maybe there would be another girl or boy in the area that would love to help clean and take care of your babies while your out of town.
It is a lot to think about, just make sure you think it through completely before making a decision!! And GOOD LUCK!!!
Smile.... it will make people wonder what you are up too.
Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:59 PM
Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:08 PM
Edited by Trinity, 13 February 2011 - 07:09 PM.
I met a board buddy! NCtrailgirl, Dam Yankee, Dixie Belle, loverofhorses36, sappy, tequilaskye, BlueSkyeTraveler, Nara17, edenn3583, brlracer624, KatyB, glm0711, BellaLuna
Horse lovers are stable people
Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:11 PM
I can sympathize with you. My boarding barn is about 17miles AND I too work on weekends (getting up at 5:30/6am to get there in time). So that sucks. And that's just so I can afford my horses- still have to pay most of the board! I have been on the lookout for somewhere closer, much like you, I enjoy the current facility.
In your shoes, I would highly recommend looking for a closer barn. The distance would save you on gas so even if you did pay board it might even out. You might have luck finding a small private barn- someone with just their own horses. This type of person likes having one or 2 boarders to offset their cost a little or share with hay etc.
Good luck. Horses are hard! I've yet to have a 'perfect' situation. Growing up we had the horses on our property and that was the best. But we had everything: fence, barn, trails etc. I don't mind having to take care of them. It is a pain when you go away/vacation. This is why it's nice to have 1-2 boarders- they can take care of the horses if your away!
Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:30 AM
Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:45 AM
...because if you aim for nowhere, that's exactly where you'll go!
The best way to train your horse--work with it. Ride, rinse and repeat!!!
(quote by rnnthesun)
My website (come visit!):
Proud member of the Corn Cob Users Union (Local # HUS8118)
Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:12 PM
Dina Wild, DVM
Veterinarian by day...and some nights...and most weekends...and every other holiday.
Wanna-be photographer the rest of the time.
Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:43 PM
Freckles (Freckled With Style) 1999 Pinto
Junior (Chips Zippin Jr Mint), 2005 AQHA
Minnie (Norfleets Texas Two Step)... Freckles' 2007 Pinto filly
Posted 14 February 2011 - 01:42 PM
I do sometimes take one of my horses down to a stable where a bunch of my friends board. I like to be able to chat and socialize with friends as well as get training help when I need it. I also miss not having an indoor arena at home.
Think about the pros and cons and what will work best for your situation. Good luck!
Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:55 PM
I do have a trailer so I can go out to ride, but I ride around the house too. Mostly trail ride and go to the funshows and obstacle trail horse competitions during the season. Also go to rodeos and parades.
Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:02 AM
LOL... we feel the same way some times... and other times it's so nice having them here.
I had always wanted my horses at home. Now they're here and I wish I could board them. Grass is always greener on the other side, eh? I agree with CoolRabbit. Instead of spending time WITH my horses, I'm spending time FOR my horses. Mucking stalls, wading through ankle deep mud, scrubbing water buckets....she covered it better than I can!
BBs Met: ShezaSmokinGun, Mule_Freak's mom =), Kristina, Demon's Mom, SpottedT, MUT, Ratts, Notyo, HFF (and Bella), Pinky, Chey, Lora, Lash, Tuck, BB Blue, Hoofs In Motion, Got Barrels?, Meeker, Tuper, The Sugar Lady, Harley, journeysgirl, BuddyRoo, KatieMay, MizParker, DiamondJake, QuarterFlash, Andi, SweetAddiction, RunninColors, SCSpots, Heidi and FLEquus!
RIP Misty, thank you for teaching me so much
My Tack for Sale
Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:24 AM
Flip THAT coin, and you CAN'T go anywhere for social things, or weekend get togethers, can't really go camping, or even shopping, with out arranging for someone to come and feed/check water/check fences/condition of horses. I won't trade the sight out of our window, or the soft nickers in the evening. We can ride for 20 miles or so right from the house, and have friends all over the place within 3 mile or so.
NOW, add in that I have to drive about 7-8 miles to the hay grower with my horse trailer to pickup the hay, ( No one delivers here), since this is desert area, we can't just leave on pasture, as there is NO pasture in the desert, it would have to be irrigated daily. I have a great farrier who only lives about 7 miles away and has almost ALL the horses around my area. Our vets come from 25 miles away, but all but one do ranch calls. You will have to put all the pros and cons in a bag, shake them up, and pour out your solution I guess.
Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:40 PM
Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:27 AM
Like Coolrabbit said, if you think you don't have free weekends now it'll only get worse, unless you have family/friends who are willing to help you out on occasion. With you boarding, if you were to get sick and not be able to go out on a weekend, I'm sure you could work out a deal with your friend to make it up another day, right? If you have your horse at home and get sick, horse still needs to be fed, watered, etc. Do you already have a back up in mind to help you out?
Now, we have our horses at home and I wouldn't have it any other way. My husband helps with horse chores. Only one of our horses is kept in a stall overnight unless it's bad weather. We have a lot of family within 10 miles of us who volunteer to take care of our horses and dogs if we ever want to go on vacation or away for a weekend. We bale our own hay with another family member, which I find to be the worst part of owning the horses since many days of our summer & fall are dedicated to cutting, raking, baling and putting away hay. We have been debating on just spending the extra money and purchasing our hay to have the extra 5-6 weekends (or more) free.
Have you priced out getting a simple two horse bumper pull? Do you have anything to pull it if you found one at a reasonable price? One of my friends has to trailer her horses to have their feet trimmed. She says no one will come out to just trim two horses. If there are trails in your area within hauling distance, that would also allow you meet up with friends for your social aspect of riding. That is what I do. We have 2 trailers, one for camping and longer hauling and one for local day rides if only taking 1-2 horses (or one trailer for me and one for my husband, if we decide to go to different places). I meet up with friends I met on here and out on the trails or I take friends with me.
Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:38 PM
My biggest pro of boarding is that if I don't feel like horse time that day I can skip the barn and I know that my horse is still being taken care of.
Someone else mentioned a pro, that boarder's don't have to worry about hay, sawdust, feed, etc. prices. While that is mostly true the barn owner can raise your board to meet the higher cost of living. It has happened to me twice now.
(edited to add) a pro is that there is over 1000 acres of land to trail ride on around the boarding barn.
My cons of boarding
1. I only have a tiny spot to put all of my stuff.
2. other boarders, I came to the barn for my horse, I don't want to talk. lol
3. barn having different ideas then me. an example, I don't like haltering horses in their stalls or out at pasture. My horse comes when I call her. I understand why they do it, just incase the horses get out. So, I compromised and got a breakaway halter. They will also leave the halters on in the stall sometimes b/c the farm hand isn't a horse person and prob. doesn't know which way to put a halter on. lol
also, the barn owner or hand will say my horse did this or that. She never does it with me. So, I would say a con for me would be having other people handing my horse (they don't beat her
4. not having the stuff I want to use. example, I love (and so does my horse) playing with obstacles, but being that it's a boarding barn (and not mine) I can't build stuff like a bridge, or big tractor tire, etc.
So, we are planning in the near future to sell our house (he had it before he met me) and buy a place with land. That way I can build obstacles to my hearts content! lol
And I can have a whole tack room to myself!
I just love walking out into my yard and having them whinny at me. I do really miss that. plus I like barn work, so I miss cleaning stalls, putting hay way. I clean my horses stall at the boarding barn all the time.
Edited by savvy dawn, 16 February 2011 - 03:44 PM.
Posted 17 February 2011 - 01:26 PM
Horses happily survive with a three sided run in shelter and a pasture. Plus, you don't have to muck it every day since the horses generally poop & pee in the pasture. Perforated rubber mats on a gravel base; can be cleaned with a patio broom & dust pan. Pour baking soda over the mats and sweep it into the holes to stop the ammonia smell. Plus, they don't require straw or shavings.
A big stock tank only needs to be cleaned twice a month in the summer when the algae flourishes and once a month in winter if you use a pool skimmer to sweep the water in between. A drain plug water heater keeps the tank ice free in cold weather. Keep the tank 20-30+ feet away from your hay bale/barrel to stop your horse from dropping hay in the water and your tank will stay cleaner.
Use flexible fencing instead of wood/plastic/field fence/hot-wire. Easy to put in, safe, lasts for years and it doesn't require maintenance. If a horse slams into it it flexes and protects the horse from injury. The neighboring ranch boards H&J TBs & Warmbloods who have slammed into their RAMM fences for over ten years with out a scratch. One huge WB hit the fence so hard one of the posts snapped at the base. The flexible fence held the post in place and the horse was safely contained. It looks like painted board fences with out the upkeep or worry of splintered wood or vinyl boards damaging a horse. I'm going to pull all of my no climb fencing and hot wire rope and replace it with the flex fence.
If you want people to ride with, join a horse club. I don't have a trailer at this point in time. But, there are six members in my club who have offered to haul a horse for me anytime I want to go riding. Of course I would give them gas money, even though none of them expect it. You can trade feeding horses when you go on vacations or someone in the club may have a business where they come & feed. Knowing the person is much safer than finding someone from an ad.
All of my local feed stores will deliver any amount of hay that you want. I've had two tons of hay on wooden pallets, covered with heavy duty 20x30 foot tarps tied to the pallets with bungee cords and bailing twine. Survive 60mph winds and driving sleet/snow. Metal trash cans with a bungee cord through handles & the loop in the lid, keeps loose feed, grain or supplements safe from pests or pesky horses.
Edited by dondie, 17 February 2011 - 01:39 PM.
Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:00 AM
Right now, we have two horses, two cows and our sheep, Belle, at home. Daily care is about 20 min -at dusk, the herd comes running to the barn, Annie goes in her stall, lights on, everybody gets a handful of hay, stalls are all cleaned, water checked, 15 min. At ten pm, Annie gets to go out, lights off, another handful of hay, 5 min. But we have a large enough property and a mild enough climate that they can graze at least a little year round, enough space to roam that stalls only take a few minutes, sort of a semi-auto water system, tile-drained paddocks with gravel and sand footing, barn with lights and mats, etc. The only thing making the system even slightly complex is my desire to have Annie under lights for early breeding.
It's a great set up, but only because Annie is injured and Lucy too young to ride. (And despite my mom's requests, I am NOT training her cows to ride. ) My five rideable horses are kept other places. When you are trying to ride a horse, particularly if you don't have a trailer, keep these things in mind: Weather is important -if you live in an rainy climate, not having access to an indoor arena will really suck. Light is important -one of those things you don't tend to think about, but if you work regular hours, you will only be able to ride on weekends 6 months out of the year without lights. Worse still, these things tend to happen at the same time -you could go for weeks or months without riding because the weather just never cooperates on a weekend. Even in the summer, without anyone to ride with, you may find yourself getting bored. Of course this doesn't apply to everyone, but if you prefer to ride with others in general, than being forced to ride alone all the time may become a drag that has you choosing other options for your free time.
It seems that expense is a main concern for you, and as far as that goes I will just say that it would take a VERY long time for the money saved by not boarding a single horse to defray the cost of setting up even modest facilities from scratch. Now of course if you have the skills and equipment to build fence and shelter yourself, of someone that does and is willing to help you out, those costs can be much reduced. But even if you are just paying for materials, you are still looking at the cost of several months boarding. As far as a companion goes, you can probably find a companion pony for free or nearly free, IF you are willing to take one that is either untrained or unsound. An unsound pony could be an expense waiting to happen (of course not necessarily, but it's not a good risk). Untrained could work for you, but certainly would rule out the idea of having neighbor kids ride it in exchange for helping you out -unless you are in a position to train it yourself. Buying a pony that is broke enough for neighbor kids to ride is almost certain to be a significant expense -just paying them when you want to go away for the weekend would be much cheaper. You can probably find a reasonably independent minded pony that wont mind if you ride your horse out alone, though ponying can be fun as well -but it should be a nice option, not a crutch because your critters can't stand to be alone for a few hours. If your horse wont ride out without a companion, that is a training issue I would work on no matter where I was keeping her. Your company should be good enough while you are riding.
Anyway, just my thoughts on the subject. In your position, I would probably keep boarding, maybe do some quiet scouting around for a place closer to home. Even a private boarding situation, as some mentioned, that is close to you, might be a good option. While a private horse owner may not have an indoor or lighted arena, you might luck into finding someone that has a trailer and similar riding interests as you -then you could have a riding buddy who could haul out, and the two of you could split the care so everyone could have vacations.
Performance Quarter Horses
Disposition, Conformation, Performance.
Annie (Skits Princess Anne), 1999 AQHA bay mare, bred to Bet Hesa Cat, due 3/18/12.
Sis (Sister Joaquin), 1994 AQHA grulla mare
Dusty (Dusty Nu Dawn), 2003 AQHA dun gelding
Nita (Haida Magical Night), 2006 AQHA black mare
"Remember to be flexible, you'll bounce back every time."
Posted 20 February 2011 - 08:44 AM
Unlike a lot of the previous posters, I ride - and ride a LOT! I have my place set up for easy horse keeping. They are out 24/7 with a roundbale in their run-in. I have a pond, so I only have to water if we have long term temps below feezing. My trimmer comes here. I do have to pick up hay every 7-10 days, which takes me about 45 minutes round trip - that's the most inconvenient aspect of my horsekeeping, but it could be avoided if you have storage and a tractor.
I would never, by choice, go back to boarding. The knowledge of and relationship with a horse that you see countless times per day just can't be compared to one you see a few times a week. It's like being the mom versus the fun-times Aunt, I guess. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with either set up, just that I like the hands-on version with mine.
I don't feel any more tied down with my horses than I did without them at home. Someone has to come in and care for the dogs, cat, and fish anyway, so adding the horses is no big deal. I trade off with a friend who lives in my area, and it works out great for us both - as long as we don't plan vacations at the same time, lol.
enjoying every day!