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Keeping My Horse At Home Vs. Boarding. . .opinions?

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#1 JoMarieM



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Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:50 AM

I've been a horse owner for a little over three years now, and I've boarded my mare for that entire time at three different barns. However, now, I'm seriously considering the idea of keeping at her at home. I've never done the keeping-a-horse-on-my-own-land kind of thing before, so I'm looking for some input as to whether or not moving her would be a really good idea.

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?

#2 Zoe84



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Posted 13 February 2011 - 04:07 AM

If there was ever an option, I would have my horses at home, but that's just my opinion. There is NOTHING better than having your horses at your front door. They become part of your family & you develop a much stronger bond then them living away. My whole life I've had my horse at my door, except for 2 years when I agisted when I lived in town for work. I couldn't stand it!! But that's just my preference :) It sounds like you have a great boarding place! Tough decision, good luck!

#3 exes blue eyed devil

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:26 AM

I would never have my horses at home, I would never ride as much as I do now because I look forward to the social aspect of the boarding barn. Plus there are people there to learn from and to help if I am stuck, not to mention my trainer. But trainer aside, I would never want to HAVE to get up and feed/water/muck when I am sick, when its raining, icy etc. Plus I can leave town whenever I want and not have to worry about my horses being cared for. I dont have to worry about hay shortages, prices of feed and bedding. I love boarding!!! no downsides what so ever!
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#4 missyclare


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Posted 13 February 2011 - 12:48 PM

These are all legitimate concerns and need to be weighed. Put it all into line with a pros and cons list to help with your thinking. All the new things that face you with bringing your horse home are new, but can be accomplished. Don't fear the unknown... explore it. Find a hay supplier and find out that cost...probably won't need grain. A friend can be found to care for your horse if you have to go away. Maybe they'll be glad to shovel manure on weekends for a chance to ride. Electric fencing is faster and cheaper. Cut your farrier costs by removing the shoes and getting a good barefoot trim (or doing it yourself) and rock hard feet that don't need shoes anymore...much cheaper. Explore it further and get a stronger handle on the reality of keeping your horse at home. Yes, a companion would be nice. You definitely don't want to see her lonely and depressed. Explore that as well. If she gets attached to that companion...take it with you on your rides. They'll be glad to come along and need the exercise as well. You could pony a pony! :smilie: There's two friends along for the ride right there and no upset. Put your weekend help on the pony and now you're cookin! Just because you are faced with brick walls, doesn't mean that you can't find a way to get around them. Explore it, get the hard data, then sit back, digest and get a stronger sense of reality of keeping your horse at home. Talk to your parents also and how they feel about it. Maybe they will help with fencing and shelter?...or you could do something in exchange for this help? How horsey are they? Would they be able to look out the window and know if something is wrong? Could you see them warming up to a horse being on the property? Would they support?
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Edited by missyclare, 13 February 2011 - 12:51 PM.

#5 Eskielvr


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Posted 13 February 2011 - 01:36 PM

Jo: I still board my horses, however I went from a boarding facility like the one your talking about to one a mile from my house.

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!!!

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#6 2pacers


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Posted 13 February 2011 - 06:59 PM

It sounds like you have thought it thru very carefully and your concerns are legitimate. I boarded for 3 years before I brought my 2 boys home. When I boarded I used to ride everyday and usually had someone to ride with. I paid full board so I didnt have to do anything but show up, groom and ride. Now that I have my horses at home (I have 3 now) Im lucky if I ride once a week and if I didnt trailer out to meet friends, I wouldnt have anyone to ride with. I spend way more time cleaning and maintaining my farm and alot less time in the saddle. Having said that, I will also say that I would never go back to boarding again. The time spent working around my barn and being with my horses while I do it is time I enjoy with them. Since having them home, I have learned things about them and seen things that they do that I would never have seen if I were still boarding. Not to mention its so great having control over their feed, hay, etc. Days off? None. Vacation? Not unless my husband stays home or we find someone who house/farm sits. But I wouldnt have it any other way.
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#7 Trinity



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Posted 13 February 2011 - 07:08 PM

I love having my horses outside my back door. I like to look at them in the night eating hay and watch them play at my leasure. I like going outside to take them carrots at all hours when I cant sleep. I have miles of trails 10 minutes away from my house. It can be a challange to have people to ride with but I love the extra care I can give my horses from home that I cant in a boarding situation. Taking the ponies treats at midnight isnt possible when you board. The joy of keeping horses for me is the little things I can tdo for them when I want to, along with being able to ride and show also. I keep them very simply. 24-7 hay rolls and grain twice a day in pans over the fence. I also throw alfalfa at least once a day but its close to the fence also under a tarp. I have it down to an art and it takes less than 5 minutes to feed for me now. Going away can be a challange but 5 dogs would make that hard anyway also.

Edited by Trinity, 13 February 2011 - 07:09 PM.

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#8 dapplefred5


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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:11 PM

well keeping your horse at home in this situation would be much more convenient. BUT since you don't have a barn or fence or anything, it's not going to be any easier or cheaper. Plus having just one horse isn't the best idea, they are social animals.
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!
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#9 missyclare


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Posted 14 February 2011 - 07:22 AM

Heh,heh....$250 and 4 hours work, mostly single handed. :smilie:


Edited by missyclare, 14 February 2011 - 07:23 AM.

#10 Prancer&Onyx



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Posted 14 February 2011 - 10:30 AM

I wouldn't change having my horses at home for anything. I've developed a close friendship and riding buddy with a woman who lives 5 miles away so she cares for my horses if I am away and vice versa. My farrier comes out and takes care of my horses feet and leaves me the bill. He calls me later that night to discuss his findings. During tax season its hard for me to get off work and so he comes, he does what he needs and leaves. I have two vets within a 15 mile radius, one only does farm calls and the other I can travel to if need be. My hay supplier will deliver and stack the hay in my barn loft and all I need to do is leave a check. He only charges an extra 50 cents a bale for delivery and stacking (which is soooooo worth it). So really my only headache is feeding in the rain, snow and when I'm sick. But luckily I am married so, if I'm sick hubby usually will take care of it. The only downfall I have is not having an arena to ride in. However, there are a few places within 1.5 miles of my house that I am going to talk to and ask them if I could pay them a fee to use their arena. I've been pretty fortunate to find the great social network of friends, farrier, vet and hay supplier and there is no bigger joy than being able to go outside anytime and snuggle up to my horse if I want to. Oh and I don't give my horse's grain so that's not an issue, but if I did, I have two feed stores within 5 miles also. Good luck on whatever you decide.

#11 CoolRabbit


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Posted 14 February 2011 - 11:45 AM

If you bemoan not having your weekends free right now, just wait until you move your horse home. Say goodbye to going ANYWHERE for the weekend, casual overnight trips, or even extra-long work days. Nope, you'd better be there to feed and water 2x a day, clean your stalls or shed every day, etc. Plus the fact that you would be giving up a place to ride in all sorts of weather, the freedom to get up at a decent hour and go to work without having to worry about feeding and watering before showering, etc. Add the fact that your horse probably will not do well being all by himself all day long. You listed far more cons than pros for keeping your horse at home. Personally I wouldn't do it. It's great and romantic to look out your window and see your horse grazing, but unless you have a couple horses and plenty of help to rely on, it wouldn't be worth it. I would worry about my horse's health and safety too much!
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#12 cvm2002


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Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:12 PM

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!

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#13 quarters n paints

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 12:43 PM

The other thing you might want to check on is liability insurance, depending on the location of your parents' property. Having horses on the property will likely raise their insurance rates, and you may need an additional liability policy in case they were to get loose, or if someone entered their field and gets hurt. That can add a substantial amount to the cost of keeping them at home.
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#14 Emylou11



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Posted 14 February 2011 - 01:42 PM

I have done both with my horses. I prefer to keep them at home. In the summer they have 2-3 pastures that I rotate them on all with access to water 24-7 and a run in. I don't feed them any grain so really its very simple to keep them at home. I just check them and the water supply everyday...takes no more than 5 minutes. In the winter I move them to our "winter" barn with a run in and round bales.

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!

#15 goatmom


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Posted 14 February 2011 - 06:55 PM

I am in the Wichita area too. I love having my horses in the backyard. It is great in the summer when I have the patio door open and can hear them walking around and blowing their nose in the middle of the night. Everytime I do dishes I get to see them and when they see me in the window they come to the gate to watch me. I can check on them anytime. I don't have a round pen but I do have a square pen. My barn is full of other stuff so I went to the Boeing surplus store and bought 2 shipping boxes 7 years ago to use as sheds. I have 3 horses and spend $50 a month on 2 round bales. I know the best barefoot trimmer in the area. She charges $30 each. I do not feed grain, but do feed Enrich 32, one bag will last a month. I would never be able to afford to board 3 horses around here. Except I did find a place that boards full care for $140 a month and it sits right up to the river with great trails.

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.

#16 Apps4Life


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:02 AM

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!

LOL... we feel the same way some times... and other times it's so nice having them here.
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#17 siseley


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:24 AM

As others have said, there is no comfort like seeing your loved horse right in your own back yard.
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.


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#18 kidsncritters


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Posted 15 February 2011 - 10:40 PM

I have a couple at a boarding stable with an indoor arena and I have 2 at home. We ride the ones at the boarding stable all year round. At home, I don't have an indoor arena. Just ride the gravel roads or in the pasture. I hardly ever ride at home. Like the others said, I am always maintaining at home plus the weather plays a big part. We have had 38 + in of snow this year. Ice underneath. It is melting now- no where to safely ride. Then I get a couple of weeks when it drys up in April or May and then we get more rain or it is so blasted windy. Then it gets hot and really buggy. I think all the bugs like my pasture best. At the boarding stable we ride all year long due to the indoor arena. I love seeing the horses out my window, but with our weather the last couple of years, I do get more riding in at the Boarding stable. Good luck with what ever you chose.
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#19 eeyore4176


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Posted 16 February 2011 - 10:27 AM

What are your parent's thoughts on you bringing your horse home on their property, putting up a fence, shed, etc? My grandma has hundreds of acres and a couple barns. 10+ years ago she had all the fencing taken out so none of the kids would be tempted to bring animals out for her to care for when they couldn't come out themselves.

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.
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#20 savvy dawn

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 03:38 PM

While growing up, we always had our horses at home. Once I "grew up" and moved away, I wanted to take my horse with me, so I needed to board.

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.

#21 dondie


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Posted 17 February 2011 - 01:26 PM

I've done both, but I prefer to keep my horse at home. If you set things up correctly, having a horse at home can be easy.
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.

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#22 Bryna


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Posted 20 February 2011 - 12:00 AM

You're really thinking about this, so that is good. We do both, so I have a fair bit of experience in this. (Typically I have horses scattered all over the place, lol.) If I only had one horse, and it was a riding horse, I would definitely board -though I would certainly attempt to find a barn that was both as close to me as possible and that allowed me to be there whenever I wanted. As others have mentioned, maintenance is certainly an issue when keeping horses at home, though one that can absolutely be minimized if you set things up well to begin with.

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. :rolleye0014: ) 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.
Willowvale Farm
Performance Quarter Horses
Disposition, Conformation, Performance.

Home of:
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."

#23 KatyB


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Posted 20 February 2011 - 08:44 AM

I think a lot of what makes people happy with either boarding or keeping horses at home is the WHY of your involvement with horses. If you love to ride, but don't really get a lot out of the other aspects of horsekeeping, then boarding can be great. Someone else does the day to day work of it, and you can ride when it's convenient for you. For me, my horses are family members. I don't want to miss the day to day "work". I am honestly smiling even while pulling hay on a sled through the mud to the run-in. Seeing that funny face hanging over the fence from my kitchen window is the highlight of my day. Knowing they are out there waiting on their buckets at 7 a.m. is a joy to me.

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.
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