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FlashGordon
Jan. 21, 2009, 01:36 PM
We are house hunting at the moment.... we would both LOVE a small farm, 2-3 horses max and 5-15 acres... though not sure the timing is right.

Those of you who have taken the plunge, any words of wisdom? Do any of you regret making the switch from boarding to having your own place?

Also, I'd love taking on a single boarder (a friend for company, mainly) what sort of things do I need to take into consideration there...

At this point it may be more feasible for us to buy a house + land and add a small barn/pasture later. Not sure. We are still researching options and ideas.

strawberry roan
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:13 PM
I have never regretted owning our own place! :) Sure it is all the responsiblity but you have all the control. But you have to be ready to do it as every morning they need to be fed and every night they need to be fed. It is never oh, I don't feel like going to the barn today--because unlike boarding, no one else is going to care for them. You have to do it. And if you are like me, it is the greatest! :) I don't have a boarder because I don't get lonely. I love the solitude and not worrying about someone else's horse. I see others when I foxhunt or get together to go on a trail ride. That is plenty for me. :D

2DogsFarm
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:20 PM
I purchased my farm 5 years ago and have never looked back.
I had worked in barns but never fulltime, still I had an inkling of what I was getting into.

Things you want to keep in mind are:
1-If you have never cared for horses fulltime remember it is a 24/7/365 job. Even when you aren't feeling 100% horses still need to have - at the bare minimum - food, water & shelter. Twice a day. Every day.

"Neither snow nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night"
Honestly, I think mailmen stole this from horsepeople!

2-If it breaks, YOU have to fix it...or pay to have it fixed. And a lot of repairs - fencing, waterers - cannot wait. Some not even for one second.

3-At least a minimal knowledge of First Aid is mandatory. Even if your vet lives next door, he may not be available immediately. You should be able to know the symptoms and treatments for a variety of minor-to-major horse ills. Colic, founder, tying-up, minor or major injuries - all of these can be treated proactively until you can get the vet out.

4-Vacations?
Could become a thing of the past unless you can find a reliable horsesitter. I've been fortunate and have managed to get away often and far (China & Japan) so it can be done.
I "interview" horsesitters by having them shadow me at the barn so they can see how I like things done and I can see how they interact with my horses. I also make their job as easy as possible:
- no stallcleaning required (for longer trips I just ask that they pick and toss manure outside the stalls. I do the Major cleanup when I get back)
-feed is pre-bagged for short trips/weekends. If I'm away longer I show how to mix my feed - it's not Rocket Science.
-horses are turned out 24/7 with free access to stalls
I also call my vet before I leave town to let them know who may call and has permission to authorize treatment.

I can't tell you anything about boarding except I'm pretty sure a friendship can be tested by differing ideas of correct horsekeeping. Not to forget the tardy board payment...

The pluses for me are many:
+I know my horses better than I ever did when they were boarded. I can tell immediately if one is NQR.
+The horses that used to make me fetch them from pasture, now come to me willingly...well 95% of the time - sometimes the sight of the halter = work makes them play with me a bit first :winkgrin:
+I can make an informed decision as to whether a condition is treatable by me or needs the vet.
+I can (and have) administer first aid until the vet can get there.
+I can feed that extra flake if I feel it's needed, in my PJs, at midnight
+I know what they're doing, what they're eating & how they're feeling 7 days a week instead of just on my "barn days"

Best of Luck to you - hope you find what you want.

naters
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:36 PM
OP - I would reccommend investigating the boarder route. There are horse owners out there that are would be boarders that would be glad to help out when you want to go on vacation.

I am looking for a place to board in Florida, and I would be more than happy to help out with the chores and covering for vacations, etc.

I figured there has to be people like me in NY too!!

MunchkinsMom
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:39 PM
After 20 years of boarding (everything from self-care to the top of the line Horsey Hilton), my husband bought a 10 acre farm for me and my horses. I don't regret it. But, it is a huge commitment as far as time, money and energy. I wrote a 3 page article about the pros and cons of Boarding vs Backyard, too long to fit the whole thing here.

But here are the things to consider:

Financial - be sure to think about EVERYTHING it will cost to have the horses at home, insurance, equipment, utilities, fence repair, equipment repair, pasture maintenance, seeding, fertilizing etc, when comparing to your board bill.

Lifestyle - do you like to sleep in, take vactions, travel for business? Keeping horses at home makes all of the above very difficult to do. Not impossible, but will add to your bottom line to pay the horse sitter, or board them back out while you travel.

Quality time with the horses - when boarding, you can spend time grooming and riding, when home, you spend more time mucking, feeding and watering.

Companionship - when your horses are home, no more human barn buddies, unless you have a boarder or two, and that is a whole seperate topic. No one to turn to and ask "does he look off to you" - or to help hold a horse while you are trying to medicate an eye.

Turnout - horses at home can have more turnout than some boarding facilities, so this can be a plus, but it will be up to you to keep the pastures in tip top shape.

Facilities - the barn itself - will take some planning to get what you want, or learn to do with less than what you might have at the current boarding barn.

Manure Mangement - enough said.

Services - vet, farrier, etc. Some areas of the country it is hard to get a vet or farrier to come out for one or two horses. And you need to be on hand when they do come out.

Attractive Nuisance - where you have to keep your horses safe from the neighbors and your neighbors safe from your horses (particularly children). This is where safe fencing and good liability insurance come to play.

horsetales
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:43 PM
I'm another who is happy with our decision. I love having them here. I've been amazed at what I learned about my horse once I had full control of him even after owning him for many years at boarding farms.

Down side is finding good help if you want to go on vacation. Theres no saying too cold, too hot ... Theres also nobody to split vet farm calls with. You can no longer go to someone else and say the fence has a broken board, its all up to you to fix or get it fixed. Riding time can be lost depending on your other responsibilities. Also, nobody to ride with most of the time - does sometimes get lonely.

Nothing beats sitting out on the porch (with a cool beverage of course ;) )and watching them play.

I have somebody who may board a horse here next winter. She is a friend, but we also have a business relationship so we already know we can split the two. Bringing in either a friend or a stranger both carry risks, just be sure to get everything in writing. Also look into insurance when you change from personal to boarding - IMHO not worth the risk to trust that a friend will not sue.

Warning: 10-15 acres accomodates more than 1-3 horses and they do tend to multiply if you have extra land or stalls :lol:

Luckydonkey
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:47 PM
I have had ours at home for years, an for the first time ina long time it was cheaper for me to board one out htan keep him at home. I do still have the mini at home, but he is so much less work- I will be bringign my big guy home for the summer, but will probably board him out again for the winter next year. It is so much easier to just go ride and enjoy him than it is to always have to o a bunch of barn work in the winter-0 and rarely get the time to ride- I don't have an arena at home.....

FlashGordon
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:49 PM
OP - I would reccommend investigating the boarder route. There are horse owners out there that are would be boarders that would be glad to help out when you want to go on vacation.

I am looking for a place to board in Florida, and I would be more than happy to help out with the chores and covering for vacations, etc.

I figured there has to be people like me in NY too!!

Yeah naters that was my thought! I hope things work out for you. ;)

And I'm hoping if we stuck to a smallish land plot it will force me to stay at a 2-3 horse quota!! I figure at that size it is manageable for us without getting out of hand...

Great input so far, thank you!

Jealoushe
Jan. 21, 2009, 02:53 PM
I would give anything, ANYTHING to have my own place. I HATE boarding, I am incredibly anal about my horse and I also hate confrontation so when I'm not happy with things I never say anything. It sucks, I hope you decide on a little farm.:)

Bluey
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:01 PM
It would depend on what you enjoy doing with your horses, along with the question of expenses.

If you like just puttering around, getting things neat, cleaning, watching your horses, at home is where you want them to be.
Riding generally becomes a distant second to many that have horses at home.

If you want to ride/train/compete/socialize more than be a caretaker of property and horses in the larger manner than horse keeping demands over just a house and lawn, boarding may be your thing.

There is no right answer, because only you can decide what you want and where it will happen best.

pony89
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:04 PM
I will come at it from a different perspective. My husband and I have put our farm search on hold for about 5 years for the following reasons:

1)With just one horse, boarding is just as cheap, and I have access to better facilities. I'd never be able to afford an indoor, and maybe not even an outdoor w/nice footing at this time.

2)With only one horse, I would actually need to get at least one more of some type of companion animal if my horse couldn't handle being alone.

3)At this time in our lives, committing to the 24/7/365 schedule would be very difficult, and the areas that we would have to live would add a lot of driving.

4)It would require quite a bit of additional equipment/time to maintain a larger property.

That said, if I was already househunting, I would absolutely be looking for something with land, with a layout that I liked for building a barn (or a preexisting barn. You could always wait to bring the horse home, and only issue 4 would apply. If you just have land, you could start small with a pasture and shelter, and live there for a few years while you get to know the property and where you want to put things (I think this is what I want to do.) Or, just take the plunge, find a place with a barn, and start pony shopping for the little one:lol:

mkevent
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:12 PM
I love having my own place, I have boarders and the ones I have now are absolutely great!! Advice:
1. If you've never worked at a farm, do it for a few weeks or months to be sure you can commit to that type of work-because your lifestyle surely changes.
2. Find out how you like to do things and then find boarders who are happy with that-i.e if you really love turnout, don't take in boarders that love the idea of their horse being in 24/7. These are the kind of things that do in a boarding arrangement. I take good care of my horses, but I don't spoil them. I believe in at least 8 hours of turnout per day. I think horses can urinate outside without it causing them undo stress-I've had boarders that felt otherwise and wanted to stalls open 24/7 so their horses can urinate inside.I now have a contract that spells out pretty much everything I do so neither party is surprised or disappointed. I think,for me, it's been better to be up front and lose a potential boarderthan change a system that works for me in order to please someone else.
3.Find out exactly what it costs in feed, hay, bedding, etc and how much time it takes you to do barnwork before setting a price. Even for a friend, be sure you make at least what it would cost you if you had to hire your services. You won't resent the relationship and if the boarder helps out a lot, pay them what you would have paid yourself.
4. Be sure your SO is ok with it-it can cause a big strain if he/she really resents all that a farm entails. That being said, some do eventually come around and enjoy the lifestyle.
I wouldn't trade what I have for the world-I never have to go to the gym, I'm outside all the time, and I can look out my window and enjoy the scenery.
Best of luck!!

okggo
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:12 PM
If you are okay with the fact that your work is never ever done, it is totally worth it!

We have 6 horses right now, and have 10 acres that we are building up as economically as possible. We have had trees fall on our fence, a drunk neighbor drive through our fence and crash into our horse pasture, and annoying things like not enough electricity in the barns to run the trough heaters all at the same time. But, you adjust to those things, and being able to see my horses out my window, give them a scritch whenever I want, and be 100% confident in their care is 150% worth it to me.

We board one horse, he is 20+ year old retiree and babysits our now yearlings so that works out really good for us.

I personally HATE boarding. We lived in an area where all the affordable places were a good 40 minute drive one way, and we have long work commutes so it boiled down to us not seeing the horses often, and going out and being unhappy with the care. We have been here since July and the horses since August and I'm still trying to undo the damage the last BO did.

Sparky Boy
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:22 PM
A few things to think about.

First and foremost, the minute you buy the property, you will develop an intense desire to purchase more horses. Good news is, you can now afford it because you're not paying board. Seems like 3 is a good number to have. That way if you take one to a show, nobody is left home alone and freaking out.

Things break, you will need to be handy enough to fix it yourself or be able to pay someone.

Someone you trust to fill-in, horse-sit, house-sit, etc is worth their weight in gold. Otherwise, you are stuck feeding twice a day, every day, plus other chores.

I wouldn't trade it for boading again.

FlashGordon
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:29 PM
Thanks guys for all the great feedback!

Living with us would be my aged TB gelding, and probably a kid-safe pony. And then maybe a friend/boarder, but that is all! I swear. LOL. Any horse living with us would have to be well mannered and laid back.

I'm anal about my horse's care and am at the boarding barn every day. When I can't get there, hubby goes out. It'd be nice if the barn was just a few steps from the house, instead of a 20 minute drive!

We're just toying with the idea now, so who knows where things will lead...

I found a great piece of land, with 3 stall barn, close to the 'burbs and good schools.... but... no house on it!! Mr. FG nixed that one...! :)

poltroon
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:36 PM
I like having horses at home, but:

- A good arena is expensive. Either set aside $10-20k to put one in, or make sure your property backs on to an area where you can trail ride - quiet streets or national forest.

- it is harder to make time to ride, somehow, because you're spending time feeding and on property maintenance.

- You'll end up with more horses. This is the good and the bad news. The bad news, seriously, is what happens if you can't keep your place? Also, it is harder to find the time to handle them all.

- You may not be able to just leave for the weekend or even decide to stay over at a friend's for a late dinner. This is easier if your horses have grass and ample water that will handle both summer and winter conditions. Or, if you have a close neighbor that you trust and can call on short notice. It took me some time to adjust my setup so that my horses will be OK even if I am not home until very late.

- That 'can't leave for a weekend' also applies to horse shows once you have more than just the horses you want to show.

As far as bringing on a boarder, it is frequently the case that your zoning regulations might allow horses but not boarders. There is also the question of insurance. That is not to say that people don't do it, quietly. But all it takes is one nosy, irritating neighbor to scotch that plan unless you checked your zoning first.

rabicon
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:41 PM
I love having our horses at home now. I can have more horses and afford them than having to full board all 5 horses at 600.00 a horse. ;) So I got my two retirees and my 3 for myself, husband, and daughter. We do have a friend that boards 2 horses with us and they are great and help with so much. The only thing you have to think about is if they are on a feeding schedule then someone has to be there to feed them. We feed ours at 5:00 usually sometimes if I'm not home my husband will do it at 6 oclock but thats rare. Also if you like to vacation then it will change alot. If you take in a friend boarder that you can trust with the horses and staying at your house it is great. That way you can leave and just have them stay like our friends do sometimes, if not, then you are pretty much tied down at home for good ;)

Bluey
Jan. 21, 2009, 03:55 PM
I would think hard what I want to do right now, as things seem to start to move very fast.
If society begins to unravel, where will the kind of house you buy leave you if you and your better half have to move, lose their jobs, etc.?
Do consider that we may not live in the same world we are living today in a few years, before going into debt and thinking where you will live and keep your horses.

Here are some rather worrysome news, if they are true::eek:

---"Bobby Rush one of Obama's friends from IL introduced HR45 which if passed will make it next to impossible for anyone to purchase or keep a firearm and make instant criminals of anyone that has a firearm now.
Another friend of his from NY, Jose Serrano introduced HR res 5 which is a bill to repeal the 22nd amendment, setting term limits for the President.

Links to bills.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c111:H.R.45:

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hj111-5

The new ban horse slaughter bill has also been re/introduced, but that should not have much bearing directly on what you intend to do with your horses.

CanterQueen
Jan. 21, 2009, 04:05 PM
We bought our place last year. We live in Northern VA where the price for land is very expensive, so five acres is all we could afford. I LOVE IT. It's a ton of work and on these cold, cold mornings I'd rather stay in bed. But there are horses out there counting on me and only me.

It's a lifestyle that's more than just having horses in your backyard.
-You worry.
-You're up at 2am and again at 4am checking on a colic or blankets, or the rain, the wind, snow, sleet or whatever.
-You stand for the vet and farrier EVERY time.
-You learn to wrap, bandage, irrigate, inject and polstice. How to mix meds, give meds, pick up spit-up meds, mix again with something different until you find what he likes.
-You learn about your horse; his good days, his off days.
-You know when his poop, pee, walk, step, trot isn't right.
-You know when he's not eating or not drinking normally.

You know things you'll never find out if you only boarded. And I wouldn't have it any other way. ;)

manyspots
Jan. 21, 2009, 04:37 PM
I am finally back to having horses at home after 8 years of boarding. Before that, horses were home for 15 years. BF and I bought four acres and I have two horses on a very well laid out property. One is my Appy gelding and the other is a retired TWH gelding that belongs to my friend. She pays me her expenses (incl. an offset for my electric bill and misc. expenses like small supplies we both use) and cleans stalls/paddock 3-4 days a week. This is very helpful with my schedule.

Downsides:
* YOU WILL BE UP AT NIGHT WORRYING! But not every night ;)
* If you are the type who misses socialization with other boarders this could be tough (I am not)
* No vacations without planning
* Out there no matter what the weather or how you feel
* Broken S&*T!!!!
* Maintenance... for us it includes a ton of plowing this time of year
* Having to take random days off from work for last minute issues/emergencies (like when the power goes out and you have to travel around to find water before going to work!!!)

Upsides:
* I LOVE HAVING CONTROL OVER ALL DECISIONS
* One on one contact every day... you will know your horses like you nvere have before
* The pride of taking care of their every need
* Knowing when they are NQR
* Watching them when they are happy and playing
* Hugs from your horse... especially when it is cold... they warm up noses well!
* Designing your property to fit your needs... our barn was two years in the making.
etc....etc... etc....

Overall... I have NEVER looked back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BestHorses
Jan. 21, 2009, 04:47 PM
Wow Bluey - "if society begins to unravel..."

I'm surprised you have time to post on Coth. Shouldn't you be out stockpiling weapons, food and supplies for your end of days scenario? I smell a Fox news watcher... :lol:

CanterQueen
Jan. 21, 2009, 04:48 PM
I smell a Fox news watcher... :lol:



:lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol::lol:

Bluey
Jan. 21, 2009, 05:19 PM
Wow Bluey - "if society begins to unravel..."

I'm surprised you have time to post on Coth. Shouldn't you be out stockpiling weapons, food and supplies for your end of days scenario? I smell a Fox news watcher... :lol:

What makes you think I have not already prepared?:lol:

No, I have never watched Fox news, because we don't get it out here and since I have the satellite TV, I don't even know where it would be.
We only get ABC and CBS, any other stations are too weak to reach us clearly.
I come to my ideas on my own, don't need anyone to spoon feed them.

I was just covering all the bases of what kind of land to look for.
I think that we don't know where we are going next with our country, but we know we probably will live thru some important changes and that is one more valid concern when buying property today.:yes:

One point is that you won't hear many say all they do with their horses once they get them home, as most are too busy caring for them to ride much or really take them to shows or any other places, so they end up becoming partly if not fully pasture ornaments, which is fine too.;)
Just be sure that is something you think about, how much riding time you really will have once they are home.

I vote for keeping them home, but if you want to ride and train and show, that horse may be better boarded where the action is.

SMF11
Jan. 21, 2009, 06:14 PM
A few random thoughts: I think it is cheaper to buy the property w/fences and barns already up. I don't know this for sure, but I don't think the purchase price of a place reflects that it has $30,000 (on up!) of fencing and a $75,000 barn -- that is, a house on five acres is not $100,000 cheaper than a similar house with said barn and fencing.

I have that boarder arrangement you talk about wanting. I posted on our local regional Pony Club email list that I was looking for a boarder who would feed two times a week for me and ride with me two times a week in exchange for reduced board. She pays $150/month versus my other two boarders who pay $425 month. She is FANTASTIC and is really motivated so we ride in weather I would never ride in by myself!

Arena -- how much do you need one? Lots of people ride in fields.

Land - I always say the more the better . . . you'll always want more!

I haul to my trainer's for lessons, which is a good resource to have if you have questions or aren't sure of something.

Where in NY are you? (I'm where the CT and Mass. state lines meet NY)

gabz
Jan. 21, 2009, 06:56 PM
I miss the indoor arena. I miss riding as much as I used to.

I took the $350 a month that I was paying for my horse to be stalled and rarely turned out and put that towards a mortgage payment.

I do have to drive 1 hr each way to work, but I was driving 30+ minutes each way to the boarding barn, plus I had a 2400 sq ft house and an acre that I had to take care of. hmmmm... all by myself. hmmm... So I went to a smaller house (oh gee, only 1600 sq ft) and a huge OLD barn, and some more land. Oh, and I can see MANY more stars at night and it's so much nicer in the country than the burbs.

I had boarded and worked with the barn owner at a previous place and felt fairly confident in my horse care skills. I moved to an area that has plenty of other horse folks that I knew a little bit. We try to help each other out on vacations and feeding schedules and when things get really tight, I can ask one of my daughters to stay at the place (just makes it farther for her to drive to work).

As I said, I'm in an area with many, many other horse people and some of them have become good friends. We meet at different places to ride together.

Oh, and I bought a round pen for about $1200 and put that up in one of the pastures so I have a place to work with a horse. I left it with grass so that I can use it to separate visiting horses if necessary.

saddleup
Jan. 21, 2009, 07:42 PM
I've had my horses home for about 18 months. I love it, and can't foresee a time when I'll board them again. Total control. I like that. Less guilt that they're sitting in stalls, because now they're not.

More work, but it's work I enjoy. Having a tractor is fun! If you design things efficiently it's not that much work, per se, it's just that it is every single day. If you're not the type who'se comfortable with a schedule and sticking to it (within reason), you might not be cut out for it.

My horses are low maintenance types. That simplifies things. I only have one that I ride and this time of year he's at the trainer's, and that lessens the work load. I drive over and ride him twice a week; my other two hang out and snooze in the sun at home.

Just make sure you will have access to a reliable hay source, can manage the manure, and are okay with the daily demands. It was my dream for 20 years, and when it all came together it was, and is, great.

SandyHTF
Jan. 21, 2009, 09:02 PM
Lots of good advice here, so just a vote:

I have 5 acres and my horses at home. If I was boarding, there would be no plural there. Having them home has been so far beyond good (for me) that I wouldn't trade it for the world. I have also been able to breed a mare and raise a foal... the most fun and challenging thing I have ever had the pleasure to experience.

Boarders... I really gave it the college try but in the end give it a big thumbs down. The marginal profit never seemed to offset the additional work and hassle.

tkhawk
Jan. 21, 2009, 09:12 PM
I am kind of the same boat right now. I love travel and am not the best manure cleaner. I love to ride, groom and and would love to have them and watch them. But the physical work:no:

So I am trying to figure out if I can get a somewhat bigger property with a trainer or some such who is there 24/7 and just add my horses to their care. I don't wan't to loose my freedom and worry when travelling in another country , that my horses have water or whatever. So I guess I am trying to get my property and see how to make it so I have the same freedom as a boarding barn!

TrakeGirl
Jan. 22, 2009, 11:37 AM
I would like to step in and represent the "career boarders". LOL.

Hi...My name is TrakeGirl. And I am a boarder.

I think the internal angst between boarding and buying property is most intense when you are unhappy with your boarding situation. That is key. If you simply cannot find something that you are happy with to board at...then there IS no other choice than to bring them home.

I too have waged this war between buying a farm and boarding.

Right now - I am very, very content to remain a boarder. I am not lazy...I do not mind work...I would love to feed, take care of all their needs, see my horse every day...I know the work involved as a former barn manager and part time instructor...but I am very, very, happy with my boarding facility.

They have fantastic turnout (this is key for me)...it is about 20 minutes away...great trails...I trust the BO completely, she takes care of them like they are her own, she KNOWS when they are NQR...and I pay $250/mo for full board. (Just raised from the $200 I had been paying for the last 3 years.) I know I would be paying more than that having him at home (taking all expenses into account...higher mortgage, farm equipment, gas to power that equipment, etc). I am happy to babysit the farm whenever she needs me.

My SO tolerates my horse habit, but really isn't into them. Has no desire to ride really and that is fine with me...because my horse time is MY time. I don't know how I feel about burdening my SO with a farm...and we've discussed how vacations would be more limited or harder with a farm and how I would probably be more busy around home with taking care of the farm (because I know I would be the one doing the vast majority of the work). I think my SO would resent the responsibilities of a farm over time.

So I happily drive to the barn to "escape" into my horse time and get to spend my hours grooming and riding and enjoying my horse - I get out 2 days a week in the winter and 2-3 in the summer. I lazily chill on the couch by the fire during ice storms and nasty weather...secretly happy I don't have to go out into that horrid weather to deal with my horse...I don't sh*t bricks during power outages wondering how I am going to deal with getting horses water now that the pump isn't working...and I don't go anywhere in the middle of the night. For the most part. (But would in a heart beat if I got a call from the barn owner.)

Sure there are times where I would love to be on my back deck looking at him with a cold beverage. No doubt. But those are the times that I get to go do other stuff - like go on a bike ride with my SO instead of muck stalls. Play with my puppies instead of fix fences. Tend to my gardens at home instead of spread manure. It is all a matter of balance to me.

My horse and I have a great bond. He picks his head up when I call his name and comes running in from the field when I go see him (course it helps I have treats in my pocket). I love him dearly and he is a "lifer" to me. But he agrees with me on the boarding thing - he would rather be turned out in the "herd" of about 11 horses than move him somewhere smaller with only 1 or 2 other horses to keep him company. He loves to socialize, and play and run around. I would like to think he misses me when I'm not there...but let's be serious. All he cares about is the unlimited grass/hay and being with his buddies.

Of course, if my barn owner decided to stop boarding - this all would change. :)

2DogsFarm
Jan. 22, 2009, 11:53 AM
don't know why I didn't remember this yesterday...
FWIW, I suggested this to a friend who wanted to bring horses home and to whom money was no object.
He ended up buying a house on 7ac with a cinderblock outbuilding that could have been converted to horse shelter, but then never did bring any horses to live there.

How about getting the house and enough acreage to put up a run-in shed and some fencing.
You can then continue to board during the week and bring your horse home for weekends or longer. BO may even be willing to pro-rate board if you are gone longer than a weekend - say over the Summer?
Kind of a test run to see if 24/7 horsekeeping is for you.
If financially feasible it could work :yes:

JanWeber
Jan. 22, 2009, 12:02 PM
Never been sorry one day that we bought our farm. Went from a nice suburban home to a fixer-upper Cape on nearly six acres with a barn that needed work, but land in pasture. We renovated the barn, put up fence, paid someone to put in a ring and are now spending some time on the barn. My husband, never a horse person, has become Farmer Bob. When he gave my colicking old guy a shot of Banamine before the vet got there and regularly counts piles of poop in his stall, I knew he was hooked.

sporthorsefilly
Jan. 22, 2009, 12:14 PM
We bought our place last year. We live in Northern VA where the price for land is very expensive, so five acres is all we could afford. I LOVE IT. It's a ton of work and on these cold, cold mornings I'd rather stay in bed. But there are horses out there counting on me and only me.

It's a lifestyle that's more than just having horses in your backyard.
-You worry.
-You're up at 2am and again at 4am checking on a colic or blankets, or the rain, the wind, snow, sleet or whatever.
-You stand for the vet and farrier EVERY time.
-You learn to wrap, bandage, irrigate, inject and polstice. How to mix meds, give meds, pick up spit-up meds, mix again with something different until you find what he likes.
-You learn about your horse; his good days, his off days.
-You know when his poop, pee, walk, step, trot isn't right.
-You know when he's not eating or not drinking normally.

You know things you'll never find out if you only boarded. And I wouldn't have it any other way. ;)

YES, YES, YES!

I bought my 13 acre farm 20.5 years ago, I adore it! There is nothing like getting up at 4:15 taking care of the horses, then rushing to go to your job that pays for it all. I love coming home and mucking, feeding, watering and checking everyone over. I can ride when and where I want to. I love the hands on approach. I do have a very helpful partner too!

Sure there are days I drag myself, and some that are too cold or too hot, but it keeps me going, and it gives me a real reason to get up and get out. I love that! A colleague said to me: "well maybe there will come a day when you will not want to do the horse thing and you can sell your place." My answer...NEVER! I've taking care of my horses and even in boarding stables, been very hands on for some 50 years. I dreamed of having my own farm, and would never change that outcome as it is my life.

It is a 24/7 responsibility SO if that word frightens you, you may not want your own farm.

Oh yes, I came down here with 2 horses, now have 8 (one retired Broodmare boarder) and a foal on the way...so yes, it does mean you just may add because you have the room.

One really important note! Fencing...it is expensive, try to make sure that your dream place has fencing already...that and a barn. A friend of mine bought this huge place in up state NY...by the time they finished renovating the house, they are having a hard time with building a barn and fencing the place. So make sure of the FENCING and BARN.

Things to check out...farriers, vets, hay suppliers, feed stores, water supply, local shows!

Dance_To_Oblivion
Jan. 22, 2009, 01:24 PM
My DH and I are also in the process of finding a good property and having horses at home is one of our priorities. I've talked to a lot of people that have their horses at home and worked at several different farm. The biggest difference I've seen in the happy people vs. those with an element of regret is how they planned their farm. If you buy a very small acreage and intend to keep a lot of horses on it you are creating a great deal of work for yourself. If you buy more land and have fewer horses your daily required workload decreases. I can think of two different farms that I've taken care of to use as examples. Each had approximatly the same number of horses. On one farm all horses lived out in safe good sized pastures with run in sheds. On the second farm there were small paddocks and most of the horses tended to be in for the majority of the day. The first farm had a required workload daily of just under an hour if you hustled. The second farm was between 3 and 4 hours daily. That is enough of a time difference to allow for riding atleast one of your horses!

As my DH and I plan our farm it looks a lot more like the first then the second. I board now and while I love my fellow boarders and the beautiful facility I really dislike the lack of control I have. I recoginize the drawbacks of having the horses at home but the benefits far outweigh them for me.

CanterQueen
Jan. 22, 2009, 08:21 PM
I board now and while I love my fellow boarders and the beautiful facility I really dislike the lack of control I have. I recoginize the drawbacks of having the horses at home but the benefits far outweigh them for me.

BINGO!!! :winkgrin::yes::winkgrin:

Bluey
Jan. 22, 2009, 08:38 PM
As you sort thru these answers, rememeber to weight in the fact that most are from COTH posters, that are primed to micromanage their horses thru all the information here, so having a horse at home is the ideal solution for that.;)

If you will thrive under micromanaging, that will be a plus in the getting them home column.
If you delegate well, boarding can be ok for you, without causing too much anxiety.:yes:

JanWeber
Jan. 22, 2009, 09:04 PM
Not "micromanage". Really just like knowing that, yes, they were FED today and have water. Wasn't always the case when I boarded, no matter how down-home or high-end the place was...

Bluey
Jan. 22, 2009, 09:17 PM
Not "micromanage". Really just like knowing that, yes, they were FED today and have water. Wasn't always the case when I boarded, no matter how down-home or high-end the place was...

I was kind of teasing about that.

I wonder if the standards are lower today, because any stable I was in we would never, ever have slacked not once, just would not have occurred to me not to feed, clean, groom, exercise, train etc. as per instructions.:confused:

EquusMagnificus
Jan. 23, 2009, 07:28 AM
It is a lot of work and commitment but the rewards are priceless. :)

Setting up a new paddock just to take the horses out and left them run and roll in fresh grass, only to get back up and start eating like pigs. :)

Or finding your horses sleeping quietly in their stalls. The pleasure of watching them out your window, playing or sleeping in a pile of precious hay.

You also develop a completely different relationship with your horses when you have them at home. They see you differently. When boarding, they don't know that all the care they are getting each day really comes from you. At home, they realize you prepared their meals and brought their hay and they look at you differently. You have become a friend and also a provider.

It's worth it :)

camohn
Jan. 23, 2009, 07:36 AM
We are house hunting at the moment.... we would both LOVE a small farm, 2-3 horses max and 5-15 acres... though not sure the timing is right.

Those of you who have taken the plunge, any words of wisdom? Do any of you regret making the switch from boarding to having your own place?

Also, I'd love taking on a single boarder (a friend for company, mainly) what sort of things do I need to take into consideration there...

At this point it may be more feasible for us to buy a house + land and add a small barn/pasture later. Not sure. We are still researching options and ideas.

How much do you like to go on vacation and how easy is it for you to get a barn sitter to take care of your horses? The big down to having them at home! But, no, would not change it. Ya DO tend to collect more of them at home though!!

ayrabz
Jan. 23, 2009, 09:52 AM
love threads like this, as it has folks joining in who can share BOTH experiences and their take on it all.

One thing I would love to see included in responses is: for those who have boarded a lot in the past, then brought horses home....how many of you find you actually 'ride' much less? My observance has been that the joy of home horse keeping needs to be a strong one vs. the riding enjoyment, as it always seems to change the time in the saddle once all the care is the main time spent.

IFG
Jan. 23, 2009, 10:17 AM
I ride as much now that he is home as when he was boarded. My horse has allergies, and he has to live out, but now he has a stall that he can run into. At the boarding barn he had no shelter.

If I could have found an affordable alternative with good care, I would have, but it wasn't happening, and I needed the stability of having my own barn.

When I bought my horse, he was at a wonderful, affordable place with great care, but it was sold. The new owners knew nothing about horses. I moved him to a friend's place, but she got a new mare, and they didn't get along. I moved him to my trainers, but that was expensive, and he had no run-in shelter.

Moving him home gave me stability. I like the work. Call me weird.

IFG
Jan. 23, 2009, 10:23 AM
I should add. I felt guilty bringing my horse home to a sand paddock (I also use it as my ring). I felt as though I should have a pasture. Bottom line is that at the boarding barn he was living in a small dirt paddock full of rocks that was almost never picked out, not in a pasture. So he may not have nice grass fields, but his current paddock is a lot cleaner, larger, and has better footing than his old paddock. I did what I could afford, not what I would love to have, but it is better than what he had before.

ESG
Jan. 23, 2009, 03:58 PM
I like having full control, but I don't like the responsibility.

I've had my own place for ten years now. I'm tired. We're downsizing and I'm not going to be cleaning stalls daily any more. I'm REALLY looking forward to that.

Do yourself, your spouse, and your bank balance a favor, and find yourself a nice self-care facility, if you're anal about control. But don't buy a property unless you're prepared to put every extra penny, minute, and thought into it. I did. I won't do it again. :no:

rothmpp
Jan. 23, 2009, 05:56 PM
I agree that people's opinion on this is sometimes based on whether they are happy with their boarding situation. I was not last year, and brought him home for the summer. I am fortunate enough to have that option. But he's back at another barn, and I couldn't be happier with the situation. I knew the BO before I took him there, and after having been there for six months, I can guarantee that I never worry about him. Last year I would be worried if I did not get out every single day.

Be very honest about the expenses and time involved with having horses at home. Over estimate everything. I did the math, and for my one horse, it is no more expensive to board. Obviously if you have more than one horse - it is not necessarily cheaper. And while the proper set up can lessen your work, it just all adds up over time. Competent, available help for late nights or vacations can be incredibly difficult to get/keep.

Also second the idea of buying a place that already has a barn/fence/and preferably a riding arena (at least outdoor). Properly building all those things can be very expensive.

I don't ride nearly as much when the horse is home. As many have said - if the management and care aspect is what is really important to you, you'll likely love it. If you really love to ride & compete, it may not be the best option for you.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 24, 2009, 10:49 AM
I always think these threads are great. My husband and I want property, but really more for down the road as a place to retire. As much as I would love my horse at home, I feel my horse get's much better care being boaded out. My husband and I both work fulltime, so my horse would not be supervised for 10 hours a day!

At my boarding barn she hs a daily routine and is checked several times a day. Mornning feeding, late morning turn out, coming in for lunch, late afternoon feeding, then I am out there after work. Also all the women in the barn that are there throughout the day watch out for everyone.

I would be a basket case knowing my horse was unsupervised all day every day.

Serigraph
Jan. 24, 2009, 11:03 AM
I've been at my farm almost a year now and absolutely love it. Before I brought the horse (now horses) home, I boarded and when I got fed up with boarding standards or lack of, I did self care. IMO, self care is the best option if you have to board and want control of the care of your horses.

I agree with most people here regarding you usually end up with more horses then you brought home. In my case, I had one and now I have two and have my eye on a third. They are kinda like potato chips when you have them at home.

I do ride as much, but I'd say I'm much more into pleasure riding than showing. In fact I don't like to show, but before I had horses at home, I was more into the riding aspect and now I'm just as much if not more into the farm management, pasture care, heath care, etc aspects. I love taking care of the horses and the farm though. I love the health care as much as I love the riding so it works out for me.

I also have a helpful husband and work from home, so I think that makes a huge difference in the ease of it all.

Financially, I can't say it's cheaper than boarding since it probably is not. I spend a lot of pasture maintenance, but I want my pastures to look good. Also, I have two horses now not just one. However, since they've been under my care completely, the vet calls have drastically been reduced (knock on wood)

paintedtrails
Jan. 24, 2009, 11:38 AM
Very interesting reading! We are looking at a possilbe move, and I thought it would be great to have a place with a barn already...Then I could bring my one home, but we'd need to get a second for companionship ...which would also be a husband horse:)
We like to take one long (1week) vacation a year...and I am thinking that since we hoping to start a family soon as well, maybe not such a smart idea to have them home? Anyone have experiences to share on being pregnant and managing your own little farm?

jazzrider
Jan. 24, 2009, 11:51 AM
Those of you who have taken the plunge, any words of wisdom? Do any of you regret making the switch from boarding to having your own place?

Also, I'd love taking on a single boarder (a friend for company, mainly) what sort of things do I need to take into consideration there...

I haven't read all the posts but if you can -- don't have your boarder be a friend. Have them just be a boarder. It's much harder to ask friends to pay their board on time, or actually show up to do the chores they committed to do, or visit their horse without feeling icky about it. It would be much easier to have a boarder who is just a boarder and it's a business relationship. Trust me on this.

And don't build a barn that has more stalls than the number of horses you want on the property. Because you will fill them. I had to fill my sixth stall with junk to keep me from filling it (or someone trying to talk me into filling it!). If you can find a turn-key property, do it! Yes -- it's not your design, but having everthing there and ready to go is SO much easier, and cheaper.

It is not cheaper to have them at home, and so much more of your time will be spent doing farm chores. If that's not something you know you'll enjoy doing -- give this decision some serious thought. Value your time!

Otherwise it's wonderful to have the horses at home. I give thanks every day that we've been able to do it. Aside from the complications of finding good and reliable house/horse/dog sitters -- we don't regret it at all.

Dance_To_Oblivion
Jan. 24, 2009, 12:41 PM
Very interesting reading! We are looking at a possilbe move, and I thought it would be great to have a place with a barn already...Then I could bring my one home, but we'd need to get a second for companionship ...which would also be a husband horse:)
We like to take one long (1week) vacation a year...and I am thinking that since we hoping to start a family soon as well, maybe not such a smart idea to have them home? Anyone have experiences to share on being pregnant and managing your own little farm?

These are things my DH and I think about as well. I've spent a lot of time thinking about being pregnant and/or having small children and boarding vs. having my own place. I can't imagine how (unless you always have a sitter) you can board and spend a lot of time with your horses. I've known women that had there own places and built outdoor play areas by the barn and the ring so that the children could be out at the barn yet safe and Mom could do chores and ride while still supervising. Also having baby moniters that reached the barn so that Mom could come down to the barn during nap time. I can't see doing that at a boarding barn. So that is my plan at this point for when I have children in the future. You do however have to have backups for circumstances that prevent you from doing barn work. Maybe that can be your husband or maybe finding that helpful boarder willing to work off some board, or any other person that you find that works for you!

As far as vacations go I know it can be difficult to find the right farm sitter, but I know many people that have barns and can still vacation at their leisure. As an older teen and now adult I've done my share of farmsitting and a lot of people found me by talking to my Pony Club's DC. I think a lot of times this comes back to the required daily workload you create when planning your farm. If you can plan things so that all a farm sitter has to do is dump feed, check water and supervise the horses you'll have a much easier time finding someone then if you have 20 stalls to clean and a thousand other little details that MUST be taken care of. I've taking care of farms for some extremely picky people and I can see how a lot of farmsitters might not want to deal with that level of perfection!

Obviously a farm is a lot of work but if you are the type of person that enjoys the work then you'll be happy.

mkevent
Jan. 24, 2009, 03:23 PM
Paintedtrails and Dance to Oblivion-I've lived on my farm and raised 2 daughters and it can be done. I did barnwork while pregnant-in fact, right up until the time I delivered. My farm at that time made it managable(sp?)-I had a 2 stall barn(run in, really) and the horses had access to their pastures 24/7. What I have now would be much more difficult to do pregnant or with small children-6 stall barn and horses are in stalls with attached paddocks at least 8 hours/day(then on pasture the rest of the time),depending on the season. If you could, start small to keep it easy to take care of and add gradually as your life circumstances allow. I did the baby monitor thing-sometimes a 20 minute ride was all I could muster before the baby woke, but at least I got to ride. I've never regretted the choices I've made living here. Feel free to PM if I can help at all. BTW-my daughters are 17 and 20 now, so I'm a bit out of the loop on current babycare ideas!

Dance_To_Oblivion
Jan. 24, 2009, 09:13 PM
mkevent - Thanks for the encouragement! It is great to hear about others who have had a positive experience doing things that I hope to do in the future!!

Trevelyan96
Jan. 24, 2009, 09:54 PM
I've had my small place, 3 acres with 2-3 horses (now 2) for 11 years and I really can't imagine boarding again.

Pro's
1. Your horses become a part of your family and your lifestyle. You know them so much better, and they know you!
2. Care is done strictly according to YOUR standards. You may find, however, as you get used to it, that your standards become a little easier. I don't stress half as much anymore about missing a day cleaning stalls.
3. 24/7/365 turnout. Mine have stall access for bad weather, but basically its just a healthier environment.
4. No more guilt trips about horse/family time. I used to always feel torn between the need to be at the barn with my horse or at home with my family.

Con's.
1. Its all on you, unless you can afford a stable boy. You're on duty 24/7/365 for feeding, emergencies, etc.
2. Maintenance... you're responsible for fencing, pasture, barn, stalls, etc. For me it's OK, its part of the lifestyle, and I'm a home body, but you need to think about whether or not you value your freedom to travel, go out, etc., because they need to be fed on some type of schedule. Mine are OK with the occasional disruption, but in general, feeding time is 7:30 AM and PM, and they stress if you're late.
3. Hay, Farrier, Beddding, Vet. Sometimes it can be very hard to find reliable services and sources for just 2-3 horses.
4. Less time to ride or insufficient facilities. I've found that I'm either busy doing 'farm' maintenance or the weather, footing, etc., is just too bad for riding at home. I do have the ability to trailer to an indoor, but there are days the weather is so bad that you don't want to or can't trailer out.

Still, I love the lifestyle, and have no regrets. Basically it turns you from a 'rider' to a 'horseman'.

MaresNest
Jan. 24, 2009, 11:26 PM
Do any of you regret making the switch from boarding to having your own place?

Not for one second! :)



Also, I'd love taking on a single boarder (a friend for company, mainly) what sort of things do I need to take into consideration there...

Talk to your insurance agent. And have a really good waiver of liability.

dserthorse
Jan. 24, 2009, 11:38 PM
<<I haven't read all the posts but if you can -- don't have your boarder be a friend. Have them just be a boarder. It's much harder to ask friends to pay their board on time, or actually show up to do the chores they committed to do, or visit their horse without feeling icky about it. It would be much easier to have a boarder who is just a boarder and it's a business relationship. Trust me on this.>>

I actually have had good experiences throughout my life with having friend boarders. It might be that I'm not too hard to get along with. Or my friends have been easy to get along with.

<<And don't build a barn that has more stalls than the number of horses you want on the property. Because you will fill them. I had to fill my sixth stall with junk to keep me from filling it (or someone trying to talk me into filling it!). If you can find a turn-key property, do it! Yes -- it's not your design, but having everthing there and ready to go is SO much easier, and cheaper.>>

My junk stall didn't work. I filled them all and have, in the past, eyed the stall I left frontless for some hay.

It is not cheaper to have them at home, and so much more of your time will be spent doing farm chores. If that's not something you know you'll enjoy doing -- give this decision some serious thought. Value your time!

<<Otherwise it's wonderful to have the horses at home. I give thanks every day that we've been able to do it. Aside from the complications of finding good and reliable house/horse/dog sitters -- we don't regret it at all.>>

I had my horses at home in Ohio, and although I liked it, it was very hard. The weather was so uncooperative, and I hate the cold. We've been in Virginia for, ummm, almost 20 years now. (I actually was directed here by google while looking for something regarding moving within central VA!- an ancient thread) Having the horses at home in Virginia is SO much better than in OH.

I don't ride as much, I haven't taken a vacation in a looong time, and my family considers me to be a huge pain because I have to keep my barn schedule. But I totally love it. I mean, I LOVE it. I see my horses at least three times daily. Being at the barn, working, is the most relaxation I get in a day. I can think, and watch the horses, or groom. I muck stalls and spend tiime with the barn cats. I get to be outside.

While my last filly was growing up, I got to handle her *every* day. Every day. No wonder everything has been so easy with her so far. She leads, ties, stands for farriers and vets, backs, bends, yields, wears whatever I ask her to, and is lunging now. She doesn't nip or kick, she is in my pocket but respects my space. I attribute this 99% to simply being there.

The last 8 years in VA with my own barn.

Laurel

MaresNest
Jan. 25, 2009, 12:51 AM
It is not cheaper to have them at home, and so much more of your time will be spent doing farm chores. If that's not something you know you'll enjoy doing -- give this decision some serious thought. Value your time!

It may not be cheaper in every case, but it is a great deal cheaper in my case. There is absolutely no way I could afford to have 4 horses if I had to board them. Not without drastically decreasing their standard of care, anyway. I did luck out in that I found a cheap, turnkey horse property. My mortgage is less than it would cost me to rent a nice townhouse. And my actual horse maintenance expenses (hay, bedding, grain) run less than $100/month per horse. Of course that's not factoring vet, farrier, tack, showing, lessons, etc. But all of those things presumably cost the same whether you are boarding or not.

amdfarm
Jan. 25, 2009, 03:50 AM
I definitely couldn't afford to board all of my horses (dozen.) I have my own little acreage here, but BF and I are looking at buying a larger acreage w/ outbuildings, shop/barn combo, pond, fencing, etc... I want a better set up for the breeding aspect of my horsey lifestyle.

Someone asked about riding less or more when boarding vs having them at home. I'm almost ashamed to say that I show less and ride less having them at home. It seems odd, but I live on a highway and there's really not a lot of places to ride around here that's super safe. I don't have a trailer to trailer out so that's out.

BUT, the place we're looking at is on a non busy gravel road and there's a lot of farm ground around us that we'd have permission to ride on, as the previous owners did w/ their TWHs. The barn is like a smallish indoor w/ two stalls in one corner. I could use that for the young ones and ones that need work if I wanted to, but I'd also like to have a round pen outside or small outdoor off the shop/barn to school some, as well.

The pastures are all done w/ fencing that's only a year or so old. There are four or five different areas all fenced off from the stocked pond that I can use for rotating and the like. I'm very excited about this place and do hope we get it.

As far as farm sitting and the like. Got that covered, too. My parents will only be a half hour or so away, they're retired and generally don't mind doing chores if we're gone now. They could stay at the house and that way they don't have to drive back and forth and can take care of the dogs and cats, as well. My mom enjoys working in the yard and garden, so if it's summer, we know the yard and garden will be taken care of, as well. Also built in babysitter for my son, if we have time away just for adults. His son would stay w/ his mom.

I really wouldn't have it any other way. I love having them home and not having to drive just to check on them, feed them and the like.

Good luck w/ whatever you choose.

paintedtrails
Jan. 25, 2009, 02:29 PM
Thanks again for all the comments/insights!
mkevent: Did you work too?

Fortunately, we have a little experience finding good pet sitters! With 4 dogs, 2 who can't be boarded and one who is very picky about who is allowed in the house, we have to plan our vacations around getting sitters already!

mkevent
Jan. 25, 2009, 03:09 PM
Paintedtrails- I worked full time(60 hr/wk job) the first 2 years of my eldest daughters life-that was really hard and stressful as I wasn't good at delegating house/childcare responsibility to DH-hence lots of arguments! Since then, I worked for various pharmaceutical companies part time-so the pay was good for the hours worked but those jobs never seem to last. I lost my job last year and I'm looking into new career paths as my salary only needs to pay for horses/farm costs. It's all doable and there are lots of creative ways to mix horses/farms/families/work-sometimes it takes putting some things on hold, negotiating with spouses,etc. And COTH is such an excellent resource where you can get great ideas!!

poltroon
Jan. 25, 2009, 04:01 PM
As far as farm sitting goes, a couple of factors will come into play:

Is your farm REALLY far from everywhere? Do you have horsey neighbors?

Do the horses need a horseman farmsitter or can anyone do it?

Can someone come live in your house for the week you're gone? Is it comfortable? Central heat and air?

If our house were more comfortable, I could probably get city friends to vacation here while we go elsewhere. :D

Jleegriffith
Jan. 25, 2009, 04:40 PM
My family always had a farm and growing up I worked 7 days a week on the farm taking care of our horses, the boarders horses and the layups from the track. It was a lot of work. My mom runs a boarding business and I honestly thought there is no way I want my horses at home.
Then I got married and started boarding..wow what a nightmare! Even at the best barn it is hard to justify some of the corners that get cut. Then I leased a facility which worked well but lots of work and the same as owning your own place but you are not building any equity there.
We decided to buy 11 acres. Most of the land around our area has double wide houses or trailers of some sort on them and we wanted a house. My husband is military so there is always a chance we will have to pick up and move and the house is what has the most value.
We found a gorgeous 11 acre piece with a beautiful house. The farm I leased was 7 min away. We moved in and lived here about a year before we started thinking about a barn. I got to see the lay of the land and plan out my facility. We then started pricing out barns and I happened to see a barn on craigslist that was modular. I bought the 12 stall 36x72 foot barn for $36k with mats and all the extras included. I had to pay to have it shipped and put up but still well under $100k.
We had some fence done by the Amish but the majority we did with horseguard and put it up ourselves. I built the barn to make horse care easy. Hubby and I have ful-time jobs so we don't want to spend hours in the barn. My stalls have dutch doors on the back and open right into the paddocks. We built small sacrifice paddocks on each side of the barn and then a layout where we can open up gates from the sacrifice paddocks into the fields. It ensures 24x7 turnout but they are off the fields if the weather is bad.

The hard stuff:
We can't afford help so it's 1 hr in the morning and about an hour at night of work. It seriously cuts into my riding time to the point I have to just feed and then ride and leave the chorses until after I am done riding to make sure I am riding as many as I can (I get paid to ride).
Very costly- the little things you don't think of. Fencing, manure pits, tractors and implements required, drags for ring and fields and storage for hay/grain/etc.
Disposal of manure- we can't really spread it too little land.
No ring b/c they are way to expensive to build. Yes, I am saving up but that means less riding when the ground is frozen or wet.
Have to get your own jumps
Sick horses that require extra care

Pluses:
Watching your horses from the back window. For me not having to sit at the barn and wait for potential buyers to show up. If they show up then I am here but I am not waiting for anybody at the barn which is just wonderful. I can have my own barn cats :yes: Taking care of the horses the way I want to and knowing their every move. It is comforting to know the quality of care is top notch. I have had two seriously injured horses that are requiring lots of extra stuff but I am home and am able to do the stall rest myself and hand walk them and not worry about what is going on with them.

One other thing to consider is how it will affect your marriage. Sound silly but it is very hard on marriages. My husband is wonderful but he has a very stressful job and the farm is a lot of work. He sometimes resents having to come home and work on the farm or do horse stuff. He does love the horses but it takes a lot of time and effort to keep a small farm looking nice. Fence is constantly breaking, fields need to be dragged and just so so much more. Not to mention it is big step financially to take on a large property. The projects seem to be endless. You have to have a good marriage and open communication. I would not take on this project without knowing my husband is supportive of my dreams and shares the same outlook.

paintedtrails
Jan. 25, 2009, 04:51 PM
As far as farm sitting goes, a couple of factors will come into play:

Is your farm REALLY far from everywhere? Do you have horsey neighbors?

Do the horses need a horseman farmsitter or can anyone do it?

Can someone come live in your house for the week you're gone? Is it comfortable? Central heat and air?

If our house were more comfortable, I could probably get city friends to vacation here while we go elsewhere. :D

you bet! We have a college guy that comes out and lives in our house while we are gone. Gets internet, Plasma TV, food, etc to take care of 4 dogs and 3 cats...plus being paid.
We really lucked out, and found someone who used to raise shepherds, so he could handle our big guy. Did the whoel reference check thing too.

It will be stressful to start all over with it!

Equine24
Jan. 25, 2009, 05:20 PM
I don't have my own horse, I have been riding for 3 years now. I am a student and i was also thinking that too. I have come to the conclusion that i presonally would like to learn more about horses and if i would get my own horse i would board. If i would ever have a question i could always ask the barn keeper. Though, you sound like you have alot of experience with horses. I would go for it, you sound like you have a passion for it and would enjoy getting up in the morning. Also for vacation, i am sure you have alot of horsey friends that be more than happy to help. So i say, GO FOR IT! FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS!

Mozart
Jan. 25, 2009, 05:34 PM
I will come at it from a different perspective. My husband and I have put our farm search on hold for about 5 years for the following reasons:

1)With just one horse, boarding is just as cheap, and I have access to better facilities. I'd never be able to afford an indoor, and maybe not even an outdoor w/nice footing at this time.

2)With only one horse, I would actually need to get at least one more of some type of companion animal if my horse couldn't handle being alone.

3)At this time in our lives, committing to the 24/7/365 schedule would be very difficult, and the areas that we would have to live would add a lot of driving.

4)It would require quite a bit of additional equipment/time to maintain a larger property.

That said, if I was already househunting, I would absolutely be looking for something with land, with a layout that I liked for building a barn (or a preexisting barn. You could always wait to bring the horse home, and only issue 4 would apply. If you just have land, you could start small with a pasture and shelter, and live there for a few years while you get to know the property and where you want to put things (I think this is what I want to do.) Or, just take the plunge, find a place with a barn, and start pony shopping for the little one:lol:

Excellent, excellent advice.

EqTrainer
Jan. 25, 2009, 07:04 PM
Are either you or Mr. FG very handy?

I ask because if Mr. EqT was not able to build or fix just about anything, we could not afford to have our farm. My friends who cannot build their own buildings and fences spend an incredible amount of money on those things.. and getting things fixed for them is $$$$$$$. Equally important would be, whoever does the building/fixing.. do they like it? Again, Mr. EqT loves to build things. He's building a run-in to make a Pony Palooza now. I didn't even ask, I just mentioned that it would be ideal.

FlashGordon
Jan. 25, 2009, 10:21 PM
Thanks guys for all the amazing info! There is so much here I will have to re-read again tomorrow, and perhaps forward along to Mr. FG.

We drove by some properties today. One was definitely too far out, another was a convenient locale, but backed up to some condos/apartments and had a creek on the property which I did not like. Those two were houses with 5-10 acres. The third was ideal, but, it has no house yet! Just land, barn and pasture. :lol:

I dunno a huge part of us wants to do it, the other part, well we still have reservations about it. Hubby was living on an equestrian estate and acting as caretaker when I met him, but at the time, that WAS is full-time job. He says he would love to go back to farm life, but I have been reminding him that it would mean dealing with farm stuff AND his regular work stuff....

Then today I though, if I have horses at home I'd worry about them so much I'd never want to leave the property... not sure I need to add that kind of stress to my life LOL.

Ah well we are in no hurry so will keep looking and see what pops up this spring.

mainerinmd
Jan. 26, 2009, 05:57 AM
Like everyone else has said..there definately are pros and cons. I loved foaling my mare out at home - it was the experience of a lifetime. However when we moved from Maine to MD I found it really hard to #1 actually find a place near our price range that was already setup for horses, #2 justify the price and effort to put up a barn, pastures and arena on a place with the right land for horses and #3 without knowing any horsey people I knew we wouldn't be making any spur of the moment trips to Maine to visit family.

So we decided I would continue to board the two and buy a lovely house. I have a wonderful place to board and my now coming two yr old filly has a friend her own age to play with while my mare is the queen of the herd.

If you end up building, figure out how long it is going to realize the savings... cost of building/cost of board=#months it will take.

That being said - there is no price you can ever pay for the joy and bonding you will get from having them at home and caring for them 24/7/365...

2DogsFarm
Jan. 26, 2009, 07:02 AM
We drove by some properties today. One was definitely too far out, another was a convenient locale, but backed up to some condos/apartments and had a creek on the property which I did not like. Those two were houses with 5-10 acres. The third was ideal, but, it has no house yet! Just land, barn and pasture. :lol:

Then today I though, if I have horses at home I'd worry about them so much I'd never want to leave the property... not sure I need to add that kind of stress to my life LOL.

If the property with the barn was move-in ready (no fixups needed for the barn, fencing in place), you might consider a modular house. I mean the factory-built home that is shipped to your location. Providing insurance in your area will cover one.
If you find a suitable house w/o barn think about a modular barn - same thing as the house - shipped to you ready for use.

As to your worry: yup, it will happen...but it will pass.
When I brought my 2 home I drove home from lunch every day the first week (lucky for me it was just a 10min drive w/understanding boss).
All I ever found was grazing horses looking at me like: "What?!??"
Now I don't stress - and neither do the horses - if I'm a couple hours late getting home to feed.

pony89
Jan. 26, 2009, 07:09 PM
:lol:
The third was ideal, but, it has no house yet! Just land, barn and pasture. :lol:


I don't know why, but this really makes me laugh:lol: Does your husband know that a house is not mandatory in your definition of ideal?

Well, no reason you can't just pitch a tent in Western NY, right?


Back when we were searching, I found the almost ideal place. Fifty gorgeous, affordable acres, scenic views, a solid farmhouse (hard to find around here), etc. No fencing yet, but more than worthwhile to put it in. I still think about that property - the land was so beautiful! Oh yeah, and the house was approximately 50-75 feet from the rowdy bar next door, with a huge lit volleyball court and deck for summer tournaments and live bands along the property line. :no: And it had a creek running through the property cutting off the 5 or so acres abutting the road from the rest of the property, with a small bridge that would be inadequate for vehicles to get to the back half, and no utilities across the creek. And part of it classified as wetlands, but no one could tell us which parts.

Sigh...so close, and yet so, so far.:no:

And that's not even counting the one we looked at that did have a barn and fencing, plus they raised pigs in the house. Not cute little potbellied pigs, either. Hogs. And rabbits. Loose, running around in the rooms. And some people living in a pop up camper somewhere on the back of the property. (I'm not sure if they would have been staying or not! It looked pretty permanent) :o

Good luck. I feel your pain. I really do!

FlashGordon
Jan. 26, 2009, 09:10 PM
:lol:

I don't know why, but this really makes me laugh:lol: Does your husband know that a house is not mandatory in your definition of ideal?

Well, no reason you can't just pitch a tent in Western NY, right?

Yeah I know, I am mental. :lol: It is a running joke now, I make a point to send him properties that are lacking a house.

Today I sent him a property that has a farmhouse but no barn, and only on 1.5 acres so not horse friendly... he wrote back "wow this one actually has a place for us to live!!"

Whoever had the modular home/barn idea, that was a great suggestion... we've been doing some research into that as well!



Back when we were searching, I found the almost ideal place. Fifty gorgeous, affordable acres, scenic views, a solid farmhouse (hard to find around here), etc. No fencing yet, but more than worthwhile to put it in. I still think about that property - the land was so beautiful! Oh yeah, and the house was approximately 50-75 feet from the rowdy bar next door, with a huge lit volleyball court and deck for summer tournaments and live bands along the property line. :no: And it had a creek running through the property cutting off the 5 or so acres abutting the road from the rest of the property, with a small bridge that would be inadequate for vehicles to get to the back half, and no utilities across the creek. And part of it classified as wetlands, but no one could tell us which parts.

Sigh...so close, and yet so, so far.:no:

And that's not even counting the one we looked at that did have a barn and fencing, plus they raised pigs in the house. Not cute little potbellied pigs, either. Hogs. And rabbits. Loose, running around in the rooms. And some people living in a pop up camper somewhere on the back of the property. (I'm not sure if they would have been staying or not! It looked pretty permanent) :o

Good luck. I feel your pain. I really do!

See you know what I'm up against here in WNY!! ;) Trying to find an affordable property, with decent land, and a decent house.... it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

Catersun
Jan. 27, 2009, 08:41 AM
Flash- I find that I worry about the horses much less since they are at home instead of when I boarded out. If it became an issue that I was gone TOO much and wanted to be ale to see what they were up to while out, you can always set up a camera system and stream it online and check on them from a PDA or smart phone.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 27, 2009, 11:19 AM
Trying to find an affordable property, with decent land, and a decent house.... it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

Just WAIT. Seriously, we are nowhere near a bottom, there's a lot of pain to come. 50% of people trying to sell right now are competely delusional.

Look at what places arelisted at right now. In a year or two most will be 25% or more cheaper.

yellow-horse
Jan. 27, 2009, 11:37 AM
I boarded for 18 years at various barns and mostly worked off my board to afford 2 horses and then i rented a farm for 2 years and then i took the plunge and bought my own place. So by the time i did bring my home i had managed much larger places with more horses than my own backyard barn. I've had mine at home for 10 years now.
I'd sell the horses before boarding again.
I worry much less and have been able to go from a micro manager to a macro manager because my place is set up and run just like i want, so i don't have to jump in the car to drive someplace and "discuss" some issue or provide additional care for my horses that is not provided by the boarding barn. Don't get me wrong, i boarded with some very nice folks who are still friends and i appreciate their efforts but it was ultimately their barn, their rules, as it would be if i had boarders.
I've yet to find the really down side but it did take some effort, initially it was finding help and finding riding partners and trainers, but really just be friendly, join a club or organization, when i moved i moved out of state and left my husband behind, i didn't know anyone, the feed store people were my 1st contacts and then i went to a few shows and met folks and rode around the neighborhood, met the horse people, made friends, volunteered at the rescue squad etc. you have to be neighborly, some of the non horse neighbors will give you a hand if you do the same for them if you need to borrow a tractor or take down a tree etc.
I have 3 pet sitters, one from the feed store, one is a 4h kid and the other is my neighbor. My vet lives 10 minutes away and the hay guy is down the road and is about the most helpful person out here. Both have come out in a pinch but then again i bottle fed the hay guys orphan foal for him all night, so you find what you can do, offer help and folks will help you.
I think renting was a good idea for me, this was a total move for me and i thought i knew where i wanted to live and after renting for 2 years and getting to know the area found out there were better places within 50 miles of my job, if i had bought where i initially rented i wouldn't have been as happy as it was a rapdily developing area, i am now out in where the hell am i, virginny which i prefer.
today it is sleeting, freezing rain and snowing, i have no worries about my horses, they are home

FlashGordon
Jan. 27, 2009, 11:52 AM
I worry much less and have been able to go from a micro manager to a macro manager because my place is set up and run just like i want, so i don't have to jump in the car to drive someplace and "discuss" some issue or provide additional care for my horses that is not provided by the boarding barn. Don't get me wrong, i boarded with some very nice folks who are still friends and i appreciate their efforts but it was ultimately their barn, their rules, as it would be if i had boarders.

Yes this is the thing... right now even though my horse is on "full care" I am still there every day, chipping ice out of buckets, picking his stall, giving him his supplements and 3rd meal, etc. And that is not necessarily a reflection on the facility, it is just that I like things a certain way and so I make a point to be there every day to make sure they happen. In fact, I like this facility, because they LET me do this! ;) Most around here prefer less involvement from boarders.

But there are still times where I think heck if I'm driving out every day and doing all this stuff-- twice a day if there is a health issue or something-- it'd be awfully nice to be able to just step out the back door and not get in the car etc.

Catersun, the webcam idea is a good one! I had that thought the other night. It would certainly put my neurotic mind at ease when I was off the property or something!

And PP it is a good point about the market. In fact headed out to look at a foreclosure in a few hours. Not a horsey property, but in the horsey area of town and convenient to 5-6 different boarding barns.

Be interesting to see what pops up come spring...

Perfect Pony
Jan. 27, 2009, 12:04 PM
And PP it is a good point about the market. In fact headed out to look at a foreclosure in a few hours. Not a horsey property, but in the horsey area of town and convenient to 5-6 different boarding barns.

Be interesting to see what pops up come spring...

Hundreds of thousands of people are waiting until spring to list. I know of some. Everyone who owns a house thinks things are going to "turn around" in 2009. They are not. There's a glut of homes waiting to be sold, and only about 30% of the total number of foreclosures and defaults are on the MLS!

Current owners and the banks are holding back homes in the millions and interest rates are again on the rise. Layoffs are just gaining speed.

I, like you, really want property, for me it will be my eventual retirement home. But I am not going to blow my savings on a down payment, or stretch myself any more by even a dollar until we get a better idea of what all this money printing, bank bailouts, and layoffs means for the economy.

My opinion is it's time to hunker down and keep one's expenses as low as possible (and save as much as possible) if you are a simple working stiff like me!

Icecapade
Jan. 27, 2009, 12:08 PM
i've come to an interesting planning phase in my life... which involves lots of big decisions- including house purchase and potential marriage.

so lurking around and found this was awesome.

my guy isn't a horse person... farm but not horse. which is do-able I just don't want him to be my horse farm slave.

anyway... hoping that my horse obsession hasn't totally turned him off thus far, i have forwarded him this thread.

I grew up with no less than 5 horses on small property with plenty of trails. Everyone had adaquet turn out and good stalls, but as clearly child = stall slave, so I spent many days doing that. I could care less about fixing fences, horse maintance was my thing. And you get used to having them, it just is. I guess it would take a lot of adjusting from a 'normal' life to a horse one but I can't wait to get back.

I moved out of my home after college and took my horse with me... I have a stallion and good gawd... I can't find anyplace close to me (and my living arrangements were chained between my work and my roommates who was teathered to the base) b/c of him I drive 45 minutes one way to see him. I make it a point rain, shine sub freezing temps to go ride at least twice a week. And I hate it.
I'd rather have him with me at all times. Although sleeping in and taking my dance workshops is wonderful... I'd still rather have him than have to drive all over creation and ride in ungodly weather when I could have chosen to ride him on a slightly warmer day.

There are a lot of responsibities no doubt but I don't think its worth it for me.

thanks for a wonderful thread!

pony89
Jan. 27, 2009, 12:27 PM
See you know what I'm up against here in WNY!! ;) Trying to find an affordable property, with decent land, and a decent house.... it is like trying to find a needle in a haystack!

I hear you! Sometimes, if you can stand the commute, expanding your geographical area a little can yield some good stuff. The best stuff we have found has been kind of out there. How far out are you searching? Over the summer, Genesee county seemed to have some stuff available (Batavia/Pembroke/Pavilion area). It's right on the Thruway, but halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, so while it is not especially close to anything, it is at least a pretty fast, straight shot to try to get to either of those cities.

And like PP said, if you are in a position to take your time, I think there will be more available over the next year or so.

FlashGordon
Jan. 27, 2009, 02:48 PM
I hear you! Sometimes, if you can stand the commute, expanding your geographical area a little can yield some good stuff. The best stuff we have found has been kind of out there. How far out are you searching? Over the summer, Genesee county seemed to have some stuff available (Batavia/Pembroke/Pavilion area). It's right on the Thruway, but halfway between Buffalo and Rochester, so while it is not especially close to anything, it is at least a pretty fast, straight shot to try to get to either of those cities.

And like PP said, if you are in a position to take your time, I think there will be more available over the next year or so.

There was a gorgeous property in Pembroke, was on the market when we were looking 5 years ago, was purchased, then on the market again this winter. 8ish stalls, 10 acres, pasture, adorable farmhouse, just a lovely place. AND AFFORDABLE. We weren't in a position to bid right then... I was drooling over it for weeks!

8 stalls would kill me tho, I'd probably end up filling them!! :lol:

poltroon
Jan. 27, 2009, 03:39 PM
Modular houses are great, and you can have them to the same standards (or better) than stick-built, but that doesn't mean that putting one in isn't a big hassle. Getting the permits, the foundation, the well, the septic, the power, still can be a big deal and take a lot of time, especially if you're in a location where they're fussy about that sort of thing. And here in the west, that you can even get a usable well isn't a given.

Whenever you're looking at property with no house, ask yourself why there's no house. It means that there were better building sites on the property before it was divided, and it sometimes means that there's a reason why it's not especially practical to build a house there now - no market, but also no water, or too much water, or terrible soil, doesn't perc, or limited access in winter, or ...

Maybe it's a 'good enough' site, but tread with caution.

MSP
Jan. 28, 2009, 05:14 PM
I have boarded a few years but over 30 years of horse keeping have had them in my back yard most of the time.

Lately my little slice of heaven has turned into ... well not exactly heaven or horse paradise! Things change, oil and gas companies move in, neighbors get pissy and next thing you know you have no place to ride except in a circle on your own property.

Investigate the property the best you can. Nothing stays the same for ever and progress is hardly ever horse friendly.

Check zoning, do not take any ones word for it especially a real estate agent.

Look the property up on an online map like this http://maps.live.com/ or what ever one gives you the most detail.

Find out who owns what property around you! If it is a company what do they do?

Investigate the mineral rights before purchasing! Watch out for mineral leases. Watch out for mineral lease close to your property! The property could have had the mineral rights leased way before you buy and no one has to tell you!


Think about what kind of riding you like to do. If you love staying in an arena make sure you have room for one and consider an indoor. If you like to trail ride, do you mind trailering out for every ride or do you want to be able to ride off your property? If the later than really look into the location and where you can ride.

Good luck!

MSP
Jan. 28, 2009, 05:31 PM
Hundreds of thousands of people are waiting until spring to list. I know of some. Everyone who owns a house thinks things are going to "turn around" in 2009. They are not. There's a glut of homes waiting to be sold, and only about 30% of the total number of foreclosures and defaults are on the MLS!

Current owners and the banks are holding back homes in the millions and interest rates are again on the rise. Layoffs are just gaining speed.

I, like you, really want property, for me it will be my eventual retirement home. But I am not going to blow my savings on a down payment, or stretch myself any more by even a dollar until we get a better idea of what all this money printing, bank bailouts, and layoffs means for the economy.

My opinion is it's time to hunker down and keep one's expenses as low as possible (and save as much as possible) if you are a simple working stiff like me!


Heck they are saying we still have a second wave of foreclosures coming so it could be horrendous. Have you all seen this?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/12/12/60minutes/main4666112.shtml

Catersun
Jan. 28, 2009, 10:46 PM
Yes this is the thing... right now even though my horse is on "full care" I am still there every day, chipping ice out of buckets, picking his stall, giving him his supplements and 3rd meal, etc. And that is not necessarily a reflection on the facility, it is just that I like things a certain way and so I make a point to be there every day to make sure they happen. In fact, I like this facility, because they LET me do this! ;) Most around here prefer less involvement from boarders.

But there are still times where I think heck if I'm driving out every day and doing all this stuff-- twice a day if there is a health issue or something-- it'd be awfully nice to be able to just step out the back door and not get in the car etc.

Catersun, the webcam idea is a good one! I had that thought the other night. It would certainly put my neurotic mind at ease when I was off the property or something!

And PP it is a good point about the market. In fact headed out to look at a foreclosure in a few hours. Not a horsey property, but in the horsey area of town and convenient to 5-6 different boarding barns.

Be interesting to see what pops up come spring...


It's extra nice when you are sick... or your have an equine that isn't feeling well... I think MistyBlue even has an intercom from the house to the barn and back. When the time comes give me a shout. Mr Catersun does the camera stuff for work, so he knows his stuff. I'm happy to pick his brain for ya.

yellow-horse
Jan. 29, 2009, 12:03 AM
usually husbands love the webcam, it saves them from going out in their underwear in the middle of the night when wife hears something strange, i also have motion sensors so the lights on if they get loose and start heading down the driveway