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View Full Version : Advise and tips please! Bringing the horses home...



kch7238
Jun. 30, 2010, 01:05 PM
After 15 years of horse ownership and boarding, I am finally bringing my horses home. We moved to the property in April, and I have spent the time since preparing pastures, fencing, etc. Barn was built before the house - priorities you know! Anyway, I am worried that there is something I have not thought of or done, and would appreciate advise.

Hurricane Alex may rain on my parade, but my plan was to move on Saturday since Monday is a holiday and I have an extra day off work to be around.

TIA!!

saddleup
Jun. 30, 2010, 02:04 PM
I've had my three home for almost four years, and it's been a blast. It's so great to see them out my kitchen window.

It's an evolving process. I tried to anticipate things before I built the barn, but have made a couple of changes here and there as I figured out what would work better or would make my life easier. For example, last fall I added a 10 foot overhang over the stalls and runs on the west side of the barn, and had an additional hydrant installed by the fence near the stock tank. It's little things that you'll discover over time. Every time I DON'T have to haul a hose and then drain it in the winter I think what a good expenditure it was.

Finding a reliable hay supplier took some time.

Finding a good horse sitter took me about three years, and several attempts. I don't go away that often, though. I'd rather be home now, because having horses at home was always a dream of mine.

I didn't sleep much the first few nights they were home, though. Brace yourself for that! You'll learn things about your horses you never knew before. It's pretty amazing, actually.

Good luck, and enjoy!

EiRide
Jun. 30, 2010, 02:32 PM
When my guys came home, I was the expert and my other half a novice to horses. I got Dr. Karen Hayes book Emergency! so that there was a good step by step what to do until the vet comes book handy at all times.

pony grandma
Jun. 30, 2010, 03:20 PM
You'll learn things about your horses you never knew before.

This is the gospel truth and in a nutshell. I boarded out my early years, and it was great socially and for a lot of the riding learning. It wasn't until I had my horses at home, the past ahemmm..... 30 :eek: years that I came to KNOW them like I do now. And they to know you also the same way! It takes things to another plateau. lucky you, lucky them

kch7238
Jun. 30, 2010, 03:23 PM
Saddle up - thanks for the encouragement. I am already making a list of additions/changes in the barn and they aren't even there yet!

EiRide - My husband is non-horsey as well. He is willing to learn basics so I am grateful for that. I will get the book - it definitely would be a good one to have on hand.

Thanks again

PRS
Jun. 30, 2010, 03:53 PM
I've had my horses at home for 18 years and I can't imagine my life without them. I agree with the statement that you learn stuff about your horse that you never knew;) I enjoy the work involved in caring for them. Even mucking stalls doesn't bother me. I'm lucky that even though my husband isn't horsey he can be counted on to feed and turn out (or bring in) as necessary. He will fix fences and repair barns, help unload hay and shavings and basically make himself useful. Find a good hay supplier and stick with him. I've used the same hay supplier/farmer for all 18 years...when he retires his son will take over. My hope is that his son know as much about hay production as his father. It takes talent and commitment to produce quality hay. Buying direct from the farmer saves money too.
One of the most important thing I learned was to create a schedule that works for me and stick to it.

manyspots
Jul. 1, 2010, 08:27 AM
My guys came home to my new barn in December 2008 after I took an 8 year break to board and establish my career. When we were building my barn, I constructed it to be user friendly and give the horses 24/7 access to stall and paddock. I work shift work and sometimes get stuck at work, so them having access to inside hay or outside is important.

I honestly felt like I was learning how to care for horses all over again even though I never took a break for ownership. And I am definitely better educated about feed and nutrition than I ever was. Having them home allowed me to craft feeding plans that worked, figure out my gelding's major health issue, and manage a COPD situation with the old man boarder. I buy what I want, feed what I want, use my own horse care professionals.... and at the end of the day I only have to answer to myself :).

I agree.... schedules are good, but routine is even more important. My guys DO NOT eat the same time every day, but within a 2 hr. window.

My fiance grew up in a horsey home, and while he never rode, he did pick up a few skills along the way. Our deal was he builds the barn.... he gets a mini donkey. Donkey came home this April. Probably the most adorable creature I have ever met. Fair trade off.... and it means fiance feeds ALL THE TIME NOW!

Hay guy... :sigh: Still working on that one. First guy I used was expensive and unreliable. Then I used some feed stores. Won't do that again. Second guy went out of business. On to my third. Fingers crossed. My new hay comes next week. Be patient on that one! And find a great feed store!!!!!!

Other than that.... have fun!

Zu Zu
Jul. 1, 2010, 09:21 AM
Enjoy ~ what you don't know yet you and your husband will learn quickly :lol: ~ get those phone numbers ( vet & another vet and another vet ) printed multiple copies and laminated to post everwhere in the barn along with plumber, electrician, two hay men, farriers :yes:... you get the picture... GOOD LUCK and most importantly - ENJOY :cool: !!!!! ps plan for winter NOW when it is dry like gravel delivery....water tank heaters....duct tape ~ cable ties ~ flashlights and a pickup truck of patience and nerves of steel. Really my last rec would be to read all of MistyBlue's threads ~ brilliant "keeping horses healthly and happy at home" ideas & solutions !:cool::D

S1969
Jul. 1, 2010, 04:20 PM
Congratulations! You will definitely learn things about your horse you didn't know before! We got a new horse in November and kept her boarded elsewhere until March because no indoor here, and I had started to think she didn't actually have a personality. Since I really only saw her in her stall or being ridden, I never really *knew* her, but now that she's at home I can tell she has a very distinctive personality. [Unfortunately it's to be the barn troublemaker, but it's a true personality!]

You will be fine. Always good to have things organized and on hand (first aid supplies, tools in the barn, etc.) but you will figure out what you need and what you don't pretty quickly. Good gates and latches will help you sleep at night.

Having the numbers of all your "people" (vet farrier, farmsitter, etc.) in the barn is really important, including your a neighbor or two in case of an emergency so you can get help in a hurry if you need it.

Other than that I can't honestly think of much that is really necessary.....have at least one or two extra halters & lead ropes, an extra bucket or two in case one springs a leak, a spare hose is a godsend if you need one....a few weeks of extra hay than you plan to need so that you don't ever run out if you have a change in schedule....

Have fun!

jherold
Jul. 1, 2010, 04:25 PM
Always go out the same gate you go in and make sure it is latched. Best advice I've ever gotten

Go Fish
Jul. 1, 2010, 04:48 PM
Finding a reliable hay supplier took some time.

Finding a good horse sitter took me about three years, and several attempts. I don't go away that often, though. I'd rather be home now, because having horses at home was always a dream of mine.



This cannot be over-emphasized. Unless you plan on being tied to the property 24/7, get busy now. This was the one issue that prevented us from buying our own place until several years ago. My non-horsey DH would not tolerate being forced to give up an outside life because of the critters. I'm incredibly lucky to have a ton of animal-friendly neighborhood teens who are reliable and need a part-time job.

HealingHeart
Jul. 1, 2010, 10:39 PM
Another Congratulations, super, super. Have a great time this 1st day of the rest of your life. Enjoy all your hard planning and work and being in complete control of your horses, finally. They must be feeling the excitement too....

PS: Make sure you know your neighbors intent for fireworks so you can plan accordingly, this being your 1st 4th there

Whitfield Farm Hanoverians
Jul. 2, 2010, 12:30 AM
One of the most important things the others have left out: be sure you have comfortable chairs & tables overlooking the pastures & barn so you can sit in the shade, cool off with a cold drink, prop up your feet, & relax watching your beautiful horses knowing that they are getting the very best care they have ever received in their lives. Aaahhhhhh! Life is GREAT! You're going to have so much fun!

BellaLuna
Jul. 2, 2010, 10:32 AM
Learn to laugh at crap.

I still struggle with that as I am a bit OCD, but one thing that I have learned through my process of having horses at home, (and I am still learning), is that no matter how well you you think you have planned and thought things through, they will find a way to show you that owning and caring for horses is an on-going education. ;)

Enjoy!

kch7238
Jul. 2, 2010, 12:41 PM
Thanks so much to everyone for the advice, education, and encouragement! I was in the barn last night putting shavings into stalls, getting water buckets hung up, etc. and realizing the OCD side to my personality may not be a bad thing! I did not think of posting the important phone numbers, was relying on my cell, but will do so at once. My neighbors are unfortunately big on fireworks, so I will be bringing in at night earlier than I planned for this weekend. Although if the rain from the hurricane does not stop soon, we will be under water for the 4th. I may worry too much, but I scheduled my new vet to come out on Tuesday to float teeth as well as be sure she can find my place(!) and to give any suggestions for changes she has about my setup, feeding program, etc. I am really looking forward to this, and I so appreciate the wisdom from those of you who have been there!

HealingHeart
Jul. 2, 2010, 02:02 PM
Hi kch7238, you might want to give your guys a little more time to settle in before Doctor work... the sedation off a day of fireworks might not be so good if any of your guys react to fireworks.... Lots of changes for them, so I would consider keeping it simple., have the vet out, chat, pay for the barn call, but limit the work.

PS: Some horses don't eat or drink as well when fireworks have been going off and its not always at night... day time too


Thanks so much to everyone for the advice, education, and encouragement! I was in the barn last night putting shavings into stalls, getting water buckets hung up, etc. and realizing the OCD side to my personality may not be a bad thing! I did not think of posting the important phone numbers, was relying on my cell, but will do so at once. My neighbors are unfortunately big on fireworks, so I will be bringing in at night earlier than I planned for this weekend. Although if the rain from the hurricane does not stop soon, we will be under water for the 4th. I may worry too much, but I scheduled my new vet to come out on Tuesday to float teeth as well as be sure she can find my place(!) and to give any suggestions for changes she has about my setup, feeding program, etc. I am really looking forward to this, and I so appreciate the wisdom from those of you who have been there!

Summit Springs Farm
Jul. 2, 2010, 04:00 PM
Congrats! You will love it, just being able to sit down around you our horses on your own property. Enjoy, try not to worry too much!

Saidapal
Jul. 3, 2010, 06:52 PM
You'll find yourself learning their routine and watch for any sudden changes. They will eat, graze, nap, come for water at pretty much the same time every day. You will find yourself looking for them at specific places where they usually are during the day. Sudden changes or odd behavior deserves a second glance. I never worry when I see all 3 of mine stretched out in the sand at one in the afternoon. It's their nap time. Sudden laying down at rolling at 6p.m. deserves a second glance and watching.

Also, if you can't feed at exactly a specific time don't worry, they will survive. I live and take care of my horses by myself and they eat when I get home. Usually what I find is they have wandered off to graze when I'm running late and will come running. I have never had them say, "No, no, it's too late. We can't eat now."

And you will love the midnight carrot runs just because you can.

I still remember my vet saying years ago, "They will survive despite you." Truer words were never spoken.

toriwilson
Jul. 5, 2010, 07:21 AM
Hi,

For me, seeking the perfect horse farm is both exciting. For many of us, choosing to live with our horses means embracing our core values. I would say, it's so nice to bring your houses at home. Thanks for your sharing.