Moving from Busy Boarding Stable to Quiet Backyard
The spouse and I are looking at suburban horse properties.
We have two geldings now, ages 9 and 19, and I am planning on adding a third horse.
At the boarding stable, our horses live in 12X24 pens with one hour turnout daily. At home, they would have larger pens attached to a riding ring/big turnout, eat more often and graze a few hours per day, but they won't have as much companionship.
There are other horses within earshot but not sight.
THey will be fine, even just two, but three is better (I have 3 at home). Mine went from a similar situation, from full board with paddock turnout 8 hours a day, to what is now turnout 24x7 with access to the barn. They are very, very happy.
And the only other horses that they can see right now are my neighbors across the street, or anyone that rides by the farm.
There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams
It's safe to say they will definately be happy. They'll have each other, so as long as you don't take 2 out at a time (out of sight), they should be fine. Some horses don't even care when all of their buddies are gone and are just fine with the grass. I have four at home, all with 24/7 turnout (weather permitting) and access to stalls and they love all the time they get to do what they want. My TB is MUCH happier here at home than he was at the boarding stable I kept him at one summer. Even though he was in half the day and out half the day, he just didn't enjoy the atmosphere.
We've only got two at home (geldings) and while they like each other they're definitely not a bonded pair. I take one or the other off the property for a ride with no issues. Only time they act really buddy bound is if one is in the barn and the other is out. Hence they're both stalled if someone needs to be in for any reason.
Are you horses going to be turned out together or separately in their pens?
I had my horse at a boarding facility that did limited turnout, but was very busy - lots of stuff to see/hear and other horses/people to see.
Moved the horse to a private farm next door where with him, there was a total of 3 horses. Each had a huge paddock attached to their stall so they could come and go as they pleased. I thought he would be A LOT happier with the vastly improved turnout situation, but he was bored out of his mind. He hated it.
He was so bored standing in his paddock - he starting chewing the wood rails and trying to knock down the fence in between the paddocks so he could hang out with the other horses. We actually got kicked out because his behavior became so destructive (to their property).
If he had been allowed to be with the other horses, I think he would have been fine.
I brought my two mares home from a boarding stable four years ago to live at home. They did beautifully, right from day one. They were always turned out together (I don't like nor do I have time or space for individual turnout unless absolutely mandatory) and settled in immediately.
I did find adding a 3rd (a Shetland pony) helped with separating them when I'd ride--nobody was "left behind" all alone that way.
I think they will be happy! 3 is a good number. I rotate groups and separate for feeding (under supervision, there are some who can't go out with others) so none of them get too bonded ( this has been an issue w/ 2 of the geldings making it difficult for the owners to ride and groom etc). My latest boarder came from a very busy barn and the horse had lost of issues, stall sour, a tad underweight, no real turn out schedule etc and he is THRIVING. His owner still take him to the fancy barn for lessons but he is like a different horse ( according to her). I always say " Why does your mother tell such lies about you??" ha ha. You'll love it. It is the best!
We did the same thing about 5 years ago. Your guys are likely going to love the change! When we moved our hard keeper mare home, she started picking up weight and has looked fantastic since. I don't know whether it was our feeding regimen or the fact that she was out pretty much 24/7 that made the difference but she is significantly happier.
I agree that three horses are better than two if you have a horse that bonds hard. Enjoy having them at home!
A horse may be coaxed to drink, but a pencil must be lead.