Sorry for venting, but I really need some advice. I currently have my horses at home. I love being able to take care of them myself, don't mind the work, and really just enjoy the entire atmosphere of having horses at home. The only problem is that I am lonely.
I have no one to ride with anymore and although I still talk to my horsey friends here and there, it's just not the same. I miss having friends to chit chat with while being at the barn and also having other people around when I ride. I just LOVED that type of atmosphere of the boarding barn and here at home it's just ME...husband is not into horses at all.
Anyway, I am seriously thinking of taking in a boarder or two for company. I know that would mean more responsibility and I would have to think about insurance/overhead that sort of thing. My other option would be to rent out stalls to a trainer...I have an indoor.
I think renting out some stalls would be a great idea. I'd like to do that myself eventually (although it would be pasture board). I am in a similar situation, and it does get awfully lonely. I have a friend who actually drives out to ride one of my horses, and that's when I get my social time. Unfortunately it's not very often.
What I was contemplating doing was having a boarder, and allowing them to get money off their board if they will farm sit. Might be a great option for you as well, I know back up care is one of my biggest stresses of having them at home.
How about advertise to fellow at-home folks that they can use your indoor, either by a season membership or by day?
I bet that would be a godsend to folks in your area in the winter. And maybe people could rent a stall for a night or two, like plan on a weekend of riding in the indoor and stabling Friday and Saturday.
Eventually, you might have some schooling shows or see if any trainers want to use it for a clinic.
That way you might run into some folks that you eventually would like as long-term boarders, too.
How about organising a Friends Night once a week, bi-weekly or once a month where your horse friends would know you would be home so they could come ride indoors. Have them bring a snack and a beverage and play some music.
::If I was wrong don't you think I would know it?::
Do you have any horse-less friends (if not, maybe your friends have friends they can suggest) capable of riding one of your horses? Perhaps you could negotiate a lease or half-lease which would give them some saddle time and you can work out something where you would both ride together?
I have a friend who keeps her horses with me. We share the work, we share some of the expense, sometimes we get to ride together, if our schedules allow. When I travel, she takes care of everyone. It works great for us. She doesn't pay me board, but pays for her feed, etc. and all the horsesitting when I travel.
There is no snooze button on a cat that wants breakfast.
Mike - you're incorrigible (or is that encourageable?) LOL. My sis has a barn, big one, with a lovely ring. One horse. Boarders did not work for her, for a bunch of reasons. She does enjoy the conpanionship of having horse people and the SO's around. Her solution - a monthly "clinic" -- limited number of people, relaxed atmosphere, no pressure. Everybody gets to watch, listen, offer opinions. She has plenty of stall space, so nobody had to leave their horse on a trailer or leave too early. It was such a hit that they are thinking of doing it once a month or so. So, you might find a local instructor, or just some people who share your particular discipline interest and invite them over. As for boarders, as sis pointed out. 6 or 10 boarders is a business, one is a pain in the .... - well, you get it.
Just remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, only backwards and in high heels.