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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
    Posts
    2,191

    Default bringing horses home: first timer

    While I've been a horse owner for over two decades, I'm finally in a situation where I can bring my boys home! I have a solid idea of what it takes, as I am one of those who cares for them myself at shows and such, and have had the opportunity to have them at "home" for short stretches when I was younger, at my parents' farmette. Anyway, I'm currently looking for a small farmette of my own.

    My reason for posting is I'm soliciting advice/tidbits of information that I may not have thought of.

    I'm also soliciting specific advice on budgeting, and what I should budget for. I'll be meeting with a loan officer soon and obviously need an idea of what I can afford. I've always worked in "boarding dollars" before, and I'm finding it hard to convert to "keeping at home dollars".

    And I have a specific question:
    What is the best way to go about purchasing hay? It would "only" be for three horses, in Louisiana. Word of mouth? Hay auctions? I do have a solid base knowledge of hays, and would prefer to "mix" my own from straight grass or alfalfa bales, since each horse has different needs. So I would need both straight alfalfa and straight grass (bermuda is what I'm most familiar with, but I'm moving from northern climes so I'm not sure what other grasses are down south). But I'm open to suggestions.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    9,587

    Default

    Think really carefully about the layout of your farm before bringing horses home.

    Where will pastures go, where should the barn go, is there adequate drainage?

    Or if land is already setup for horses: what can you rearrange at least expense, to make things work better for you.

    Arrange things for your convenience and so non-horsy people can at least feed & water in an emergency.

    IMO water (frostfree hydrant) and electricity in the barn are NOT negotiable, both are lifesavers.

    I buy my year's worth of hay from 1st & 2nd cutting. It just gives me peace of mind to have the barn full and that worry out of the way for the year.

    My hayguy sought me out before I even moved the horses here.
    But if he hadn't, I'd have asked local barns or neighbors with horses who they used.
    This is one thing I try to budget for, but lucky for me, hayguy is willing to deliver then wait for installments.
    I try to pay him in full in 2 or 3 payments.

    I have a decent feedstore just minutes away and TSC is just a short drive.

    Make sure you have a vet & farrier lined up who are willing to make farm calls.
    If not, you will need to trailer your horses to these pros.
    And budget for their charges - my vet is a 2X year expense for vaccinations & a general health check, shoer is every 6-8 weeks year-round.

    Other than that, my advice is to relax and enjoy having your horses at home.
    There is no feeling in the world better than doing a latenight barncheck in your PJs
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 19, 2009
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    1,287

    Default

    A lot of this depends on the farmette you find! You might find one that is all set up and ready to go, or you might find one that needs a lot of improvements.

    Depending on how much pasture you get, and its quality, "only three horses" could mean a very large barn full of hay! If you're lucky, you'll find a place with (or create) enough storage that you can buy a year's worth all at once. If not, some suppliers will let you buy a year's worth but have it delivered in increments. If you have enough pasture, then you won't have to buy as much hay. When I lived in the SE, some years my entire year's purchase was around 10 bales (for 2 horses), other years up to 40... but that was with 20+ acres of good pasture. A huge contrast to where I am now! But if you don't have a lot of good pasture you might have to buy several tons of hay a year.

    Since you are in the budgeting pre-buying stages (good for you for remembering to budget!) whatever you calculate - overestimate, or calculate for 5 horses instead of three. Not that you will suddenly get two more horses, but prices - esp feed and hay - can fluctuate a lot, especially if you're talking about alfalfa because I imagine it has to be trucked in from far away. Then there's always something else you need... someone breaks a halter, you need fly sheets, heck the cost of fly spray itself in buggy areas can run you bankrupt.

    Do you have a trailer and a tow vehicle already? If not, you might want to consider budgeting for that too. I know some people who get by without but it means no emergency trailering to a vet clinic, and it's real hard to pick up 10 bags of shavings in a Ford Focus. I did the first year of at-home horse ownership without a trailer, but it is so much more convenient to have a truck/trailer. Some years I don't know how I would have gotten hay if I didn't haul it myself.

    You will need a plan for your manure. If you compost with three horses, you'll want some sort of small tractor with a bucket. You may also want to build a composting area. If you'll be spreading it, you'll need a spreader (or money to rent one). Also, some type of tine/chain harrow if you're planning on harrowing the pasture with the manure. Of course some people have it hauled away but that costs money too. If you buy enough pasture, you'll want a way to mow it too, which might mean a brush hog for the tractor or at least a rugged "regular" mower.

    Budget for insurance, for the property as well as the horses.

    Congratulations!!!! It's a big step and very exciting!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2008
    Posts
    286

    Default

    Congratulations!!

    I moved my horses home after 25 years of boarding about a year ago and I will NEVER go back!!

    I have a similar situation, 2 of my own and a 4 stall barn. I usually keep one sales horse and one foster horse as well. I find that it's very easy to do the care on this many horses daily and also get my riding in.

    For me, these were priorities we were able to make happen:

    --Adequate pasture! I am a big turnout person, mine are out about 14 hours a night right now because it's so hot. In the spring and fall, grass willing, they can spend about 20 hours out each day. I do like to bring mine in for a few hours am and pm to relax, eat, etc. I have about 2 acres of good grass per horse, subdivided with good fencing.

    I am very careful to not overload my fields, so that there is always good grass, which leads to priority number 2...

    --Good hay! And the storage space for it! You will want to store at a MINIMUM 6 months, but preferably a year, at a time. This will keep your costs down and give you peace of mind. I live in S. MD...and I feed a lot of hay, especially in the winter. My hard keeper mare goes through almost a bale a day...for an average of 3 horses I went through a little over 200 bales in a year. We throw hay in the fields in the winter in low water troughs to keep it from wrecking the grass (what little there is).

    --Pasture rotation space. We built a third field, separate from the other fencelines, to allow for quarantine and field rotation. Flex space, as it were.

    --As someone else said, frost free water in the barn and electricity with ample lighting by stalls is non-negotiable!

    --Trough heaters and fans. Use that electricity to power fans in the summer and trough heaters in the winter. We consolidate our big trough under the fence so we only have to heat one that they share between fields. Use the kind that go in the bottom through the plug hole, not the floating kind. If you have a special needs child like I do who thinks water troughs are swimming pools and floating heaters are pool toys, you will be glad you did!

    --Secure food storage/dust free tack storage. I have an awesome tack room that keeps my tack dust free and one corner doubles as my feed room. Keep all feed in galvanized metal trash cans or sealable heavy duty plastic containers to keep mice out. With so few horses, I only buy the feed that will fill the garbage cans and so I don't have to store additional feed. Generally, a 30 gallon garbage can holds 3 50 pound bags of feed. The only exception is fluffy feed like beet pulp flakes or wheat bran. Keeping your feed in closed containers with no additional storage keeps pests down. You want to keep your tack in an enclosed tack room because you'd be shocked at the amount of dust generated in the barn in just a day or a week.

    --Bedding. You need space to store whatever bedding you are using. Obviously, buying in bulk will reduce your price, just like hay. You need to consider what your priorities are, as this will determine the best bedding for you. Some people live for the beautiful clean look of fluffy new shavings and nothing else will do. If that is the case, you will have to go with bagged big flake shavings--in my opinion, the worst choice due to their bulk, expense and difficulty of cleaning. Something to consider is that the bigger the flake, the more will end up in compost, and the more manure you will have to dispose of! I recommend either the small flake, sawdust-like shavings, bulk sawdust (if you have a covered bin) or something like Streufex straw pellets or pine pellets (if you can adjust your cleaning style to the material). The GREAT thing about Streufex or pine pellets is that the bags are much smaller and so you can store so much in a small space. I can keep 60 bags in the space I kept 15 shavings bags! This allows me to buy a pallet at a time and save a dollar a bag

    --Manure management. Others have covered this...but it is important. If you have a place away from the barn to make a pile, good for you! IF you have to do a bin and have it taken away, you have to figure out the best course. We are lucky in our rural area, to have a neighbor who comes and takes my pile for his garden several times a year.

    --One thing that was a must for me was a wash stall and hot water. I soak all my feed so in the winter hot water has to happen! My awesome husband dug out the floor of the cross ties, installed french drains and gravel and got me a propane driven on-demand hot water heater! Best thing ever!

    --Rubber mats...if you have a dirt aisle (as we do), you should put mats down in the aisle, wall to wall. You definitely want them in the stalls, it will use less bedding and make your life infinitely easier. If you have a concrete aisle, you should at least put mats in the grooming areas and consider putting them down the middle of the walkway to minimize slipping.

    --Lockable perimeter. We have it set up so that the gates that open to the outside world have padlocks on them. I have a catch pen attached to the barn and the fields are off that. Gives me peace of mind that if a horse gets away from my husband, they are still contained. My barn is close to the main road, about 500 ft in front of my house, so we lock the outside up at night. It would be too easy for a passerby to open a gate and for me to wake up to no horse in the field! So...we lock the perimeter at night and have access through the barn during the day.

    --Natural disasters. This just came into play again last week. In the country, usually you are on a well. This means that when you lose power, you lose water. So...buy the big water troughs, each of my guys has a 100 gallon tank in the field. When a storm is coming, etc, we fill them each all the way to the top so we have fresh water when the power goes out (3 days last week). This also decreases your daily workload, you only have to refill the troughs when you dump and scrub them weekly instead of daily.

    --Things I wish I had!!

    --Separate building for hay and bedding storage. I HATE having it in the barn! Fire hazard! But that is what I have.

    --Sacrifice paddock. We put gravel down in the gate area of each paddock, but what would be better is a totally separate sacrifice paddock for the winter.

    --Tractor! We don't have our own and so we pay a neighbor to bush hog and mow for us. We are renting and have no garage or barn to store such a machine, so for us this is the best solution. But you have to have access to these machines, so either buy one or find someone to do it for you. I will say that it's hours of work to keep the grass in control, so I am happy that we pay someone to do it! Still cheaper than board

    --Field shelter! We have NOTHING in our fields, so we are at the mercy of the weather. I will not leave mine out in lightning or severe rain...or obviously in this crazy heat. If I had grounded shelter, they would have the option to get out of the rain, wind, storms, etc.


    Sorry this is long....but these are some of the things I would consider if I were you going into this. I find in terms of dollars, that I can keep almost 3 horses for what I was boarding one for. Now, the cost of my barn rental is negligible as it is rolled into my house rent, so I don't count that.

    It costs between 200 and 300 dollars per month per horse on average for actual supplies (feed, hay and bedding). Less in the south I imagine, and of course, less if you have more pasture or do 24 hour turnout. More if you keep them in all day, have less pasture or buy expensive feed (cavalor, etc) or super supplements.

    Also remember that if you have empty stalls, you will fill them! It's almost impossible to keep them empty

    Try to set things up to make it convenient for you...multiple frost free hydrants so you aren't dragging hoses all over creation. I would love to have one at each field, but I don't, so again my huge troughs help me out. If possible, multiple plugs, so you don't have to drag extension cords all over the place. If you have limited outlets as I do, you can set up "permanent" extension cords in the rafters so that you just have to unplug at one location and nothing to step on. I have my fans on one side on one plug and the other side on another plug.

    Just my thoughts...
    TPR!
    Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc
    www.goodhorse.org



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2002
    Location
    way out west
    Posts
    3,170

    Default

    I moved to my own place six years ago after years of boarding. I picked my farrier and vet's brain for ideas, things they like and don't like in their clients' barns. I found my hay supplier through my farrier. He'd just been at another barn when they got their hay and gave me the info. Finding a reliable hay supply was the most challenging part of moving my horses home. Once I did, I have treated him like gold. I just got my hay for the year.

    As someone said, try to set it up so a non-horseperson could come and feed in a pinch and not have to handle your horses. You never know when you'll get stuck somewhere and have to call on friends or family to do a feeding for you.

    Design for easy access for deliveries. I have my manure picked up every week by a big dump truck. They came out to see the access before they agreed to come here weekly. The driver told me he was amazed at how some places much larger than mine are nearly impossible to negotiate in and out.

    Figure out which way the prevailing winds blow, and site your barn accordingly. I have a sixteen foot aisle and can open up both north and south sliding doors so catch a great breeze in the summer, and have overhangs outside the stalls so even when it's snowing the horses' stall stay dry. Take your time before you build, so you see how the property drains.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2008
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    1,004

    Default

    First of all, congratulations!!! You will love it, not all the time (like -10 degree weather at midnight when I am throwing hay and checking water) but overall there is nothing like it.

    As far as hay, my advice is to ask as many people as possible. We stumbled upon our hay guy by accident; bought our farm in August and most of the well-known hay suppliers had already sold out for the season. Our guy was recommended by one of the suppliers we had contacted; he had recently lost a huge customer because they sold out and we stepped in. We've been buying from him for five years now and the hay is wonderful. However, we never would have found him on our own.
    JB-Infinity Farm
    www.infinitehorses.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,879

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by morganpony86 View Post
    Anyway, I'm currently looking for a small farmette of my own.
    First things first - how many horses do you have now, what's a reasonable number to expect to accumulate? How much time do you have to devote to daily care? My point is - you CAN successfully manage more horses on less acreage, but as the # horses/acre goes up, the more labor intensive that management is. Of course, huge acreage is intensive too, but it's a type that can be more easily managed on weekends and after work because many of the chores are not daily - mowing, weed eating, etc. But if you have more horses per acre, you'll be spending a lot more time daily picking up manure in paddocks, cleaning stalls, and feeding hay. So, consider that in terms of the minimal number of pasture-suitable acres you want

    When you find something you think might be suitable, pay very careful attention to the lay of the land. Ideally you want to go see it after/during a hard rain to see where water runs and where it stands. Anything that stands for a bit this time of year is going to stand a lot longer in the Winter



    My reason for posting is I'm soliciting advice/tidbits of information that I may not have thought of.

    I'm also soliciting specific advice on budgeting, and what I should budget for.
    some things are entirely going to depend on how much land you have. Less than 5 acres or so and you might be able to get away with a garden tractor, depending on the terrain. 10 acres? You're going to need at least a small real tractor.

    Super duper basics are fencing, shelter (for horses and hay), wheelbarrow, garden tractor, everything you'd need to pick up manure and put out hay.

    In terms of care - so much depends on the size of the acreage and how many months a year you'll be feeding hay.

    More costs are seeding and fertilizing pasture.

    I'll be meeting with a loan officer soon and obviously need an idea of what I can afford. I've always worked in "boarding dollars" before, and I'm finding it hard to convert to "keeping at home dollars".
    If you're looking for raw land, that's really hard to find a loan for. If you're looking for something that already has a residence, obviously it's easier, though even then I think loans get difficult with more than X acres.

    whatever the LO says you can "afford" will be based on your salary, mostly, so take that and cut it by at least 1/3, if not more.

    You're going to have some things that are no different than what you have to do now - vaccines, teeth floating, hoof care, deworming. Average those out over the last year or so, add 10% or so, and divide that by 12 for a general monthly cost

    Hay costs are SO varied, depending on where you are, the cutting, whether you can pick it up out of the field (cheaper) or buying it out of the barn (more $$), or having it delivered (even more $$). You will nearly always be paying more per ton if you are having to buy by the bale, than if you buy by the ton.

    You will have to spend $$ on gas to mow and weed eat, some maintenance $$ on those things, not to mention their purchase.

    And I have a specific question:
    What is the best way to go about purchasing hay? It would "only" be for three horses, in Louisiana. Word of mouth? Hay auctions? I do have a solid base knowledge of hays, and would prefer to "mix" my own from straight grass or alfalfa bales, since each horse has different needs. So I would need both straight alfalfa and straight grass (bermuda is what I'm most familiar with, but I'm moving from northern climes so I'm not sure what other grasses are down south). But I'm open to suggestions.
    I'd start by talking to local barns about where their hay comes from and go from there. Talk to the Dept of Ag in that state. www.hayexchange.net is a good source. Word of mouth is great. Find a nice farmer and make him love you Good customers get preferential treatment in many cases

    We did what you're doing 8 years ago. So. Happy. We set up things very basic to start - fencing. Our county only has a requirement of "shelter", doesn't have to be a formal structure, so we were able to take advantage of a tree line as the shelter. We got a GREAT deal on a tractor and mower. Horseguard fencing was cheap and easy to set up and is SO cheap and easy to maintain.

    Next came the barn. A few years later the ring.

    Despite having the barn, horses are out 23 hours a day. That means very very little daily required tasks. Nov/Dec- Mar/Apr is the most intensive on a daily basis as I put out hay twice a day. They come in to eat, no daily stall-cleaning, etc.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,879

    Default

    After reading a few other replies, I just have some more comments

    Water/electricity/frost free hydrant ARE negotiable depending on your setup My barn is close enough to the house that hooking up a hose was very doable for almost 8 years. It was only mildly a pita in the Winter having to connect and disconnect any time I wanted water in the barn area, but, since I don't keep horses in there on any regular basis, it wasn't a huge concern at all.

    We did have electricity put in when the barn was built - it really only made sense. It took a couple of years to put concrete in the aisle and wash stall - soemthing like that can be done later to help spread out costs.

    The ONLY thing I wish I'd done differently was having the frost-free hydrant put in *inside* the barn when the concrete went in. As it is, the hydrant just went in a few months ago and it's right outside the barn as it was going to be a huge pita, not to mention $$, to put it inside at this point. Not a huge deal, just a "I wish I had..."

    Calculating how much hay to buy in a year - figure 2% of their body weight a day, then multiply that by however many weeks you figure you'll have to feed it. Add in another 10-20% for various reasons - find a bad bale or three, have a cold spell, etc. If all horses are hard keepers, figure 3% of body weight and add 10%.

    I spend WAY less than $200 per horse per month to care for them. However, that's largely because they 1) don't eat a lot of concentrates, 2) I don't feed hay 8-ish months of the year, and 3) they are not stalled so I go through very, very little bedding.

    If you're looking at raw land, consider how far off a main road the location of the house will be - greatly affects the cost of the driveway and getting electricity run. You also want to make SURE there is a perk site, and you want to know the water situation
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 14, 2012
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    50

    Default Run Ins and auto waterers

    Everyone has given you great advice. Run ins and auto waterers are a must. Nice big run ins w/ hay racks and freeze proof waterers so you can go away for a long day or night and not have to worry and just in case your backup caretaker can't make it. Hay auctions are cheaper but most of the time you have to transport a large amount of hay home and stack it. Sometimes it is worth it to pay a little more to have smaller quantities delivered and stacked for you. (depends on how much free labor is available!)
    One down side for me was that I did not have anyone to ride with. Consider one boarder so you will have company if that is important to you.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,879

    Default

    I will have to disagree as well that auto-waterers are a must They might be for some situations but certainly not for all.

    I personally don't EVER want an auto waterer. It costs $$ to run water lines to wherever (and granted, sometimes you just have to do that as you can't run a hose 2000' ), if (when) they get busted there's water running everywhere, and filling a couple of 100 gallon water tanks easily lets you go away for a day or weekend.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2010
    Posts
    2,152

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    (and granted, sometimes you just have to do that as you can't run a hose 2000' ), .
    Bah, I have an 1100-ish' uphill run.... 5/8" garden hose :=) Too bad it's not winterproof, though...
    Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...
    http://www.wvhorsetrainer.com



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
    Posts
    2,191

    Default

    Thanks all for the great pieces of advice! You have given me a lot to think about.

    Unfortunately, one of the three has to be turned out by himself due to a severe old injury. In addition, two of the three require minimal turnout/exercise due to age/injury. So I am looking more for a place where I can keep them stalled with small daily turnout (individual sacrifice lots or, better yet, stalls with outdoor runs attached).

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    First things first - how many horses do you have now, what's a reasonable number to expect to accumulate? How much time do you have to devote to daily care? My point is - you CAN successfully manage more horses on less acreage, but as the # horses/acre goes up, the more labor intensive that management is.
    But, JB, you have given me a lot to think about. I'm fairly certain I am maxed out on three. I will not be getting another until someone crosses the rainbow bridge (and my fiance has put his foot down, so even if I wanted to get another, he'd veto it). That being said, if everyone lives into their 30's and I have a daughter who "needs" a pony in 10 years, you can bet I'll be buying a 4th.

    Time I can devote/day is currently 5-6 hours, because I currently devote 2-3 hours/day in driving to my current barn 5 days a week. I am more than prepared to spend 4 hours a day to feed/water/muck, plus additional time on weekends (all day, really, as that is what I currently spend at the barn!).

    Feel free to chime in on whether that is adequate for daily care of three horses. I have a feeling it will be, but heck if I know.


    Quote Originally Posted by echodecker View Post
    --Natural disasters. This just came into play again last week. In the country, usually you are on a well. This means that when you lose power, you lose water.
    Thank you for this tidbit; I had not thought of that!!

    Same for the frost-free hydrants. That was obviously a well-known must when I was in MN, but it may not have been so high on my list in southern Louisiana. But I'm certain it still gets below freezing at some point during the year!


    Quote Originally Posted by echodecker View Post
    --Manure management. Others have covered this...but it is important. If you have a place away from the barn to make a pile, good for you! IF you have to do a bin and have it taken away, you have to figure out the best course. We are lucky in our rural area, to have a neighbor who comes and takes my pile for his garden several times a year.
    The manure management is a good one, and one I have extensively considered, but still am trying to get an idea of in terms of "amount". Exactly how much manure would three horses produce in a year? Semi-trailer full? half? quarter? I have ideas, but I hope to get a better handle on what I would eventually do with it all once I find a place and figure out what neighbors/friends I have.

    Quote Originally Posted by spotmenow View Post
    First of all, congratulations!!! You will love it, not all the time (like -10 degree weather at midnight when I am throwing hay and checking water) but overall there is nothing like it.
    Thankfully, in Louisiana, that won't happen. After living in MN for 5 years, a low of 40 in December will be tropical.



    Other hay question-

    How easy is it for hay to be delivered? I will obviously not have the equipment to go pick up a shipment of 650 bales to cover me for the year. And will they help stack it?



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 3, 2012
    Location
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    102

    Default

    Well, I don't have a horse at home, but have a farm and can answer a few of these:

    1. Hay delivery all depends on who you find and what your storage capacity is. It is MUCH easier to find someone to deliver a tractor trailer or hay truckload than only 30 bales. Some will stack and some won't. If you can't store a year's supply make sure that they will reserve enough for you--it REALLLY sucks trying to find good reasonably priced hay in March b/c you underestimated or they sold out. Last year I was lucky enough to find someone with good hay who would deliver and stack 50-100 bales/load for $4.50 a bale! (That is a great price for delivered, stacked, second cutting orchard grass here in NY, my old supplier wanted $6.75, plus $30 for delivery and a mileage charge, unstacked!)

    2. Water--if you are in an area that has blackouts fairly often or for long periods, get a generator that can at least power your water pump (if you're on a well). Or, if there is a local spring or a fire house or neighbor with a generator, get a big water holding tank (TSC) for the back of your truck/ATV, etc., that can be filled in an emergency (these also come in handy to fill stock tanks in areas where the hose doesn't reach).

    3. I used to take care of 4-5 rescue horses that had 2 run-ins and 3 paddocks. With feeding, mucking, haying and light grooming I was rarely there more than an hour.

    4. They make more manure than you think --especially if bedding is included. And if your pastures are small, you'll need to pick up in there too. I'm afraid I can't quantify it, but I've seen some University Ag sites that do. In my dreamworld, I'd get one of those small farm manure spreader that hook to the lawn tractor and muck right into that (though ideally you'd compost before spreading...).



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    35,879

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by morganpony86 View Post
    Thanks all for the great pieces of advice! You have given me a lot to think about.

    Unfortunately, one of the three has to be turned out by himself due to a severe old injury. In addition, two of the three require minimal turnout/exercise due to age/injury. So I am looking more for a place where I can keep them stalled with small daily turnout (individual sacrifice lots or, better yet, stalls with outdoor runs attached).
    At some point you may well have horses who want and need more turnout, so don't go looking for only what "will do" for what you have now Resale will be a lot harder on a place where there is limited turnout as well. You can always make small turnout pens and use those nearly to exclusion, when you have a bigger place, but you can't usually grow more land

    But, JB, you have given me a lot to think about. I'm fairly certain I am maxed out on three. I will not be getting another until someone crosses the rainbow bridge (and my fiance has put his foot down, so even if I wanted to get another, he'd veto it). That being said, if everyone lives into their 30's and I have a daughter who "needs" a pony in 10 years, you can bet I'll be buying a 4th.
    What's #4 when you already have 3

    Time I can devote/day is currently 5-6 hours, because I currently devote 2-3 hours/day in driving to my current barn 5 days a week. I am more than prepared to spend 4 hours a day to feed/water/muck, plus additional time on weekends (all day, really, as that is what I currently spend at the barn!).

    Feel free to chime in on whether that is adequate for daily care of three horses. I have a feeling it will be, but heck if I know.
    Oh, that's MORE than enough time to care for 3 horses who are stalled/penned most of the day, and ride the 1. You will get efficient and it won't take you more than an hour or so most days to feed/water/muck. Ok, 2 hours, since you'll probably be needing to pick manure out of pens on a daily basis

    Just remember though, all the time you spend at the barn now doing "the horse thing" will shift largely to doing "the farm thing" - mowing, repairs, building this or that, etc. It's always something However, it does sound like you have ample time on a daily basis and no real commitments that will keep you otherwise occupied all the time on weekends

    Thank you for this tidbit; I had not thought of that!!

    Same for the frost-free hydrants. That was obviously a well-known must when I was in MN, but it may not have been so high on my list in southern Louisiana. But I'm certain it still gets below freezing at some point during the year!
    You can either get a generator big enough to power the well, or you can have a hand pump installed. That solves all water problems (unless the well goes dry )

    The manure management is a good one, and one I have extensively considered, but still am trying to get an idea of in terms of "amount". Exactly how much manure would three horses produce in a year? Semi-trailer full? half? quarter? I have ideas, but I hope to get a better handle on what I would eventually do with it all once I find a place and figure out what neighbors/friends I have.
    Horses generally produce about 50lb of (wet) manure a day. Obviously that weight goes down quickly as it dries, but you'll be in a position of needing to deal with it before a great deal of moisture is lost. 1 pile every 1-2 hours, give or take, isn't unreasonable


    Other hay question-

    How easy is it for hay to be delivered? I will obviously not have the equipment to go pick up a shipment of 650 bales to cover me for the year. And will they help stack it?
    How much $$ ya got? Hay is delivered and stacked all the time. Whether you can find someone there to deliver is the bigger question. Are you/your SO physically capable of unloading and stacking a couple of tons of hay if they are 40-60lb bales? You may find there are others in the area who love the idea of having a full tractor trailer load and splitting it, and possibly coming to the arrangement of helping each other unload and stack it.

    There are nearly endless hay scenarios, from finding a good local farmer who has all you need and stores it, to having to grab everything you need for the next 12-14 months all at once, from being able to get it right out of the field, to having to rely on whatever the feed store gets in, and everything in between.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2002
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    Fort Salonga, NY USA
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    I bought a house in suburban Long Island, NY, on property zoned for horses. Had land cleared and graded, put in base for ring, then winter came so spent time getting drawings, permits, finding a barn builder. Late winter began building barn. It was 2 older retired gentlemen who were superb craftsmen and reasonable, but it took until July to complete, I did electrical installations, as that is my business. Also did plumbing as my dad had taught me that. Did fencing myself, was able to salvage fencing from my former boarding barn that went to a developer. Set up stalls one at a time as I added horses. I like you had a decent amount of knowledge and a nice network of people I could rely of for advice.

    If it suits you, like it does me, you will love having them at home. There's nothing like it. It was always my goal and I realized it 12 years ago. I have never regretted it for one second. I heard from a few naysayers in the beginning but paid them no attention. People have many reasons for saying the things they say.

    As far as budgeting, I have not problem giving you that information but it is so sensitive to geographical region that it probably would not be helpful. For example I have no pasture, all on hay, and not a lot of hay storage. I found a dependable hay guy who will deliver 1-2 tons at a time. I make a phone call, he comes, stacks in my hay shed, sweeps up and closes the gate sometimes before I even get home! I pay 350.00 a ton for this, some think that's insane but it's the going price around here and I appreciate the great service as I have another business to run as well as taking care of/ training/ competing my horses.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    Paying a higher price is so, so worth the peace of mind knowing you have a reliable source of quality hay

    There is NOTHING worse than scrambling to find hay and having to make do with crap

    Finding and making good friends with a few neighbors and a farmer or two is priceless for farm owners
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  17. #17
    Join Date
    May. 6, 2007
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
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    Like you, I boarded for many years before bringing mine home to a newly purchased farm. I test-drove the idea by renting a cottage, barn, and paddocks on a large farm, before I took the plunge as farm owner.

    Great advice by all the posters. Over time you will find out what works best for your horses and can fine-tune based on the facilities and land and lessons learned!

    For my little herd, the top priorities were to have as much good pasture as I could afford, safe fencing, good-sized stalls, and a run-in, as I work and have a commute so am gone for long periods during the day.

    As far as hay, I spend the first couple of years experimenting with hay from different farmers but found that the best hay consistently came from a pretty major hay farm operation. They have the right equipment to process the hay properly and the quality is always good.

    In my case it has turned out to be wonderful to have many neighbors with horses. I enjoy living around people who like the same lifestyle and understand that good fences make good neighbors

    Best of luck and have fun. There's nothing like seeing your ponies last thing at night and first thing in the morning!



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 21, 2010
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    2,191

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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    At some point you may well have horses who want and need more turnout, so don't go looking for only what "will do" for what you have now Resale will be a lot harder on a place where there is limited turnout as well. You can always make small turnout pens and use those nearly to exclusion, when you have a bigger place, but you can't usually grow more land
    So so true, thanks for reminding me.

    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    What's #4 when you already have 3
    Ha, tell that to my SO. He created our "animal limit" of 6 four-legged creatures a few years ago, when we were in a transition period of 7, before I put my old bunny to sleep. I'm working on it; I may have convinced him that we need a goat and chickens. Once we get a goat, it's a small leap to another horse.
    And he's a smart cookie- I was looking at a place that had 4 stalls, and he said "absolutely not, you will fill that fourth stall!!" Dammit; foiled again.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    It is time to put into his head that "extra" stalls make great storage, and there is NEVER enough storage on a farm!

    Besides, even if you have 3 horses/4 stalls, nobody ever complained they could make a double stall for a horse on stall rest
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2006
    Location
    Western NY
    Posts
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    Most things have been covered but 2 I want to mention:

    1. Trailer parking and manuvering - make sure you have a good area to park pull in and park a trailer easily and out of the way, even better if there is room for a friend to park if they want to come over and ride with you.

    2. Manure Management - get a small spreader. I have a 25 bushel ground drive spreader that works great, easy to use, and gets pulled by my lawn tractor. With it currently being used for 11 stalls I usually take it out twice a day, but with your setup it would probably hold 2-3 days worth.


    Christa



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