Part boarding your horse - when you really don't want to....
This Christmas has been hard for me, like so many others. Having had to move my guy indoors due to the fact that he just wasn't happy living out in winter has really taken a huge chunk out of my funds, as my board has essentially doubled. I thought that maybe a part boarder would be a good, temporary solution, but I am so bitter because of my bad past experiences that I'm really hesitant to go down that road again.
Past part boards have not gone well for me as an owner, my tack was damaged, my horse's training and confidence were compromised, and I wound up terminating the part boards because it just wasn't worth it to me. Now that I'm in a position where I really need the financial break, I'm really worried about what I could be opening myself up to.
I've got a nice enough horse, I have really begun fixing all of our issues on the flat, and we've both been making great progress. Although I can no longer jump, he is a total rockstar, and will jump anything. My friend was doing some riding for me this summer and last year while I was in school, and took him cross country (which he LOVED) and did a ton of local clinics with BNT's, so he has a ton of miles, and a few years ago (when I had more money lol) I took him to a bunch of hunter shows where he placed well.
I have had a heck of a time trying to find someone mature and reliable, who is going to respect my horse and me (which is proving impossible!). This is so frustrating Any words of wisdom? This makes my head hurt
I would be tempted to give pasture board another try.
You don't mention your location, but IME, horses handle the cold much better than the bugs. I have a few who hate being out 24/7 in summer, but most love it in the winter. I'm in MN, so talking brutally cold temps. High quality blankets, small carefully selected groups, adequate shelter, and heated waterers have kept everyone happy outside for years.
I would try to pinpoint what wasn't working for your horse in his pasture board situation and see if I could address that before opting for a part lease. I worry that your past bad experience is going to set you up for failure when the inevitable small problems arise.
he seemed to do well enough during the summer, but I started noticing him standing and pacing at the gate, eating less at the round bale which led to weight loss, and he just seemed generally unhappy. The herd changed as well, with a few of his "buddies" moving/being sold, and there were only a couple horses outside with him. My BO thought that it might be worth it to bring him to see if things changed. Since bringing him in he has begun to eat again, and isn't as stiff and tight to ride. He had never really done too well outside since I have owned him and he (like me) is not a huge fan of winter, he gets tight easily and needs a very long warm up.
I have asked my trainer to put the word out, but as she is leaving for the winter, I'm trainer-less as well and looking for a new (reputable) one.
I am in a similar situation. I actually just placed a few ads looking for a share-boarder/ half-lease situation for my boy. It's scary to negotiate the waters of sharing with someone you don't know. The best option is to find someone through a recomendation from a friend or trainer. But strangers can become great freinds through a share-board situation.
I have had great success in the past, you just have to know what you want in a share-board situation and know what rules you feel are necessary for your horse's health and your sanity. Make a contract, and put in all the specifications, from how you want him warmed up, how much riding you want done, how you want him cooled out, how you want the tack left, etc. My contract is very detailed. In the past potential leasees have looked at it and said they weren't signing it and others have asked me if they could use it for future use themselves. I don't want the person that has a problem signing something that says that they can't ride for more than x ammount of time if the temp+humidity is X and the horse's respiration is x. Seems detailed and silly but the people that signed it with out any raised eyebrows were those on the same page as me as far as training/welfare/general horsemanship goes. And with all of those past lease situations the rigid contract schedule and most of the 'rules' had been thrown out the window within a few months because we meshed so well and knowing what was the bottom line helped us find a great sharing situation. For example I started out saying that no one else may ride the horse and later it turned out that I was comfortable allowing my share-boarder to teach her kids to ride on my gelding. But that came with time and trust. The beginning of that trust was a well drafted contract.
They say good fences make good neighbors. I agree and also think that good contracts make good business. It also gives your leasee certain rights as well as far as their time and use of the horse. No changes unless the other agrees and a new contract or addendum to the original is signed.
I feel your pain. I'm contemplating half-leasing my guy out in the spring/summer if all goes well. He can be a bit hard to handle. Not dangerous per se, but you can't be an oblivious moron when leading him in or out. Plus he's led with a chain and I'm always worried people will forget and accidentally tie him up with it still attached.
Then of course, there's the whole suitability thing. He'll be on a restricted program of mostly walk-trot and no jumping. So the odds of me finding someone who I trust to handle him AND not push him when being ridden? Slim to none.
The amazing thing? I think I found that person! An old student of mine is interested. Maybe put out your feelers to other people you know or might have lost touch with in the past. Does your friend know anyone? Is there anyone at the barn that you think would be compatible?