I would suggest to either drop the boarders or ask them to help with feeding or stall cleaning/paddock cleaning for a reduced rate. That way you can have some days off of PM chores. Or maybe hire someone to come 2-3 days a week for the morning. It might cost you 2-300 a month but it could be worth it.
I posted earlier that while I'm down to one horse of my own and a companion for him, I doubt I would sell the farm even after my last guy is 'planted' in the back field with several other good guys.
Yes, there are times I'd love to have the $ I spend on the horses to spend on me or the house, but that time will come soon enough. My guy is turning 21 in January and in very good condition. He could still be ridden if you don't mind the headshaking from April to Oct. I retired him 5+ yrs ago because it just wasn't fun anymore trying to deal with the headshaking and I don't regret that decision. He's perfectly happy to not have a job other than eating and crapping in his stall. Even when he's out 24/7, if he's shut in the sacrifice paddock, he comes back into his stall to pee and crap. Fortunately his buddy is just the opposite. He pees and craps outside 90% of the time.
I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.
I actually think that hiring some help might be easier/better than trying to get boarders to pitch in. Why? Because boarders might or might not be reliable about coming out to do chores. You'd probably end up doing close to the same amount of work and having the same amount of responsibility (you still need to make sure that horses ARE actually getting fed and watered, and when it didn't get done you'd have to do it), plus you'd be worrying about whether or not it got done twice as much...that along with the smaller boarding checks might not be worth it. Heck, I'd rather do the chores and know they were done than get dressed up and go out to dinner to get a text that so-and-so couldn't make it out to do chores.
Also, there is a liability issue to having boarders of varying degrees of ability handling each other's horses. And, it might be awkward to have to teach your boarders how to keep the up to your standards, even if it is just simple stuff. Filling a water bucket should be easy right? But there is likely a hose that needs to be detached/drained so it doesn't freeze and wreck your spigot/hydrant, and that same hose probably shouldn't be left in the middle of the aisle, and sometimes it can be easy to leave the water running and flood a stall. Anyway, I think it really depends on who your boarders are--some might be great but some might not be as helpful.
The only way we would sell the farm is if we were buying another one. We only have two horses who live out, but we are slowly building up a collection of other farm animals, so the work is still there, just shifted a bit. For us two horses is more than enough and if I were in your situation I would sell a couple and probably stop boarding unless they wanted to do some of their own chores, but then that could lead to all new headaches. I expect to live on a farm until dd puts in an old folks home.
I love living out in the country and having the farm but I have thought about getting out of the horses - it seems as though I rode so much more when I was just a lesson rider, and it's kind of a bummer to get home, get everybody fed and then it's too hot or I have to go to bed. Sometimes you just get burnt out and even just thinking about how you could make it work better for you is a help.
I would NOT have horses at home if I had to do stalls every day LOL. I have a longish commute, a great DH who checks them in the AM and will feed them on in the PM when the days are short b/c he gets home earlier than I do, usually. Three geldings live outside and only come in the barn if it is wet+cold, otherwise, go be a horse and I'll see you tomorrow.
The drudgery of daily stalls and the mess and shavings- for me, no way. I'd board.
Made in Canada, I have. It wasn't my decision, but I've rolled with it after taking care of my own horses on my own farms or in a co op situation for over 30 years. Last week, I had a last minute chance to go on an overnight to the Woodstock Inn in Vermont, and I have to admit that it was weird but really great to be able to just pick up and go, because I'm down to one horse and he's very happily boarded.
I do miss my barn time and I love barn work, but it was so nice to be able to just go: no worrying about who would feed, will he be ok while I'm away, what if it snows, etc. I hope to have my horse and a few rescues at home again in the future, but for now, it is working for me.
I love boarding, don't get me wrong, but it's to easy an excuse to not go see my critters.
When DH retires, he'll be doing the day-to-day. So I'll be working FT, and can chip in on my days off and yet not feel like I'm working two FT jobs and can still enjoy my horse. I have zero problem with that. But not everyone gets that option. When I boarded before, I worked a 3/4 job (har har), somewhere around 20-35 hours a week depending on the week. Even with boarding five and my three, I never felt overwhelmed. But now? A 40+ hour work week? No way.
COTH's official mini-donk enabler
"I am all for reaching out, but in some situations it needs to be done with a rolled up news paper." Alagirl
I would rather hire someone to help with the horse chores than let the boarders do self care (or part self care) - it can cause issues if you have boarders showing up at different times and feeding/bringing in/turning out when you are not ready to do so with your own horses. If you had 1 person that took care of all the horses (even if they just come in the PM to do stalls and feed or whatever it is), that would free up your time to ride and have a bit more life than you do now.
We thought about either sub-dividing the place or just selling it then asked older daughter if they would be interested in selling their house and moving in here since it is an older ranch style house of about 3600 sq/ft that is 130 feet from end to end. So we sub divided the house and kept the land... they have the east end; we have the west end .