Going from boarding to your own farm/horse property. Any regrets?
My husband and I are contemplating selling our home and moving/building 5 minutes away on a gorgeous lot with amazing views. We would be building the home and barn from scratch and currently board down the road (2 horses) at a lovely private farm. Financially, it would be a great move (except for the 20% down part which is hard to swallow but a must...) We pay $800/mo to board both - one is field boarded and lives on air. One is high needs, older that I care for a lot on my own anyway living so close (I buy most of his special feed and hay and feed him a 3rd meal daily myself). The new home would be around what we have now but at a lower interest rate, so add'l monthly savings there. (if we stay put, we would refi). I know the rideout and area since it's down the road from where I board. Same schools for my kids (BIG plus). It's adjacent to a lovely new neighborhood (for the kids - great plus) Our lives wouldn't change terribly - same town, same pool, same friends, same activities. I work flex hours and I am up at 5 am daily. Don't mind the work, mucking, feeding and it's only 2 horses...may get a 3rd to stay with #2 if I take one out or to a show.
To boot, current barn owners may move Their care is phenomenal and I always said the next move for our horses would be to our own place. Can't have them where we live - HOA. I have a trailer and trailer to lessons and my teacher comes to me. Lots of grassy areas to ride on our own lot (a.e. makeshift arena for now) and trails. We would build barn or do a modular. We have figured all the costs (fencing, gates, paddocks, supplies, hay) Great commute location for husband since it's 5 mins. from where we currently live.
Has anyone done this and had MAJOR regrets?? I long to wake and see my horses. My daughter rides now too. Both kids can help with them, chores, etc. and they are int. in 4-H. We can have chickens, or sheep, goats, donkeys. But it's a MAJOR move for us selling our home, and building. Cannot find existing match with home and horse facilities we want in the same schools (that's the deal breaker for us...kids come first as son is heading to middle school)
Please share your experiences...good or bad? Regrets or never looked back and wouldn't trade it for the world?
The only thing I regret now (only had them at home 6 months) is that I didn't have a sacrafice paddock ready to go. Now I'm hustling to get it done so I can seed before summer.
I also brought my show mares home in January which quadroupled my work in the middle of winter, that was poorly planned. I just had 2 retired pasture puffs before the other two came home.
I will say this... I have yet to look out my window and sigh a happy sigh at the sight of my mares grazing happily on my own land. Usually I look out and go son of a -----! So-and-so is __________!! Or how the heck did _______ ________ ___________? I'm hoping that I'm still in the learning curve and once we all get settled and it stops being so cold and my grass starts to grow, I'll sigh that happy sigh!
I've had mine at home since 1996 and have no regrets. I have always been able to find someone reliable to watch the horses if I went away for vacation or for business. There is more time commitment than with boarding, but I enjoy that part of housekeeping. We have had sick horses over holidays like Christmas in the past so you might miss the occasional holiday dinner or get together, but most committed horse people would be there for their horse even if it were boarded.
The plus side is that you control all of your horse's care. I boarded briefly at a very upscale facility after relocating a few years ago and could not wait to get my horses home again. They were almost always out of water at the boarding barn which is a huge no-no in my world! Needless to say, water has never been an issue at home!
If you can learn early on that there are compromises to be made with horse keeping at home, you will make the transition well. We have a flexible feeding schedule to allow for the little problems that can come up- we don't adhere to a strict feeding schedule and have a forage first diet with 24/7 access to hay and/ or pasture. I have seen people get really hung up on feeding at a certain time and running their life around that time.
Took the plunge about 5 years ago, the only "issue" that arises is when DH wants to go on vacation, we can't really be spontaneous we have to have a few days lead time to get care for the horses, have arrangements for a local barn that does layovers and takes good care of them, but that involves packing them and all their stuff up and hauling them up there, luckily only about 4 miles away. DD, who is the other rider in the family, is only about 30 minutes away at college, so if we plan correctly around her schedule she can come home to care for them. My suggestion is make this type of arrangement with your current barn (that is if they don't move) or find a reliable farm sitter, BEFORE you need them. Other than that I love having them home, especially if they have special needs, cuts down on the worry factor when you can check on them anytime you feel the need.
"They spend 11 months stuggling to live, and 25 years trying to die" my farrier
"They are dangerous on both ends and crafty in the middle"
Thanks everyone! I love hearing your experiences. My older guy is def. special needs. He quids most hays. He does best on soaked alf pellets and senior feed. To be able to do this at will when needed would be great. He can only eat a special hay but my pony cannot have it (it's alfalfa). So I can separate him out half a day or paddock them the way I need, when I need steps from my home, go about my day and come back and re-turn-out.
I don't know if I have a regret, per se, but my boys get a lot less time from me than they did when I had them at a barn. Most of the time I would have spent with them, grooming, etc, is now spent throwing hay around, cleaning stalls, barn/fence repairs, etc. I also don't have a lit arena, so in the winter it's especially hard to get anyone out for any sort of real work since I have a full time job.
In addition, I broke even in terms of cost. The cost of maintaining acreage for the horses, in addition to a larger mortgage than what I would pay for a house in town, is equivalent to what I would pay in full-care board.
So for me, while it's nice to have them home, especially my old guys who don't need a lot of the barn amenities, it's an even trade with the things I gave up at a boarding facility. I still board my show horse at various times throughout the year to take advantage of those things I don't have at home. If I just had show horses, and not my retirees, I would not have bought acreage.
I think my biggest regret is not being able to go out of town whenever hubby wants. I hear a lot complaining about it. It's also not as cheap to board now. I had to get a pony for my mare because of her herd bound issues so when we do go out of town it's double the cost. I don't have all that many horsey connections to turn to when I need help.
I love looking out my front window anytime of the day to check up on them though. I do EVERYTHING myself so there's been a few times when I'm just tired. It should get easier though because my youngest is almost 2yrs..as soon as all the kids are in school I should have more time.
No regrets in terms of having them at home. I do wish we had planned better when we designed our barn. Money was tight so we did did not do the grading that we should have done to make the barn drive less steep and more easily negotiable in wet weather. I also wish we had put the barn closer to the house, put in a ring, and made the overhangs outside the stall doors 12' instead of 6'.
Overall, I am very happy to have the horses at home.
Thanks everyone - my kids are both in school full day - late elem. & middle school. I work PT and very flexible and do much of it from home. I love doing things like cutting grass, etc. We would build a barn and are starting on the smaller, less expensive side but are building it in a way that it can easily be expanded. (a.e. add a few stalls, extend things, etc) We don't know if we'll be there 5 yrs or 15 yrs. There is even a slim possibility we could relocate in 3-4 yrs. - so we are building everything with that in mind, a.e. not going overboard!
I moved mine home 3 years ago. I have one gelding that needs special feed, special hay, fed 3 times a day, etc. I feel comfortable that I can give him what he needs and he stays healthy. My one regret is that I ride alone 99% of the time. I do have some friends that will trailer over on occasion, and I have given clinics here as I have a trainer who will come out after show season is over. I have two empty stalls and am contemplating finding additional boarders (I have a lit arena and trails and my one current boarder owns a mini). I love having mine home, I don't think I would ever want to board again.
No regrets but I do miss the social atmosphere of a boarding barn and having someone to ride with. How much "if" is there in the possibility of moving in 3-5 years? That might be a deal breaker depending on several things, like if you are in a good resale area for farms, how the economy holds up etc. If you are looking at building a place from scratch, it's going to take a good year to get it up and running, if there was a chance of moving in 3 yrs, that would only leave you with 2 years living on the place and enjoying it. I'm not sure I would invest into a property without some assurance that moving was out for a good long while; it might or might not be a gamble, something you'd really need to consider. That said, it is wonderful to look out the window and see your horses.