I don't regret having mine at home at all! It allows me to do more than I could if I had to board (breed, have foals, etc.). Set up is KEY to success. I live in a warmer area so built a run-in shed type barn so horses are essentially either out in their large paddocks or pastures. Easy to keep clean, feed, manage, etc. as all I have to do is throw hay/ feed/water and open/ close gates. it takes me 15 minutes in the summer and 30 minutes in the winter to care for 4-6 horses. I work 40+ hours/ week so things I have done to make this feasible and enjoyable:
1) I have a great neighbor that feeds pm for me M-F so if I am running home late from work I don't have to do the work. She also cares for them when I am out of town, which is great b/c she already knows my horses/ routine
2) I have a guy that works the weekends 2-5 hrs/ week to help mow, weed, fix fences, etc. I am single so ho SO to help out
3) electric and lights in the run-in...fans for the summer
Good luck to you! I wouldn't want to do it any other way!
I won't say I regret buying a "farm" (years ago and not there now)....it was a learning experience!!! I had to put up paddocks and build stalls in the barn.....and by that point I was out of money for an arena etc...most of my time was spent taking care of the property so that I did not ride often.....
UGH, just do your homework and know that it will ultimately cost much more than you think it will.
There are a lot of upsides to keeping your horses at home--I think the upsides are very easy to imagine. My regrets: 1) how difficult it is to get away on vacation, and how stressful it can be when I do go away and something happens or I get home and find issues, 2) how miserable it can be to have outdoor chores/deal with frozen water/frozen water lines in the middle of winter, 3) how time consuming and labor intensive it can be to maintain a horse property, 4) how expensive it can be to have and maintain a nice horse property--arena, equipment, labor, repairs, etc.
If it is just your horses, the social element of a boarding environment might be missed. It can be very pricey to install an arena for your own personal use, it might turn out to be more cost effective to board if you want the use of a nice arena. You might have less access to quality instruction or have to trailer out for lessons. Depending on how serious about your riding you are this may or may not be an issue, but I would definitely consider where you are going to ride.
Lastly, if you have a small place it can be difficult to find suppliers and professionals who will want to work with you. You may have trouble finding a good farrier, dentist or vet who is willing to come out for just one or two horses. You might have trouble finding a hay supplier who will deliver smaller amounts of hay. These are definitely not insurmountable problems, just some things to consider.
No regrets! I love looking outside my window and watching my horses! I only wish I had an actual ring! I used to have one but it was so tiny it worked for only ponies. Now we use one of the pastures which is a slight slant. Works well when it is not rainy, muddy, too hard, too soft......luckily our neighbors let us flat in their dressage arena. Love everything else!
"People who think their brains are not worth protecting are probably right!"
- quoted by Martha Drum
We'll be moving to an area where we can keep horses at home if we want to, but after having done the boarding thing and the home care thing, I have to say when I get excited about rescuing a pony or donk or two, all I can think about is the work that is envolved and how tied down we'd be and we travel with the terriers alot! I also considered how we'll get farrier, vet and feed to our barn.
I think it was Noodles who said she spends more time working AROUND her horses than on them, and that was certainly my experience when I had my farm. The only other piece of advice I can give you is BUY THE TRACTOR AND BUSHOG before you run out of money. Get a bucket in the front too. Useful for so many things.
~Kryswyn~ Always look on the bright side of life, de doo, de doo de doo de doo
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Thanks again everyone - Beehoney, definitely understand and have thought through those issues. I ride alone or meet up with other riders, and trailer out for lessons or my trainer comes to me. For the last 4 yrs, I have boarded at a small private farm with basically just the owner and her horses, and me. I have trail friends I can meet (don't do it often as I ride with the barn owner mostly, or trailer to my trainer's which is 30 mins. away). I boarded at a bigger barn when I got my older horse 6 yrs ago. It wasn't for me. Since I have the trailer, I have found it more important to connect with one or 2 people who share the same interests than the social aspect of the bigger barn....(local trails, and my trainer who I go to for lessons, shows and even meet with for a trail ride now and then). I use my current barn's arena once or twice a week. If they don't move away, I hope to continue to be able to use it for a fee as it's down the road. If not, I am planning a grassy area right now, have direct access to my current rideout (literally walk off our new property and on gravel roads, fields, some trails local hunt uses as well)....there are 2 other arenas within a ride's distance too...and a local park 5 mins. away with a new, free equestrian arena outdoors (and trails) - arena is rarely used believe it or not...if I had to, I could trailer there, ride for an hour and trailer back in under 90 mins. total....but for now the plan is to fence off the flat grassy area and build a small cross country course with the trees/logs that have already fallen on the property we may buy. I am planning my fencing so that if I wanted to make it into a real arena, the fencing is ready and doesn't need to be changed/moved.
My trainer's that I trailer to has a great arena and trails, and a fabulous jump setup which is where my training is right now. I won't be lonely with horses at home because it's nearly my set up right now. My friend where I board works hours that often don't mesh with mine and we try to ride once a week but it doesn't always happen. I hope they don't move away as I adore them and would be up the road. For me the "social" aspect is to actually have the horses with me if that makes sense. Not alot would change socially for me compared to how I ride now and with whom. I live 5 mins. away from my current barn and the lot we are thinking of buying and building on.
Regarding the travel, we have dogs and have pet sitters who stay with them when we leave - I know it's different dogs vs horses but we don't board the dogs when we go away (which isn't often). 2 of our dog sitters also have horses/farms and horse sit too...in addition we live in a very horsey area...ads everywhere at the local feed stores, coops and lots of equine vet contacts, techs, etc for farm/horse sitters so I'm not too worried. We go on one big vaca a year and visit family 3 hours away a few weekends a year. We would only have 2-3 horses max (I know, mark those words, right?)!! The two I have are easy to handle, great ground manners.
Yes, the tractor and bush-hog are on our list of expenses in total to get the farm up and running.
Still working out the #"s but it is looking promising if we are gutsy enough to pull the trigger! (selling our current home). Thank you so much everyone!!
I had mine at home in high school, then took one to college and kept it on campus where I had to take full care of it. After college I started boarding; I just didn't have the time to work, comute, take care of a farm, and ride... needless to say 6 years later I closed on a farm 2 days ago and moved the ponies home last night... so after 2 days of killing ourselves to get our house stuff moved in, 3 cats, 1 dog, 2 horses, and 150+ bales of hay, their run in shed taken down, moved to the new farm, and put back up, and all my horse equipment I didn't jump out of bed very quick this morning... considering it was still dark and supposed to be raining... oh and I worked all day yesterday... even after all that I'm not regreting it (but my body hates me).
Going on 10 years and absolutely no regrets. Sure, there are times when it's not exactly pleasant going out to feed, etc. usually during weather extremes. But the fact is, during those kind of extremes I was at the boarding barn anyway making sure my horses were okay.
The only adjustment for me was having to get used to always having some kind of barn/property management on my to do list. It is never "all done." But nothing compares to having them right outside my windows 24/7. I have two seniors, one a 30-year old mare who has arthritic knees and now Cushings. There is no place that would or could do the things I do to keep her comfortable and happy. And here she's with her herd, and when it's time for her to go, we'll be right there at her side.
There are a lot of upsides to keeping your horses at home--I think the upsides are very easy to imagine. My regrets: 1) how difficult it is to get away on vacation, and how stressful it can be when I do go away and something happens or I get home and find issues, 2) how miserable it can be to have outdoor chores/deal with frozen water/frozen water lines in the middle of winter, 3) how time consuming and labor intensive it can be to maintain a horse property, 4) how expensive it can be to have and maintain a nice horse property--arena, equipment, labor, repairs, etc. .
Vacation? What's that. Time off from work is used to rebuild everything the horses have decided to take apart.
One thing not needed with horses at home is a gym membership, you get plenty of workout as usually the day starts every day before sun rise and then repeated as similar cycle before the sun sets.
We are in the city with horses so all public access areas are double fenced to keep the local children clear of the horses (three public schools are within five blocks)..the double fence areas add to the joy of work
As a suggestion.... on all access gates that a vet or some one that may need to access while you are away ...put programmable combination locks on those gates as it allows you give the combination out then you can change it if desired.
My only regrets are due to my poor planning... I put up a pole barn instead of putting that money into an arena. In my area you don't really *need* a barn, (run-in shelters are fine,) and I've never finished it.
I didn't sort out hay storage before bringing him home, so I'm borrowing part of the deck in the garage, which is not ideal. (Great place for hay storage, not so great to have it near the vehicles and their assorted flammable fluids.)
It sounds like you have your riding horse and a retiree... if you plan to trailer out for lessons, you may have to get a third as a companion if your retiree objects to being left alone.
Ours have been home for about 2 years. I love it most of the time.
The only thing that may be a problem sometimes is I really have to be conscious of where I'm at and what time it is. I have to work in feeding/cleaning somewhere in there. It really isn't a big deal usually though. Time management is helpful!
Like others have said, you also can't just be spontaneous and decide to go somewhere for a week.
Other than that I only regret not boarding anymore when it is miserable outside and I'd rather stay inside than clean 5 disgusting, muddy stalls. But that is a small price to pay. I love being able to just walk to the barn to see my horses, rather than driving 15 minutes.
No regrets! It's tough in the winter, but I grew up doing self-care board, so no surprises at the work involved (and at least now there is no drive to the barn in the blizzards!). I spend a lot more time in the winter doing chores than riding, but even if I'm just mucking out the paddock, that satisfies my "horse need" for the day. Mine live out 24/7 so daily labour is not overwhelming (well, except when you're walking through 4' snow drifts just to get out there).
I wouldn't board again. It was too stressful for me. I will sell my horses if I can no longer keep them at home.
Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**