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Leasing one of my pastures - Have I lost my mind?

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  • Leasing one of my pastures - Have I lost my mind?

    I haven't had boarders at my farm in over 15 years. I've already contacted my CPA and Insurance agent - waiting to hear back.

    I may be down to just a senior horse and small senior pony shortly (which is a sad story for another time/thread). And well, I really don't need 10 acres for them (pony gets limited grass turnout and the old man can only eat so much).

    I have a really nice front pasture, about 4.5 acres, with a nice 12'X24' three-sided run-in shed (shaded in summer), city water with frost-free hydrant, non-climb with top board and 4-board fencing. Good drainage and grass. **Considering** leasing it as a self-care type of thing - to a single person with up to two or three horses. The front pasture is totally separate from my barn area and back pastures - they are about 800 feet apart - so no worries about fighting over fences or anything like that.

    Besides the common issues - people not paying their board, skipping out without paying, skipping and leaving horses, expecting me to feed/blanket their horses when they can't get out for some reason, etc. - what else might go horribly wrong with this idea? Have I lost my mind?

    As I did before, I'd have a contract with everything spelled out regarding the self-care arrangement, including charges if they need a stall for lay-up or emergencies, extra services not included (feeding, blanketing, etc.), rules for the farm (like must ride with a helmet, no exceptions). I'd be responsible for mowing the pasture and maintenance of fences etc. They have to provide their own feed and hay, which I have more than enough space for.

    I do not have a proper riding arena (I rode in the pastures). I do have a wash rack, matted grooming area, tack room for their belongings, tons of loft space for storage, plenty of room for trailer parking, and so forth. So, we aren't talking mega bucks here. Maybe $350 a month (not per horse - for the whole enchilada)? After all, they are providing the feeding/watering/care. But any recommendations on what should be charged monthly are welcome - I haven't boarded a horse in 19 years! So I honestly have no clue what self-care runs these days. Oh, and I am in Middle Tennessee - about an hour from Nashville.

    So let me have it fellow CoTHers... the good, the bad, and the ugly!
    Last edited by 4LeafCloverFarm; Oct. 14, 2019, 12:56 PM.
    ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

  • #2
    I wouldn't do it as self-care, period.

    I just talked to my neighbor this weekend who is a fairly non-horsey guy that bought a horse property. They are on their 3rd set of lessees, each of which has been a disaster.

    Latest person has 5 horses and is leasing barn and paddocks as "self-care." They are supposed to come out daily but within the first two months he's seen them only a handful of times. He keeps water filled, and they have ample pasture. He said that he has told the owner "they will have to come every day" once the grass dies....but I have doubts about whether they will since they are rarely there now. Sadly for these horses, the property owners have no idea what they are doing, so if there is a problem - those horses will be neglected for sure. I'm actually amazed none of them have foundered yet, since they are small horses (maybe Morgans?) and all look a bit portly.

    IF you want to consider self-care - I would only do it with excellent references including farrier and vet. And I'd check the references carefully - not just ask them to provide them. Call them and talk to them, and ask LOTS of questions.

    Comment


    • #3
      Supervising employees, self care boarders, renters for just a couple horses tends to end in more work and stress than just do the small job yourself.

      There are going to be times that life interferes if you are doing the work and you will handle that.
      Others, when life interferes, they will count on you, time and again.
      Generally it just becomes a greater headache than just doing it yourself.

      If you are ok with that, then hope that is the only problem and go look for that unicorn self care boarder that won't have much other going on in their lives than caring for those horses.

      Comment


      • #4
        Middle Tennessee - about an hour from Nashville.
        It appears to me that the most likely candidate for this would some one who works in the city with that one hour commute each way .. with that in mind there undoubtedly will be Periods of time they would not be able to check on the beasts

        Also if I were to do this there would a cap on the number of horses that could be placed in the pasture.. 2?

        about repairs.... act of god and such sure but inflected damaged caused by the beasts that would be a chargeable event for me

        Comment


        • #5
          What stood out to me was city water. I have had a rough boarder leave the hose in the tub to fill it, and then forget about it. It was running all night until I found it the next day.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you are willing to let them store hay and tack in your barn (assuming that is where you have space) then they will be in your barn, around your horses and not really separated from your life, just their horses will live in the front pasture but otherwise they have access to the other areas, will they bring there horse up to the barn for saddling up etc. if that is where the tack is?

            I can think of more negatives than positives. However, if you like having boarders around and not looking for income then might work.
            Last edited by js; Oct. 14, 2019, 09:58 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              OP stated there was a tack room available.

              That a boarder may store anything on the place means your contract determines what all may be stored.
              See the threads where boarders stored all kinds of household odds and ends, etc.
              Be sure you don't become a storage facility for your boarder, or figure that an added cost if you do.
              Last edited by Bluey; Oct. 14, 2019, 11:41 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bluey View Post

                OP stated there was a tack room available.

                That a boarder may store anything on the place means your contract determines what all may be stored.
                See the threads where boarders stored all kinds of household odds and ends, etc.
                Be sure you don't become a storage facility for your boarder, or figure that an added cost if you do.
                Thank you for pointing out my mistakes, I've edited my post.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 4LeafCloverFarm View Post
                  So let me have it.. the good, the bad, and the ugly fellow CoTHers!
                  I hope you just forgot a comma there and are not dividing CoTHers into three categories: good, bad and ugly!

                  I think I would only consider self care for someone who lives very close by and are more likely to come tend to their horses on a daily basis. I would also be very careful to spell out requirements/expectations in writing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mango20 View Post
                    I think I would only consider self care for someone who lives very close by and are more likely to come tend to their horses on a daily basis. I would also be very careful to spell out requirements/expectations in writing.
                    You described me
                    Well, actually my hypothetical For When I am Too Old for Having a Farm scenario.
                    My horses treat their stalls like a run-in now.
                    Not uncommon to find all 3 - 16h horse, 13h pony & 34" mini - sharing a 12X12.

                    My question, as your Ideal Selfcare Boarder:
                    Manure management?
                    I pick stalls daily, sometimes 3X, depending on use as toilet facilities. Same for the sacrifice paddock directly outside the stalls.
                    I either wheelbarrow pickings to my manure/compost piles. Or toss over the fence line at the angle formed where 60X120 indoor attaches to 36X36 barn.
                    This pile gets spread by a neighbor when he bushhogs growth along either side of the indoor.
                    Compost piles get flattened at this time too.
                    How would you expect a boarder to handle manure?

                    *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
                    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Going full "self care" is likely the best way to deal with this. A contract clearly stating that is essential. If you see a problem you will call your tenant and it's up to them to take care of it. If you provide services of any kind, for any reason, you will charge them $XX.xx/hour. The smallest billing increment will be one hour. You don't have to always state the obvious and it's obvious that if a car runs off the road and damages the fence that you will have to provide some sort of "containment." This is but one example. If you have any event that requires your immediate intervention to prevent loss of life or property you will act and bill the contract rate. And then do it. One twist in Contract Law is that if you have a provision that imposes a duty on one of the parties and if that is not enforced or applied then over time it might become unenforceable. Say what you'll do and do as you say.

                      This type of board, at the ends of the scale, will get you a truly knowledgeable and motivated tenant who just doesn't have a lot of money or, at the other end, somebody who really does not have the money to keep what they have nor the expertise to provide what they can't afford to buy. Or something in between. This makes a bona fides check absolutely essential. To weed out the economically weak you might set a higher end board and require an up front first month, last month, and security deposit.

                      The reality is that there will be times when you have to make a call to strictly enforce a written contract provision or orally waive it or modify it. When this happens it's not a bad idea to text or e-mail your tenant and tell them what you've done, why you did it, and why you're not going to charge them for it. This will preserve your right to act differently in the future should you choose to do so.

                      You don't need to hire Attorney Schuster from Philadelphia to do this. An agreement can be hand written as long as it's signed by both parties. If you draft the contract and a provision is ambiguous that ambiguity will be resolved against you (you, as the drafter of the contract, created the problem so you be to bear the burden of the problem).

                      What kind of board rate do you anticipate in your area? Is this game worth the effort it will cost you? What kind of boarder to you expect (high, low, or middle on my spectrum, above)? Those are judgement questions but ones that should be asked.

                      You've already done some good "spade work" in talking to your CPA and insurance agent. The move back into a commercial enterprise (and that's what this is) should be carefully considered as you are doing.

                      Good luck in your program!

                      G.
                      Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yeah, I'd say you have 😂

                        There are so many ways this can go wrong, and so few ways it can go well.

                        ​​​​​​​Do you really want to give up the privacy and peace and quiet at your place?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Having once been involved with running a self-care boarding operation, it's now on my list of things I will never, ever, do again. Not no way, not no how.

                          It's still hard for me to comprehend, but people will just stop showing up for long periods of time without taking any steps to ensure that their horses are being taken care of. They just assume that you will feed and care for their horses rather than see them starve.
                          "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                          that's even remotely true."

                          Homer Simpson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I suggest you not even think about doing this. However, if you do, everything must be in a written contract, including termination procedures to evict them, and abandoned animal laws Everything must be with in the four corners of the contract, and signed by both parties. You or the tenant will need extra insurance, and you must have zoning to allow for the business of boarding, and the extra number of animals. Don't forget to put in restrictions on starting a lesson program, or number of visitors, and you need signed waivers (not really helpful, but shows you're serious about this). Also, restrictions on the number of vehicles, where they park, and that long term vehicle storage isn't allowed.
                            You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Perhaps considering retirement board for a couple older horses, minimum care though some would of be required, would be an alternative to consider.

                              Retired horses with minimal needs do exist, along with responsible people who would love that situation for their horses. It would be more work for you, but realistically you will end up being involved in a self care situation to some degree. Might as well do things your way and cut out the biggest headache of the equation.

                              Remember, it's rarely the horses that are the pain in the...donkey when you board.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Do it full care, not self board. It will be "easy care" for you, and you can keep it done right, by your standards. And charge adequately for this service to make it worthwhile.
                                www.cordovafarm.weebly.com

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                                  . . .

                                  IF you want to consider self-care - I would only do it with excellent references including farrier and vet. And I'd check the references carefully - not just ask them to provide them. Call them and talk to them, and ask LOTS of questions.
                                  References - yes, most definitely. Previous borders (years ago) were MTSU students and I required references then as well..
                                  Last edited by 4LeafCloverFarm; Oct. 14, 2019, 01:06 PM.
                                  ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Mango20 View Post

                                    I hope you just forgot a comma there and are not dividing CoTHers into three categories: good, bad and ugly!
                                    Oh goodness! Whoops! Edited.
                                    ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Simkie View Post

                                      Do you really want to give up the privacy and peace and quiet at your place?
                                      Well, there in lies the conundrum... As I said, I'm simply considering it at this point.
                                      ~~ How do you catch a loose horse? Make a noise like a carrot! - British Cavalry joke ~~

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        You might consider leasing to someone with a couple pairs of cattle instead. While not guaranteed to be drama free, and a contract is still important, there's probably less risk of things going south in ridiculous ways. Horse people are nuts!

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