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Fair price for board?

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  • Fair price for board?

    DH and I just bought a farm and after fixing things up a bit and fencing it, we will be boarding 1 horse to keep our 1 company. I think I have an idea of what a fair price for board would be, but I'm seeking the wisdom of COTH to help. Location is near Boston MA (~15 miles north) and would include an in/out stall with 1 main paddock area (1/4-1/2 acre) and separate grass pasture/outdoor ring area (3/4-1 acre). No trainer on premises, but boarder would have option of bringing someone in for lessons. No trails abutting property (though I may cut a short one through the woods on the property). I will be planning to do most (if not all) of the work involved (stall, feeding, maintenance, picking pastures, etc). I also plan to build a set of jumps which will be available for use.

    What would you pay for full board? Or, what would you pay for full care plus stall and bedding if you were going to provide your own hay/grain? For reference, full board in the area with an indoor can be over $1000/mo, and full board with an outdoor varies from about $400-650 or so. TIA!

  • #2
    It's all about the options :-)

    Congratulations on your new farm! Very exciting! And as a boarder, I wish every farm had in/out stalls! :-)

    As a boarder in metrowest, I have never seen anything lower than $400 for full board in this area that was fit to keep a horse safely, but I wonder if you might be fighting competition from backyard places on the north shore that for another $100 a month, have trails and maybe a few more barnmates? I guess it all depends on what a given horse owner is looking for.

    If they supply hay and grain, maybe $300? I think alot of people wrestle with whether it's worth it to board one other horse, vs. rescuing a lawn ornament for company and not having to deal with boarding.


    • #3
      Given those prices $450-$500 sounds about right.

      How much will your insurance go up to have a boarder? Are you prepared for the hassle?

      Both people I know who did this ended up getting a second horse themselves. First one never even tried to find the right boarder. Second one went through 4 boarders in short succession before giving up.


      • #4
        You really do want to talk to your Insurance agent. Explain what the boarder can do, which sounds like a lot of "dangerous" stuff like jumping and bringing in an outside trainer. You may be horrified at the expense of covering someone else's fun! Can they jump alone with no observer or if you are not home? That opens another can of worms if they get hurt with no one around.

        I think I would not let them bring in hay, I would supply that stuff. You would have less work, but if they run out, don't get things in a timely fashion, YOU will need to feed and bed the horse. Will you charge them then by the day? They could supply their own grain for a TINY price break. But much better to ALREADY be covered by supplying the hay and RESTRICTED amounts of bedding. No bedding up to the knees daily. If boarder forgets to get grain, their horse goes without, no big deal. If they mess up on the hay, bedding, then things ARE a big deal, horse can't go hungry or lay on the dirt of stall. You are INCONVENIENCED then, maybe for DAYS and seldom repaid for using your own feed or bedding things to care for their horse. Not worth $100 a month if you get a lazy boarder or a "too busy" bad one who is always slow to refill their hay and bedding.

        You may want to let boarder work off board by cleaning stalls for you. Your choice, might be helpful to YOU at times.

        Don't lend them your stuff. BAD habit to get into, covering their lack of things. Includes trailer use, as well as brushes and buckets, tack. Their not having things is NOT YOUR PROBLEM. If they want to have things, they will figure out a way to get it.

        Get ALL THE DETAILS written in the contract, before horse sets foot on the place. Put in a clause to get them OUT for no reason, in a short time period if you need them gone. Clause is needed if you get a nut, messy person, dangerous horse, fence or barn wrecker horse, someone who takes your stuff, is careless around the farm. I am sure others will have other good reasons for such a clause!


        • #5
          Your regular insurance agent will have no clue about this. Look at a specialist equine insurance agency, such as Broadstone, to get an accurate quote of what you'd need. My liability insurance is $500 and CCC is $500 also. You will need separate insurance from your homeowner's.

          Some people recommend Farm Family, but I did not have any luck with them.

          I think the thing that will limit the amount you can charge is the lack of riding facilities. But on the other hand, you'll need to cover the cost of the other horse too.

          (I board retirees on my private farm).

          If you decide instead to get a companion horse, you can find "free lease" retirees. Many people want to find a good place for their retired horse without paying retirement board -- if you find someone that pays farrier and vet in exchange for you providing the day to day care, and with the ability to give the horse back -- that can be a win-win situation for everyone.

          On the other hand, I've had great boarders here so I won't discourage you from that either.
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