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Cheaper to board or to keep horses at home?

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  • #41
    In our area, at the time, it was just as much to buy our little 4 acre property with stone farmhouse, as it was to buy a newer house in a neighborhood.

    When we did our garagemahal (I can post pics if you want) we factored in horse space. So although I have lots of space for the horses, the building wasn't built for that purpose. The only thing I can say was 100% dedicated to the horses was the fencing.

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    • #42
      Board cost vs. cost of actual monthly expenses absolutely works out cheaper. I was paying $770 a month to board two horses before bringing them home, but now spend about $250/month for three.

      I will also say I probably save on time. We have a very efficient set up and when things are working normally (i.e. - I don't have a horse on *&^$@ stall rest!) it takes me 30 mintues in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening to take care of the basics - mucking, feeding, filling buckets, etc. I spend more time on the weekends doing more cleaning of buckets, tidying the barn etc., but the set-up we have which just encourages good work flow, makes things pretty easy in the morning before work, which is when I usually muck.

      What probably unbalances the equation a little is just the cost of property maintenance. When I boarded, I had a small house on small acreage and didn't have to maintain multiple buildings, a riding arena, fencing, etc. I still think I come out on the plus side though because the increase in my mortgage for the farm plus the maintenance hard costs roughly equals out to the difference between my current cost and my former boarding cost. And that's equity I'm building in my own farm (not someone else's) and mortgage interest I can deduct from my own taxes.

      All things considered, I don't think its overwhelmingly cheaper, and has its other tradeoffs, but considering that having horses at home was more my husband's dream than mine when we bought the farm, I feel its worked out quite well, and would have a hard time going back to boarding now - both from a cost and a peace of mind standpoint.
      Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.

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      • #43
        I figure to keep my somewhat hard keeping horse in hay, grain, bedding:
        $120 a month in hay at $8 for a square bale- half a bale a day if it's a good heavy bale.
        $40 a month for bedding (2 bags of pelleted bedding per week... though buying bulk sawdust instead of bagged is much cheaper than that)
        $80 per month for feed (7 lbs/day of High Fat, fiber feed- not cheap sweet feed).
        So $240 for actual expense per head. The first boarding barn I found that provided a standard of care that I agreed with and wasn't worried over not going to the barn every single day (after being in several that were purely terrible) was $400 a month.

        BUT then you have to figure: Keeping them at home, you are on the hook for 2x a day chores or have to pay somebody to come out and take care of them. And do you view stall cleaning as quality barn time? or time wasted? that will figure in as well.
        You have the peace of mind knowing that your horses are taken care of your way. and that is a great thing.

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        • #44
          Originally posted by spacytracy View Post
          In our area, at the time, it was just as much to buy our little 4 acre property with stone farmhouse, as it was to buy a newer house in a neighborhood.

          When we did our garagemahal (I can post pics if you want) we factored in horse space. So although I have lots of space for the horses, the building wasn't built for that purpose. The only thing I can say was 100% dedicated to the horses was the fencing.
          I would love more details on the garagemahal please. Pictures too. I don't think the OP will mind...
          DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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          • Original Poster

            #45
            I already have two dogs that need to be fed twice a day and one senior dog that needs at least 3 meals a day plus meds plus being let out a max of every 6 hours.... I'm already used to planning my day around taking care of animals

            Someone mentioned lack of facilities/trainers when you move to your own place. This is very true. Fortunately (unfortunately?) I haven't really had much access to this while boarding for the last few years anyway so I won't really notice. Current barn has a nice grass dressage arena and access to some local trails but that's all. BO has her trainer come in once a month (or once every couple of months depending on the time of year) for a clinic but otherwise we're all kind of on our own. I do miss having access to better facilities and trainers on a regular basis but since this is something I've done without for quite some time, it won't be a big deal.

            It already takes me an hour round trip minimum (two hours if I go to the new horse's barn!) to even GET to the barn so this is time spent out of my day anyway. It would be a nice change to spend this time time feeding or mucking stalls instead. Better than being stuck in the car! So the extra time factor really isn't an issue for me.
            "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

            Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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            • #46
              View from the front (where our cars go)
              http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y56...Picture014.jpg

              Building in the back, the basement level. Mechanic shop on left, horse area on right
              http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y56...g/P1170389.jpg

              Inside with the stalls
              http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y56...5/P1180475.jpg

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              • Original Poster

                #47
                Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                I would love more details on the garagemahal please. Pictures too. I don't think the OP will mind...
                No I was going to ask about the garagemehal too!! Please do post pics!

                Edited to add: Sorry for the slow post! I see them now. Very cool idea!
                "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

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                • #48
                  Re: property taxes - we had a house "in the city", so were paying County and City taxes and they were high. Now we have 10 acres, the house, and the barn, only paying County taxes, and paying maaaybe 50% more. That 50% extra is far less than 6 months board.
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                  • #49
                    We go on vacation. Heck we've gone to Montana for a week 6 of the last seven years, gone SCUBA diving, and went to FL for Thanksgiving. You need low maintenance critters and good friends/neighbors to cover you when you're gone. Now if only THEY would go on VACATION so you could return the favor....Miss Alabama

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                    • #50
                      I agree with katarine. I was DELIGHTED when our new neighbors moved in with horses and goats (and children) because I knew they would need some feeding favors and I could ask for some from them! And it's turning out really nicely, including being able to share riding land.

                      My horse doesn't have to be fed before dark. My only real concern about dark is for the chickens, but I've relaxed about that. The way our coop is designed makes it very difficult for anything to even get to the door, which is usually shut tight at night, so on the off night, I'm not really concerned. In addition, they don't lay in there, so there aren't predators coming for eggs.

                      The geese are a bit more of a concern but there are four of them and they tend to stick to the well lit areas until we get home to lock them in their pen. It's like they know....

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                      • #51
                        yep, the more simplified you can make things, the easier it is to go away Honestly, our dogs are a bigger issue for vacations than the horses are!

                        Vacation from Spring-Fall are super easy regarding the horses - come once a day to feed and check water. That's it. The barn is directly accessible to the pasture and the horses know how to come in and go into their stalls - no leading required. After eating, doors get opened and out they go. I don't feed on a schedule, so nobody is running if 8am comes and goes without breakfast. You want to come at 2pm after your lunch? Fine with everyone.

                        I was afraid our chickens would complicate things, but they won't. We have a great dog sitter who is here both ends of the day and once inbetween. She can open the coop and let them out; they put themselves to bed, so she can just close the door at last potty break. Easy peasy.
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                        • #52
                          I would agree that it is much cheaper. We have 17 acres and 4 horses, 2 are very hard keeping OTTBs who eat a lot of hay and grain. We were lucky since he property we found had great stalls, paddocks and outdoor ring already set up. We paid the same as a small starter house would have been in the city. On an expensive month it's about $400 including hay. I could maybe board one horse for that cost.

                          Now that we are settled we have one boarder that helps with cost also. We are also hosting little shows to earn extra income for the farm. I would not give up owning my guys at home for anything. I have only ever had to board for a few years though as my parents also had a horse farm growing up. I'm accustomed to the lifestyle.

                          It's true you are tied to your farm, but I find when I do getaway I long to return back to the farm
                          Boss Mare Eventing Blog
                          https://www.youtube.com/user/jealoushe

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                          • #53
                            I have both - a farm that sits empty since I travel away for work.

                            I have a 5th wheel camper and I board; but lease a stall, do my own work, room for supplies, private tack room, even have my 3 cats there (shes loves my *killers*), dedicated paddock large enough to double for a ring, and permission to put up lights /on switches. 2 miles from my home, across the street from morning work, my night job is 3 miles away. I turn my guy out at am, in at pm or out if nights are good. My one stall takes oh...12 minutes complete, hay is a monthly run, takes an hour/12 mi total., pick up feed along the way home from grocery. I ride everyday, long rides, trailer out to 2 local parks 1-5mi, the other 10-mi away. My camper is NO maintainence. I have a gym across the street complete with pool and hot tub...<ahhhh>


                            My farm is an hour away, literally no work in the area./ I get home for a couple days vacation with the horses each season -- and do love it there, but also see that beyond a few days would require *work*/ less ride time. I raised my girls there and life was busy, had to be well-scheduled to allow ride time, play time, summer swim time, and down-time. Costs? probably cheaper at home in one way, not in another for farm upkeep, taxes, my time (yes, its worth something)..and I tried to not have work be the toll on my family.

                            Ive faced the decisons -- yes, Id love to be at home, garden, quiet privacy, 85K forest ac's to ride, everything safe in its own place ...but, in weighing the equation of ride or work.......... ride wins. So, its major that after struggling terribly for 8yrs with this choice Ive decided to sell the farm.

                            Cost? Instead of farm upkeep, Ill have money to buy a nice rig/lq's and do some competitions these upcoming years.

                            In this great debate, I think each person needs to look at their lives >today< and measure from that, Life changes and so will your horse needs.
                            IN GOD WE TRUST
                            OTTB's ready to show/event/jumpers. Track ponies for perfect trail partners.
                            http://www.horseville.com/php/search...=1&ssid=057680

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                            • Original Poster

                              #54
                              Originally posted by JB View Post
                              Re: property taxes - we had a house "in the city", so were paying County and City taxes and they were high. Now we have 10 acres, the house, and the barn, only paying County taxes, and paying maaaybe 50% more. That 50% extra is far less than 6 months board.
                              OMG the property taxes here are ridiculous. My current small house on a postage stamp lot is assessed both county and city taxes. (I use the term "city" loosely because it isn't exactly a booming metropolis) County tax rate is .59 and city is .393.... yep you do the math! Thankfully our land, which is only about 5 miles from the current house, is only taxed at the county rate. Even if we lose our present use value on the land, it's such a reduced tax rate compared to what we're paying now that it will still be a relief. haha!
                              "Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you're a thousand miles from the corn field." --Dwight D Eisenhower

                              Boston Terrier Rescue of NC - www.btrnc.org - Adopt for Life!

                              Comment


                              • #55
                                The bigger your requirements, the bigger your expenses whether boarding or keeping a horse at home. That being said, my requirements are simple and it's still less for me to keep two horses at home than to board. We've had as many as 5 when the girls were here.

                                I get so much pleasure dinking around the barn or watching the mares in the paddocks. I can't imagine having to board and missing the horses activities the 23 hours of the day that I wasn't at the barn.

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                                • #56
                                  Originally posted by SLW View Post
                                  The bigger your requirements, the bigger your expenses whether boarding or keeping a horse at home. That being said, my requirements are simple and it's still less for me to keep two horses at home than to board. We've had as many as 5 when the girls were here.

                                  I get so much pleasure dinking around the barn or watching the mares in the paddocks. I can't imagine having to board and missing the horses activities the 23 hours of the day that I wasn't at the barn.
                                  Umm, I read that as....

                                  I get so much pleasure drinking around the barn ...and I thought well, so do I, but only on occasion

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                                  • #57
                                    katarine,

                                    Me too!!

                                    I board my horse at a co-op barn less than a mile from my home. In some ways it is an ideal situation. 180 acre farm and I feed 4 times a week (2 days a week 2x a day).


                                    We bought 78 acres 12 years ago. We have been massaging this piece of property ever since. Putting in trails, clearing a house site, putting in a pond, a riding ring, a pasture, building our house. Next on the list, build the barn and fencing and build the equipment shed. I am hopeful I can get the barn and fencing in this spring.

                                    Prior to marrying my husband I had 2 horses at home on a small acreage. I loved having them there. I had wonderful neighbors who would feed for me and give the horses a good once over while I was gone on vacation.

                                    Doing the co-op thing was the next best thing to having them at home, especially when the barn was so close. I still wish they were home.

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                                    • #58
                                      The other thing that was a factor for me, is that if I pay board @$500 per month for 25 years, I have nothing to show for it in the end. By paying "myself" board, I will have a farm paid for in 25 years.
                                      Jigga:
                                      Why must you chastise my brilliant idea with facts and logic? **picks up toys (and wine) and goes home**

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                                      • #59
                                        I think a lot of posters are comparing apples to oranges. It isn't fair to compare stall board at a facility with a nice ring and professional staff and twice a day care to an at home facility where the horses stay out all the time, eat from a hay roll, get grain once a day, are periodically cared for by friends/neighbors who might not know much about horses and there is no riding ring. Of course you are saving money, but it isn't because the horses are at home it is because the standard of care has dropped. I'm not saying that horses can't do fine in the second situation, just that it isn't comparable.

                                        If moving your horses home includes a drastic change in the standard and complexity of horse care and a significant reduction in horse/barn amenities, yes, obviously you are going to save money, just as if you moved your horse from stall board at a fancy facility to pasture board at a more simple place. The savings is not in having your horses at home, it is in the simplification of their care wherever it is.

                                        Interestingly, I have had several fairly particular clients over the years who have ended up buying their own horse properties and moving their horses home and in each case their standards relaxed dramatically. It takes a lot of work to keep stalls clean, buckets fresh, blankets changed, fences fixed, arena groomed, aisle swept, etc, and when people realize exactly how much work, they often decide to drastically simplify things.

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                                        • #60
                                          Took the plunge 15 years ago. Work, etc., regardless - would NEVER go back to boarding. NEVER.

                                          Cheaper? BIG TIME. Quality of feed/hay? BIG TIME. Quality of care? BIG TIME.

                                          Plain old enjoyment? BIG TIME.

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