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Boarding barn burnout. Should I buy a normal house?

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  • Boarding barn burnout. Should I buy a normal house?

    Anyone go through this. We are selling our farm bc the boarding is a major money drain for us. I would like a normal life but I need to decide whether I board my horse or buy a small farm. I found an adorable property with just 2 acres. so I'm debating a small farm for 2 horses or boarding and getting a normal house with no farm.

    Anyone else go through this?

  • #2
    It depends on what kind of riding you do. If you just have a couple of trail horses, you might be extremely happy on a mini-farm. Depending on what your finances are, if you need an arena or other fancier amenities, then you might be happier boarding. Either way, I'd make the decision primarily based on what you think would make your quality of life better. After running a boarding barn, keeping two horses at home will be a piece of cake for you.

    Comment


    • #3
      My good friends went through this. They ran the best boarding facility I have ever been at, but found themselves enjoying it less and less.

      They sold the farm and boarded their horses with friends while they looked for a small acreage property that better suited their lifestyle. And they are MUCH happier now.

      Boarding horses can be a thankless job...
      Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO

      Comment


      • #4
        I always say get the property you can keep your horses on if you want to...then you can board them out or keep them home as you please.

        Then you have options like boarding for winter only and bringing them home in summer. (give yourself winters off or find a place with an indoor!)
        Or boarding both out year round, but having the option of bringing one or both home if they require rehab from injury or are being retired or whatever. That way you're not paying board on an unrideable horse if you're in an area where board costs a lot more than bringing them home.
        Or boarding both out but having "sleepovers" if you have a trailer. I have a friend who did that, LOL! She put up a little one stall with round pen at home and 1-2 weekends per month would trailer her old guy home to hang out all weekend for fun.
        I also have a friend who bought a property that had an 8 stall barn, turnouts, etc and was doing a small boarding place. Lost money, increased her work and the boarders drove her batty. So she went to keeping only her 2 horses home. She now boards both horses at a full care facility full time and has rented out her barn/back property for someone else to run their own boarding/co-op place. One covers the costs of the other.

        So lotta options if you have enough room to have horses at home...then it's always YOUR decision to board or not.
        You jump in the saddle,
        Hold onto the bridle!
        Jump in the line!
        ...Belefonte

        Comment


        • #5
          What is a typical horse property like around you? 2 horses on 2 acres is fairly labor intensive no matter how you look at it.

          Is that 2 acres of pasture? 2 acres total, house/yard included? 2 acres available for horses but you still need a barn or run-in and manure pile and hay storage, etc?
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

          Comment


          • #6
            I would want the ability to keep the horses at home, basically what MistyBlue said.
            When I unexpectedly lost my job a few years ago, one of the first people I told was my trainer- sorry, but my show horse had to come home. I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have a place to bring her- there's no way I could have afforded board in any way.

            Comment


            • #7
              step back, breathe and reset goals!

              Yes, we did this in 2012! Huge decision to sell our 54 stall training facility but changes in life made it more and more challenging. My job had doubled and my mom's health was declining. I worked full time and my husband ran the facility. I was going 18-20 hrs a day and not enjoying much of it Great relief when we listed it just to take that step.

              But we were fully expecting it to take years......who wants a 54 stall facility in this economy?? We had a great reputation and provided quality care so that really played in our favor - successful turnkey operation. took 9 months from listing to closing and we could not be happier!!!!!! What a relief!

              We bought 28 acres and built our 'perfect' 12 stall barn. only boarders are people I really, really, really like

              I was the one who wanted to sell and downsize, not my husband. We had to take a step back from it all and really look at our dreams and goals and passions. We took a deep breathe and reset our goals in life. And running a large facility was no longer one of them......trust me, if you haven't personally owned and managed one you don't have a clue as to the mental and physical exhaustion and toll it takes to do it right day in and day out.

              We thought about buying a 'normal' home and boarding but decided that we really like having the horses with us. We thought long and hard about how many stalls and having boarders but we decided that we liked having some people around to share with us. We settled on 12 stalls as it was big enough for us and a few friends but not too big that if we didn't want to board it wasn't a problem, i.e. we stayed with what we could financially afford on our own.

              The new place is quiet, peaceful and someplace where I can relax. The horses are happy and everything is just the way I want it. The boarders we do have are people we have known for a long time. My brother likes to say that I build my own 'woman cave'

              So take a deep breath and spend some quality time resetting your goals for the next 1, 3 and 5 yrs. That will help you decide what type of property best suits your needs going forward.

              Good Luck!!!
              m

              Comment


              • #8
                Another factor is, what kind of boarding facilities are available near you? Is the quality of care up to your standards? Are the amenities what you need and want? Are they a good distance from your home and/or work? Would it make your life easier, or make it harder? Is it possible to reset what you do at your current place? I mean would it be good for you if you kept the current place, kept your horses there, and did something else besides boarding? Retirement boarding, lay up boarding, etc? I am thinking something without the owners coming on the property constantly, or mostly absentee owners.

                Would the smaller place fit your needs? Are there trail or other facilities nearby for your use? Is the other property zoned for horses, and the number you have?
                You can't fix stupid-Ron White

                Comment


                • #9
                  You are going to have to downsize sooner or later.
                  No one gets any younger as the time passes.
                  May as well do it now and get to enjoy life as you want now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Methinks downsizing to two acres is a tad too much...perhaps five acres giving
                    your guys some decent turnout and ability to rotate pastures would work far better for you. We went from five acres to four but the way it is laid out, the horses have maybe 2.5 acres and that was after fencing the front yard. At the first place, they had 4.5 acres out of the 5.0 acres.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by stoneymeadow View Post
                      Yes, we did this in 2012! Huge decision to sell our 54 stall training facility but changes in life made it more and more challenging. My job had doubled and my mom's health was declining. I worked full time and my husband ran the facility. I was going 18-20 hrs a day and not enjoying much of it Great relief when we listed it just to take that step.

                      But we were fully expecting it to take years......who wants a 54 stall facility in this economy?? We had a great reputation and provided quality care so that really played in our favor - successful turnkey operation. took 9 months from listing to closing and we could not be happier!!!!!! What a relief!

                      We bought 28 acres and built our 'perfect' 12 stall barn. only boarders are people I really, really, really like

                      I was the one who wanted to sell and downsize, not my husband. We had to take a step back from it all and really look at our dreams and goals and passions. We took a deep breathe and reset our goals in life. And running a large facility was no longer one of them......trust me, if you haven't personally owned and managed one you don't have a clue as to the mental and physical exhaustion and toll it takes to do it right day in and day out.

                      We thought about buying a 'normal' home and boarding but decided that we really like having the horses with us. We thought long and hard about how many stalls and having boarders but we decided that we liked having some people around to share with us. We settled on 12 stalls as it was big enough for us and a few friends but not too big that if we didn't want to board it wasn't a problem, i.e. we stayed with what we could financially afford on our own.

                      The new place is quiet, peaceful and someplace where I can relax. The horses are happy and everything is just the way I want it. The boarders we do have are people we have known for a long time. My brother likes to say that I build my own 'woman cave'

                      So take a deep breath and spend some quality time resetting your goals for the next 1, 3 and 5 yrs. That will help you decide what type of property best suits your needs going forward.

                      Good Luck!!!
                      I like that, I do feel like I have to reset my goals. At least for the time being I need some more family time. I found the most perfect two acre property. I feel like I will board now and have the option to take them home if I want. I agree with you misty blue, I'd love to have the option to take them home but not necessarily have to.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I like the board if you want or not option. Its a life style that I find is hard to quit cold turkey. So if you had the 2 acre mini farm it might be just enough. Good luck!!
                        Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          With two acres, you can bring them home and stash them temporarily if necessary
                          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                          ---
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have transitioned from a 120 acre farm with a 10 stall barn, lots of pastures, to a 2 acre farm in two years. Not my choice, BTW. On 2 acres I have 1 horse, 1 donkey, 8 adult goats + kids, and a group of chickens. Granted the horse is 28, and not needing a lot in terms of space. Sold/gave away all my horses except the old one. What caught my eye about your post was the idea of a normal house.

                            When I moved here, I had to board my old mare for awhile. I hated it. She has been an easy keeper her whole life, all of a sudden I lost control of what she was being fed and she lost so much weight. No matter how much we discussed feeding, and grain I bought, I couldn't keep weight on her. I switched boarding facilities, didn't help. As soon as I moved her to my own place, the weight came back fairly quickly. So, living in a normal house and boarding my horse, not a good thing.

                            Next step was I had to move my menagerie off the old farm, so I bought 8 acres, moved my horse and everyone else to it. Still lived in the normal house. Having to travel everyday to the farm - hated it. I did it because it was what had to be done, but it was so annoying to have to get in the car everyday to go feed and check up on everyone. And, leave them everyday knowing I wouldn't be back for a day. I had great neighbors who would call if anything major happened (loose goat, horse, etc). My whole herd of goats did get out once and go on a walk about, no harm done, luckily. So I would not recommend this option either.

                            Living a normal house and having neighbors you can see from all rooms in your house... Weird after living on farms since the 90's. We didn't like that either.

                            Finally, thankfully, our financial situation improved this year to the point that we could buy a small house on 2 acres. I was really worried that it wouldn't work for the animals, and all our stuff, but it is working. And I love being able to walk out my backyard to where my animals are. I don't have a barn, we are definitely the motel 6 here, but I'm thankful that I have my farm however small it is. Luck would have it that across the street from me is the entrance to a trail riding area that goes for miles and miles (a county trail system). There is also a boarding facility so I have plenty of riding partners. It has worked out better than I could have ever expected.

                            Good luck in whatever you decide. My options were extreemly limited because of the financial difficulties that forced me to sell the big farm. Without that, the transition would have been much easier... But, having gone through it, it has also taught me to be grateful for what I have!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              timely post for me!
                              we're selling our farm as it's just too much to keep up. dh has been ill for years and is finally feeling better, but i'm really very content boarding and riding with my buddies. no more worrying all night about fencing, the river rising, etc etc etc.
                              we're moving to a 'normal' house with hopefully just a couple of acres so if i ever have to bring my horse home i can do so. this also means i won't be able to take in every sad story i run across, which sure will help keep us to a normal budget!
                              we're looking forward to living closer to town with less effort, assuming i can find somewhere with less instead of more neighbors!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I understand exactly what you are going through. Hubby and purchased a lovely 10 acre farm (just a house, no other buildings etc.) about 30 years ago. Just happened to be located in a VERY horsey area which at the time we did not realize was such a big deal. However, as time went on we built our barn, added onto over the years, built an arena, added on more and so on. Pretty soon we started having a few boarders (to help pay for the above) and although we wanted to get a larger property some day we resisted the urge and so glad we did. Now in our 50's and nearing retirement from our full time jobs this little place is just perfect for us. We could not afford to buy in this area any more and its small enough that if we want to just have our own horses here and take care of them we can. If we want to keep the boarders we have we can and I really like the idea mentioned above about boarding my three out and have some pro take over the horse facility located here. Boarding barn burn out is certainly something I think everyone experiences in this industry at some point.

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