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Do you regret having your horses at home?

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  • Do you regret having your horses at home?

    I know many of you love having your horses at home, but my question is to the people who brought them home and now regret it.

    Our house is on the market and our next step was to purchase a two acre lot for a small horse property/small house.

    Now I am having second thoughts and honestly, are split 50/50 on the decision.

    Here is a little background that may help. Both DH and I are 49 yrs old.
    We want to sell our bigger home, build something small, not have a mortgage, and feel more financially secure.

    He also loves to travel.

    Although I enjoy riding alone, I love thecomradery of the barn life. I just moved into a new place which I love, and it is nice having people around to just talk to after riding.

    I trust it enough to take a day or two off and not go to the barn.

    My concerns are:
    Not being able to keep up with the rising board costs in the future.

    OTOH - the money we would save from building a barn, maintenance, extra taxes, fencing would probably equal out over the long run.

    My mare has Uveitis and a Cataract in one eye and is almost blind in that particular eye.
    The fear is: if the Uveitis spreads to the other eye and she becomes unridable, I cannot possibly afford to board two horses.
    And I would never ever part with her.

    Although a partial lease of another horse would be doable if I could not longer ride her.

    DH is leaving it up to me as he will go along with whatever I decide.

    Help?? Anyone wish you were back boarding again?

    Thank you -
    MnToBe Twinkle Star: "Twinkie"

    Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

  • #2
    I don't have my guys at home but my aunt has her two at home. One is about 14 and the other is 28 or 29. They are both quarter horses. She never wishes she was back boarding. She has someone who will watch them when they are out of town. They take 3-4 scuba diving trips a year. She's told me that they saved a lot of money by bringing them home. I think they would regret it if they couldn't go on all their trips still but idk for sure.
    No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
    For Hope, For Strength, For Life-Delta Gamma
    www.etsy.com/shop/joiedevivrecrafts Custom Wreaths and Other Decorations


    • #3
      The only time I regret it is when we've had a huge snowstorm and I'm out there digging out the barn aisle and stalls!

      I've had mine home for three years. I'm a widow, 57, and do this on my own. I boarded my three horses for years, and just couldn't get past the itch to have them home.

      Unlike your husband, I don't travel much, but when I do I take my horses to my trainer's and board them there while I'm gone. It gives me a lot more peace of mind than when I'd have someone come in to feed.

      As you've read here a million times, it's great to have them in the back yard. I feel like I never really knew my horses until they lived here with me, and I saw them every day when I boarded them.

      But, everyone's situation is different. It's a huge commitment of time and money, but so is boarding more than one horse.

      And when it's time to doctor one of them, or the weather changes and they need blankets on or off, it's a five minute process instead of an hour.

      Good luck in your decision.


      • #4
        To answer your question simply: No, I don't regret bringing my horses home. But it's not that simple. You are very wisely foreseeing the disadvantages to bringing horses home.

        I TERRIBLY miss having easy access to the social side of riding. For me, it is much harder to get motivated to ride due in part to not having people right at the barn with whom to ride and because I spend so much time on maintaining the horses and the farm (which I never had to do as a boarder). I am 39 and already have begun wondering if I will feel like spending so much time maintaining the farm when I am 55 or 60.

        Before I moved my horses, I travelled quite a bit. Now it is quite difficult to travel because I do not live in an area where there is a great selection of horsesitters. And when I do travel, it is very costly to pay the sitter. I am happy to pay for good care, but it costs the same to pay a sitter for a week half of what it would cost to board for a month.

        I suppose I am just confirming your suspicions. All this said, there is nothing I love more than having the horses at home...LOL. This is a real catch-22.

        Good luck!
        "We need a pinned ears icon." -MysticOakRanch


        • #5
          Sometimes I wish I were boarding. For three specific reasons:

          1) Traveling: hubby whines if he has to feed and otherwise I have to find a horse sitter.
          2) Riding: I don't like riding when no one is around, so that means waiting till hubby is home. Since I fell off and got a concussion last spring I'm doubly wary of being on a horse when there isn't someone around to drive me to the ER.
          3) Weather: hauling my rear out to the barn in thigh deep snow and high winds is not fun.

          I miss the socialness of boarding, but at the same time don't miss the barn drama. I miss the facilities: building a ring as nice as the ones at the boarding facilities I've been at is expensive.

          You sound like you've definitely decided the smaller house is the way to go. Your horse doesn't need to move in right away if you're not quite ready to have her at home yet. You'll have the space when you need to though.
          Pam's Pony Place

          Pam's Pony Ponderings


          • #6
            Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
            He also loves to travel.
            This would be an issue. Travelling with your horses at home isn't only harder to do from a house/horse sitter standpoint, it's more stressful to plan. And impulse is out the window. I don't regret having our guys at home -- but this issue really gets to me sometimes. My DH's family at the last minute decides they want to to Thanksgiving in Florida rather than VA. Have a nice time, I say. Because finding a house/horse/dog sitter now just isn't going to happen. I would have needed to find one six months ago.

            If you're downsizing/simplifying, maybe you could leave a cushion in your budget so if you decide you want to switch to boarding, you can? That way you know you'll have the funds to half lease if your mare needs to come home for medical issues.

            Having horses at home is not just a decision, it's a major change in lifestyle. Consider that carefully.
            "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucious
            <>< I.I.


            • #7
              If you're building in the immediate area, I think the towns next door to mine have the same building rules...2 acres minimum for a building lot. And 2 acres minimum for having horses at home.
              So if you do build in this general area, you'll be able to have horses at home if you choose to.
              So maybe keep looking for the 2 acre building lot and build your perfect sized home there and conitnue to board.
              If later on for whatever reason you want or need to bring your horse home...you can always add the barn and fencing later. And in a pinch you can put up a 2-3 stall shedrow and some fence panels and get your horse(s) home within a weekend's time and then eventually put up a different barn or other type of fencing.

              The downsides of having them home is finding the time not just to travel on long vacations but even an overnight stay somewhere or a long day out can be a pita. Hubby and I are trying like heck to figure out a way to get away for 3 days to FL on Christmas break to visit my MIL. So far we're stymied as to who can come watch the horses and stay at our home. We may have to look into boarding them out for 3 days which sounds like another pita.
              Just going to the EA yesterday resulted in a few days of warnings to the hubby to NOT overfeed the hell oout of the horses while I was gone for 8-9 hours, LOL!
              The bad weather days...doesn't bother me at all. Makes coming in the house when you're done all that much better. But...the bad weather days (or even good weather ones) when you've got the martina flu from Hades or a stomach virus or you're 345 case of Lyme *and* mono at the same time does suck out loud. But it's not a common thing, so not too bad to deal with.
              The extras can be expensive over time...and you will be buying extras up the wazoo to make life and chores easier. A small tractor, implements for the small tractor, power tools, snow plows, trailers, etc. But the good part about that is that hubby actually enjoys shopping with you then...and you'll get googly eyed looking at tire chains or trailer sprayers or pressure washers. (or nail guns, I still want one)

              And now for the selfish plug...if you get a horse property in the area and I have my horse property in the area...then possibly later down the road if either of us need a day or 3 away we can shuttle horses between the properties!
              You jump in the saddle,
              Hold onto the bridle!
              Jump in the line!


              • #8
                Originally posted by jazzrider View Post
                Having horses at home is not just a decision, it's a major change in lifestyle. Consider that carefully.

                If you enjoy traveling, having horses at home is a major complication. If it's possible to do temporary board for a few days somewhere you trust when you want to travel, that makes a big difference. That isn't always an option if the local barns you trust have waiting lists. And it can be expensive - I know that my barn and most others in my area charge a much higher rate for temporary board than horses who are on a monthly contract. I hated having to tell a frequent temp boarder who kept horses at home but traveled a lot that I was full when she needed to take off for a week without notice for a family emergency. She really had to scramble to find someone to care for them, and almost missed seeing a close relative before his passing because she couldn't just leave her horses.

                Assuming too that you have a trailer (and a hauling vehicle)? If not, that's one more expense to consider, if you want to ship somewhere to ride with friends or if you have an emergency that necessitates a ride to a vet clinic.
                Ristra Ranch Equestrian Jewelry


                • #9
                  I'm likely to be a single-horse owner until the day I die unless I manage to win the lottery, and have enough to consider a second horse (in which case I'd likely have enough to maybe consider keeping a horse at home anyway.)

                  I don't keep my pony at home because I don't have the property to do so. And if I did, I honestly am not sure if I wouldn't choose to board regardless.

                  To be honest, I love the camaraderie of our barn. We have potlucks, we have a barn costume parade on Halloween and we do play days and all sorts of fun things. Plus, we've got a major lack of barn drama which helps bunches. I like riding with people, I like the social scene, because if I didn't have the barn, I'd practically be a hermit.

                  Also, honestly, I like the riding facilities. I like being on a 54 acre ranch with three rings, and 2 round pens and a lunging barn. Unfortunately, if I did have horse property at home, I'd probably have just enough space for a small pasture/large paddock, and a stall, with no real place to ride., and I might or might not have access to trails.

                  For what it's worth, I'm really not the best person to talk to about keeping a horse at home because I can't (no room!) but I do have several friends who have horse property, but still board. They liked having the horses at home when the daughter was younger and doing Pony Club, but once she grew up and moved out, they brought them to a boarding barn. Also, my trail buddy keeps her gelding at home. She had a riding accident back in August 2008, and took a long time getting back into the saddle. She's since ridden very little because she really doesn't have a place to ride him and it's no fun riding alone. I talked to her recently and she's thinking about maybe boarding him over the winter so she's got some people to ride with.

                  It's really up to you in the end, you have looked at the pros and the cons, and seem to be weighing it out. I think for myself, I'd probably want to keep boarding, with the option of maybe bringing my horse home if he ever became unrideable or if he was laid up for a long-term injury, but I don't think I'd ever want to keep just one horse at home if I wasn't able to afford two or more.
                  "My time here is ended. Take what I have taught you and use it well." -- Revan


                  • #10
                    I have about 20 horses, so my only option is keeping them at home. Okay, I could win the lotto but the chances of that are small.

                    However, if I only had one horse, there would be no question -- I would board that horse elsewhere even if I could keep the horse at home.

                    I guess I would not worry about rising board costs in the future unless I was going to be on a fixed income. Fourteen years ago I owned one horse; now I own about 20. I have no idea how many horses I will have in 14 years or even if I will have any. I don't worry about the long term as things have a way of working out.
                    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Huntertwo View Post
                      I know many of you love having your horses at home, but my question is to the people who brought them home and now regret it.


                      He also loves to travel.
                      That CAN be a problem. But I travel quite a lot, and have found a trusted horse carer who feeds, mucks, and calls the vet when needed.

                      Although I enjoy riding alone, I love the comradery of the barn life. I just moved into a new place which I love, and it is nice having people around to just talk to after riding.
                      That may be a bigger deal than you think. For me, when I boarded, except for lessons, I tried to ride when there WOULDN'T be other people around, even though I liked them.

                      trust it enough to take a day or two off and not go to the barn.

                      My concerns are:
                      Not being able to keep up with the rising board costs in the future.
                      Well, the reason board costs go up are the rising costs of feed, hay bedding and labor. You would face all of those except labor.

                      My mare has Uveitis and a Cataract in one eye and is almost blind in that particular eye.
                      The fear is: if the Uveitis spreads to the other eye and she becomes unridable, I cannot possibly afford to board two horses.
                      And I would never ever part with her.
                      So you only have one horse.
                      That might be a problem.
                      Some horses are fine alone, but others are not.

                      One possibility would be to get a property big enough for two horses, and take in a partial boarder. You could share the chores (e.g. one does the mornng feed, one does the evening, and you each do your own mucking). Then your horse would have company, and most of the time you would be able to fill in for each other when one travels.

                      Help?? Anyone wish you were back boarding again?

                      chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


                      • #12
                        I love having the horses at home.
                        ...well maybe when it's 20 degree's and in the pouring rain. But then I'm usually just wishing for a heated tunnel to take me from the house to the barn.

                        I LOVE having my horses at home. Is it a pain to travel when you have horses? Yup. Similar to having kids again, you need to have someone you can rely on and trust. Do you have anyone from your barn that lives close enough to you, to help watch them? One of my best horsey friends does this for quite a few of the people at her barn. She even offered to do it for me (even though it would be a 3hr round trip!).

                        To the point that Saddleup made...I thought I knew my girls but until I brought them home i never realized how much I DIDN'T know about their little quirks, idiosyncrasys, etc. For me, there is nothing more rewarding than sitting on the porch drinking coffee/tea and watch the horses graze in the pasture or come up to the fence, ears pricked forward beckoning me to come over and say hi.
                        Good luck with your decision!
                        Proudly owned by 7 horses, 6 dogs, 3 cats and 1 Turkey


                        • #13
                          OP, I know you asked who doesn't like having their horses at home but so far, you can see that many do not wish their horses anywhere else but in their back yard or pasture. I didn't really like boarding, the other girl there was a show princess, wanted things HER way, thought I coddled my mare too much, would have melt downs if she caught me talking to her horses as I cleaned my stalls that were next to hers, etc.

                          My husband travels a lot, that is part of his business and he loves it. Have I gone with him? A few times. When I do, I have a good friend down the road I trust who is willing to watch my horses for me and has no fear of them as they are taller and bigger horses than she is use to. When they go anywhere we swap roles, I watch her two mares for her and her family.

                          Yes, you have a barn to build, fence to put up, things to buy to comfortably house the horses should you decide to bring them home but look at it this way. They are there for you to enjoy should you not want to go out riding, if an emergency arises your right there, no hurrying to the boarding barn to meet the BO or vet and wonder what you were described is actually what is happening. And the board you pay month after month could go into payments to pay off a barn you want or wish for.

                          As for riding alone, I don't really mind doing that either. Yea, it would be nice if I had someone to ride with but it isn't necessary.


                          • #14
                            Do I love having my horses in my "backyard"? Yes. Would I do it all over again? Yes. But, I seem to remember vacations some time in the distant past and I vividly remember last winter when I came down with the flu while husband and daughter were out of town. I just barely crawled out to the barn to feed and turn out and pick out the big pieces of manure. Of course, it was also cold and raining to top it off.

                            Then again, there is nothing like sitting outside with a cup of coffee and watching the horses romp in the pasture. Wouldn't give it up for anything.


                            • #15
                              I boarded for years (at four different barns mind you), then hubby and I bought an 18 acre farm and moved 1500 miles JUST to have the horses at home. Our morgtage on the farm is exactly $197.00 more than just the board for my two horses was in Utah.

                              I was not happy, when I boarded, with either the quality, type or quantity of hay they were getting, so I bought my own anyway, so that hasn't changed. Any supplements or 'extra' feed they got, I purchased, and had to go out to feed them if I wanted them to have it. If they got turnout (in an arena mind you - not a field) I had to be there - every time. And half the time, I ended up cleaning their stalls too. I aways made arrangements for my own farrier, dentist and vet - and made sure that I was there when they were, so that hasn't changed.

                              I'm not at all a socializer, so that aspect of boarding did nothing for me, in fact I actually like it much better now that I don't have to watch what other people do to their horses. I don't particularly like to ride with others either, 90 percent of the time - either they talk too much, or are too timid, or in too much of a hurry. And group activities weren't even my thing as a kid - never mind now.

                              As for care - no, I can't honestly say that my horses are brushed every day (like they were when I boarded), nor can I say that they are blanketed in various weights depending on the heaviness of the frost, but the flip side is they spend minimal (say maybe 4 days this year) in a stall, have been in knee deep grass in a 16 acre pasture all summer, are calmer, healthier and happier than I have ever known them to be, need (and get) no grain or supplements (unless you count the occasional apple or carrot), and every time I look out my bedroom window and see them, my heart absolutely overflows.

                              I don't ride as much as I 'used' to, it's true. but honestly, the year and a half before we moved, I didn't ride much either - a function of too much to do and being exhausted all the time from work more than a lack of interest. The flip side however, is that if I do want to ride and can work up the energy, I simply walk out the back door, call Blue or Princess, and hop on. I have access to somewhere in the vicinity of 1300 acres via our neighbors properties which they have very kindly allowed me access to.

                              My Husband and I don't travel, so the 'farm sitter' question is moot. Honestly however, the 5 dogs, 14 goats, 20 chickens, 4 turkeys, 1 mini donkey, 4 geese, 2 pigs and 3 guinea hens would be more of an issue than the 2 horses are, As long as they were upright, and in the pasture, our neighbor could (and would) certainly come by and check on them and they would be just fine.

                              I do, on occasion miss having an arena (covered or not) and the availability of a round pen, and the way our land lies, we really don't have many options for putting such a thing in (we really only have 2 areas that would be flat enough, both are low lying and subject to the occasional flood - as well as being the best hay fields we own) but that, in all sincerity, is the [U]only[U] thing I miss about boarding. And to have actual PASTURE for my kids more than compensates for my not having an arena to work in.

                              Another consideration was the constant fear (it actually happened twice to me - thus the 4 barns) that the facility would be sold and bulldozed, or that something would happen to my income and I would no longer be able to afford the board and the house payment together. No matter what, I now do not have that nagging fear of "Where in God's name can I take them if......" Also, when the time comes that they cross the bridge, they will be buried right here. I've already warned Hubby that he'd better plan on renting a backhoe and figuring out how to run it. The good lord willing, that won't happen for a LOT of years yet, but one never knows.

                              So, am I happy with the decision to bring them home? YES.
                              "The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear" ~ Socrates


                              • #16
                                I hate having my 3 horses at home. I can't go anywhere for more than a few hours without having to be home by dark to feed (no barn). I'll be alone at Christmas for 5 days as DH is going to his 93-year-old mom's in NC and I have no one to take care of them. OTOH, maybe that's a good thing, she and I don't get along well. Point is, I couldn't go if I wanted to.

                                I've had the horses at home for about 12 years. The first years were fine, but now that I'm older I'd like to be able to travel or at least go out to dinner once in a while. Florida is a big state and I'd like to see more of it!

                                Luckily I work from home, so I can make time to hold the horses for the farrier. So far we haven't needed a vet, knock on wood, but be prepared for the $50+ farm call fee added to whatever the bill is.

                                I know it's bad of me to say, but I hope these beasts pass on pretty soon. They're all 20 years old, so I guess I'm looking at up to another 10-15 years of being tied down 24/7. I'd put them in a boarding barn, but DH won't hear of it. We could afford to rent a much nicer house if I didn't have to have a place with land for the horses.

                                Think twice...then think again and again. What do you want to do in a few years? Be tied down 24/7 or have the freedom to do spur of the moment things?
                                Everybody lies - Gregory House, M.D.


                                • #17
                                  I have 5 at home and wouldn't change it for anything- Its a lot of work and I sometimes miss having people to ride with, but.... I can feed in my pajamas if I want to, my horses are 100% under my care- no worries if they are actually getting fed what I am paying for, if I decide I want to go out and ride or just hang out with them there's no driving involved, etc. I also do travel a fair amount and do not have any problem getting someone to take care of them.
                                  "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                                  So you might as well have a good time"


                                  • #18
                                    I have two horses of my own at home and one boarder. I've never had to board so it's hard for me to compare.

                                    I will say that the care 365 days a year, rain or shine, in sickness and health isn't always what I feel like doing after a full work day etc. Vacations/business trips/a night away from home have to be carefully planned too. Having said that, I wouldn't do it any other way unless I had to.

                                    One bit of advice that I haven't seen mentioned. Having two horses at home didn't work for me. Taking one out without the other caused so much upset for the one left behind that it was very difficult.

                                    I added one more horse, a boarder and now it's wonderful. I think 3 is the magic number.


                                    • #19
                                      Having people to watch your horses when you travel and having to be home everyday (when I'm not traveling) between the hours of 8-9 and 4-5, is the worse part of having them at home. My horses can eat as late much later or earlier - but the fact is they have to be fed twice a day. At first when I brought them home, I missed the social aspects of being at a barn, but over the years I realize, it's quite the opposite - I don't miss the drama, gossip - this is much worse in my opinion. Having them at home, I get to choose who is at my barn. And it's my space. I have enjoyed having a boarder once and a while, but usually, they are friends first and boarders second. And, I can kick them out if the first falls apart.

                                      Biggest regret is not riding as much. I rarely ride - but I also have a farm with lots of other livestock - so after spending a full day outside taking care of them, it's hard to get motivated to jump on. Over the years the times I have ridden seriously (taking lessons and competing) I have always ended up boarding the horse I'm working with. Lately, I have been trail riding once or twice a week with a neighbor - that's fun and laid back. Do I ride my "competiion" horse - of course not, I ride my QH I have owned for over 20 years... So, if you are a serious rider, I would not recommend having your horse at home.


                                      I' had mine home since 1999.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by jazzrider View Post
                                        This would be an issue. Travelling with your horses at home isn't only harder to do from a house/horse sitter standpoint, it's more stressful to plan. And impulse is out the window. I don't regret having our guys at home -- but this issue really gets to me sometimes. My DH's family at the last minute decides they want to to Thanksgiving in Florida rather than VA. Have a nice time, I say. Because finding a house/horse/dog sitter now just isn't going to happen. I would have needed to find one six months ago.

                                        If you're downsizing/simplifying, maybe you could leave a cushion in your budget so if you decide you want to switch to boarding, you can? That way you know you'll have the funds to half lease if your mare needs to come home for medical issues.

                                        Having horses at home is not just a decision, it's a major change in lifestyle. Consider that carefully.
                                        In the same boat here. Bought this farm 5 years ago, 3 horses total. 2 of them are retirees. Yes, I am saving money, no way could I afford to board 3.

                                        The biggest issue is the traveling, it does add a whole new level of stress for prep for leaving, and finding someone to house/horse/dog sit. It was so much easier when they were boarded out.

                                        I don't ride as much as I used to, it seems I get caught up in barn chores, but that is my own fault for not setting my priorities (and a high stress, long work hours day job does not help right now).

                                        I do miss the barn buddies, but I make up for it by chatting here on the BB instead.
                                        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams