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Board or Home?

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  • Board or Home?

    I am positive this question has been asked before, but not with quite the same circumstances.

    So I am in high school, therefore still live with my parents. They are considering moving down the road to a home with 12 acres and less expensive than the home we live in now. I don't have a horse yet, but I am working on getting one.

    Overall, here are my pros and cons of each option:

    Boarding Pros:
    1. Social aspect of board friends, always having an expert there.
    2. One of the nicest facilities in the area, indoor, two outdoor arenas
    3. Lots of horses for socialization and opportunities to ride board horses.
    4. I currently work there, ride horses for people, etc and make extra money.

    Cons:
    1. More expensive
    2. 35 minute drive to get to the barn
    3. More of a hassle to become a working student and still have a barn to fall back on. I can't be as independent with where I want to go and shows I go to.

    Home Pros:
    1. Less expensive with gas and not paying for man labor
    2. Horses would be right there!
    3. More independence on how my horse would be taken care of.
    4. Opportunity to go to working student programs or clinics whenever without instructor disapproval.
    5. My dad builds barns and houses so that's taken care of.
    6. We can build an outdoor, some jumps and cross country jumps.
    7. I'd work at my Mcdonald's job and make money to cover lessons, farrier, routine vet, etc.

    Cons:
    1. Less experience working in the horse industry since I won't have the job at the barn anymore, except for when I am a working student.
    2. Can't just take a vacation whenever.
    3. No indoor and I live semi north.
    4. I would have to switch schools.
    5. Having to trailer weekly for lessons.

    So what do you guys think? What do you do or what would you do?

  • #2
    Since I live on and maintain my own small farm, I feel that I can say with authority that you left out a big con of horses at home: it takes so much time to take care of them and maintain the farm, in addition to work/school, that you have very little time to ride and enjoy them. I would board them for now and keep your barn job.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Oh, yes, I forgot about that one! That is a very good point.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'd vote for keep at home if it is cost effective. In my area, board is around $700/month (at facilities WITHOUT indoors). I can keep my horse at home for $300 per month through the winter when feeding hay, and much less when the pasture has good grass.

        It can be relatively easy to keep a small number of horses at home. I have three, all easy keepers, and it takes me a total of 30 min per day (including multiple feedings, blanketing, etc) to care for them. My property is fairly small, so there is not a lot of grass to mow, fences to repair, etc. My horses live out most of the time, so I don't have stalls to clean; there is an automatic waterer, so I don't have ANY troughs or buckets to deal with. Really very easy.

        If you are particular about your horse's care, you might be much happier having them under your care than boarding. Even the best boarding barn isn't going to go do a blanket change at midnight if necessary, but if you have them at home, you can if you want

        That said, if you don't have a lot of experience caring for horses it would probably be best to board, unless you have a close neighbor who could help you if you have a problem or questions. Caring for your own horse is the best way to learn, but if you aren't comfortable dealing with equine emergencies or common issues yourself, it would be better to board for a while.

        Comment


        • #5
          Not sure where you live but:

          Cons: Hauling hay in the dead of winter.
          Cons: Hauling water in the dead of winter if the water heater breaks.
          Cons: Checking on horses constantly when you hear strange noises.
          Cons: Apologizing to your neighbors when your horses get out.
          Cons: Paying for 2 horses, not one. He'll need a friend, won't he?
          Cons: No family vacations
          Cons: Finding reputable, reliable hay suppliers
          Cons: Finding reputable, reliable farriers (who'll drive all the way to your place for 1 or 2 horses)


          These were just a few of my favorite things, when I lived with my horses.

          But....

          Waking up every morning to seeing your horses frolicking in the field..... PRICELESS.
          "Take off the horses halter and lead rope, and all thats left is the truth." -Pat Parelli

          Comment


          • #6
            And don't forget pasture maintainance. Plan to spend at least 3 hours a week mucking the pasture and mending fences.
            "Take off the horses halter and lead rope, and all thats left is the truth." -Pat Parelli

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ToiRider View Post
              Since I live on and maintain my own small farm, I feel that I can say with authority that you left out a big con of horses at home: it takes so much time to take care of them and maintain the farm, in addition to work/school, that you have very little time to ride and enjoy them. I would board them for now and keep your barn job.


              Comment


              • #8
                I'd vote for having them at home. My experience:

                Until last year, mine always lived at my parents farm. Yes, it is more work. Yes, it makes taking vacations more challenging. But, I think they can get the best possible care there (not that I'm biased!): great all day turnout on grass fields, free choice hay in the winter and a quiet environment. I know exactly what they are eating and how much they are pooping and I can change blankets as needed. The work really isn't bad - 5 horses take maybe an hour a day (feeding, mucking, etc).

                Then I moved closer to the city for work and decided to board my new OTTB at a relatively big boarding/training barn. Yes, I was paying more, but I had an indoor, a close friend that also boarded there and a trainer's help when I needed it. It was nice, but I was always sharing the smallish ring with many other other horses, they turned out for only a few hours a day and as I later found out, they get very little hay. Blankets may or may not get changed and the busy environment made my ulcer prone OTTB a little stressed.

                So, now, my horse is moving back to my parents farm and I have to just suck it up and drive the 1hr back and forth my house and job.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Did I miss something or did the OP indicate she's both a high school student and her parents are buying the property. In regards to the latter, I would figure that Mom or Dad will be helping in caring for the property so the bulk of the work does not fall on her shoulders. I would also figure that Mom and Dad (he builds barns) would be working on a schedule for property care whether she had a horse(s) there or not. (jit)

                  I too own a small farm (6 acres) so speak with a little authority:


                  Cons: Hauling hay in the dead of winter.
                  (small pull wagon does a great job with little effort.)
                  Cons: Hauling water in the dead of winter if the water heater breaks. (again, small wagon ($125 for a tilt wagon) with a rack to hold buckets)
                  Cons: Checking on horses constantly when you hear strange noises.
                  (Agreed, for the first few months, then you get use to the commons sounds. Storms may keep you awake unless stalled during the storm).
                  Cons: Apologizing to your neighbors when your horses get out.
                  (Happened to me...once...I did apologize, I also thanked them tons, and I changed the gates and never forget to check. has not happened since)
                  Cons: Paying for 2 horses, not one. He'll need a friend, won't he?
                  (Agreed. You cannot have one. They are herd creatures and need that companionship. With that said, getting a couple of goats may be a good sub, or a small donkey with the added feature they are good protectors).
                  Cons: No family vacations
                  (With a farm down the road and being a working student she can board for a week. I will soon be sending my three to my trainers farm for two weeks to enjoy Europe in the spring)
                  Cons: Finding reputable, reliable hay suppliers
                  (agreed, but start with where she works, talk to other horse/farm owners in the area. There is also the web site hayexchange.com)
                  Cons: Finding reputable, reliable farriers (who'll drive all the way to your place for 1 or 2 horses).
                  (Agreed, but if she has a trailer, then she can take horses over to working farm when the farrier is there. I would imagine that could be worked into a schedule. I got my farrier to come when he does another (bigger) farm near by and for three horses, he is done pretty quick (just trims) and charges me the shared barn fee. If you talk to the guy he may work something out.

                  There are somedays when I ponder what I was thinking going from boarding one horse to taking care of three and the property, but that's because I have to do it all myself. I don't mind for as Tryin2event concluded....Priceless. When I can walk out on the front porch and see my guys munching 20 feet away, peace. When I can walk out at 10 PM, see my pony resting and her letting me just hang out on the ground with her...joy. When I can watch my eventer try and get the old gals running and playing, and Grandmaw joins in...happiness.

                  it is work, even with help, but most important to realize is that it is a commitment not to be taken lightly. To bring a horse into your life (in my book) is not a casual thing to be dropped once social life gets hot or life changes. When you go to college, who takes care of the horse? These spirits are completely dependent upon you and you need to carry that thought always, the moment you enter into an agreement with that horse. When a storm threatens at 2 AM are you willing to get up and do what it takes to ensure their safety, are you willing to say no to something you want, because you have to buy feed or hay or medical bills?

                  In the end it is your choice. I made mine and love every worried, anxious, scary, loving, joyful moment. Talk to your parents, listen to your heart, and then make a decision for it is not so much the path, it is the taking of each step forward that counts.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I LOVE having the horses at home.
                    But it comes with a big price on time.

                    I will say that living with your folks will help. When I want to go out with my friends my Mom can feed. Things like that.

                    But you have to remember to do things. For instance, yesterday I finished riding, took a shower and was all ready to hop into bed for a nap but remembered that I was out of feed. I had to throw clothes on and drive speedy fast to the feed store before it closed.

                    There's always something. ; )

                    I would also say that on average, if you consider the cost of supplies and labor, you won't be saving much by having a horse at home.
                    Also, most people need the social system. If you are good on your own then you won't have a problem. But if you like to have a team's shoulder then you might become very unsure and lonely out there by yourself.

                    If you are maintaining a competition horse you have to be very disciplined when living out on your own. It's very easy to just say "oh, I'll ride later." Oh....there are still a few more hours, I'll do it later." Then suddenly the day is over.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ToiRider View Post
                      Since I live on and maintain my own small farm, I feel that I can say with authority that you left out a big con of horses at home: it takes so much time to take care of them and maintain the farm, in addition to work/school, that you have very little time to ride and enjoy them. I would board them for now and keep your barn job.
                      I have my horses at home and wouldn't have it any other way. But just want to reiterate point above.... It comes with a price. Want to go away for a few days.... need to find horse care. want to go to HH (I know your in HS, so spend the evening with a friend) with a few friends? may be leaving early to take care of horses. The more you have to pay someone else to do...the less the value proposition is in your favor. BTW, I think very few people have 1 horse at home - they seem to multiply and are usually what you have room for +1.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        All very good points to consider. I am living with my parents still, but they are trying to figure out all the pros and cons. The time it takes to be able to afford a horse being boarded is about 4 hours after school, 4 days a week. Go to the barn Saturday morning for 5 hours and then go to work. Then I work on sunday. So total it's about 32 hours. I know, crazyyy. It's amazing I still get good grades. So the time wise dedication is no problem. I think it might even be less for one horse and a minature.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          All that time has riding in it too. So actually it's less of actual working, but it's still caring for the horse by exercising.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Keeping them at home has many, many advantages, and they are listed already. Same for boarding.

                            What year of school are you in? Are your parents horse people too, or is the horse gene just in you? That matters a lot as well. If they don't mind helping out with the chores and such, then keeping your horse and either a donkey, a mini, or a couple goats would be rather fun! I advise against getting another horse. I did that so my gelding would have a buddy, and it didn't work out very well. I had a hell of a time trying to sell him and my horse got super buddy sour when previously he'd never cared about leaving the barn for a trail ride.

                            Keeping them at home is awesome. I agree that waking up and seeing them outside is priceless! But it is a lot of work, even for just one horse. And it is nice to have friends around to ride with, especially if you're jumping. Then it becomes a safety issue.

                            Sit and talk with your parents about expectations from all of you, and what the plan is if you move away after graduation. Good luck!
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JP60 View Post
                              Did I miss something or did the OP indicate she's both a high school student and her parents are buying the property. In regards to the latter, I would figure that Mom or Dad will be helping in caring for the property so the bulk of the work does not fall on her shoulders. I would also figure that Mom and Dad (he builds barns) would be working on a schedule for property care whether she had a horse(s) there or not. (jit)
                              Uh yeah, but maybe Mom and Dad don't WANT to help out. OP should really discuss the amount of parental involvement with the appropriate parties before she starts planning the layout of the farm.

                              I have my horses at home as well (90+/- acres) and am lucky enough that my dad was very supportive with his time, since he couldn't help out financially. Plus he grew up on a farm, so stacking 300 bales of hay in 90* weather right before a thunderstorm is not such a huge thing for him. But maybe OP's parents aren't interested in that.

                              Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                              I will say that living with your folks will help. When I want to go out with my friends my Mom can feed. Things like that.
                              Again, OP needs to sit down and have a talk with her parents. Not fair for her to plan on skipping off to parties and sleepovers, waving off feeding times with an airy "Oh, mom can do it!"

                              Both my father and my younger once-horsey sister live on the property where I have my horses. It's not fair to ask him to do it, she charges some pretty hefty pet-sitting rates depending on her mood and if she can borrow clothing , so I usually end up paying someone to come in when I go away. Even with family on the property.

                              Originally posted by Nike View Post
                              All very good points to consider. I am living with my parents still, but they are trying to figure out all the pros and cons. The time it takes to be able to afford a horse being boarded is about 4 hours after school, 4 days a week. Go to the barn Saturday morning for 5 hours and then go to work. Then I work on sunday. So total it's about 32 hours. I know, crazyyy. It's amazing I still get good grades. So the time wise dedication is no problem. I think it might even be less for one horse and a minature.
                              So you're making about $1000 a month right now? If you don't have any other expenses, seems like you should be able to have a horse in most areas without too much of a problem.

                              And I hate to break it to you, but the work does get a little bit harder (or at least there's more of it!) in college. So don't get too cocky about handling the workload + highschool right now. :biggrin: This coming from someone who works 40+hours a week at several jobs to pay for my car/my school/my two horses plus has 16 "credit hours" of school a week. So it can be done, just don't think it's gonna get any easier for a while.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I would not trade having my horses at home for anything in the world...I truly hate boarding! Probably because I am super anal about my horse care so I feel like I have to do it all myself.

                                I find it interesting you say you won't get as much experience if you have the horses at home, but the truth is keeping your horses at home will give you WAY more experience than boarding and being a working student ever will.

                                I have always had my horses at home, minus a few stints here and there when I moved a few times. I never had a problem getting jobs at stables or even over seas, because the hands on experience of having a horse at home puts you much farther ahead.
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                                • #17
                                  I've made a list of pros and cons myself. There are about a dozen cons to keeping one at home, and virtually Pros. Off the top of my head, here are a few cons not on your list.

                                  Cons:
                                  Cost of building a barn, pasture, arena.
                                  Cost of tractor or other tow machine
                                  Increased taxes
                                  Increased insurance
                                  Increased electric bill
                                  Having to source hay and bedding all by yourself for a single horse, which means you are a low priority
                                  And on the same note: Finding a good farrier to service ONE horse, or two even.
                                  That time you are saving not driving to the barn will be spent dragging your arena and hauling out manure

                                  In my situation, it makes absolutely NO sense to keep a horse at home. But, in the absence of a suitable boarding facility, I may be forced to or get out of horses. It's a HUGE committment not only to the horse but to the property. And, I would actually have less time to ride, not to mention less time to spend with family and friends. And for all that time and money... I get to wake up half an hour early every day to feed and muck a stall. And I would have to ride outside in all weathers and maybe not at all in the winter.
                                  ::With age comes wisdom. Apparently "wisdom" weighs about 40 pounds.::

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Nike View Post
                                    Boarding Pros:
                                    1. Social aspect of board friends, always having an expert there.
                                    2. One of the nicest facilities in the area, indoor, two outdoor arenas3. Lots of horses for socialization and opportunities to ride board horses.
                                    4. I currently work there, ride horses for people, etc and make extra money.

                                    Originally posted by Nike View Post
                                    So what do you guys think? What do you do or what would you do?
                                    I would board. It's a no brainer.
                                    ::With age comes wisdom. Apparently "wisdom" weighs about 40 pounds.::

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I ran a small boarding barn all four years of high school with sometimes 1 horse (my own) up to 3 (mine with two boarders or two of mine with one boarder). I also did two horses at my house (one of mine and a boarder) and kept one at a boarding barn 35 minutes away. I MUCH prefer keeping horses at my own house and traveling out for lessons. If you only have one or two horses it will take you less than the time spent on driving to the barn (there and back). You will also gain much responsibility in learning about horse care, conditioning, and dealing with farrier and vet and worming schedules. However, I boarded my horse for a year before moving her to my house until I felt I was compotent enough in my horse knowledge to take care of her myself. I also had time left to have a waitressing job and take AP courses and graduate in the top ten in my class. If you are dedicated it is, in my opinion, much better to keep them at home. Hope this helps! PM me if you have any other questions about high school/horses, etc!!

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        At one point when I was still in HS, my parents also started looking for a little land so I could keep the horse at home. I was a bit torn to be honest. I knew if we had them at home I may have had the option of having more than one, but to be honest I loved the barn I was at and really enjoyed the social aspect of going to the barn and hanging out with everyone. We ended up getting another house in a neighborhood and the horse stayed at the boarding barn. I wasn't upset about it at all. Now that I'm older (and married) and have to pay for everything myself I will at some point probably get some land and keep the ponies at home, but I'm quite happy to board and have people/friends to ride with, compete with, and bounce ideas off of.
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