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Bringing My Horse Home - Advice?

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  • Bringing My Horse Home - Advice?

    Morning All,

    I am seriously considering bringing my 15 y/o TB home for semi-retirement. I have owned him for 10+ years, he was my first horse, and honestly I know no one else is ever going to have his best interest better than I do.

    I have 3.3 acres with the option to purchase at least 2 more adjacent to my property. I found a 2 stall + tackroom barn for around $6300 delivered to my home fully assembled.

    Other things I have been thinking- what are my options with the manure cleanup? Will I have trouble finding someone who wants it for fertilizer? I will only have one horse + a small pony as a companion. They will be out most of the day and in at night.

    Does anyone have any regrets about bringing their horse(s) home? Pros/Cons?

  • #2
    yes and no

    I recently brought home the last of the boarded horses.

    I love having them home for a myriad of reasons.

    Manure-wise I haven't found too many people interested in horse poo. Some...but generally not as many want the more acidic stuff.

    We compost really really well..and still have just a few people that want the finished "product".and we give it away!

    One consideration I will throw out there, as this is now something that has become a "hit home" issue, is predator control.

    we all are pretty good at making comfy housing and keeping our horses IN the paddocks, but we often forget that we need to be mindful of keeping things out.

    Horses at pasture in large space are pretty safe...but horses in a woodsy area that are in paddocks, are essentially trapped should a predator(s) get in.

    To that end, it is really important to think about running hot wire at just above ground levels, and in between boards and anywhere else a predator could enter .

    Of all the things we think about and provide for our horses, this security should be on the top of our list, IMO. Sadly I didn't realize this until tragedy, and predators, struck.

    I don't regret bringing the horses home, tho.
    I love taking care of them myself, knowing they are getting what they need, when they need it, and having 100% control.

    Back to the overall cleanup, etc. Lime is my friend....and seriously, that manure turns to loam so fast, when composted well, that it has been a real non-issue.

    Cold winters are less fun...but with heated stock tanks/buckets water is not a big problem.
    My paddock and in/outs are a ways from my house, so I use a sled to transport things from house to horse area. Once I got that sled as silly as it sounds, it was just much easier transporting things back and forth.

    Hubster is NOT a horse guy, and has yet to offer me a gator or tractor of some sort. So sleds and TSC utility wagon are what I use, and it's very very doable.

    My one and only regret and it's a huge one, is that I didn't think about predator control til it was too late.

    Think of every worse case scenario...cover all your bases even if it seems overkill.
    Better safe than sorry...trust me.

    But enjoy them at home...there is nothing better!


    • Original Poster

      If you don't mind me asking- what type of predator got into your pastures?

      The only thing I can think of that could be a problem in my area are coyotes... however I have yet to see them on my property.


      • #4
        Dogs are predators. I have had to fence my neighbors dogs out. As soon as there are two dogs together they are a pack and can really be problematic. They will run horses, harrass them, give them no rest.

        You say you want to get a pony to keep your horse company. Soooo many ponies will founder in a heartbeat on grass. I made this mistake, borrowed a pony to keep my horse company. Pony ended up having to live in a dry lot while horse went out. Pony was unhappy. So consider that before getting another animal. A donkey may be a better choice as it possibly be a good guard for your horse. Another option is another retired horse who's owner will pay something toward board.



        • #5
          Get the other 2 acres if you can. Fencing was my biggest challenge at first. Tried the electric tape, the wide kind, and deer kept busting it INTO the pasture. Then my horses went to visit the neighbors....not good. Now have welded wire and board fences. Deer jump over it.
          Think about drainage issues. Where will mud build up?
          Will you be able to get electric to the barn? Need light at night and maybe tank heaters. Where will the water come from?
          Unless you are home all day, it's nice to have a shed or overhang for them. Cold rain is bad....
          Composted manure is GREAT. You will make gardener friends happy, or improve your lawn.
          Your horse is fortunate. 15 sounds young to me!
          There is nothing better than getting them tucked in at night, turning off the lights, and listening to them munching hay.


          • Original Poster

            Originally posted by HPFarmette View Post
            Your horse is fortunate. 15 sounds young to me!
            There is nothing better than getting them tucked in at night, turning off the lights, and listening to them munching hay.
            I agree that 15 is young... however I am having a terrible time finding someone to just "free" lease him for dressage or even English pleasure (there is absolutely nothing physically wrong with this horse and just a few years ago when he was showing jumpers he was worth $20k).

            Ideally, I would have loved to lease him out for a couple years and then bring him home, but at this rate he might be coming home in the Spring.


            • #7
              Feel free to email me for details, but our main predator here is also coyote.
              I would not have believed that coyotes would be terribly problematic for full sized horses, but I can tell you a rather disturbing first hand account that disputes that belief.

              My email is earthtohanna@yahoo.com.

              The details are a bit too graphic for the board.


              • #8
                You'll love having him at home. Get a carting company to do a regular scheduled pick up and put the manure in a container. Find out what the local companies suggest, most of them know how to do this. Then it gets taken away on a regular basis.

                This may be what your town also insists on.
                Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


                • #9
                  I have a property about your size with 2 horses. Here's some major things you want to consider.

                  1. Hay and bedding supply and storage. Unless you have a reliable year round supplier where you can pick up a few bales at a time, which can get old really fast, you'll definitely want to have room for several months of hay, because even just 1 horse and a pony can decimate your pasture quickly if they're on it full time, so you'll probably want to have a sacrifice area and supplemental hay. I go through a bale a day in really dry spells and winter for 2 horses.
                  2. Get the biggest tractor you can afford... preferably with a front end loader. You won't be sorry. Especially when it comes time to turn that manure pile if you want to compost.
                  3. Make sure you have a reliable farrier lined up who is willing to put you on his schedule. Lots of them, especially the good ones, who are usually the busiest, don't like to add a stop for just 2 horses.
                  4. Water and Electric to the barn.

                  A few other things I've found have made my life easier

                  Manure spreader
                  Chain harrow for dragging pasture
                  Heated water buckets for winter
                  Crushed gravel/stone dust around barn to minimize mud

                  We also put a wellhead/pump right at the outside corner of the barn, so that in winter I don't have to haul water, except to the 2 heated small buckets in their stalls. I keep a 70'gal tank under the pump, plug in the tank heater, and just fill the tank right from the wellhead so that I don't have to worry about frozen hoses, etc. Empty and scrub as needed. The plugs that the heater and buckets are plugged into is wired to a switch in the barn, so that I can turn it on/off as needed.

                  I love having mine at home, but I do think that on a smaller property its probably a little more labor intensive if you want to keep it looking nice.
                  Lowly Farm Hand with Delusions of Barn Biddieom.
                  Witherun Farm