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What to Charge for Self Care Board?

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  • What to Charge for Self Care Board?

    I have a small private farm outside of Unionville, PA. I have a 5 stall barn and 3 horses. My competition horse is boarding out at a facility with an indoor for the winter. I am thinking that I may leave my horse there long term so I'd just have my 2 retirees here. So, the only way I could make it work is if I take on one or two self-care boarders. Here is what I can offer: 10x12 matted stall, hot/cold water wash stall, tack room w/h/c water sink, 200x80 fenced sand outdoor arena, safe board/2x4 horse wire fencing w/1/2 pipe/1/2 mesh gates, turnout is limited due to small acreage. Limited hacking off property with some low traffic road riding. I would feed breakfast and turn out. Boarder would bring in and feed in pm, and muck my 2 stalls as well as their own. Boarder would supply their own bedding (straw), hay and feed. I would do night check. I am thinking $250.00/stall. For one person with 2 horses or 2 people with 1 horse each. Do you think this sounds reasonable? Constructive suggestions? Thanks.

  • #2
    Personally, I think it's a bit high. I'm currently paying $125 for part-board. BO throws my (pre-set) feed in the morning, and I do everything else, and provide all hay/grain/etc. myself. I have paid as high as $200 for part-board (at a larger barn w/more amenities) and $235 for what was supposed to be a modified full-board but I treated it like a part-board because the care was way below my standards.

    $250/stall plus having to clean your 2 stalls seems quite high to me. Then again, I am not in your area, so it might be in line w/prices there.
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    • #3
      Before I got into any arrangement with anyone, I would want a contract and several months board in advance.

      I have seen too many cases of self care end up as BO care.


      • #4
        What kind of secure storage do you have for the boarder's hay, bedding, and feed? Ideally, separate for each person and plenty of room since most people aren't going to be able to buy/transport small amounts every week or two.


        • #5
          My rough boarders pay $350 a month. We throw breakfast and dinner and bring in and out. They have full use of our facilities and our full board is $800. We are full with a wait list.


          • #6
            Sounds pricy to me, especially if you want the boarder to clean your stalls in addition to their own. My time is pretty precious, I would not take on cleaning after additional horses (especially on straw) unless it equalled a heavy discount.

            I pay $400, for partial board that includes:

            Hay (high quality alfalfa grass mix) fed in generous portions twice a day

            12x12 stall and attached 36x50 paddock

            Grass turrnout on one acre

            All weather sand arena

            Direct access to 10 miles of private ocean view trails.

            Not included:

            Cleaning, bedding, turn out service, extra feed
            APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


            • Original Poster

              Perhaps it is a bit high, but I would not entertain the idea if it wasn't going to offset the cost of boarding my other horse out. Just a thought I was toying with. It would have to be the right person or persons to share my home with. Maybe $200.00 would be more reasonable, but anything less would not be worth giving up my privacy. Part boarding prices are irrelevant. I know some places in my area charge $450-500.00 for field board. Sigh. Just brainstorming...Thanks for the responses.


              • #8
                I think we are talking about the same thing w/part-board and self-care. As I said, in my part-board situation I buy all hay/grain/etc., clean the paddock & shelter every day, dump/scrub/refill the water trough, feed lunch & snack, & set up my horse's breakfast. All my BO does is toss my horse his AM grain/hay that I set up the day before, and check to make sure he still has four legs and a head.

                And I would expect field board to be more expensive than part-board/self-care, because the field board presumably also covers grain/hay. And they don't have a stall.

                I would look at prices to similar set-ups in your area and see what they charge. $200 per stall w/out having to clean your stalls sounds much more reasonable.
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                • #9
                  I live in a fairly rural part of N. California. I pay $150 a month, pretty standard for my area for anyplace that has a BO that knows horses and lives on property , no arena/riding on property, but very close to rodeo arena, beach( 5 min ride! ) and lumber land. I provide my own feed. I muck my section. Total of 4 horses on the property, 3 are the BOs. My horse has a separate run-in shelter with paddock and T/O with the BOs horses. Nothing fancy, but safe. Storage is a shared barn. BO will feed if I can't and does morning check(I put out 24+ hours worth of hay at night in nets). I tend to feed/check all of the horses once a day when I am out. I could probably find cheaper locally, but this a great location and my BO is awesome- she lives 30ft from the barn,has similar care standards to me , owned horses her entire life and is willing to "horse sit" for me when I go out of town.

                  I would make sure you have a policy for what happens if your boarder has to go out of town, is sick,etc. I would also make sure your standards of care agree with boarder(ie: horse is skinny, they are not feeding enough, don't call the vet, etc).


                  • #10
                    I have my girls at 2 different places
                    1 has an indoor, mud paddocks, 125 a month, BO feeds am/pm turns in and out. I provide feed and bedding, and clean my stall

                    2 150 a month, includes free choice hay. horse has 24/7 access in and out of her stall, 10 acres of grass pasture, outdoor, but no indoor. I provide grain/bedding, and i clean my own stall. BO feeds AM/PM
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                    Mom to : 2 Horses, 4 Dogs, 2 Cats


                    • #11
                      Self care boarder, and former BM/farm sitter here.

                      If you don't assign a monetary value to someone's time and factor it into the equation, they won't value the boarding situation you are offering them. The biggest downfall in labor situations is that the BO doesn't value someone else's time because they never assigned a monetary value to their own. Find out what the other BO's are paying their help, then take a good look at how long it takes you to do each job, and apply that figure to your board to see how it stacks up as a good boarding deal.

                      Just so I've got this right, the boarder would bring in and feed (water?) her own horses in the pm, or yours as well? That adds more time to her work load. And is the mucker also re-bedding stalls, dumping buckets and watering? Add in more time.

                      In this case, for a one-horse owner, there is nothing to recommend this boarding situation to them. If this person was to work one hour a day for you, for say 30 days a week, the job would end up paying $8.34 for one hour of their time each day to equal the $250 you are charging in board. Now, they are coming in each day, seven days a week to muck out two or three of your stalls. Not knowing how you bed, this could take 10 minutes per stall, or 20 minutes per stall. If you are adding re-bedding, bucket dumping/cleaning/watering, and sweeping/blowing/raking the aisle to this, you could easily beyond the one hour mark and this person should not be owing you anything in board. If they are watering the paddocks and doing horse retrieval and feeding, you owe them.

                      For a two-horse owner, you might get it to work for a while, but to come into this everyday and be faced with mucking out a four or five stall barn seven days a week, while still paying $500 for two stalls is going to turn off a good many boarders, and produce eventual burnout for the one that does accept. If you are adding evening retrieval and feeding into the equation, that is more time out of their day, for no discount at all. Farms in our area pay $10 to $15 an hour for farm labor. What do farms in your area pay per hour? Or per stall?

                      So, you need to place a monetary value on your own time spent in cleaning, etc. first, then run your numbers in a realistic manner. Then work on flexibility in planning the work schedule. Most people will not want to be mucking your stalls seven days a week. It might make more sense to place the board charge higher, and then offer a good discount for work, maybe even split it up between two individual horse owners, to make it more attractive to them. JMO.
                      Last edited by Chief2; Jan. 15, 2014, 03:03 AM. Reason: comma
                      "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits." Albert Einstein



                      • Original Poster

                        In re thinking this, maybe I should just do my own horses as they are so easy and their stalls are easy to do. I did not think however about my boarder taking good care of their own horses. I could not stand it if someone was here and didn't take care of their horses like I take care of mine. Maybe I should just get a part time job so I can board my horse out and keep things peaceful here. Thank you for everyones input.


                        • #13
                          I pay $150 per month, per horse and it is truly 100% Self Care..... it's as if they were living on my property in respect to the care provided.

                          Fortunately the farm manager's wife has 2 horses and we help each other when needed/requested. I've fed for her when she was out of town and she's returned the favor.

                          We also trade services.... I'll buy her a bag of EquiPride for her horse in exchange for her husband firing up the tractor to put out a round bale for the mares every week during winter.

                          It can work very well for both parties, as long as you have a good written contract that outlines all expectations in detail and have established rules. For instance, the original contract I signed said "Stalls, if used, must be cleaned & rebedded daily." Now my idea of rebedded means six inches. The other boarder that was there thought a Dusting of shavings was enough. After she was evicted, the contract was updated to specify "rebedded to a minimum depth of six inches."

                          Vague statements lead to misunderstandings and a poor boarding relationship for both parties.

                          If you'd like to see my contract just to give you an idea, I'd be glad to send it to you.
                          <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.


                          • #14
                            I wouldn't take this deal for any price, simply because you, as BO are dictating what I (horse owner) must bed my own horse's stalls with.


                            • #15
                              I am in a co-op barn outside of Boston. I pay $225/month for the stall. Boarders co-op the labor and buy their own supplies. BO maintains the property but does no horse-related work.

                              No indoor, no ring but right on the trail system with miles of trails and a town ring 10 minutes through the woods.

                              The trickiest part of any share-care situation IME is finding people who share your values and maintain the same standards.
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                              EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                              • #16
                                The problem with only boarding one or two horses is that you still need commercial liability insurance, so factor that in as well. My policy, through Broadstone, is $500/year, and probably about as low as it gets.

                                You could put the word out and just be very very picky about who comes in -- interview them and ask for references (and provide vet/farrier/trainer references of your own). Maybe you won't find someone on the same page as you, but you might, and then you could have an ideal arrangement.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  Sansena, you would not be welcome here anyway


                                  • #18
                                    Entirely depends on your definition of "self-care".
                                    Dotneko's situation is almost "full board" to me. Just throw in cleaning stalls and that's every full-board boarding situation I've ever had.
                                    Self-care board to me = boarder is doing all feeding, watering, stall cleaning, etc.

                                    I've never paid higher than $150. If it were super fancy facilities (e.g. indoor, heated barn, XC course, things like that), I may be willing to pay more. But when I'm driving out there 2X a day, doing my own turnout, buying & dragging around my own hay/grain, cleaning my own stall, etc, it's gotta be no more than half of what I would pay for full-care, which in my case the most expensive was $525 for a full H/J show facility.


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by Maude View Post
                                      Sansena, you would not be welcome here anyway

                                      Look, it's the same thing as moving into someone's barn and the BO insisted I use their vet, or farrier, or fed their specific grain. Yes, IF I were a noob and had a horse who was pretty straightforward and appreciated the advice or had no contacts ~~ sure. But if my horse had an issue with straw (which mine does) what makes anyone decide I should buy the product THEY insist upon with my own money, for my horse? Even if it's detrimental?

                                      I'm quite certain the feeling is mutual on that boarding thing, but since you felt the need to put it out there, thank you. Now I can rest easy.


                                      • #20
                                        I board one of my friend's retirees at my farm: I do all labor/care, buy all feed and bedding--full care. No ring or washrack. Nice barn, daily turnout, etc. I charge $250/month.

                                        My SIL has an outdoor, lighted sand ring, wash stall, tack room, daily turn out/in, etc. She does all labor, buys all feed/bedding. She charges $350/month.

                                        My SIL's price is average for our area, for similar amenities.

                                        Self-care here means the BO provides a stall and usually bedding and tools. HO provides feed/hay and daily labor. Often the BO will turn out/in or toss AM/PM feed if provided. Runs around $150/month.

                                        And, yes, you'll use the bedding I provide on my very small farm! You want different feed or hay? You provide it. I have no place, time or interest in disposing of shavings or straw. Pelleted it is.
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