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Distance to boarding

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    Distance to boarding

    Hi all, I am just looking to get some thoughts/opinions. Long story short, the area I live in is very much horse country. A few hurdles I am running into are that I work full time, most of this area apparently does not so no one has lights, there are MANY horse farms, they are all private and most do not rent out stalls.

    So I am having a debate with myself. Do I want to sacrafice some of the things I am looking for to stay close to home like we are now but really have no where to ride, or do I want to commute up to 45-50 min to have a facility that meets everything I would like? I am not willing to sacrifice good footing or good care.

    Does anyone travel a good distance to their boarding facility? Or have done it and realized it is just too much or was/is it worth it? I should note, I work from home so I do not have any other commute.

    If you really have nowhere to ride at the closer facilities, and you want to ride, then it doesn’t really seem like a choice. I’d rule out any farms that don’t have appropriate facilities from the get-go and evaluate options from there.


      How much care/training will the boarding situation provide? If it is full board with a couple training rides a week, then maybe a 45-50 minute drives makes sense. But if you have to go there 6-7x per week to ride/groom etc., I fear that long a drive will get old very quickly.

      Things can happen with horses. When my daughter's pony ripped up his leg after getting cast, we were going to the barn at least twice a day to dress the wound, walk him etc.--even though we had some help from the trainer too. In that situation, it is nice if the barn is only 10-15 minutes away.


        Pick the facility which will allow you to meet your goals.

        If MY primary riding time was evening, I'd require a lighted arena, otherwise that's half the year I can't ride. Both facilities I've boarded at required a 45ish minute drive from home.


          I drive 45 minutes each way 3-4 times per week to get to a facility that offers the best situation for me and my horse. However, the caveat to that is there is nothing close to my home because I live in the city. So, most every option would be a commute for me. I did consider and pass on the closest option, without even going to visit it, because they had no covered ring. In my last situation we lost extended periods of ride time due to weather, and when you only have limited days of the week you can ride or lesson, you become very aware of the importance of not being at the mercy of the weather here!


            Where I lived before, I drove 45 minutes to the barn.

            Now I drive 10.

            I go twice as much, and it has hands down improved my quality of life.

            I don't know if it's realistic for you, but if your life is built around horses (like mine is), you might consider moving closer to a barn that meets your needs.


              I live about 40 minutes away from my barn, and I’m out there 6 days a week no problem. Like you, I have the luxury of working from home, which makes it much easier to manage. When I used to work at an office, my commute from work to the barn every evening was over an hour. That was more frustrating, but I still managed it. I had a flexible schedule which meant I could leave the office early enough to ride and still make it home for dinner at a reasonable time.

              I’ve almost always had long commutes to the barn. I’m unwilling to compromise on the care and training I want, so sometimes that’s meant I can’t board close to where I live. It’s much easier to do it now that I don’t have a work commute. I actually enjoy the chance to listen to podcasts in the car on the way to and from the barn. I will say my tolerance for a commute is about an hour each way. Longer than that can become tedious. But if the facility/program works, it may be a worthwhile trade.


                Original Poster

                Right now it is 5 minutes to see my horse. And as much as I love it, I am very frustrated by the riding situation. But at the time we did not have much choice. The military governs where we go, so unfortunately moving our home to be closer to a barn that suits my needs is NOT an option. I certainly do appreciate everyones responses/experiences!


                  Originally posted by DawgLady View Post
                  Where I lived before, I drove 45 minutes to the barn.

                  Now I drive 10.

                  I go twice as much, and it has hands down improved my quality of life.

                  I don't know if it's realistic for you, but if your life is built around horses (like mine is), you might consider moving closer to a barn that meets your needs.
                  This has been my experience. I was burning out with a 40-45 minutes commute to the barn. It's a little different now that I'm working from home, but when I'm required to be tied to a desk for nine or more hours a day, in addition to fitting in the gym, grocery shopping, household work, actual quality time with my husband... I don't have 80+ extra minutes six days a week. I do find that I go more and I'm not rushing out of the barn to get a jump on the drive back home. I have also been known to sneak in a hack on my lunch hour, or before early meetings, because it takes me all of seven minutes to get to the barn. I now have no issue running back out for a night check if needed, going twice to handwalk, etc. It's been huge for me.


                    45 minutes is about the outside of what's doable and it's a big jump in time beyond a 30 minute commute that would be my ideal max. For the right situation, I would do it, but you will pay in personal wear and tear (as well as gas). There will be some trips that are just not practical to do. It is valuable to have a fallback plan if you can't get there every day, possibly even on short notice - knowing the horse will be turned out, having someone you can call to ride, whatever your horse would have needed from you that day.

                    Also, 45 minutes of free driving is a much better situation than 45 minutes in heavy traffic, due to the difference in cognitive load.

                    However, if you can't ride where you are, it's probably what you should do, especially if there's the option to come back.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


                      I drive an hour to my current barn and would happily drive further if necessary to stay with my trainer and to receive the standard of care our barn provides. It does mean, however, I'm only at the barn 3-4 days per week versus 5-6 if I lived closer.

                      I will say, the drive is all country back roads so I don't deal with traffic (unless I get behind a tractor lol) so the commute doesn't feel that far to me.....if I got stuck in rush hour traffic it might not be as feasible.


                        A lighted arena has always been a must have for me.
                        I am fortunate in that my barn meets my needs as far as facility, turn out quality for horsie, price and trainer and is within a 30-40 minute drive at nearly all times (barring occasional traffic snafus).

                        Are there things I wish I could have but don't? There is no parking space for my horse trailer and that's annoying because I have to store my trailer at a trailer storage site.
                        But you have to accept some minor issues when overall the situation suits your needs

                        Love my "Slow-T T B"
                        2010 OTTB, Dixie Union x Dash for Money


                          I've done the 10-minute at a less-than-ideal barn and a 45-minute at a great barn. Both definitely have their pros and cons. I was much happier at the 45-minute barn. And I still made it up there 4-5 times/week which was less but not terrible.

                          But the less-than-ideal didn't have to do with riding. It had to do with care, so totally different scenario.

                          I guess I'm saying both are do-able. I prefer close to home versus being able to ride 6 days/week, but that's all a personal choice.


                            I have driven 30 minutes when I owned a horse. Now that I am half leasing I drive 50 min one way, 3 times a week for dressage lessons. It's a pretty drive ad it passes quickly. Plus the location and view and peacefulness make it more than worth the drive. BUT I just started taking jumping lessons (after several years off) at a friend's/trainer's place that is also 40-45 min one way and I am planning on driving there 3 days a week. It's a good test to see if I can do this when I get a horse one day. I am within 10/15 minutes of at least 12-20 barns. But the care, footing, or price drives me away. There are a few extremely nice places but I could never afford them. Then the others really aren't much cheaper, but the care lacks in my opinion (or at the very least, the turnout. Florida isn't known for it's fantastic turnout unless you are in Ocala).

                            The dressage trainer's barn is heaven. It has hills, which in Florida is hard to find, yet I think instrumental in playing a part in the horse's overall soundness. I really want hills but I might have to choose between a dressage barn or a hunter/jumper barn if I want hills (there is a very tiny area in the Tampa Bay are that has a 5 mile radius maybe?). For me, if the care and land is what is best for my horse (fancy stalls don't impress yes, but honestly good footing, hills, a field to hack in, huge pastures for turnout...these are the things that matter to the horse), then I would drive farther and suffer a little knowing it is what's best for my horse.

                            Does anyone else factor in cost for gas and cost for your time as an offset for boarding locally? I've done the math but at the end of the day, just go with your gut.

                            For me, I don't mind driving because it is where the best lessons are. But we shall see if I can be that far away from my horse one day! It honestly makes me not want to own a horse and just keep half leasing or taking lessons! Then I don't have to worry about my horse!


                              To me this is one of those questions that only you can answer.

                              Like some have posted, in their world having to add that couple hours to riding would limit the amount of times per week they could actually ride because of their schedule. So if moving your horse further away would limit your riding because of a time thing then weigh that out with the limits to your riding because of no lights.


                                I drive 35 minutes (was 45 before COVID) to a facility that has all day big turnout and access to awesome trails. I also have an all electric car (Chevy Bolt) so the gas is not an issue. Such a personal decision.
                                A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame or money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.--G. K. Chesterton


                                  You work from flexible is your schedule? Could you board at a close barn & take extended lunch...start work earlier or end later? Not having a place to ride does not sound like a good idea...unless the horse is retired. Horses are too expensive to waste money at a barn that doesn't have something that really matters and makes life inconvenient.

                                  I wouldn't hesitate to drive the 45 minutes to a facility that has all that you want especially if you don't have a work commute & if it means you can ride anytime because of an indoor, lights outside, etc.

                                  I ride out of two barns, one is 50 min south and one is 50 min north.


                                    Originally posted by cberry View Post
                                    Right now it is 5 minutes to see my horse. And as much as I love it, I am very frustrated by the riding situation. But at the time we did not have much choice. The military governs where we go, so unfortunately moving our home to be closer to a barn that suits my needs is NOT an option. I certainly do appreciate everyones responses/experiences!
                                    You sound like you are in Southern Pines.


                                      Nearly 80 miles round trip for me. However, I'm retired so I can ride during the day. Good training and a good facility will persuade me to drive for as long as it takes.


                                        I drive 45/50 minutes and go 6x a week. I did this distance for 15+ years. Had a situation with 1.25 hr drive each way which was a stretch but for the right situation, I did what I had to.