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Boarding in Howard County Maryland

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  • Boarding in Howard County Maryland

    I apologize if there is a post already about this. Sorry.

    I am looking to buy a horse, but first I have to convince my parents that we can afford the monthly care (mainly board). The barn I currently take lessons at is too expensive, almost $800/month.

    *Hunter/Jumper barn
    *Indoor ring
    *Board < $550/month
    *Field/Stall Board
    *Close to Columbia area (willing to travel about half an hour)
    *Minimal lessons
    *Can ride during lessons
    *Boarder not need to be enrolled in lessons
    *Open Hours to come ride

    *Outdoor ring
    *XC course
    *Local H/J shows

    I am not interested in Columbia Horse Center, they have so many large lessons going on it would be difficult to ride/jump around them.
    I would be ok with barns that train other disciplines, but having jumps in the ring is a must. The wants are just that, I don't need them in a barn but they would be nice to have.
    If you have any more questions, or want any more info just ask. I am desperate to find a situation that my parents will agree to.

  • #2
    While this would be 1/2 hr away, you might wish to try New Blessing Farm, in Mt. Airy, MD.

    Proud of my Hunter Breeding Princesses
    "Grief is the price we all pay for love," Gretchen Jackson (1/29/07) In Memory of Barbaro


    • Original Poster

      Thank you for the suggestion, New Blessing Farm looks very nice and affordable. I will have to add it to my current list that I am compiling.


      • #4
        New Blessing is very nice. Only other place that comes to mind with an indoor that is in the "economical" price range is Oatland Stables in Howard County. Star is very nice!


        • #5
          Some things to note:

          Many places won't allow you to jump outside of lessons, particularly if you are under 18.

          If the horse has an injury, not even a catastrophic one, vet bills can run into the thousands. Make sure you are factoring either insurance or a "vet bill fund" into your monthly costs.


          • Original Poster

            @REH ~ I have been to Oatland for a show once, and it seemed like a nice barn. Do you know what their boarding fees are? Feel free to PM me if you want. I couldn't find a website or much information for them. Thank you!

            Thank you for the note, I am going to be 21 in April. I was hoping to find a barn that would allow me to jump outside of lessons, because I want to continue taking lessons at my current barn. Which would make it costly to take another lesson at what ever barn I board at.
            Thank you for the thought of vet fees, I was wondering what would be a guesstimate about any monthly or other costs for vet. Also maybe farrier for a horse that can go barefoot. I've never owned/leased a horse before, I don't know much about the vet/farrier needs or general cost.

            Thank you to all who are replying, I am taking all the information to heart. It is very helpful to me, as I will be a first time owner.


            • #7
              i take it you've looked at the equiery?

              Today I will be happier than a bird with a french fry.


              • #8
                First you are lucky because Howard County offers plenty of good boarding options however, like anything else it's going to take some time to find a place that will be the right fit for you. While you have a great list of wants, its going to involve some compromise on your part too - which is not a bad thing. So you also need to determine what type of riding is most important to you. Do you want to primarily have a horse to ride and enjoy fairly regular lessons but not strict schedule, are you interested in competing. Many barns are not just boarding barns. Particularly w/ H/J barns they're going to want you to take regular lessons and compete at shows fairly regularly and/or have a horse in training. So it sounds like you aren't interested in being committed to regular lessons or competing so that might knock a few barns out of the running.

                In your list you need to also include the cost of farrier and vet. I prefer a barn where the farrier and vet bills the client/owner directly, some places will tack on farrier bills and possibly vet bills (health program) onto the monthly boarding tab. You will need to ask about holding /office fees for scheduling farrier and vet.


                • #9
                  Please be aware that even if you can find board for less than $550, your monthly expenses are going to easily run $1000 or more anywhere in Mont. or Howard counties.
                  Can you stress-fracture your brain?


                  • Original Poster

                    Yes thank you, I have poured over those listings. It's just difficult to find info on some of the ones without websites (or ones with difficult to find websites), so I was hoping by posting here I would get suggestions with personal experience at the barns, or people who have heard info about them.

                    @ gottagrey
                    I am definitely willing to compromise on most of those, except price because that is the main thing holding me back from having a horse.
                    Honestly the horse I'm looking at isn't ready for competing, so I'll just be training and enjoying riding. Plus I probably won't be able to afford any shows in the near future unless they are on the premises.
                    As for lessons, I would like to possibly have my trainer come to the barn where I board for a lesson, depending on the fees involved. Or just a monthly lesson with a trainer at the barn.
                    I didn't know that some barns added on fees for the vet/farrier. The few barns I've been to allowed people to use their own vet/farrier and the bill was sent to the owner. Plus holding (if I understand correctly, as in holding the horse while vet/farrier works) was only charged if the horse was difficult and wouldn't stand still/cooperate.

                    Monthly expenses such as supplements, medicines, vet/farrier, etc.? Sorry if I sound ignorant, I'm just wondering why type of expenses as I have never had to deal with anything besides lesson/show fees.


                    • #11
                      Board. Farrier. Vet. Insurance. Supplements. Lessons at your old barn. Extra hay costs at some places in the winter. Charge for laundry. Charge for supplies. Charge for lockers. Charge for holding horse for vet/farrier. Dentist 2x a year. Charge for holding horse for dentist. It really goes on and on.
                      Do you have saddle? Bridle? Girth? Saddle pads? Blankets? Jumping boots or polos? Wraps and bandages? Spurs? Bit(s)?

                      It all adds up REALLY fast and if your parents are counting on "just" board you will find yourself in real trouble. Additionally, most places with field board do not offer the other amenities you are looking for. It's often either/or around here.
                      Can you stress-fracture your brain?


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks for the extended info, I hadn't put much thought into some of those points.
                        I do have some of the tack, but I know it's going to be expensive in the beginning, having to acquire the things I don't have and seeing what works and what doesn't.
                        My parents aren't exactly horse people, but they understand there are more costs than just the board. That is the main thing they are against at the moment, or at least focusing on.
                        Also, the barns that I have been compiling in a list (ones I'm seriously considering) at least the ones that offer field board also offer every amenity as stall board except without the stall. I wouldn't consider one where I couldn't use certain things like wash stall or riding rings, it wouldn't be worth paying all those expenses just to look at the horse in the field.


                        • #13
                          I figure I spend a very minimum of $250 per month in addition to board not including any training expenses or emergency vet fees. Shoes, supplements, treats, blanket wash and repair, worming, vaccinations, dental 2x/year for my younger horse, general supplies (shampoo, brushes, sponges, saddle pads, saddle soap, etc).

                          Emergency vet fees happen, and they are expensive. In my experience, they happen more in pasture-boarded horses if the pasture is not split by gender (i.e. geldings and mares mixed). Lameness, abscesses, cuts that need stitching, colics, etc.

                          If it sounds like I'm trying to discourage you from buying a horse, it's because I am. Horses are an awful thing to have to do on a shoestring. I did it for years, and ended up terribly in debt courtesy of a very expensive colic surgery on a horse that recovered fine from the surgery but ended up unrideable due to lameness issues just after he came back from the surgery.

                          Could you half-lease a horse somewhere?


                          • Original Poster

                            Thank you for your input. I understand that with horses accidents can happen. There is a horse at my barn that had colic really bad and he had many surgeries because of it. A year ago, when I started at this barn they told me they didn't expect him to survive. Now, he is doing a couple shows here and there and in regular riding. His owner said he's not quite the same horse, and probably never will be but he is healthy with some special feed restrictions. Things like this can happen in any kind of hobby/life, and I understand the risks and expenses.
                            Thanks for trying to help me see another part of all this, but I am determined to make this happen. I don't think I would be that bad off, or on a shoestring as you described. I've never really been all that into showing, I did a series years ago and have done a couple local rated shows recently. It has been enough to turn me off to doing much showing anyhow. Of course I won't be doing A rated series or maybe even the B ones, but I'm not interested. Those shows are too big and expensive. I would be more than happy with a little local day show, if any show at all.
                            I don't think I would be able to lease a horse either. There aren't really any to lease in my barn (or at least that I am interested in) and to bring in another horse from another barn would include on the board (+ lease fees) and I'd be in the same boat. Including buying tack, blankets, etc. Might as well just go all in. Although I do understand (especially in this market) if it ends up being too much, I can't exactly say I quit. I'm stuck once I buy the horse, I understand completely how difficult it is to sell/lease a horse once you can't afford it.

                            So I guess in answer to a previous question, no I am not really interested in showing regularly. A little local series once a year would suffice for me, but I would be plenty happy not to show at all.


                            • #15
                              Are you able to swap work for a discounted board rate?


                              • Original Poster

                                Thank you for the thought on working for a discounted rate. I had approached my current barn about that, and while they were a little stand off-ish about working around my college class schedule they were happy to allow me to work in exchange for a lower board.
                                However, recently I found a job and now I don't think I would have time to work in exchange for board, with my college classes and beginning a new job.
                                Additionally, my parents were still (understandably) put off by the board as it was almost $800/month. So, even if I would be able to exchange work for board, it would have to be somewhere that my parents think is reasonable. As they will be the ones footing most of the bills. I have however offered to give them pretty much my whole paycheck to help with that and other finances for myself (almost the whole, because I do need money for books, food, etc. of course). This seems to help their decision slightly, but I think they may be coming around.


                                • #17
                                  Pickwick Stables

                                  May want to try Pickwick Stables in Sykesville. Normally about 20 minutes for us from Rt 40 Ellicott City. Board is reasonable - 2 outdoor rings, nice indoor - access to trails. Jamey normally hosts 3 of the Howard County Horse Show Association shows - which is a very competitive local circuit.


                                  • #18
                                    Keep in mind each of those colic surgeries was likely a minimum of $10,000. That's why people are warning you about possible vet emergencies and making sure you understand all the expenses.

                                    When my horse was in MoCo, farrier was over $200 every six weeks for plain shoes.


                                    • #19
                                      Have you thought about going somewhere without an indoor, or field boarding somewhere with an indoor to save some money? I've personally never had an indoor and always make it through. I also like horses to stay out 24/7 so field boarding is a great situation for me.

                                      I know there are a few places in HoCo that offer field boarding where the boarders split the work between themselves and they are really cheap.

                                      Merry Acres offers stall boarding with no access to the indoor for $375 but you can pay to use the indoor on bad days during the winter if you wanted to.


                                      • #20
                                        I agree w/ Reagan, strike some of those wants/needs off the list and you'll find a more affordable place to board. Since the OP is not really interested in competing, don't look for a discipline specific barn as those sometimes are more inclined to want boarders to be in a lesson / training program and show fairly regularly.

                                        To add - I certainly understand the OP's desire to get a horse of their but with college, work, and tight budget it might be best to 1/2 lease or even fully lease a horse and then wait til after you graduate college, get a job and then get the horse. Don't knock the 1/2 leases either - I have been extremely lucky in my leasing arrangements. The first horse I leased I co-leased w/ another person -that person lost their interest, owner loved the horse but didn't have time so basically I got to do whatever I wanted to do w/ the horse. That lease fell into another lease arrangement which was pretty much the same thing - the owner (also BO) had a lovely horse for sale and I was going to lease the horse until it sold. Well lucky for me the owner wasn't much good at selling horses - I leased/rode that mare until she retired - nearly 10 years! It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I was extremely fortunate in that my lease arrangements were ridiculously affordable and had wonderful owners - one of whom was also my trainer. When we had to retire my lease, I was financially able to purchase and board one of my own.