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Thinking about bringing my horse home BUT...

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  • Thinking about bringing my horse home BUT...

    So I brought my horse home from the barn where we board this week so that I could take care of all of my horses on one farm call charge... I learned that I absolutely love having him here and he doesn't seem to want to leave either. I can throw the leadrope on this horse, point him at the trailer and he gets right in every time but this evening he absolutely did not want to go. Normally I would go into "get in the darn trailer right now" mode but he wasn't being naughty about it at all... He just stopped at the edge and just kept looking back at the barn and my other two horses with big sad eyes. It was more like he was saying can we pleeeaaase stay here, I like this place! So I decided put him up and keep him at home until this weekend. I'm kind of wondering if I should bring him home permanently though...

    It's a tough decision... I board at an absolutely beautiful barn - the nicest place I've ever been at. Care is absolutely top notch, I never have to worry about my boy. He gets all day turnout with a buddy and the people at the barn are awesome - I've made a ton of friends. We have a gorgeous, HUGE covered arena, heated tack rooms, beautiful lounge... Lots of nice amenities. My trainer is also there so lessons are super easy and the barn is only about 20 minutes from my house so it's pretty convenient. Downsides:

    - board is spendy (but I have a half leaser to offset costs)
    - no trails
    - indoor arena is the only place to ride.
    - If I moved I would probably be letting my half-leaser go which I would feel bad about. The girl is 16 and does para-dressage. She and my horse have a wonderful bond and I hate to take that away from her as it will be tough for her to find another facility that can accommodate her (she is blind) and another horse who is so perfect for her.

    At home I have a nice setup with a 5 stall barn + tack room, huge paddocks, and a nice grass field. I currently have my retired horse and a mini there so he would have buddies. We also have trails for days right next door, a definite plus for me. I'm used to the work and one more horse wouldn't involve much more time, in fact it would probably save me time when I subtract my barn commute and time spent socializing. It would save me a little bit of money. I estimate it would cost me $200 - $250 a month to keep him in feed and shavings whereas board is $800 a month. I do have the half leaser though, so my share of board is $400... I think it would be around $200 in savings a month and I would get to ride 5 or 6 days a week instead of having to share him. Downsides:

    - I only have an outdoor arena and we have very rainy winters. The arena is in the process of being refooted - it's graded and has the base in but I would have to put the top layer of sand in before he came home. There IS a neighbor about a 5 minute walk down the trail from me who recently put up a really big covered arena but no guarantees they would be willing to rent the use of it and we'd have to walk there in the dark/rain in winter (but no traffic to deal with).
    - I would need to install lights in the outdoor for night riding BUT since I would have to give 2 months notice the days would be long enough by the time we'd move to give me until end of summer to get them in.
    - I would have to trailer for lessons before work and it would be tight time-wise (plus I have to factor in gas for those trips). On the other hand I could probably afford two lessons a week instead of one and might be able to do one of those on my trainer's super fancy, fantastically trained upper level schoolmaster which could benefit my riding.
    - While it would save time, I would have no barnmates to socialize with

    My horse is currently in full work and is competing at 3rd, schooling 4th and beginning to school PSG. He's older (18) but I don't have plans to retire him anytime soon as has been totally sound to date and I have many goals with him that we're well on our way to achieving. I definitely don't want to compromise our training by moving... I think he is happy in his work but I think he'd be happier if we could get out and hack at least once a week.

    So fellow COTHers, what would you do? Have you found it harder to achieve riding goals with your horses at home? Am I crazy to give up our posh boarding accommodations and convenient access to my trainer to bring him home?

  • #2
    Only you can decide this one...sorry. But I can relate since I have two horses at home and one is with a trainer. I occasionally bring him home for a month or so, and I love having him here, but I don't have an indoor arena, and when he's here I just sort of amble about with him rather than work very hard. . . and when it's too hot/cold/wet/ I can come up with a million reasons not to ride.

    But you're probably more of a self-starter, so you might not have that problem. I know I do better with a program, so keeping him at the trainer's works better for me.


    • #3
      Originally posted by RedmondDressage View Post
      My horse is currently in full work and is competing at 3rd, schooling 4th and beginning to school PSG. He's older (18) but I don't have plans to retire him anytime soon as has been totally sound to date and I have many goals with him that we're well on our way to achieving. I definitely don't want to compromise our training by moving... I think he is happy in his work but I think he'd be happier if we could get out and hack at least once a week.
      That's enough reason to leave him at the barn, particularly if you have a full-time job.

      No reason you can't bring your guy home occasionally for a "vacation." I do it all the time with my two geldings. The mare, however, prefers her Hilton Hotel surroundings at the training barn.


      • #4
        If I were you I would keep my horse at the boarding facility!

        You will not have as much time to ride with your horse at home because you will be busy cleaning up, getting hay in, shavings, grain, care and maintance - TRUST ME! ;-)

        And... when you do get to ride it will be raining out so there goes that. Winter time you won't ride at all because no indoor BUT you will still be working your butt off at the barn care wise. Your choice but it sounds like your horse is happy just where he is.. and affordable due to the leasor you have!


        • #5
          I live at a boarding and training facility so my horses are at my house, which is fantastic! I love it! It is so convenient to be able to walk out your door and go see your horse. I also love being able to check on them before I go to bed. The other night one was acting like he might colic so it was convenient to be able to go check on him several times before I went to bed. But I'm also in a different situation than you. I have an indoor right here and all the other amenities that come with a boarding facility.


          • #6
            Could you keep him boarded but bring him home for an occasional weekend? Get the best of both- I pretty much do that, just a little different: horses live at my parents house, I go up 2x/day to do chores, feed, ride, but I live & work at a farm, so every so often I bring them to work with me for a few days. (Especially if I want to do some maintence on their barn or turnout, easier to work without the equine "helpers" being RightThere all the time)


            • #7
              See, I'd bring him home. The board savings can go towards the sand you'll need and the extra lessons you'll be taking (that will, in all likelihood, help you advance even more successfully since he'll be getting the fun outside rides you say he likes). And it doesn't sound like you'll really have THAT much extra work to do since you already have two at home.

              I've been boarding mine for the last year or so. I am READY to have them at home again. I like them out 24/7, they like being out 24/7. I don't mind riding in the rain, but that comes with the territory in this area. In fact, I'd KILL for an outdoor or some trail access right now. My big guy gets crabby if I don't take him out for a hack for months on end.


              • #8
                I would, at least for now, leave him at the boarding facility and think on it. Your half-leaser deserves (from what you've said) to have at least some advance notice that he's leaving.
                A proud friend of bar.ka.


                • #9
                  It is a very personal decision.

                  I love having mine at home and ride more when they are here. That alone is reason enough to bring him home, IMO. Plus the extra work is negligible -- what is 3 when you already have 2 to care for anyway?

                  Will your trainer travel for lessons, or will you be able to easily travel out to her place on weekends for a lesson?

                  I have poor footing at home during the winter months so I hack around the farm alot. The horses enjoy it and it keeps them from being sour in the summer, when we do a lot more ring work and only hack out once a week or so.


                  • #10
                    It is a tough decision, but I think I would lean towards leaving him at the boarding barn and bringing him home every so often for a long weekend of fun.


                    • #11
                      I know quite a few people who keep their horses at training barns for the winter months and then bring them home for "summer vacation". Maybe you could look into that? If you have mucky winters, you're not going to be doing much trail or outside riding and if you did it wouldn't be pleasant.