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How to find the right boarder for your private farm?

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  • How to find the right boarder for your private farm?

    Ok, thoughts, opinions, suggestions, all much appreciated!

    We are not quite ready for one, ie, the arena needs finishing and i need to fix some fences and get some big tree branches picked up and burned... BUT... I'm so tired of riding alone and have room for one horse and "i think" a good set up that someone else might enjoy. Not to mention, i would really like to take a vacation this summer but no one i trust to feed the horses for me and would love to do a trade off.

    I have 13 acres on a pecan orchard, tall mature trees, the whole place is shaded. The pasture is 6 acres. I have a small two stall open sided barn that they could have their pick of stalls. It has lights and a motion light on the front by the grooming area, which has water and electric right next to it for bathing/clipping... My arena is in the front and will be marked off for dressage with mirrors, its not covered, but pretty shaded from the surrounding trees. The other side of my driveway i want to put up some jumps. This will not be fenced in or anything, just some jump lines to play on. I have an in-ground pool for cooling off after a ride, and an outdoor club house with built in BBQ and its own bathroom. No peeing in stalls!

    Its picturesque, QUIET, not fancy, but heaven for me!

    Now... I'm new to this area, moved here from OK, there is a local horse group, but they are all pleasure/western riders... Which is fine... But i really am hoping for an english rider who enjoys dressage with a little jumping who might be up for going to a couple small shows a year with me, etc... A hang out buddy basically!

    How do you find these people? Do you put up adds? And if so, what questions do you ask to screen out the idiots? I know my location is not superb, i'm about 25min from Augusta, so it might be a little far for a "City" person to drive out to. There are closer barns in town that offer more, but are more money. I'm not doing it to make money, i just would like someone around! I would be up for trading lessons or cleaning stalls, picking up tree branches, helping around the place, in exchange for board! Even childcare for board! I have a 3 month son and getting riding time is tough... That would be so cool to find someone to watch him for a couple hours!

    I'm just so leery of the whole process though. How do you private farm owners do it? And yes, i know there will be downsides, i'm sure! But it seems such a waste to not share what i have!

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
    Your Horse's Home On The Road!
    www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com

  • #2
    I'd volunteer, but I live in California!!

    Comment


    • #3
      Maybe get in the local riding group and you might find someone who's always wanted to learn a little English riding and with whom you "click". I don't think I'd put an ad out there..no telling what you'd get, but take your time and make friends.

      I ride mostly western now, but I used to ride hunters, so while I don't look like your target audience, I might KNOW someone that would fit your bill. So don't assume that no one in your local group could help you find what you want. The horse world is very small, even across disciplines.

      Comment


      • #4
        I like the idea of joining in with the western riders - maybe if you take a trail ride with them, somebody'll say "You know, my crazy aunt rides on one of those teeny little saddles . . ." and vah-ola (as we say in the south) you've found yourself a hacking buddy.

        Or you could call around to the local lesson barns and find out who offers english lessons. Oh, yes, somebody does, trust me. The instructor could hook you up with other folks in your discipline.
        I'm not ignoring the rules. I'm interpreting the rules. Tamal, The Great British Baking Show

        Comment


        • #5
          I think in the situation you describe, I would *not* advertise. I would continue to try to meet other horse people, whether through trail rides, clinics, shows etc... and perhaps, mention to a few trusted professionals (vet, farrier) that you are thinking about eventually looking for someone. That gives you an out if they recommend someone you don't "click" with (Oh, it's great to meet you and learn about your interest; if we decide to go ahead with this plan, I can give you a call...")
          **********
          We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
          -PaulaEdwina

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          • #6
            You are not in the middle of nowhere. There are dressage and event barns in Thompson and Wrens and Appling. They generally tend to be run my ladies named Cindy.

            You are right next to Fort Gordon and just outside the Augusta suburbs. With all you have to offer someone having to cut back on expenses and move to a cheaper/smaller barn is pretty likely.

            Since you would not be competing with places that charge more $$$, call a Cindy and see if there is anyone in need of less expensive situation that they have known for years.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'll try to give some advice-it sounds like you really have a lovely set up!!
              Most of my boarders have been boarders first and friends later(or not friends, as the case may be). I guess I'd try to find someone with similar outlooks on horsecare, training, etc since you'll be spending lots of time together and it's a friendship as well as business situation. While the trading favors situation sounds great, make sure you know that person well beforehand and that you have great communication(esp honesty) because it's easy to feel used when things aren't spelled out exactly as to what's expected. I absolutely love the boarders that I have now because they are thoughtful and hardworking people who appreciate me for who I am and what I offer(both good and bad). My past less-successful boarding experiences have been with what ended up being the wrong personality types for me-either passive aggressives or bullies and one person who was very sweet but a little too into the animal communication thing and I felt she did some unsafe things that made me nervous. As crazy as this sounds, I worked out the numbers as to what everything cost exactly(hay,grain,bedding,etc) per month and then worked out what $ per hour I thought was fair for my labor(usually decided by what other barns paid for stall cleaners). If your calculations are based on the average grain/hay eater and this person's horse eats more or less, you can adjust accordingly. If this person helps out on the farm, they get a break by being paid for the labor what you would pay yourself. I am now confident in what I charge and my boarders understand my reasoning behind it and we discuss things as they need to. My barn is so peaceful and happy now because everyone feels that they are treated fairly and I'm developing a backbone and not trying to worry about pleasing everyone. Alot of boarding is figuring out your personality as well as your boarders-it's really like finding a good roommate. I hope this helps
              http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                I am in the local riding club, hosted January's meeting at my house even! But havent really "clicked" with any of them. My idea of horse care and theirs differs and ALL of them are WAY to into natural horsemanship for my liking. I would rather RIDE than play the 7 games and spend a fortune on learning how to make my horse like me... No offense to all of you out there that enjoy your natural horsemanship, i've just had a lot of really weird experiences with people that have totally turned me off to the whole deal.

                I'm a little challenged at being able to meet local horse people. I do not have a truck to pull my trailer right now to get to a show. Then there is the logistics of having a sitter for my son, or is my husband off to watch him, would my husband go so i'm not sitting there like an idiot all by my lonesome... lol... I'm not the worlds most outspoken person.

                I'm THRILLED with my location as i know there are a lot of shows/clinics/trainers within a 45min drive that i can stay busy with, WHEN i get a gosh darn truck that works... But i have no idea at this point when that will be. I've been very frustrated...

                But maybe my location will work for me to find someone to come here.

                I really dont want to "advertise..." Though i was thinking of putting an add on Craigslist spelling out EXACTLY what i'm looking for... Maybe that would weed out crazies...

                And i totally would not rule out a western rider! I LOVE trail riding... And i grew up western, showed arabians on the A circuit, did reining and loved ranch sorting... I would never look down my nose at a western rider! I just think with my set up it might benifit a dressage/jumper more and we might have more in common.

                I will have the vet coming out in March or so for spring shots/dental... I really liked her and maybe she may know of someone. I feel a little odd calling the local barns and asking them if they have a boarder who cant afford to be there, they can come to me instead... I dont think i could get up the nerve.

                I know its going to be hard to find that perfect someone, and may take a couple tries to get the right one here... I'm just getting bored... My husband promised me he would ride more when we moved here, but he's been working such weird hours he's rode once... In the christmas parade...
                Your Horse's Home On The Road!
                www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Not Craigslist!!! That's where the crazies live.

                  I think you have to be zen about it ... when it's right, the right person will show up.
                  ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                    I think in the situation you describe, I would *not* advertise. I would continue to try to meet other horse people, whether through trail rides, clinics, shows etc... and perhaps, mention to a few trusted professionals (vet, farrier) that you are thinking about eventually looking for someone. That gives you an out if they recommend someone you don't "click" with (Oh, it's great to meet you and learn about your interest; if we decide to go ahead with this plan, I can give you a call...")
                    I agree. Start networking and see if you can find someone who knows you and also knows someone who'd be a good fit with you both in terms of personality and standard of care. I'd put the word out with vet, farrier and other equine professionals you trust.

                    The other thing you could try is joining a local horse BB and going to some of those get-togethers to meet new people. I've met some really neat people through NC Horse News, so if there's a Georgia equivalent, that could be another good option for you. Good luck. It sounds like a great opportunity for someone!
                    Full-time bargain hunter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      What Lucassb said. Every private farm owner I know who took a boarder and is happy with that boarder put the word out through trusted horse professionals.
                      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ummm I'll move to Georgia and board with you. Just kidding.

                        I agree with LucassB, jn4jenny and onelanerode..... networking is key in these types of situations.

                        Sounds like you have a lovely place, I am sure you will have no problem finding a boarder! Good luck.
                        We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Agreed; skip Craigslist.

                          Put the word out to your farrier, vet, and equine dentists. Since they deal with other horse people in the capacity of sevice provider/ client, they'll get a pretty good idea on how folks deal in a copacetic relationship.

                          What you've got and are wanting sounds like heaven. What you might end up with is someone who's just there to take advantage. Getting personal references from vet/ farrier will lhopefully eliminate some of that.

                          Best of luck to you. What you have is exactly what I'm seeking here in CT...

                          **sigh**

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            You might contact the state dressage/eventing GMO (www.gdcta.org) and see if you can put a classified ad in their newsletter or on their website. Or contact them and volunteer to help at some shows or events ... that's a GREAT way to meet people and start to develop your own horsey network. You are actually in a pretty rich area for dressage and jumping; you just need to start to meet people in that world. Ask at your local tack and feed stores and, as already suggested, references from your vet, farrier, etc., can be invaluable as they will have a feel for how you operate your place and who might be a good fit with your personality, your horse's personality and the way you want your farm to run.
                            Equinox Equine Massage

                            In the depth of winter, I finally learned that there was in me invincible summer.
                            -Albert Camus

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OOOH *hand raise* pick me, pick me! I would love to be your boarder; if I didn't live in NY. My boarding situation isn't the greatest right now and I just want to go somewhere peaceful where I can enjoy my horse (i.e. no barn drama & more focus on basic horse care).

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                In fact, come volunteer at Full Gallop Farm tomorrow or next Wed Many people some from your side of the river to these week day shows!

                                8am. Dress warmly

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  i would love to volunteer! I saw the post about it and tried figuring out how i could do it. But a weekday would be impossible, my husband works and the only friends i know that could watch Riley also work. I wouldnt be much of a volunteer toting around a 3 month old... I'd love to go and just watch for that matter, i really want to try eventing this year with my Irish boy if we can figure out our canter for the dressage ring anyway...

                                  Need any volunteering for weekends? I cant do all weekends due to my husbands schedule and the babysitter issue... But i might be able to help one of these days!
                                  Your Horse's Home On The Road!
                                  www.KaydanFarmsEquineTransport.com

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Yes, lots of weekends to help out all through the spring and summer.

                                    Tomorrow they are having a preliminary course run so they expect several Olympic riders. You could certainly come by for an hour or 2 and watch once the sun warms things up. The baby would like fresh air--just not 8 hours of it or starting at 8 am.

                                    It should be fun and its all in one day so lots to see even if you only have a few hours.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by butlerfamilyzoo View Post
                                      Ok, thoughts, opinions, suggestions, all much appreciated!

                                      My only suggestion is to make SURE you are insured. Most farm policies do not cover boarding operations; even "backyard" or "friendly" type of deals.

                                      Which may not seem like a big risk to you until there is an incident. Make sure you have insurance coverage and know what you are getting into or do not do it.

                                      Sorry to rain on the parade but tack theft, disputes over board, disappearing boarders, gates left open, property damage, injuries involving horse and/or rider...... those are the realities of even a small boarding operation.

                                      One little argument, injury or incident and the gloves come off. Make sure you have coverage.
                                      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                      -Rudyard Kipling

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have a similar set up (but no pool, drat!). The boarders I have that are just boarders (two) I got through referrals from trainers who know me (and I them). I've had a total of three boarders found this way. All have worked really well. Then I have another boarder who gets a big break on the board in exchange for feeding two times a week and riding two times a week with me. She's been at my barn for almost a year and she's PERFECT!!! I found her by posting to the local Pony Club's regional email list, describing who/what I was looking for. I say, go with Pony Club, your odds of finding a knowledgeable horse owner with values like yours are MUCH MUCH higher through them than advertising to the general public.

                                        I also noticed that our USEA area website has a classified section, I'd try there too -- again, odds are you'll find someone knowledgeable.

                                        I have never advertised, btw.
                                        https://www.facebook.com/SugarMapleFarm
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                                        www.PeonyVodka.com

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