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Young Children & Horses...At home or Board?

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  • Young Children & Horses...At home or Board?

    I will likely be starting a family in a couple years and I have been wondering how some of you who have very young children/babies are able to ride and spend time with your horse while juggling everything else.

    Do you think boarding or having the horse at home allows more time for riding your horse? Do you find with your family obligations that you don't have time to ride as much after your barn chores are done(those of you with horses at home)?

    Those of you that have done both and have(or had ) young kids I would love to hear about your experiences!

    Last edited by LookinSouth; Mar. 14, 2009, 08:05 AM.

  • #2
    I have done both, and currently have them in the backyard. I would say that when you board, the horses continue to be a way to get out of the house and do something for yourself. Having them right in your yard you can zip out there on a whim. Although it is tough to ignore the family when they are yelling your name just as you pick up a lovely canter depart! The biggest thing that I have to remind myself now that they are home, is to make it a priority to ride. Put something off until tomorrow so that you can ride today.


    • Original Poster

      Originally posted by 2boys View Post
      I have done both, and currently have them in the backyard. I would say that when you board, the horses continue to be a way to get out of the house and do something for yourself. .

      thanks for the response. I was thinking that if I did board maybe it would be nice to have a reason to get out of the house as you mention above.


      • #4
        A lot depends on you situation. I had only one child and kept the horse at home. I got a neighbor teenager to watch her while I rode and it was nice as I was right there should a problem occur, not an hour away at a barn. Of course cell phones make it easier now. Also, when my husband was home could watch her while I rode. He traveled often at that time. At one point we put up some lights to ride after dark as sometimes that is the only time things settle down enough and when husband was home to keep an eye on daughter. Boarding at a barn was not an option so I can't help you on the logistics of that. I can see an advantage to that as you would not have to worry about the child while caring for the horse, just riding time.


        • #5
          When I had my son I only had one horse and was boarding. I also worked at the barn in exchange for pasture board. I only worked at the barn on my husband's days off (which was 15 days a month), as my son was born in late September and the weather was getting colder. I wasn't going to take a newborn to the barn w/ me to work. I couldn't ride for about two months after he was born anyway, too painful. When it rolled around to spring and I summer, he went w/ me. Those days off were my days. I could work than ride or ride then work if I went out early. I also rode into town a lot and could give my son a ride when I stopped at the house.

          As he got older, I added more horses to our growing family, moved horses to a couple new places that I leased for awhile and now they're all at home. Son is "coming 12" and now helps w/ chores and such and I can ride pretty much anytime I want to. Of course that doesn't mean I do. Winters are usually a loss and I have to trailer to really do any good riding and don't have a trailer. Summers are usually 4-H show oriented and training times.
          A Merrick N Dream Farm
          Proud Member of "Someone Special to me serves in the Military" Clique


          • #6
            Well I can't speak for anyone who lived through the experience as an adult, but speaking as someone who grew up with her horses living at home- I wouldn't have had it any other way.

            We have always kept our horses at home, when I was younger it was easy keepers, as I got older and more involved with their care we somehow ended up with harder keepers (enter TBs :P ).

            It was definitely a lot of work for my parents when my sister (who is seven years older than myself) and I were younger. It was also definitely doable, my parents aren't the horsiest of people, and now couldn't blanket if their lives depended on it (amazing how the whole "use it or lose it" thing works!) and they managed just fine.

            And although it was a lot of work for them in the barn, I think it probably helped prevent a lottttt of work outside of the barn- better horses than getting arrested, right? I think my sister and I were certainly more responsible growing up than many of our friends because we had horses and cared for them at home.

            I've learned so much about horses and riding by having them at home. And it definitely helped me through some tough times having my best friend live in my backyard. It's not for everyone, but keeping the horses at home absolutely has my vote!


            • #7
              When I read your title, my first thought was, "I would keep the horses at home and board out the children." But I'm a very bad person.
              I tolerate all kinds of animal idiosyncrasies.
              I've found that I don't tolerate people idiosyncrasies as well. - Casey09


              • #8
                Originally posted by Lori B View Post
                When I read your title, my first thought was, "I would keep the horses at home and board out the children." But I'm a very bad person.
                Then I'm a worse person. My first thought was, keep the horses at home so your fellow boarders aren't subjected to screaming brats running in the barn aisles There's nothing worse than boarders who insist on toting their small children to the barn!


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by springer View Post
                  Then I'm a worse person. My first thought was, keep the horses at home so your fellow boarders aren't subjected to screaming brats running in the barn aisles There's nothing worse than boarders who insist on toting their small children to the barn!

                  lol, oh good god
                  be assured that when the time comes that I have young children I most certainly will NOT be toting them along to the barn for my horsey peace and quiet time. Nope, definitely not! That's where dear hubby comes in.


                  • #10
                    I keep mine (both horses and kids) at home. Kids, however, are "boarded out" at daycare when I work.

                    I find it easier to slip out at 8 pm and ride one or two when I don't have to drive 30 minutes one way to the barn. It's more flexible that way and I'm pretty sure I ride more because the horses are home.

                    I do keep horse chores simple. They live outside 20 hours a day and come in at supper for their own "special" supper (supplements) and work and then get turned back out afterwards. Daily stall cleaning is much reduced that way. Breakfast is fed outside in hanging buckets.

                    I get most evenings out in the barn (7:30 and later) - hubby gets one for maintenance but than he gets pretty much Sat and Sun (except on horseshow weekends) to work on stuff outside. Because of this, horse shows/clinics are at most - every other weekend.

                    It works but I have a farmboy hubby who likes to fix things and sit on a tractor AND he doesn't call watching his kids "baby sitting". It's all a matter of compromise.


                    • #11
                      I have a 1yo and a 4yo and have 6 horses at home. I wouldn't do it any other way....or, rather, I *couldn't* do it any other way. Being able to walk out and ride at any time of the day is priceless. I keep all of my horses out 24/7 (with run-in sheds or stall access, of course) which means I'm not spending weekday time cleaning up after anyone.

                      I also have mine in daycare 4 days a week (because I work), which allows me time during the day to run out and ride when I'm not in town. And then I have a husband that sounds like millerra's....watching HIS kids is not "babysitting," it's just the way it is. He also helps out in several ways. He feeds the horses in the morning before he heads to work (that's the trade-off for me handling the kids in the morning!), and he does a lot of the "man" work around the farm (pretty much anything that requires the tractor or tools).

                      I'm not sure how he's going to fare during this show season, though. Last year my daughter was a newborn and I toted her around with me to all of the horseshows. This year she's an active 1 year old, and old enough to stay home with dad. I'm not sure he'll be quite as happy with everything this year as he was last year
                      Flying F Sport Horses
                      Horses in the NW


                      • #12
                        My situation is a bit different as the hubby is a SAHD who spends evenings and weekends on our home-based business, while I work full-time during the week. So, if I go to the barn then the little one goes with me. Fortunately she's perfectly happy to stick close, brush my old retiree, feed carrots to the ponies, and stay out of the way in the hay stall schmoozing with the barn kitties. If she ran screaming down the barn aisle I'd tan her little rear end and take her right home.