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Military and Horses

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  • Military and Horses

    My husband has started to think about in listing into the air force, and since its not just a move the husband makes, its a move for the whole family, I was wondering if any other COTHers are in this position, (on either side, the in listed one, or married to one) And how you handle the situation with horses and moving; living on base or off, they benefits of both, the facilities they offer, if they have them. Housing allowances for living off base with property, buying or renting that property, basically everything I need to know, to be a well informed horse owning air force wife! : ) thank you!!
    Posted with my Android smartphone.

  • #2
    The Air Force has a good amount of stables present on both it's domestic and foreign bases so you shouldn't have any problem getting along unless you get posted somewhere like Japan. Until your hubby completes his AFSC training, you really have no idea where he will be stationed as you usually don't know until it's at least half-way done. Most of the questions you have, regarding housing and such should be asked on an Air Force wife forum or a similar place of discussion. You can certainly ship your horses wherever you go, providing you can afford it, but you need to get a lot more information about what your man would be doing in the AF before you can even begin to think about the horses.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!


    • #3
      Good resource for government stables. They have listings by states, and many of the facilities have their own websites. Heads up, though. Many military stables have long waiting lists for boarding.



      • #4
        When I was an enlisted man in the Air Force, there's no way I could have afforded to keep a horse. Maybe you will have outside income but if you don't, soldiers pay ain't much.
        "It’s a well-documented fact that of all the animals in the realm of agriculture, Bulls have the highest job satisfaction rate."~~Ree Drummond, AKA the Pioneer Woman


        • #5
          I'm in the Air Force (as is my husband). I have yet to be stationed at a base with stables, and stables on base are often co-ops, so you don't always have the best care/facilities. Make sure you check out this link to get an idea of what his pay would be http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/mili...yPayTables.doc Unless you work or would work off board, I would imagine it would be hard to afford a horse on an enlisted man's salary until he's moved up the ranks a bit. Especially since you may end up in an expensive area where everything costs more.

          Where you live will depend on the area you move to as well, and your choice. Definitely check out base housing, some of it is privatized, so nicer than the older houses, but you may rather live elsewhere. If you can afford it will depend on the housing allowance for your area, how much housing actually costs, and what your tastes are.

          I've moved horses to NJ from OH, then back to OH, and my horse will be coming to FL to live with me in December. There is a chance you may be stationed somewhere overseas where you won't be able to take your horse.

          If you google 2009 BAH rates you'll be able to get an idea of how much of a housing allowance he'll get when you look at specific areas. You can always PM me if you have more questions, I've been in for almost 6 years so far!


          • #6
            As others have said it is difficult on enlisted pay to afford horses unless you are working also. Once upon a time at least in the branch my dh was Ad in it was told to many lower enlisted spouses that 'it is your responsibility to work at least 2 jobs to make up for what hte military doesnt pay." ONce the spouse hits the NCO ranks it is eaiser but still difficult.

            The base houseing depending on where your are stationed like others have said can be wondeful or one step above the ghetto...

            But also remember that your stuff is not as important as your dh's stuff when it comes to being moved. Lets say you have a expensive college text books that you would like ot keep. And due to the limited space allotted to your load when moving it has come down ot your books vs dh's books that connect to the military in some way. Your dh's books will win every time. Your stuff comes dead last.

            chances are in lower enlisted pay you will not be able to move the horses with you or afford to board them in a facility that you would normally board them in.
            I went many many yrs w/o horses because enlisted pay just did not allow them and my pay checks were used to fill the gap to pay bills and very little extra left over.

            Now that my dh is no longer AD but in hte national guard I can afford horses. And my dh when he got out of AD was a NCO and now hit the upper NCO's which brings on a whole other lot of 'unknown bills' which I do not look foward to...

            Been a military wife now for close to 25 yrs... it is not for the faint of heart...
            Friend of bar .ka


            • #7
              Don't forget you also need a backup plan when he gets an unaccompanied tour (meaning he goes overseas and you don't-or he goes somewhere remote that relatives can't go). You also need a plan for what happens if you get somewhere like South Korea for a couple of years, and you go but taking a horse there would be undoable. Also if you have a horse trailer you will not be parking it next to the house on post in the housing area-you have to park in an RV/Boat/trailer area, but many suburban areas don't allow RV's Boats and Trailers on streets or properties either. You can go to http://www.baseops.net and look at the spouse forums for information. You probably won't get a comparable job to what you had on the outside either-military spouses get preference only for jobs on post if they already have had a regular government job for a certain amount of time-so you take what you can get (PX cashier, NAF jobs that pay less than regular GS but you can get quickly) unless you want to wait quite a while for a regular civil service job-the hiring process can be long. Many military posts don't have highpaying off post jobs available either-when you are only staying for a year or two a lot of employers will hire someone who will probably stay around after they're trained. Also if you have some kind of medical certification (RN, Physical Therapy, Respiratory Tech) you can usually get hired quickly at the base hospital or clinic.

              Being a military family can be great but you do have to accept the sacrifices in transfers and separations that will have to occur over the years-if you can't cope with that you both should accept that up front and find another road. And if he goes reserves or guard he will definitely be called to active duty and maybe repeatedly-and you won't be going with him.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #8
                I've been out (as has Mr. JSwan) for many years. So things might have changed.

                But from what I remember, there is no way lower enlisted could afford a horse. Heck - lower enlisted used to qualify for food stamps.

                Depending on where you are stationed, you may or may not be able to find a job and/or a place to keep your horse. When you PCS, you will be responsible for all transport costs for your horse. Unless things have changed, horses are not considered household goods. And even if they were, servicemembers are only permitted to transport a certain weight of household goods.

                Having said that, I've known folks that had horses and were in the service. But they were officers.

                If your spouse is looking at a MOS (if that's still what its called) that has a long school, like a language school, and can be guaranteed a pinpoint assignment (if that's still what it's called) that might work to your advantage - as you will be in one place for many months and will be able to scope out jobs and stables.

                I'm pretty sure things have changed a great deal, especially with the internet. Spouses may have more opportunities to network, find portable jobs, or hook up with other horsepeople. That didn't exist in my time and we were on our own.

                But the military is still the military and in the end - you go where they send you - and your horse may or may not be able to follow (or you for that matter).

                If you're independent, strong, resourceful and a problem solver (aren't all horsewomen?) I'm sure you'll find a way to work it all out - especially with COTH as a terrific resource.

                Best of luck to you and your soon to be airman, and please give him my thanks for considering service to his country.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RoseBud143 View Post
                  My husband has started to think about in listing into the air force, and since its not just a move the husband makes, its a move for the whole family, I was wondering if any other COTHers are in this position, (on either side, the in listed one, or married to one) And how you handle the situation with horses and moving; living on base or off, they benefits of both, the facilities they offer, if they have them. Housing allowances for living off base with property, buying or renting that property, basically everything I need to know, to be a well informed horse owning air force wife! : ) thank you!!
                  I want to clarify, that we are not in the officer ranks, we started at E-2, got the horse as an E-3... no where near high ranking, and we made it work for us... my spouse has funded the horse from almost the get go on his "low" pay, shortly after we got the horse, I got pregnant and have not worked since! At current time, on his pay, we pay the board vet etc and are paying for the truck and our van... it can be done, but it can be a struggle......
                  My spouse is Air Force, We live on Base, he is the only one with a job, have 3 kids and 1 soon to be 2 horses...
                  Our current base has no stable on it... so the current horse is boarded.
                  Our second horse will be picked up in June, and both horses will be staying on family property for several months..
                  Our next base has a stable, so we will be getting on the waiting list for it as soon as we arrive there..
                  Base stables are cheaper in board, but, you make up for that in having to do work days... generally, its 4 hrs a month, doing cleaning, mowing, repairs etc... It is also self care... you buy your own feed, feed your own and clean your own. Some places provide a limited amount of shavings, others provide nada.... There is also alot more barn drama queen crap that goes on, , be prepared to deal with a board of people in charge... Pres, vice pres, etc...one reason I have been loving boarding in a regular boarding facility, not having to deal with it all... Oh, also keep in mind, majority of base stables will have a waiting list,
                  I will be taking on a job at the next base, lol. Kids are still young, but old enough I should be able to...plus will need the extra $$ for the second horse.
                  oh, another thing, we haul the horses ourselves... brought the one out to IL from CA, and soon, will be doing the trip in reverse, with the detour down into TX to pick up second horse...

                  Our housing allowance is taken as rent for the base housing, and we have never bought nor rented a place with property for the horse. We tried to find a place when we first came to IL, but people do not want to rent to dog owners, esp ones with 2 big dogs, The one house we did find, and he was willing to rent, was to small for our family. Would have been GREAT if we had no kids...it was just a small built in the 30's or 40's 2 bedroom on 7 acres...horse would have felt like he died and went to heaven.
                  As it is, I moved him a few times before I found a great barn...

                  There is a mil spouse who has taken on the monumental task of listing base stables, etc. the website is http://www.militarystables.com/index.html
                  I have helped a few times with info I knew on a few bases.
                  You say enlisting, but I don't want to assume he will come in bottom of the barrel as an airman, but, if that is the case, it will be a struggle for you on airman's pay..http://www.airforcetimes.com/project...09/basic/0_20/ that link shows basic pay from less then 2 yrs service up to 20 years...
                  this one shows BAH allowance http://www.airforcetimes.com/project...2009/bah_with/ which is the housing allowance based on rank and differs from base to base...

                  We have been in 16 yrs, and we did not get the horse until we had been in 6 years. Our first 3 years were spent overseas...
                  Now, that is another troubling factor... being sent overseas...we did another tour overseas, and had to leave the horse behind. No way could we afford 10,000 shipping costs one way. Plus heck if I was going to take my beloved horse to Turkey, lol they are not so nice over there, We are blessed in that my father in law and his wife have horses, and were willing to take him for us. Otherwise, I would have had to sell, or board him out..
                  We are entering the late stage of our military life, this next move could very well be our last, depends really on what the economy is like in 4 years.
                  Don't know if I helped much or not, but, good luck making the choices ahead of you and your spouse.
                  Tara, Formerly BlackWatchLady
                  Located In Illinois


                  • #10
                    There are a couple of things I'd mention....

                    1) The cost of keeping horses varies GREATLY across the country. So if you plan to keep a horse, plan on keeping one. I had 3 when we were stationed in TX and it was CHEAP (private co-op off base)....but where I live now? Holy cannoli. 4X the expense.

                    2) Is he enlisting or going in as an officer? The pay grade matters. And even if you're working outside the home now, it gets a little more difficult if you're PCSing every few years to have a "career" vs a lower paying job. So money might be a little more tight than you're used to.

                    3) It's not difficult to move horses around the country. However, should you be stationed overseas, it's pretty challenging to take a horse with you. So you kind of need a backup plan for your horse.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                    • #11
                      I was a military wife, started when my husband enlisted as an E-1 and we got out 19 years later, he was an CW3. It isn't easy and I was fortunate I had my horses boarded off post with some friends who understood when I couldn't make it to feed or if one of my children were sick. I didn't board on post because I didn't like how the place looked, unfortunately I am picky and I also don't like people walking in and out all hours of the day or night nor the attitudes I found at on post stabling.

                      Because we did move 16 times in that 19 years, I waited till the last of his career to get my first horse. It isn't easy either with his career going in enlisted. As everyone else said, and the Air Force I have heard is a lot easier on their soldiers than the Army, there are deployments, moves, over seas tours, rotating shifts of duty, etc....

                      Think long and hard....


                      • #12
                        Military pay is *a lot* better than what it used to be. The Air Force does promote a little bit slower than the other services, but it also moves its folks around much less often.

                        If you get stationed in a high cost of living area (such as DC) you will get a chunk of tax free money on top of your salary to help out with housing and living expenses.

                        Your husband's recruiter should be able to walk him through the basics of how much he will take home in salary and benefits (he gets more since he is married) as well as when the normal time periods would be between promotions.

                        You can maintain a horse but you may have to sacrafice in other areas. At one point I did not have a home phone (used the neighbors for emergencies)- but then again I was working most of the time anyhow.

                        Best of luck,
                        Appy Trails,
                        Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
                        member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org


                        • #13
                          OK, we're not lower enlisted (hubby is a senior O-4), and I work as a teacher, but I still find it hard to pay board on one horse. I used to have two, and I struggled with that until I finally gave up and sold one. Having one and paying all the expenses (yes, I compete, sort of) is much easier than having two. That said, I do have friends who manage who are lower rank than my husband, and also don't work, but I'm not quite sure how they do (no shows/lessons, etc).

                          If you plan on having a horse, think about a part-lease. That way, you can have someone else foot part of the bill for you. I'm with the others who say that being lower enlisted is going to be D@MN hard for you to find a way to keep a horse. If you have kids, forget about it, unless you really get lucky and find a way to do it bare bones, at an on-base stables. Most of the stables are co-op, and you have ALL sorts of crazies and weirdos around, so you'd better have a high tolerance level for idiots who think that cleaning out their stall once a week in the middle of August is sufficient (and that person just happens to be in the neighboring stall!). You'll also have to find a way to get hay, grain, and everything yourself, including turning out, etc. Luckily, most people get together and help each other out.

                          I used to board on post at Bragg, but then they moved the horses and the fencing is ALL high tensile wire, zero visibility, and it's not hot. In the first few months of moving horses there, two came down with severe wire cuts and almost had to be euthanized. They turn out all the horses in one great big herd, mares and geldins mixed, and there is no pasture. Sure, stall rental is cheap (under $100/mo), but you do everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. And that's considered a good military boarding barn.

                          I wouldn't have a horse if my future was that uncertain. My hubby is very secure in his job and is well-known, so he has a little say in where we go next. As a lower enlisted, you are at the needs of the Air Force. You go where and when they say "go". I'd wait until your hubby builds up some rank so that he has a little more control over his life before you try and add something like a horse to the mix.

                          Good luck!
                          "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                          So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                          • Original Poster

                            ugh i hat emy computer, i already typed a response and its gone! blah! so uxcuse me if this is quick so i dont loose it agian

                            He wants to go into FireFighting, and knows thats all the bases have firefighters, so kinda wants to put the two together. we live in Florida, and hope that we could request at least some stattion in FL.

                            He has friends that have gone in, and love it, and are trying to get him to take the final step, the thought of not seeing hm during trainng is daunting and the prospect of deployment is worse, but i also know we could work through if it meant a better life for us and our kids when it comes time for that. ( NO kids yet! we have been married a month today and i have 3 year miniumum before we start )

                            He was also told with the budget cuts with the military that being moved around rght now is really unlikely and that you could be at base for 4-5 years before moving, if ever depending on jop.

                            I would try to get a job somewhere to help supplement with bills, his buddy thats in out of BC is getting 1600 a month and with living allowances, and if i have a second job we could do it, hopefully.... alreadt have horse, and have no intention of selling him, and i am so lucky that i married a man that understands that and respects that and would also do anything to never have me have to make that desicion. (Thats one reason i have a 3 year rule, told him i will never sell my horse, so were not having kids untill we can afford he life style we have and the added kids. ) and believe me we dont make a lot, but are able to budget well, kinda, im a PT college student and he works full time as well as i we have bills and rent and make it OK

                            We were looking into buying a house, but may now have to wait untill we figure out what were doing and what the most benefical in the long run.

                            We are making an appointment with a recrutier for tomorrow, but i wanted to have a lil info before so i didnt go in there blind.
                            Posted with my Android smartphone.


                            • #15
                              Chances are good that you will NOT be stationed in Florida, if that's where you're from. They try not to station you where you originally come from - some archaic rule regarding homesteading or whatnot.

                              Enlisted ranks tend to keep you in the same place longer than if you are an officer. So, 4-5 years is on the lengthy side, but not unheard-of. That said, Air Force tends to move people around a lot more than Army.

                              >> if ever depending on jop.

                              Um, that's total BS. You WILL move; it's just a matter of WHEN.

                              >> I would try to get a job somewhere to help supplement with bills

                              What do you do? What can you do? If you are a teacher, or in the medical field, you'll probably get a job. If you do anything else, good luck. Military towns are FULL of overqualified spouses who are looking for work or work menial jobs. That's why I went back into teaching - there was no work for me, and I'm a graphic artist with a strong instructional design background. Be prepared to get paid very little for whatever you do, and be prepared to have a lot of competition for that job. You will NOT get spouse preference unless you get moved with your husband - I married Joe while he was already stationed at Bragg, so I did not get spouse preference, which would have helped me land quite a few jobs.

                              >>, his buddy thats in out of BC is getting 1600 a month and with living allowances

                              Remember, too, that everybody in the town will know what your husband makes, and they price everything accordingly, so that rent will be based off what the landlord thinks you are making for BAH (that's Basic Allowance for Housing). Try to live on base, if the housing is decent. You will get a lot more bang for your buck if you do. Chances are you won't, though, because you have no kids. Preference goes to couples with kids.

                              >> and if i have a second job we could do it, hopefully.... alreadt have horse, and have no intention of selling him

                              You definitely can do it, but you will most likely give up things like showing, training, etc, for a while, depending on the boarding situation that you can find.

                              >> We were looking into buying a house, but may now have to wait untill we figure out what were doing and what the most benefical in the long run.

                              Don't, whatever you do DO NOT buy a house, thinking you're going to make money off it when you sell it! First of all, you WILL move. People buy houses thinking they're going to sell it when they move, or rent it out, and then they find themselves in a situation where they have been PCSed (that's Permanent Change of Station) and they haven't rented out their house, and now they have to rent or buy a new one, and they have a double mortgage payment with only ONE BAH. My friend had to declare bankruptcy early on in her husband's career because of that same situation. If I were your FRG leader (Family Readiness Group), I would tell you the same thing. Don't do it. Don't buy a house until you know your husband is ready to get out and you know you are going to stay there.

                              I don't want to discourage you from this, because being a military wife definitely has its ups as well as downs. The military community is FABULOUS - they're so used to moving around and making new friends that most everybody is very welcoming and helpful, and you'll find horsey people everywhere. You can do anything you set your mind to do, but be aware that for a while, you'll probably have to make some sacrifices to pull it off. My husband is an O-4 and we're quite comfortable living off his salary, with mine going towards my horse. When I had two, I barely made ends meet, but with one, I'm comfortable in buying whatever I need, taking all the lessons I want, going to shows, etc. However, those years when he was a Captain (O-3) were pretty tight - I did have to sacrifice quite a bit. It will all work out if you want it to. Good Luck! Feel free to PM me with any questions you might have. I have a very good friend who's hubby is an Air Force officer.
                              "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

                              So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."


                              • #16
                                At least in some branches the deployments are the least to worry about the rest of the time you bang your head up against the wall trying ot understand the ne language you have been exposed to. I hear the AF is rather good at taking care of their famlies but in general like eventer said chances are you will not be stationed 'at home' and requesting a station the only time I head of that is oafter someone hit certian rank, if there was an opening, and if the govt wished to move you there. I know that once upon a time the branch my dh was in ( the navy) stopped all coast to coast transfered Unless you happen to get into a school that would get you there first Ie recruting school in Fla was a good reason to transfer dh to Norfolk when he was done.

                                I know when dh was AD and we lived in high military places like Norfolk I was lucky to get a job at a telemarketer place paying just at minimum wage. That was my while the kid was at school job. When dh was not deployed I carried 2 jobs that one and a 'night' job of waiteressing..

                                I knew several AD famlies who had horses BUt none of them were below an E-5 because of the cost of keeping them either in town or on the base. And trust me there will be some spouses who will see you as a snob because of the horse but you may have to face facts you might have to sell the horse and wait a while to get back in to it.
                                Friend of bar .ka


                                • #17
                                  Firefighters move around, so plan on that. I don't think that they'd have a problem stationing you in FL even if that's where you guys are from...it'll depend on if there's a spot for a Firefighter at a FL base.

                                  DH and I bought a house last base...we're now renting it for the mortgage payment with a great property company. There are a *lot* of people in the military that buy a house with each station and rent it when they move on. DH and I know quite a few that are making quite a bit of extra money doing it. We're not in it to make money, but after living in Korea there's no way I'm living in an apartment ever again and I hate the restrictions placed on you by renting, especially when you have pets.

                                  Base housing is getting better, and depending on how full it is, you may get a better house than you're "allowed". Definitely check the BAH for the area you're moving to when moving. http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem/bah.html if you type in the zip code of where you'd want to live as well as the rank your husband may have going into it you'll see what he'll be getting as a housing allowance on top of his base pay.

                                  If he does enlist and you do get a job on base make sure you keep it. As long as you plan ahead you should be able to find a job on base when you move, but if you drop out of the system for whatever reason (have a baby, etc) it will be much harder to get back in. If you can get trained in finance you'll be much better off because there are lots of finance positions on bases that are typically held by spouses, I know that my base has 6 or so right now alone! I had a friend that moved from our previous base to a new base, his wife didn't apply for a spouse transfer because she was pregnant and she ended up not being able to get back into the system of working on base in the first few months after having the baby...by then they were moving in less than a year so she stopped trying.

                                  I think you can make having a horse work. You may not be able to take lessons or show though. You may need to do self care or work at the barn to help with board, but it'll all depend on where you're stationed and what barns you can find there. I did pasture board in NJ for just $225 a month to keep my horse. Transporting the horse will need to be something you need to budget for if you don't have a truck/trailer. I also recommend leaving your horse in place for the first couple of months if you can, and then moving it once you're familiar with the area, settled in, and have had a while to scope out boarding barns.

                                  Just make sure you plan ahead. If you're going to rent or buy, start shopping months in advance. If you buy and want to rent when you move, advertise well in advance so that you have time to find a good renter.

                                  Is your husband a firefighter right now? If so, I would ask the recruiter if that time already spent as a firefighter would buy him any rank so that he's not coming in as an E-1.


                                  • #18
                                    The problem about base assignments is that you can say where you want to go but the service sends you where they need you. What happens if his first assignment is a year in Baghdad? or you want Florida and they send you to Maine? or North Dakota (yes they have a base there) or Alaska? or Hawaii? And they do send you to overseas assignments such as Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Germany, Italy, Spain, or other countries too numerous to mention that allow families to go but have local hire agreements that limit the job possibilities for family members. And base housing is not always available or may not be your first choice. Since they privatized the housing on many posts (private companies own it and rent for your housing allowance) there are severe restrictions on the number, size, and breed of pets-at Fort Carson there are 7 or 8 banned breeds (the housing company says for insurance reasons) and if you get sent to a post in a city that has banned breeds you are required to go by the state or municipality rules. The military lifestyle can be very rewarding but it can also be very rough for people who make the wrong choice in enlisting and then not liking it--and you have to stay a certain number of years to get retirement or it's all for nothing. Make sure you ask the recruiter about years of service to get retirement benefits, move allowances, and you need to realize that the military is a total commitment that requires you to make the best of it where ever you are sent. You'll end up at places you love and want to stay forever, and other bases that you can't wait to leave, and like any other organization you will love some people, make some lifelong friends and also find out some people are awful. And never buy a house anywhere until know you'll stay there after you retire-I know too many people that have houses they can't get rid of and are losing money renting them out.
                                    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


                                    • #19
                                      I couldn't afford to own horses until I made E5. Even then, I lived mostly in barracks, rode a bicycle or drove a very cheap car, and pasture boarded my girls and bought good tack used. I was fortunate enough to have a good friend who kept them on her farm and in work when I was deployed. It was sometimes difficult, but worth the effort.