Curious city gal thinking of buying ranch - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 11:05 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Superior, WI
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Curious city gal thinking of buying ranch


I live in Northern Wisconsin and have always dreamed of living in a rural area with a few horses. I have taken horse back riding lessons in my past and love to get back at it again in my future, that is about all my experience with these beautiful animals.

Me and my husband have been looking at buying a property that is fenced and cross fenced with 2 horse run-ins, a 6-stall barn with power & movable walls, and a riding arena for training or lessons. And of course a house with 22 acres that I would love.

With the lack of experience I have for horses, I'm afraid I wouldn't know how to own one of my own. So finally my question for you fine people......

Would people be interested in Self boarding or Rough boarding at a ranch like this?? From what I gather and researched horse owners would come in and take care of their own horses. While I provide very basic care like shelter, pasture, water and electricity. Oh and what would a good fee for month? If this should work out I can learn from the horse owners and get to see these beautiful animals everyday :)

**It's just an idea, so please don't be mean. I really am interested in learning about horses**
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post #2 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 11:21 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Louisiana
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My opinion is that you should get back into horses and learn a lot more before taking the plunge in getting your own or offering boarding. I'd suggest taking lessons for awhile first and starting to read up on EVERYTHING horsey. Even self care board requires a lot of thought, and you need a plan for if something goes wrong. In the ideal world everyone will take good care of their horse, but not everyone does in those situations.
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post #3 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 12:33 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Iowa
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My guess is Northern MN is pretty rural. If rural people probably have there own place. I think if you are in a populated area close to a large city then your concept has a better chance of working. Poeple wont drive far to properly take care of a horse daily or twice a day if stalled.
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post #4 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 12:41 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: northern arkansas
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I would do a ton of research before considering boarding. That aside, follow your dream. If you feel inexperienced, hire a trainer. Go to some local shows, make horsey friends, they are invaluable.
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post #5 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 02:55 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Just south of sanity
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Agree with everyone who says to get some experience with horses before offering self care.

Even if everyone does what they're supposed to and pays on time, who will be responsible for upkeep of the property? Horses are destructive, and you'll have to figure that in when you consider boarding other people's horses.

A farm (not ranch) of 22 acres won't support a lot of animals, especially if you're going to be offering rough board.

What about hay? Do you expect people to provide their own, and if so will you be able to designate enough space for it and able to keep it safe from boarders who want to pilfer from someone else's stash?

What type of secure areas will you be offering for people to store their grain and tack? What about overnight security? People won't board where they think their feed, hay and tack can't be secured.

The absolute worst type of farm owner is the one who doesn't know how to care for horses. If you can't recognize the signs of colic, lameness, or something not quite right, people won't want to board with you.

There's a lot more to consider than just land and a barn to boarding, even if it's self care.

You want the truth? You can't HANDLE the truth!
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post #6 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 03:09 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Texas
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Nice self-care facilities are hard to find in my area, so there is typically a decent demand for them. I would definitely look around for comparable options nearby, to help set your pricing.

Before you jump right in, don't forget to factor in overhead costs!

You will still be responsible for regular maintenance of the property (ie. trash service, fence repair, roof leaks, replacement gravel for frequently traveled driveways, squeaky hinges, broken lightbulbs, yard work, a replacement water spigot when someone backs into the original,) plus all the tools & manpower needed to address these things. Will you implement vaccination & deworming requirements to keep your facility healthy or is that at the boarder's discretion? How will you handle large quantities of manure? Will there be barn rules such as visiting hours, a stallion policy, stipulations on what/where boarders can store, notice that brooms available so they clean up after themselves? Where do they keep feed & tack, and is it separate from other people's feed or might "borrowing" become an issue? Can they store their horse trailers, RV's, and rusty old boat on this property? How many horses are allowed on each pasture?

You will also want a thorough Liability insurance policy, attorney-drafted waivers, and contracts for boarders to sign, to protect your assets! Keep in mind, if one boarder isn't feeding their horse and Animal Control is called, you may be held responsible for that animal since it's living on your property. If the boarder's neighbor kid gets dumped off someone's horse and hits his head on a fence post, you could be sued.
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post #7 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: michigan
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I am with the rest. I board my horse, and my daughter boards hers (elsewhere) and I can absolutely tell you that I depend on my BO to keep an eye on my horse for health issues. My daughters horse developed sand colic a year ago.. and the alert BO noted that he seemed listless, did not eat with the others and seemed 'not right'- suggested we have the vet called and was able to be there when he arrived. By the time we would have gotten there, hours later after work.. who knows what would have been the outcome.
That is why it is SO important that the person providing board be knowledgeable about horses. We boarders depend on the BO to be our eyes when we are not able to be there. When my daughter was looking for boarding near her college last fall, we ruled out a very beautiful facility with trails and a river to swim in.. because the BO there thought " we have a barn, and a nice pasture... we should board horses" when they bought the place. No horse experience at all.
Get a few horses of your own, learn about them, decide after having your own if you are up to the challenge of boarding for others!
I assume you already have read thru the posts on the whole topic of boarding here on the forum. See what people are expecting, what their criticisms are, and ask your self ' what would I ( as a BO ) do in that situation?"
Good luck!
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post #8 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 09:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: SW PA
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Whether I'm paying full board, or rough board, I want the BO to know horses. I want the BO to understand herd behavior and work on keeping like horses together. I want the BO to know when a horse is off. As cebee stated, the BO is me eyes when I cannot be there.
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sarahfromsc is offline  
post #9 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
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Why not find a mentor/trainer and have your dream with your own horse? Or horses. Sometimes they are like potato chips; you can't have just one.
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post #10 of 14 Old 08-24-2014, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: South Range, WI
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I'm in Northern Wisconsin. There is one self care facility in this area. It's more of a "share care" facility and most people won't touch it with a ten foot pole. It's really shabby and there are some issues with people providing good care when it's their turn.

Around here people usually either do full board or simply keep their horses at home.

Personally I would never board at ANY facility with owners that are not experienced, self care or not. What if an emergency arises and I'm not able to get there right away? What if the owner doesn't recognize it as an emergency?

As far as cost, I'm not sure what the coop facility costs because it didn't interest me when I was looking for boarding. I board at a place in Duluth, MN and I pay $285 per month for full care stall board. That includes stalling in bad weather (otherwise my horse is turned out), hay and use of the facilities (indoor, outdoor, heated groom area, lots of trails). Graining and blanketing are available for very reasonable fees. The BO is an experienced horsewoman and fantastic trainer that offers training and lessons. Pasture board at the same facility is $215 per month. My trainer is not rich by any means and she has around 40 horses there, most of them boarders. So, if you're looking at horses as a means if extra income, better think twice.

Depending on what you are calling "Northern" (I've heard a lot of people call Central WI "Northern"), also keep in mind that horses are not really a big industry here. They are a hobby at best for most, and most are not willing to put a whole lot of money into them.
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