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post #1 of 18 Old 02-28-2017, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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First time boarding advice

I've always been able to keep my horses at my parents' farm. However, I am graduating from college this May and am looking at grad schools, all of which are on the other side of the country. Obviously I'm going to need to board at some point in the next year or so. Here is some information on me and the horses.

Mis Jet
Breed: Quarter Horse
Age: 9
Sex: Mare
Showing: Western (cow horse stuff, hopeful some AQHA and/or ARHA shows)
I use classical dressage as the basis for her training and do ride her in full dressage tack sometimes. However I'm not looking to show dressage or English.
Feeding: easy keeper; grass, loose salt, vit/min supplement if needed (in winter grass hay and Purina strategy as needed), she hates being locked in a stall for too long.
Quirks: She is partially blind in her right eye due to a pasture accident and can be a bit funny about a stranger catching her in the pasture. She has trust issues from severe neglect in the first 6 years of her life (I bought her as an unbroke 6-year-old with hooves that hadn't been trimmed in 2 years). She's not dangerous, just wary of most humans. For some reason she's more ok with kids than adults (on the ground, never tried putting a kid on her). With a little patience she will be ok with someone else catching her, especially if there is food involved. She's smart enough to know who the food dispenser is. She doesn't tolerate adults other than myself riding her.

Starlight
Breed: Mini
Age: 17
Sex: Gelding
Showing: retired 4-H pony, still used as a cart pony
Feeding: too easy of a keeper, grazing muzzle on grass for a few hours a day then dry lot for the rest of the time, vit/min supplement, loose salt, grass hay in winter, might be developing IR
Quirks: Loves kids, would love to have a kid to ride him, he misses the good old 4-H days

I am not a fan of locking horses in stalls. If the pasture needs I break, I prefer to dry lot them. Mis Jet might be ok in a stall if she gets 12 hours turnout and 12 hours stalled.

I do my own training and farrier work. I don't appreciate someone trying to tell me how to train, feed, or trim my horses.

I am a very quiet person who hates drama. I try to live by the motto of "not my horse, not my problem". As long as you don't get all up in my business, I won't get all up in yours. I just want to do my own thing and enjoy my horses.

I think I would do best with self care, but I'm not sure I will have the time for self care being in grad school full time which will include teaching some undergrad classes in addition to taking graduate level classes. If I get into grad school, I will be paid to go there enough to (probably) support the horses, so I may not need another job.

I won't know exactly which state I will be going to (TX, AR, FL, or IA) until April. I will not have an exact budget until I know which school I get into (I have rough estimates, but it will depend on how much money they give me).

I'm leaning towards a pasture boarding facility with the options to dry lot.

So, what are the pros and cons of self care vs full care vs partial care?

What do you look for in a boarding facility?

Do boarding barns usually have problems with the owner doing their own farrier work?

How might I go about searching for more private barns that might not be advertised online?

If I get into grad school I would be moving from PA to school around August 1st.

I will post more questions as I think of them.

If there is anything else I need to know, please tell me.

Thank you!
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-28-2017, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBayMare View Post
I won't know exactly which state I will be going to (TX, AR, FL, or IA) until April. I will not have an exact budget until I know which school I get into (I have rough estimates, but it will depend on how much money they give me).
I currently live in Florida so "sort-of" know what happens in my part of the world. My horses are on my land but am surrounded by thousands of acres of land and animals...

I'm leaning towards a pasture boarding facility with the options to dry lot.
I know you can find a mix of this in the center of the state...
However, it is common that horses are put out 24/7 on pastures down here with barb wire fencing as is the norm for many ranching situations which share fence lines..
Many horses do not come in at all and weather {literally} storms and flies and everything you can think of together as a herd. Many here do not supply run-in shelters either but there are trees.


So, what are the pros and cons of self care vs full care vs partial care?
You already know this answer.... someone else taking on some responsibility of daily care, all the responsibility or everything falling upon you and only you.
For your situation I would look for a partial care environment so if you can't get to see the horses that day someone does and did..

What do you look for in a boarding facility?
Clean....stalls if a barn clean, things put away in their place safely, good fences, horses well weighed and shiny coated.
A place that allows you to "do your own thing" within reason that your horses are seen medically and with appropriate farrier care to protect them and all other boarders.
Pastures not over grazed nor over populated with animals and no forage to eat.
Manure routinely dragged, or removed from pastures.
Sources of water, multiple ones reachable from not super far distances if horses are 24/7 pastured. It is brutal hot here in summer months!!!

Do boarding barns usually have problems with the owner doing their own farrier work?
No... many in my area do their own work.
Farriers are plentiful in this area too.
Very common horses here are just trimmed unless a working horse, even then trimming is what I see more than shod.


How might I go about searching for more private barns that might not be advertised online?
Check the local feed stores and farm supplies.
Vets and farriers here are also a good asset of information.


If I get into grad school I would be moving from PA to school around August 1st.
This is a brutal time here with humidity and high heat your horse WILL NOT be accustomed to.
I would seriously move into graduate housing, get in a routine and look for a place to board your horse first-hand sight seen not by what you hear.
Consider a move around October when it just begins to cool for us that your horse will be able to adjust to pretty easy....will still be in the 80's here at this time of the year! And out of rainy season now...that takes some getting use to too.
Being from the northeast you are going to find things vastly different down here for barns and food and what your horses will have on hand on a daily existence basis.
K-12 school starts here first week of August for most areas of this state...
Snowbirds also leave around March and return around October if those are areas you need concerned with.

I will post more questions as I think of them.

If there is anything else I need to know, please tell me.
Depending upon where you will be doing grad school will also dictate costs and amenities of your horses care.
There are areas here where board is in a barn and costing $900+ a month same as in the northeast.
There are areas here where board is $195 month full or partial depending upon where you go and what amenities you want.
Much of the state has a diverse discipline style but certain areas also are of course English/dressage oriented and can find the "snobbery" of the horsey set that can go along with it {or not}.
You can also though find the nicest mix of disciplines all sharing a boarding situation with the common goal of loving our animals.
Horses here are a way of life. There are true cowboys who ride the ranches and do day work {branding/sorting/round-ups} and of course a million rodeos of all degrees of expertise....then you have the thousands of miles of available trails through preserves, federal and state lands and then the show circuit areas of groomed to die for grounds...
All depends upon where you search for and in what area of this vast state.

Thank you!
Sorry for the book....hope it helps.
Good luck in grad school...enjoy!!
.....


The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-28-2017, 04:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the information! If I would be moving to Florida it would be Gainesville, so north-ish. The biggest concern for FL is the cost of living which is the highest of all the schools on my list.

Thank you for pointing out the seasons. I would have never thought about the heat in August. Both horses are fine with only trees for shelter. Their current situation is a six horse herd (all mares except the mini) out on pasture from April to October-ish. The mini has a grazing muzzle and dry lot as needed, although getting my dad (the main caretaker when I'm gone) to put the mini in the dry lot for any length of time is a nightmare.

All of our pastures are high tensile so they respect wire. I would be concerned about barbed wire for the mare because the last thing I need is another $4,000 emergency vet bill. Also, the pony needs electric on the wire. He only needs it turned on every few months so it can zap him good, then he'll be good for another four months.

Here, one pasture has a shelter (only a roof) and one pasture only has trees. They get rotated through both so can spend a month or more in the one with just trees. I'm not into the whole blanketing thing because they all have thick winter woolies. Moving in October would be a problem for the mini because he starts getting all fury in September already. I might have to break down and blanket him or clip him. That presents a whole new problem. Or I could take the mare in October and bring the mini down in the spring.

Oh boy, glad I started asking questions early. This could get interesting.
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-28-2017, 05:56 PM
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This is why I chose to leave my horses at home with my parents while I attended grad school (just outside of Portland, Oregon) for optometry school. Having to buy a truck and trailer to haul my horse on a 24-hour drive, paying for board, and finding the time to ride ... it just wasn't worth it to me.

I was able to find some people to ride with once a week on Sundays to get my "horse fix". There actually wasn't much for boarding barns in the area anyway, with the closest one still being a 30 minute drive. And no trails to ride on; only an indoor and outdoor arena. That one was at least reasonably priced. The other ones were outrageously expensive IMO (close to $1,000 a month). I couldn't afford that, on top of my loans.

If you want to bring your horses with you to grad school, go for it, but expect challenges!


Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBayMare View Post
I think I would do best with self care, but I'm not sure I will have the time for self care being in grad school full time which will include teaching some undergrad classes in addition to taking graduate level classes. If I get into grad school, I will be paid to go there enough to (probably) support the horses, so I may not need another job.

I will not have an exact budget until I know which school I get into (I have rough estimates, but it will depend on how much money they give me).
Wow. Good for you. Mind if I ask what type of grad school?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBayMare View Post
So, what are the pros and cons of self care vs full care vs partial care?
Of course, full care will be more expensive. But more freedom. Every barn differs on what they consider full vs. partial care, but usually they'll take care of all the feedings and stall cleaning.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBayMare View Post
If I get into grad school I would be moving from PA to school around August 1st.
Yup, you'll need to consider the climate change in August to wherever you will be moving to. You might not want to clip and/or blanket, but if your horse can't adapt to the sudden new elements (warmer or colder), you may have to.


Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleBayMare View Post
All of our pastures are high tensile so they respect wire. I would be concerned about barbed wire for the mare because the last thing I need is another $4,000 emergency vet bill.
While barbed wire will "tear them up" worse than smooth wire, high tensile can be just as damaging as anything. If they are going to get hurt, they're gonna get hurt. And they can get hurt on ANY type of wire.

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It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-01-2017, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Come on! I had a novel length reply typed out and my friggen computer deleted it twice!

Summary: I can't leave her because it would be an imposition on my father and I don't trust my mother around my horses when I am that far away (long story). If I leave her for three years I'll lose all my hard work getting her trained and show ready. There is a whole slew of reasons I can't sell her, the biggest being that she is uniquely trained (western horse, classical dressage foundation and cues) and, in the past, every time someone new got on her, she would try to buck and/or body slam them into the nearest wall. It hasn't happened in almost a year, but I haven't tried putting anyone new on her lately. Very few people are patient enough to break through her walls and gain her trust. It took me almost three years. She was mentally destroyed due to severe neglect in her early years and a misguided attempt to saddle break her by her previous owner. I'm afraid if I leave her for that long she will regress mentally as well. We've had some big breakthroughs lately and i don't want to loose that progress. If I have to, i will get another job.

Last edited by LittleBayMare; 03-01-2017 at 12:05 PM.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-01-2017, 12:46 PM
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If you end up in AR let me know! I lived there for 6 years and still have horse-friends there :)


Just be aware that depending on the program, grad school will eat up a ton of time and you may not have as much time as you think.
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-01-2017, 01:09 PM
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I don't know about those states, but I have had good luck pasture boarding. Sometimes I have rented a pasture and done self care, and sometimes have pasture boarded (and stall boarded) at boarding stables. The current barn I am at has pasture and stall boarding, but it is really mostly a self-care facility. Occasionally someone comes that is full board, but it is rare.

On the days I am working a friend takes care of my horses. She also lets out my stall boarded horse in the morning to save me the drive out there.

I would advise in your case pasture boarding the mare and stall boarding the mini. In some cases, pasture boarded horses get feeding and hay provided, but not all.

The advantage in placing them in a boarding stable instead of renting a pasture is you have folks that will keep an eye on them and let you know if they are injured or appear sick or whatever.
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-02-2017, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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@SwissMiss I will definitely keep you in mind! Fingers and toes crossed!

Oh, and I forgot to add TN to the list. I always forget that one.

I have taken time management into consideration. I am currently a full time undergrad and a TA for a 200-level class and still have time to ride three to four days a week while I am an hour away from the barn. In grad school i should be able to be much closer to the barn and have more time. Every single grad school on my list has a plethora of barns within a 15 minute radius. I would be doing an MFA in Creative Writing. The class requirements are less than I have now with undergrad and a lot of the work involved is writing outside of the class room (which can completely be done while hanging out with the ponies, my poor guys have suffered through many a test reads for my prose and some truly awful poetry). I would be TAing a few classes most likely, but I am familiar with the requirements of the job and am not concerned about time. If I get in to one of the programs I am currently applying for I'll basically be on salary so I will theoretically have time to show over summer while I'm not taking classes. My life is literally school and horses, that's it.

That is also why I am considering full or partial care so I have more time to train and snuggle my babies. But even if I have to do self care they are both easy keepers and if I prepackage meals a week at a time I can just dump and feed. I take care of everything for them over summer now and so have a very good idea of exactly how much care they need and what I would be signing up for. If I rasp their hooves once a week, I rarely have to do a full trim so it literally take five to ten minutes. Most of the southern states have a longer growing season too, so I can hopefully feed them grass for much of the year and save the hay money for winter.
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-02-2017, 09:35 PM
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School resumes here early August for all areas of the state and school is out around Memorial Day....
You may need to adjust your schedule knowing "school year" calendar with your summer showing you want to do.

Soooo....
Ummmm.... seriously consider that weather then for riding compatibility.
Here in Florida we are on the verge of rainy season starting...
Translation....rain, thunder & lighting fierce storms daily and horrible humidity and high temperatures.
Yup, people ride in summer....EARLY or late evening with the mosquito's.
It is normally high 80's++ every day with dew points of 70+ so oppressive by 10:30 AM at the latest in true in the summer months, then through late fall - March we have glorious weather to ride and do "horse".
So, evenings not usually cooler than mid to upper 70's late April - October....
You must adjust your riding routine or have heat stroke yourself and or a very sick horse...
People do show and compete in summer but hydration of animal & human properly is to be learned and quickly if you can stand the thought..
Boots & breeches sticking wet to you..yuck!

I do ride my horses lightly in "summer" swelter, at first light.
I'm on riding by 6:05 AM and down, done...hosed off/bathed and horses turned loose to find shade and a cooling breeze if there is one by 7:00 AM.
I currently have 2 to ride and switch days between them...

Most horses do well from grazing on fertilized and "de"-weeded fields....but our grass is not what you are used to up north.
Do some homework about Tifton and Coastal, Bahia as these are common in pastures.
Ocala area has some nice grass and so do other areas but do not be fooled that all areas have good grazing, it ain't so!
T&A which so many feed up north, is expensive here.
$12.00++ per bale is very common so if you have diet needs you better plan accordingly for a supplier and affordability.
Decent local grown horse hay from good haymen runs around $8.00 per small square bale and that is Coastal or Tifton 44. We also have peanut hay which is similar to alfalfa grown local..
Available are all national feed manufacturers plus we have Seminole brand and a few private mills. Please do your homework about ruminant additives and which feed manufacturers have "horse" only mills or do livestock {ruminant} all on the same line.
If a error is made it will cost you your horses life, period!
I refer to monesin type poisoning. Most have heard of it...Sadly, this occurs more often than in should and if fed to horses it kills!!

So much to learn about before the big move and seriously consider when choosing that school location....
Best of luck with your continued studies...
.....

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #10 of 18 Old 03-02-2017, 09:57 PM
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Quote:
I'm leaning towards a pasture boarding facility with the options to dry lot.
That will depend on where you are of course. I can think of a lot of boarding places that offer pasture board, but I had to look up what dry lot is. Haven't really seen that in Texas. It is a hug state, can't say what is common in S. and E. Texas. In N. and Central Texas pastures have grass, a lot of times it is Bermuda or Coastal.

Quote:
So, what are the pros and cons of self care vs full care vs partial care?
If you find a really good place with knowledgable non-pushy people, full care is probably more consistent for the horse. It really depends on who is managing the barn.

Quote:
What do you look for in a boarding facility?
Good management. There are so many ways a beautiful facility with all the amenities can be ruined by poor management. A serious fly problem can almost ruin a place during the season. I want to know they have a handle on the basics.

Quote:
Do boarding barns usually have problems with the owner doing their own farrier work?
It is going to depend on the barn. My current barn wouldn't have an issue with it, but honestly the farrier they have come out is an expert so I wouldn't even bother with it personally. Asking up front about it is the way to go.

Quote:
How might I go about searching for more private barns that might not be advertised online?
Bigger feed stores are a good resource. They more than likely sell to the places you are looking for and have some kind of relationship with them.


If you go to school in Texas you won't have any issue finding boarding facilities, farriers, vets, instructors etc. Board costs and all that is going to depend on where you live exactly. In the DFW area you can pay as little as $200 a month and as much as $3k a month. Really depends on what you want, and how fancy the place is. My Mare is in full care board in a performance horse training program and I take two lessons a week, it costs me $900.
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