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!
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?
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.
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.
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.