If gas was free, I would drive hours everyday for that perfect place. But since it's not, I would say that 20 miles is probably a good estimate for how far most people will be able to afford to drive. I'm one of those people that has to see my horse every day, and it would cost me around $300 a month to go everyday to a barn that was 20 miles away. So unless the barn is not only perfect, but also very cheap, it needs to be very close by. :(
I drive approx 45 minutes from my house and 15 minutes from my work. The board is extremely affordable, amazing care and indoor arena for winter.
When I originally moved my mare to the barn it was only 30 minutes from my house but we moved after about a year of her being there and I was far to happy with the care/people that I decided to keep her there, the affordable cost of board evens out the gas/time that I would pay if I moved her closer to the city.
So I moved my horse to the Perfect Place. As I put his necessities above mine, I now take a 40 minutes long ride on the public bus, and then walk additional 40 minutes (4 kilometers) through the woods every time I want to see him - unless a barn buddy gives me a lift, of course. And it's totally worth it. :)
My barn is 30 mins from my house and 45 mins from my work. I think I'd top it at 30 mins (would definitely prefer less)
It's not exactly ideal for me though because 1) gas prices(i drive a diesel so more money) 2) Where I work I am a driver so I drive all day till I'm sick of it then I don't feel like driving to the barn
I do try to go out as often as possible and with show season rapidly approaching I'm literally forcing myself to drive out there because I know ti has to be done. I just think of it as driving (as much as I hate it) is a chore and my reward is riding.
Over my winter break from school, my horse stayed out near my school while I stayed at home and it was about an hour or an hour and ten minutes without any traffic to get there. I went through so much gas and put so many miles on my car, it was ridiculous. I would never want to board my horse that far away on a regular basis, it's just not worth it. I would say 30 minutes is max for me