At home or board...pros and cons - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-05-2012, 09:54 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2012
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At home or board...pros and cons dream is to own a horse or two on my own property. But what is the reality? What are the pros and cons to a backyard horse vs boarding at a barn? I know that the farrier and vet would be easier at a boarding stable...I don't even know if they will come to a home with just a horse or two without added cost. All you living the dream...either boarding or at home...let me know your thoughts!
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-05-2012, 10:09 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
Posts: 11,940
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Of course a farrier will come out to a private residence for one horse, mine has. Keeping your horse at home has it's advantages & disadvantages.

Horse is right there, ride anyway time you want
Monitor your horse all the time
no monthly board bill
No barn drama
Convenience of having everything in one place

All maintenance of horse's surroundings is your job
All care & feeding is your responsibility
Every little thing to do with horse, your riding area (arena) is all up to you
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-05-2012, 10:47 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Vidor, Texas
Posts: 2,805
• Horses: 3
While I enjoyed boarding, I love having my horses at my home! I keep my feed in a cart under my carport and walk about 10 yards to feed them. I leave a check for my farrier and he comes out without me having to be home and my trainer will feed for me if I am out-of-town. Once you get into a routine, it becomes second nature to feed, etc. I do miss having more horsey people around to talk with and ride with, though!
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-05-2012, 11:07 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Alberta
Posts: 1,838
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I now keep my horses at home, but also spent many years boarding. Here is my take on the subject:

Advantages of boarding
- you can go away for a weekend or a holiday and not worry about your horse
- when the weather is awful, someone else does the work
- barn friends!
- indoor arena
- access to lessons, trainer, etc.
- no need to be there when the farrier, vet, hay guy comes
- someone to treat cuts, give medicines if needed

Disadvantages of boarding
- it's easy to be lazy
- barn drama
- cost (both boarding costs and travel)
- you don't always get what you hope for

Advantages of keeping horses at home
- the view out the kitchen window is FANTASTIC
- feeding daily and doing horse chores keeps you fit
- you can custom feed, blanket, etc according to your horses needs
- you can ride anytime you want, even for only 15 minutes
- Magic Horse Breath is always handy when you've had a bad day and don't feel like driving anywhere
- you develop a stronger relationship with your horse(s) because you are with them every day

Disadvantages of keeping horses at home
- no indoor arena
- holidays are tough because you have to get a critter sitter
- meeting the vet and the farrier in the snow, rain, sleet, hail, etc.

Ideally, I keep my horses at home, but...
-have a trailer so that I can haul out to an arena for lessons or events
-keep a good relationship with a stable so that I can board short term for holidays or horse rehab if needed
- have a good relationship with the vet, the farrier and my hay guy so that I get their services when I need them at a time and a cost that I can manage
- stay connected in lessons or with a horse club so I know about local horse events
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post #5 of 13 Old 03-05-2012, 11:16 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 2,610
• Horses: 1
We have ours "at home" but really that's at my inlaws. So I drive a few miles to feed twice a day but I love knowing their care is entirely up to me. If they look bad or good, that's all on me ya know?
We haul to the barn for lessons, so we really have the best of both worlds. We have barn buddies without boarding drama, and I adore it!!
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post #6 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 12:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 290
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Based on my experience, boarding has been 80% nightmare and about 20% tolerable. The majority of the stables I visited would say anything to get you in the door and once you are there it's quite a shock what you deal with. I honestly like where I have my horse now with the exception of not being comfortable enough with the trainer to want to take lessons and having to ride by myself most of the time. Even at those two, I can eagerly count my blessings.

Boarding overall hasn't been the best for both of us. It has left me overall discouraged for many reasons. I have experienced places not feeding my horse enough hay or feeding moldy hay, not feeding grain that I provided, not keeping adequate water even came out to find no water one day, I have had my tack borrowed and put on other horses without permission, I have had my tack stolen, I've had a barn owner tell me my horse needed to lose weight when she was already trim, experienced lots of drama with one barn owner that I think fell off her rocker and I've had my horse put in with a bull without notice just to name a few...

Needless to say if I could have my horse at home, I would! Responsibility doesn't scare me and I would feel a lot better taking care of my mare myself. Unfortunately at this time, I don't have the land or barn to house my mare so boarding is the only option.
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post #7 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 01:12 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Northern Utah
Posts: 607
• Horses: 3
I'm a firm believer of keeping your horse at your residence if possible. I like being able to look out and see my horse. I notice the smallest changes in his behavior when I see him all day, every day. I like being able to step out my back door and visit him even if I'm not up for a ride that day. And the cost of keeping him at home is way lower. If I had to board a horse somewhere I don't know that I could afford it. The hay is usually priced higher (I pay $4.50 per 2 string bale) so if the board itself didn't empty my pockets the feed would. I don't like drama, back biting, or anything of that sort and it seems that my friends who board have to deal with lots of barn drama.

The nice thing about a barn, though, would be being able to ride any day regardless of the weather. Easier access to a trainer and not worrying who would feed for you while on vacation would be nice.

Most farriers will come out for just one horse. He may charge extra if he has to drive a long way to get to you but a local guy will do one horse no problem. I've also found that farriers sometimes charge more when they go to a barn and shoe just because they can. Not all (most are pretty honest) but some.

Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground. ~Author Unknown
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post #8 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Colorado
Posts: 130
• Horses: 2
My horse lives at home. I prefer that too boarding just because I see her everyday and with her n I can c if something looks different n not try n guess when this happened. Only thing I can think of as disadvantages is that if I'm trying to go away for a weekend trying to find someone to care is a pain. In my case it's my mom n I feel like she's very forgetful
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post #9 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 11:16 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: AZ
Posts: 4,840
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Because I have horses, I've always planned my life around them-I only buy a property if I can have my horses there-anything else is not even considered. I miss all the storage buildings I had on my last place, but we're looking into getting more storage here-it would be nice to get the "extra" tack out of my 2nd truck. I love hearing my mare call to me every time I walk out the door. I'm just hoping the weather gets a bit warmer soon-I'm so tired of the cold & snow is much over-rated-haha.
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post #10 of 13 Old 03-06-2012, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Horry County, South Carolina
Posts: 77
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For me, farrier visits are easier done at my farm than at the boarding stable. My farrier's known my horses for years, they all stand like angels, so he'll do them at home alone if I can't be there. The barn, OTOH, I either have to meet the farrier there or pay the barn for someone to hold for the farrier.

I'm boarding Conjure right now so he and I can have lessons with a trainer who works at that particular stable. (I don't have a trailer and I live too far away for the trainer to come to me.)

In addition to the things mentioned above, I like the opportunity to introduce Conjure to things he'd never see at my place - like little girls turning flips off the tongues of horse trailers, for example. Or just coping with the distraction of other horses, riders, etc. Very good for a horse who's used to the isolation of a quiet farm.

And it's nice to not always have to ride alone, which I almost always have to do at home.

But I miss him like crazy. Even though I can go see him anytime I want, and he's only fifteen minutes from my office - he just doesn't really seem like "mine" while he's at the boarding stable. I'll be really happy when it's time to bring him back home.
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