Yikes for all of you Wisconsin folk and the massive amounts of snow! That should make driving fun. We don't get a ton of snow here in Alberta, at least in comparison with other parts of the country. It just gets so dang cold here! The long-term weather forecast is showing -31 C for Christmas Day!
I think I will be making a warm bran mash as a Christmas Present for my mare and my sister's mare.
Chubby Pony, I can kind of see where both you and your sister are coming from. My sister and I each have a horse out at my parents' farm, which is about an hour from where we live. Neither one of us really has the time to go out and ride all that much and with my student's budget and my sister with two growing boys enrolled in all kinds of sports, neither one of us can afford to contribute much to their care.
I've actually talked it over with my mom and she has said she really enjoys having them around and doesn't mind footing the bill for them even though she doesn't ride. She has actually told me that many people have pets and her two pets just happen to be 1000+ lbs. They are in good condition, receive their regular worming, shots, farrier, etc. and my dad always makes sure my sister's 28 year old mare gets special feed to supplement in her diet. To be honest, as empty nesters, I think they still like to have that little reminder of us kids around!
I definitely agree that you should talk it over with your mom and see what her take is on it, but be mindful to tread lightly. If your sister thinks that you are trying to influence your mom to stop paying board (not saying that is what you're doing, but it may be interpreted that way), you could start an all-out world war III in your family, which is never fun. If your mom's happy paying, then I think it is best to let sleeping dogs lie. However, I think if you are contributing something, it is not unfair to ask your sister to put in her fair share of the work or money. Best of luck with that. Family matters can be difficult.
Tessa, I'm a little jealous that you will be in CA. I've been a few times, to both northern and southern Cali and absolutely love it there! I thought Canadians were friendly until I went down there! Although, being with the inlaws may be less fun.