I used to board my horses at a wonderful stable with an indoor arena until I got a place with land and brought them home. I have to say that boarding in much easier in some ways but having them at home is much more rewarding for us. (plus, I can go out and feed them in the morning in my pj's ) It was nice to have so much support from fellow horsey people right there all the time at the stable. The downside was not having much control regarding turnout. They never seemed to get out much and would be pretty wild sometimes. I also have two small children (2 & 5). Two year olds don't know how to walk and talk... They only know how to run, jump and yell. As you can imagine, this was not a good combination around sensitive horses (and horse people).
Well, it was time for us to get a place where we could all be wild and free so we bought a farm w/7 acres. We had to learn everything from building stalls and fences to finding hay, shavings, grain, pasture management.... Now that we have everything up and running, I find that all the work is really rewarding. The horses are really happy! They nicker whenever we come outside. In the morning they wait at the fence where they can see in the house and yell at us when they see us. We are all one big happy family now. I actually ride more often now because I don't have to worry about the kids. They just play in the yard while I ride. So, for us, having a farm is the best!!!
The downside to having them at home it is hard to stay clean, I can't resist giving them a pet everytime I go outside. I also have to plan my schedule around their feeding times. There is also a lot more manure than I could've imagined and I only have 2 horses...
I guess, if you are going to keep horses at home, first you need the desire to do it. Second you need the time and last but not least you need some support. Lots of money would make the second and third thing easy . But for normal people like me , we have good family and friends.
I realize many people don't have the option of buying a place to keep their horses and many people that compete need to be in a training environment. When I first got my horse, I needed to be in a training stable. The experience was invaluable and I couldn't have brought my horses home without everyones help.