Do It All Yourself Board
I am looking for some honest opinions from other owners that do all of their horses care at the place where they do their own feeding, turnout, stall cleaning, etc, board. There is a horse rescue that I am going to start donating a little bit of my time at that also offers boarding to owners of nonrescue horses as well. I have been wanting to get another horse since I had to find a new home for mine 2 1/2 years ago when we moved. (He went to an awesome 4H home and gets tons of pasture and love.) At that time we had a mortgage and rent to pay and could no way afford the boarding prices here.
Now I am working and we don't have the mortgage, I can afford another horse now. I can afford the board and feed but I am a bit worried of the drive to the barn every morning before work to do chores then on to work. I wouldn't have time to change before work because the barn would be sort of on the way but not directly on the way. I would definately have to redo my whole morning schedule because we only have one bathroom and 3 people to share before work and school. Also I don't get off of work until 5:30 and couldn't make it to the barn until about 6pm to feed on the weekdays and after that on Fridays because I work until 7.
How other owners do it? I know there are lots of people that do but I am wondering how people that have been doing it for a while feel. Are there options like rotating with other boarders or things like that to help out. I am new to this boarding stuff because I always kept my horse at home so it was a lot easier.
Thanks everyone. Sorry it's so long.
I'm currently at a barn where they do the morning feed and turnout for me as long as I get everything ready the night before. In the case of self board, I've found slow feed hay nets to be a life saver. I stuff the thing with hay, they hang it on the fence when they turn her out and and she can pick at it all day. I'm going to be moving to a different barn soon but I have a friend there where we can trade off chores. I work Monday to Friday 9-4:30 and during the winter that meant I was picking my girls paddock with a head lamp.
I think a lot will depend on the horse you get, the policies at the barn and whether or not you have someone else there you trust to trade chores with. Some things to consider would be whether they might be willing to turn your horse out and feed mornings/there's someone to trade with, if the horse you get is high maintenance for feeding, ie soaking foods, complicated supplements, why type of barn set up, ie if its stall to group turnout, stall to individual turnout, paddock board, pasture board
Depends on what kind of self care you're doing. If you're turning out, you might just need to feed grain, check the blanket and turn out - you could always clean the stall later.
Really all depends on the situation. I'm currently self care but my horse is field boarded, and is an easy keeper so I can give him his ration balancer once a day, or not at all and he'd be fine. They include hay as part of self care, and there's an automatic waterer.
Thank you guys. I think right now they get turned out into individual paddocks. They do have pasture but I guess they are not being turned out in it yet because it's still really cold her in CT. I have to get more details but I have to be honest with myself and know that I don't think I would able to do all of that before work everyday, change at the barn for work in decent clothes, and then get there at 6 pm to feed. I mean I could but I think I might get run down fast having to get up so early to do it all and then I would have to ride so late at night in the summer since they have no indoor. I guess I need to see if I can find another barn that offers partial to full board.
I have always had full self care board. Pasture board is best, because there could be a time when you can't make it. I just got up before the roosters, and went and fed before work in the morning. When my old horse broke his jaw and I was working off the vet bill, I would get up everymorning and go feed. 6 horses and 30 fox hounds. It can be done, and you get used to being tired.
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We've done it. It's not my favourite, just because you spend a lot of time going back and forth to the barn, and less time actually just enjoying riding your horse. Definitely look to make an arrangement with another boarder to trade days with each other so that you don't have to go out twice a day, 7 days/week. I'm sure it will be easy to find someone to share duties with.
Also keep in mind that horses generally don't need to be fed on the clock. If your horse doesn't get his grain at 6pm, and doesn't have some kind of medical requirement for time based feedings, just make sure he has enough hay or grass and he'll be fine until you can get there later on.
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It is a huge committment, but not impossible. It definately is not for the faint of heart if you don't have electricity.
I boarded on a Naval Base where we were basically given the pasture with a run in shelter, that was it. We were on our own to care for the animals etc. It was hard in winter when it was muddy and cold. We didn't have electricity or many lights. Our hay had to be kept on pallets under tarps. Going out in the rain was hard for sure. We also had to pick up the manure in our pastures and was quite hard in the dark/rain as well. So, in winter, when it gets dark so early it seemed like I wouldn't see my horses much, mostly by truck headlights or flashlights.
I would go out to feed my horses before and after work, sometimes in was in the dark both times. Another hard thing was 'stopping by' to feed really quick and finding out that fencing was down or one of the horses hurt themselves while you are in a rush.
The situation worked for me because I lived two blocks away and I made it work because it was a nice place for my horses to live and the cost was low. But I can see how it would really end up being a mess otherwise.
If you are going to do it talk to some of the other boarders and split days or one of you feed in the morning and one feed at night. You could cut your time in half if you can just find one other person at the facility that also needs some help.
I have been self boarding since I got my first horse at 16..I drove 20 minutes one way twice a day to feed him..I now board 10 minutes from my house and go out there. My honest opinion, I wouldn't have it any other way.. I love not "scheduling" a time to see my horse. I go out there almost every day (me and a friend trade off feeding) If I decide I want to ride my horse while im out there I do. I love the freedom of feeding your own horse and being responsible for them. I love seeing that he is ok everyday and safe.
The down side... when it is negative 20 with a negative windchill..it sucks. I would clean his stall and have to crack buckets when I was out there (I now have a heated water bucket, well 2 of them actually because I never want him out of water) When is Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving etc you need to be out there...you have to find somebody you trust to feed them if you leave for a weekend or go on vacation. I love it but you have to be honest with yourself.. can you do it everyday, twice a day...no matter the conditions? If not...I would find somebody would you can partner up with and trade off days.. Or set up with a boarding facility what days you can feed.. Or perhaps just do nights while the boarding place does mornings for you?
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