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SeabiscuitMustang 04-06-2010 10:59 AM

Board v. Home Stabling
I've sold my house. I own one (1) horse, three (3) indoor pets, and live alone.

I currently board my horse.

I will need to purchase another home.

This is where I ask for ya'lls kind advice.

Boarding vs. Home Stabling of Your Horse

Those being boarding or home stabling. The attached article has great pros/cons for both. Key word in my situation, I'm SINGLE - the single bread earner, gardener, shopper, bill payer, mender, fixer of things undone, etc.! I'm alone in all that I do except with my horse.

I figure I have three (3) options:

1. Purchase a patio home and continue to board my horse ( considering the pros/cons ).

2. Purchase home/land (build if necessary on a budget) w/in 20 mile radius of work and purchase horse trailer and travel to riding trails further away ( considering the pros/cons ).

3. Purchase home/land in riding country with access to 3,000 acres of riding trails; yet, 45/50 miles from work ( considering the pros/cons ).

My horse is 8 and in 10 years I'll purchase another horse. I won't sell my current horse and want him to have a retirement home (hopefully with me) and be the pasture mate to a future horse.

I'd like to address that I'm not certain if I can hook up a horse trailer by myself and I really like the comraderie of boarding. Also, I've recently lost a parent and my mother is aging and needs help and I'm the eldest child with no children (45 years old) and have been given the task of part-time 'caretaker' by my siblings (aren't they nice?!). This is a stressful task.

I guess another option would to be continue to board and purchase a patio home (less yard work and more freedom) and continue to look for land nearby that is reasonably priced that I can prepare for my current horses's retirement and home for future horse?

Many thanks to all of you.

Delfina 04-06-2010 11:50 AM

Have you considered purchasing land with a home and then building another on it for your mom? Or just land and building 2 homes.

It's difficult trying to care for an elderly parent because you end up driving back and forth to their place, plus if you are boarding you are now driving back and forth to the barn as well.

If you have everyone in one location, it saves time and gas from driving all over. Plus having lost a spouse, it might be good for your mom to have a horsey friend to go out back and visit/bring treats to.

Speed Racer 04-06-2010 11:53 AM

I work 35 miles from home and currently own a 5 acre farmette.

I could have bought more land, but 5 acres for a single person to care for is enough.

CAN you do it? Probably. Do you WANT to? I don't know. It's hard work, and horses can be destructive.

If you board, your horse has company. If you bring him home it's not good to have only one horse on the property, so you'd have to get him a companion.

When you have your own place you'll spend less time riding and more time doing upkeep. Those stalls that someone else cleans when you board? You'll have to do them. Fence repairs? Get out those gloves and wire cutters, and prepare to spend all day making sure your whole set up is still in good shape.

Grass cutting all that acreage will be your responsibility. Even if you have horses out on it, they don't eat everything down evenly. You'll also have to drag your pastures occasionally to break up any manure, as well as reseed any areas that the horses trample down to bare earth.

Plus, what are your plans for manure? You'll have to check local regulations concerning the disposal or spreading of manure on your land. Depending on your local laws, you may have to pay someone to dispose of it for you.

What are the local laws concerning shelter for livestock in your area? If you don't have stalls or run ins, will you be in violation of animal welfare laws?

I love being out by myself in the middle of beef cattle country, but unless you enjoy having only animals for company most of the time, you might want to consider continuing to board and buying a small house in town.

As far as hitching up a horse trailer, that's learned easily enough. You just have to make sure your towing vehicle has the correct capacity to pull and stop your trailer. It also wouldn't hurt to take lessons in how to back up, and how to place your trailer where you want it. You won't always be able to pull it into position; sometimes you'll have to back it in.

I'm not trying to scare you away from owning your own property and having your horse at home. I personally love caring for my own horses but it can be daunting, time consuming, and lonely, and if you're the primary care giver for an elderly parent, you may not be able to devote as much time as you need in order to properly care for your animals and property.

SeabiscuitMustang 04-06-2010 01:22 PM

Thanks to both of you.


My mother will not leave her home which is paid for. It is the last residence she resided with her husband and it is two small for the both of us! She continues to work and yard maintenance is part of the HOA. It's just difficult for me b/c I'm constantly driving to/fro to help her and half the time she reschedules (this is her typical method of controlling which I'm trying to remedy - everyone has their family dynamics). Thus, it is so very exhausting. I'm suggesting other resources for her and sending emails with helpful info, rather than driving over, showing her how to use the internet (again) in which to obtain information she needs. She actually teaches typing and computer basics to grade schoolers; thus, she knows how to use a computer/internet - it's just one of those control tactics of hers (also punishment for me not having children!). Anywho, enough of that rant. My mother is scared of horses, too. She does not know the poll from the dock!

Speed Racer,

You provide additional cons to home boarding. Also, being a female it may be somewhat risky considering security to be out alone. Perhaps I'll stick with the patio home and continue boarding. I can look for land nearby for future use and if its a good price, too.

Presently, there are 5 acres available on CLEARED pasture in hunt country (3000 acres) adjacent to another horse farm. Which would be nice b/c then perhaps we (neighbors) could look out for each others horses. It's a really pretty parcel, cleared, good grass, some sand, with an easement into hunt country trails. Very tempting. I could build a small home and 2 stall barn w/ tack room & hay storage.

maura 04-06-2010 02:08 PM


There are a couple pieces of info you've left out of your analysis.

1.) How do you feel about the driving time/commute? Hate it/it's torture? Nuetral towards it? Like it/it's your decompression time?

2.) How happy are you with your current boarding situation and how affordable is it?

For me, I would absolutely love the 5 acres in hunt country and would build a small home and 2 stall barn. I home board, we have 14 acres and access to lots of places to ride. However, SpeedRacer has done an excellent job describing how much work your own property is; and I am fortunate to have a spouse who helps. I will never, ever board my horses again, not even to get some of the amenities that come with boarding.

BUT, that means a lot more time in the car commuting to work and your other responsibilities.

SeabiscuitMustang 04-06-2010 02:34 PM

Maura, most the pros/cons are listed in the below article, as aforementioned.

Boarding vs. Home Stabling of Your Horse

The driving time is as follows:

25 minutes to/from home/office & 20 minutes to/from home/barn provided I'm in a 20 mile radius. Thus, 2.5 hours travel to/from home/office and an average of 5 visits per week to stable = 1 hour travel to/from barn. Less yard work and more freedom.

1 hour to/from home/office should I move to hunt country = 10 hours driving weekly. Also, longer distance to shopping, etc. Tons of yard work and less riding time. Yet, although I gain quality time with my horse by home stabling, I lose riding time.

I like my current boarding situation and the riders. My horse has a run-in w/ 1 acre pasture alone -- he is not lonely and can interact with other horses over the fence and on trail rides (he's the lead horse!). Yet, should new boarders arrive or pasture switching, there is (and has been) herd ranking and my horse is usually beat up a good deal. For instance, last year I took 1 week vacation and felt secure that he would be cared for. Yet, during my absence, the owner put her mare with my gelding and she bit the heck out of him. When I returned, she (the mare) kicked me! Since then my gelding has had the 1 acre pasture to himself. This will not always be the case.

I'm worried that I'll be burdened with careing for the "farmette" and not have time to ride or be too exhausted to ride. Whilst at the same time I worry what to do with my horse when he is ready to retire and I purchase another horse.

Thanks again ladies!

SeabiscuitMustang 04-06-2010 02:41 PM

Again, I could purchase land/home w/in 20 mile radius, then learn to trailer to trails. Then, I'd not be so worried perhaps. Then again, there's my back has 'given' out a good deal lately. Geesh, now I'm even more worried!

Speed Racer 04-06-2010 02:55 PM

Seabiscuit, it's all about what you want and think you can handle.

The horse will adapt either way, trust me. They're not as delicate mentally as we like to think they are. :wink:

Being in the middle of hunt country would be a definite plus for me, since you wouldn't have to trailer far to ride.

I'll be 52 y/o this year, and I've been caring for the horses and my property for the last 5 years. If you want it badly enough, you can make it work.

Sure, being older means taking things slower and recovery time is longer, but the rewards of doing and caring for your own animals and place are extremely enriching.

I boarded for 27 years, and I wouldn't go back to it now for any reason.

ponyboy 04-06-2010 07:00 PM

I would never live alone with a horse to take care of. I know people do it, but so much can go wrong, and chances are your nearest neighbor isn't going to be within easy hailing distance. If I had the money I'd build two dwellings and rent one out to another horse owner. If not I'd continue to board.

Speed Racer 04-07-2010 09:07 AM

You can't live your life in fear of the 'maybes' or 'what ifs', ponyboy.

If I worried about everything that could happen to me or my animals, I'd never leave the house.

That's no way to live, IMHO.

Life's an adventure. You can't enjoy the adventure if you're worrying about things that may never happen.

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