Preference: full-care, self-care, or in your back yard?
Well my husband and I will be moving back down south (yay!) in less than a year and of course our horse(s) will be coming with us. What we need to decide is if we're going to board (full or self), or look for a property where we can have them in our yard. I'm looking for opinions and pros/cons to one situation versus another. I've always thought that I'd love to be able to open my back door, hop on and ride, but realistically, we travel a lot and my husband is gone for work quite a bit, so a lot would fall on me or someone else if we were both gone. I know there's so much to consider! I also like boarding because there's always other horse people around to ride with, talk to and learn from, etc. Opinions? Pros? Cons? Thanks!
I have done full care and self care boarding. Next month I will be moving and my horse will be in my back yard.
Full care boarding is nice because you don't have to go out everyday. If your sick, busy or out of town, you can rest assured that your horse is receiving the same care he always gets. Also if you are busy it is easier to find time to ride, because you don't have to worry about mucking stalls and barn chores, you can just go ride. But you might not see your horse as often. And taking care of your own horse can be very rewarding.
Self care boarding-I enjoy taking care of my horse. I like the rhythm it gives my life. Twice a day no matter what I am at the barn. But, driving across town to get to the barn twice a day can be obnoxious. I never have a day when I can just sit around the house. And the gas can be killer. Also when you go out of town you have to find someone to look after your horse.
Backyard-I have never actually done this but I am about to and I am super excited about it. I look forward to being able to just walk out my back door and feed the horses. I am also looking forward to not having to deal with a bunch of people when I am trying to have my horsy zen time. Also if my horse gets sick or injured I will have an easier time giving him extra care. The only hard part is if you go out of town you have to pay someone to take care of your horse. I have family close by who are willing to step up for a week or two and be horsemen.
I can only relate to having them in the backyard, I'm the 3rd generation owner of the family QH farm. There's a lot of work involved with having them on your own land, but it is worth every bit of it. I can't imagine not having them just a couple hundred yards away. A big plus for me, doing chores in my pj's :lol:
I can relate to the travel worry, we are on the road quite a bit. I have a client that I start all of her horses for or my mom do chores for me when I'm gone.
Having them at home can limit your time away (so do cats and dogs), but I would never even consider boarding our mares. Not only is it great to be able to just walk out and ride, but with the amount of handling they get every day, you have the absolutely best behaved horses you can imagine. As far as the work involved, it's much more enjoyable than what I do to pay the bills. I am very lucky, though, that I'm able to work from home and those breaks with the mares keep you going during the day.
Full-care is nice because all the daily details are taken of for you. You say what and how much is fed and someone else takes care of the feeding for you.You don't have to clean the stall or turnout the horse yourself.
Partial or Self-care is nice because you can pay attention to the details. You can monitor your horse on a daily basis. You can also keep ground manners in check.
I have my 3yo in partial now. I like that I'm the one who turns him out, so I can do schooling if he misbehaves. I like that I clean his stall, so I can catch anything that might be of concern. If someone else had been cleaning the stall, I may never have seen the dead worm in his manure shortly after worming him.
As of july 1, he'll be in full-care. I'll be happy to have a couple of my nights free, know that he's being turned out daily, and his stall is cleaned every day. I will miss that interaction and I do worry that he may develop bad habits without me there to keep him in check. Especially with the turnout. He can get very excited, especially when other horses are outside already. I make sure he behaves, but the control-freak on me worries that the girl who turns them out at the new barn won't know how to properly handle him.
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I have full care for my horse but it's different than what boarding facilities offer. He's with my trainer, so in addition to cleaning, feeding, blanketing, holding for vet/farrier, she also gives him lessons in ground manners, treats any minor injuries and changes his feed as needed for the amount of work he's in.
Since she doesn't charge me very much, provides more and better care than any boarding facility I've ever heard of, she literally hauled her rear to the barn hourly the first night he was there, the night he coliced and when the temp. suddenly dropped to -12 and he had no blankets yet, I clean the whole barn whenever I have enough time, help with feeding if I am there and take care of all the horses when she is out-of-town.
For me, this is WAY better then having my horse at home. I am the only boarder, so no drama or things walking off, the arena is always dragged and ready when I go to ride, she makes sure that there is a group of trot poles set for my horse in the arena (he LOVES poles) I can sleep in on the weekends if I want to and I can go on vacation and not worry about finding someone to care for my horse (or dog, she'll take him). She calls me immediately if there is anything even slightly off about him and attends all saddle fitter, farrier and vet appts so she knows if she needs to change any of his care.
The Vet and Farrier always tell me how lucky I am whenever they visit.
Just to add, another aspect to consider is the available facilities at a boarding vs. backyard situation. Will the boarding facility/your backyard give you access to trails, arenas, jumps, turnouts, etc?
I've done both and I much prefer having them at my home. When we are gone, I have someone reliable come in and feed and make sure their water tanks are clean and full. This person has a list of numbers including my vet, our numbers, and a few horse friends. It has worked out great! I love going down to the barn early in the morning with a cup of coffee and smelling the fresh hay that we just put up! I also enjoy a glass of wine at sunset while watching the horses in the pasture. Another positive is you can see for yourself if there is any "off" behavior with your horse. You know your horses and you will pick up on if something is wrong more quickly, just my two cents.:D
I was very happy I moved mine to my place. LOTS of work involved, but I can socialize with them whenever I want to, can ride whenever I have a chance, and if there is an emergency (like I had to wrap hoof twice/day for 2 or 3 weeks) it's by far way more convenient to do in own place. However, as I said already lots of work is included: feeding, mucking (I clean the field too), seeding, taking care of fences, etc. And I'm very lucky my neighbor has a ring to ride she lets me to use. Otherwise I'd think if I want to keep them in my place (as there are no trails around nor I have a spot to do own arena).
BTW, from my experience (I boarded in past, and speaking STRICTLY about my area) cheap barns are what they are: cheap. No ring, no stalls, etc. So I'd rather pay more and board in nicer place I can work with my horse (if I had to board it).
we keep our horse's at a friend's private farm (no other boarders) and we do almost all of the horse care ourselves. Barn owner will turn out or bring them in for us or throw hay.....we do the rest.
AND I WOULDN'T WANT IT ANY OTHER WAY.
we have the time to spare, so we spend hours each day with the horses....taking them swimming, for walks, riding, occasional ground work, grooming, feeding or just watching them graze.
WE is my adult son, adult daughter and I. we don't travel or work full time, so we have time to devote to self care.
Having fewer people interact with the horses has stregthened their bond with us in a dramatic fashion. And we can't think of a better way to spend our days.
So, self care is our preference, and in our situation time wise, it is a realistic scenario. I dread the thought of a boarding facility. I just don't want alot of people working with, playing with or feeding our horses. WE are the providers of food, exercise, discipline, training....and swimming. the center of their universe.
that is why I LOVE self care.
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