tell me about keeping your horse on your own property
If you keep a horse on your property, what has your experience been? This is my dream but as my husband is not a horse person, I really want to know what life is like with caring day in and day out for your horses. Fortunately my husband is quite handy but the burden of day to day tasks would be on me. How frequently do you travel, both with and without your horses? How many horses do you keep on your property and how many hours in the mornings and evenings do you spend maintaining the property (cleaning stalls, etc) and looking after the horses? Do you work full time as well? Do you have a stable hand to help you and if so, how many hours do they work and what would you have them do?
I do have some experience, including watching my friends 5 horses plus 3 dogs, cats, goat and pig on weekends back in college. It was a LOT of work! But I enjoyed it tremendously.
I'd love to hear about your day to day life on your horse property and just how much time you get away to do other things.
It is a labor of love. If you do not love your horses enough to not consider it work then you will never last doing it.
How much time (and effort) does depend a great deal on your set up and care system. Some people clean their paddocks and stalls multiple times per day, some people never clean their paddocks and do not have stalls.
I can get morning and evening chores done in as little as half an hour if I really rush and do things on the minimal level. That includes picking stalls and getting manure piles from the paddocks, giving hay, watering and grain and shuffling who is on pasture and who is not on pasture.
It usually takes me more time than that. Probably because I enjoy taking care of them.
I have three horses with three separate paddocks with stall access and one larger pasture.
No paid farm help here. Mr. AB who seems to always fixing something the horses felt needed personalizing. Adding an employee does add the risk of liability so it adds to your insurance burden.
We do not travel. One of the reasons is it is hard to find someone to take care of the horses and dogs.
All the work of having the horses at home is worth it when you look out the window and see them napping in the sun or playing with each other.
Agree with Always. I only have one horse so its not that difficult. I do pick the paddock and make sure she has food and water. I also enjoy getting up in the morning and she's right there in the back yard waiting for mom to feed or groom her. At the moment we have no stalls but that will be an added job when it happens. But as Always said, Labor of Love. Takes about 1/2 hour for me to do chores plus on beautiful days I'll just sit and talk with her or groom her. Well worth the time and money to have them on your property.
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As AB mentioned, it all depends on your setup. I have 4 horses and 2 ponies on 20 acres with another larger pasture I can open up in the fall. I do not stall anybody unless absolutely necessary. I feed am/pm and work part time during the school year. I pick out the run in area of the barn as needed. Since they can graze 24/7 I don't really have to "feed" but I like to keep an eye on them. This is the best way, IMO as it's as close to their natural way as you can get. Stalled and penned up is boring and not really the best for their health and wellbeing, tho it can work with good management.
I have 5. I work a 40 hour work week. Monday-Friday. I get up early and feed before showering. In the winter I put them out in the AM and bring them in in the PM. In the summer I have them out 24/7 with 2 of them having access to stalls and the other 3 access to an overhang. I have them split in 2 paddocks and I put three out during the day (in the pasture w/ access to their paddock) and then 2 out at night with access to the paddock.
In the summer it takes about an hour to feed and clean the 2 stalls while filling the water tubs. Husband runs the tractor through the overhangs a couple times a month.
In the winter I have 5 stalls to clean and 5 buckets to fill plus the 3 outdoor tubs. There is also ice that needs breaking and blanketing depending on the weather. It takes about two hours at night in the winter. mornings are quick becuase I feed and brake ice. I also do not allow them access to the pasture in the winter.
My parents live really close so either they or my brother, who also lives nearby cares for the horses, dogs, cats, fish, frogs, and pig when I am away. Only once have we had to call on a neighbor...
I get great joy out of it...
I love having my horses at home with me, but it can be a PITA when you need to go away. Luckily, my farrier will feed/water the critters for me while I'm gone, but some people have to pay a boatload of money to have a farm sitter. I do pay my farrier, but not nearly as much as I would have to pay a sitter.
Chores take me about 45 minutes in the morning/at night, and I don't mind one little bit.
You won't ride as much if you have the horses at home though, because there's always going to be something that needs fixing or cleaned.
You won't have barn drama though, and to me that's one of the biggest pluses to having the critters at home! :wink:
It's muddy, it's wet, aggravating, dirty, smelly, dusty, cold, hot, back breaking work. Routine definitely helps out a lot. And like the above poster said, you really have to love your horse.
Let's see, 3 horses and 4 cows on 10 acres! One horse is being stalled right now due to an injury but normally they stay out 24/7. During the winter if it gets to be around freezing, I'll let them in the stalls. I only feed once a day and they graze the rest of the time, so when I go out of town my trainer will come over and take care of my crew for gas money (but I'll give extra because she's great).
My hubby isn't really a horse person but he loves building and helping me maintain the property. He's already built an arena, tack room and a barn. the cows will have to wait for their lean-to after the wash rack is completed! I also have an indentured servant who helps, at least until he graduates high school (got about 8 years left on that deal!).
Boarding has is advantages but I have really enjoyed having my ponies so close. Like someone else mentioned....NO DRAMA!! My husband can drink his coffee and watch me ride at the same time.
I have 44 acres, complete with fenced pastures and automatic waterers and I board my horse elsewhere.
I am the only boarder, so absolutely no drama, a high-needs horse, I have some health issues and my horse is less than 10 minutes away, so for me it's perfect.
I clean my horse's stall and the other 5 stalls in the barn almost daily and do whatever needs to be done that I can, so it's not "less" work but if I want to sleep in on weekends and know that my horse is fed and turned out while I am snoring away.
It's also very nice to be able to ask someone "Does he look off to you" or OMG, I'm calling the Vet, he's hurt!! and have another person point out it's pathetic scratch, just clean it!
Now if drama-filled stables or substandard care was all I could find, my horse would be at my house immediately.
We have three low maintenance, easy keepers here, so the effort is not very big. They are out 24x7 (no stalls to clean), graze the pasture, and always have free choice hay (a round bale) available.
When the sun comes up, we go out and look them over for any injuries (15 minutes).
At dinner, we look them over again, give them a couple cups of grain, maybe an apple or carrot, and fill up their water (30 minutes).
After a strong storm, we'll walk/drive the fence to look for any fallen branches, etc. (30 minutes)
Put out a new round bale as needed (30 minutes every 1 to 3 weeks depending on the weather and how much grass there is).
Hoof care (trim myself)/grooming/etc. every Saturday morning (2 hours).
I have a full time (real) job, but I work at home via mobile broadband (no DSL or cable here).
Walking out the door to visit or ride anytime you want is absolutely priceless.
Having a good pair of muck boots for wading through the mud in the winter is essential, though.
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