Disaster coming? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Disaster coming?

So, I'm a person who worries, and I also tend to overthink things. Having said that...

Barn Owner told me today that there's a new property she wants to lease (she doesn't own her current place). It sounds great at first: three all-weather arenas, one covered arena (so I could ride in the summer!), riser seating, a thirty-stall barn (current barn has five stalls), and shelters in every pasture.

I looked this place up, though, and what I'm worried about is that it's only 30 acres, compared to the 60-70 she has now. There are about 20-25 horses on the property now, and as some of you may recall from other things I've posted, she never does any pasture maintenance, and especially never scoops poop. With the current pasture size, it's kind of gross but not the end of the world. With one horse per acre and no cleaning, I'm afraid my guys will be hoof-deep in manure before long.

Thinking ahead, if this deal goes through, I'm wondering if I should start thinking ahead to a new boarding situation for the fall. What do you all think? 20-25 horses on 30 acres (maybe more like 20 horses, as some would surely be stabled), with no pasture maintenance? How long would something like that be sustainable?
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 03:45 PM
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I'd look for a new place and observe. It's better to make decisions on a complete set of data, but it's also good to be able to act fast if you have to.

FWIW: We left our previous barn partially because there were 20+ horses on <10 acres of "pasture" (I doubt you can still call them that at this point).
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post #3 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 03:52 PM
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I usually run 1 horse for every two acres here on our place and the horses are mine as well, I don't board anyone else's horses. In winter manure piles up by where I feed mine at, but I scoop it up with the tractor each spring, compost it for a year and then spread it over the rest of the pasture. I compost in rabbit and pig manure as well so it is more than just the horses. One horse per acre isn't horrible if you are managing the manure effectively but if you are just leaving it on the pasture it is going to eventually kill the grass. Depends on how the pasture is laid out too, if they feed and or water in a low lying area where the manure just piles up and creates a manure swamp you probably are going to want to watch your horse's hoof health. It's basically a football field per horse so that doesn't sound too bad to me. The lack of manure management would bug me even on twice as much acreage per horse though.
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post #4 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 03:55 PM
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If the entire place is 30 acres, and there are three arenas and a large barn, places to park, etc...I would think the actual pasture area for the horses is much less than 30 acres. Do you know why she isn't keeping up with the maintenance where she's at now? Is it too much to handle? Or, does she think because there's so much land that maybe she doesn't need to do poop-pick-up?

I would be concerned about having the same amount of horses - or even a few less - in an area half the size of what she has now with no maintenance.

If she's otherwise great, and you think things might change if the size of the property is more manageable for her, then plan on moving with her but have other options ready. Know what else is available if things don't go well. If I remember correctly you have three horses? It'll be more difficult to find something in the area for three than it is for one (I'm assuming). Especially if all of a sudden there are ten people looking to move their horses because of this change since you'd probably all be looking in the same area.
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post #5 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 04:05 PM Thread Starter
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@Kriva (and @mmshiro ) yes, I will see how things go, but I do feel like I need to have other options available if necessary. I've actually looked around pretty recently and didn't find a lot of options that were close to town but had full pasture board. And yes, it's going to be a lot harder with three horses.

I don't think she considers the manure to be an issue. I mentioned in another thread, when I temporarily had my three in an approximately two-acre paddock, I asked her if should would mind if I used her stuff to muck out the pasture a few times a week. She said sure, but she seemed genuinely surprised and confused about why someone would want to spend their time doing that sort of thing.

I'm already working on a name for this: the "Apoopcalypse"
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post #6 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
I've actually looked around pretty recently and didn't find a lot of options that were close to town but had full pasture board.

I'm already working on a name for this: the "Apoopcalypse"
LOL Appropriately named. I'm guessing there are people that just figure it all composts itself at some point. But we have too many flies and mosquitos, and too high heat and humidity for poop of any kind to breakdown very quickly. It could become a health hazard if not cleaned up and disposed of properly.

I'm making an assumption based on your name of where you are located. I work in downtown Austin but live way outside of town. If that's the area you're in, it's probably going to be quite difficult to find pasture boarding anywhere around town. What used to be the outskirts of town are now part of the city. Housing and commercial establishments are popping up everywhere. What used to be a corn or cotton field is now a subdivision. There were certain areas outside of town where when I was young you were considered a "red neck" (or "cedar chopper") if you lived there. Now those are some of the most populated areas with high dollar homes in them because you can still get a decent house on a larger lot for less than a million dollars.

Area and convenience play a big part in what you are willing to put up with. Maybe if this new location is surrounded by a more dense population and she allows it to get too bad, there will be complaints from neighbors and she'll get the message to clean up.
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post #7 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 05:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ACinATX View Post
I'm already working on a name for this: the "Apoopcalypse"

An apt name, I am sure

I can only tell you about my experience in my first boarding experience. About 15 horses in one 20-25 acre pasture. Initially the pasture got mowed and dragged (to break up poop) regularly. Then the pasture maintenance got ceased for various reasons. Not that of a big deal in spring, summer and fall (even though the quality of the pasture suffered), but the real problem started when the grazing was gone and the horses were munching on a round bale of hay. In winter the whole herd just stood around the bale all day and night eating (and producing liberal amounts of fertilizer ). And nobody cleaned poop in that area until I couldn't stand it any longer and started removing it. Let's just say I was fighting an uphill battle and the space of a desk cleaned filled several wheelbarrows...
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post #8 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 07:08 PM
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Being you board with this person already and see her "housekeeping" skills in the paddocks...
Well, to me you have reason for concern.
More horses, less acreage, over-populated pens for grazing....
You're seeing a pattern already of what is to come...
I would be looking, seriously looking at options not just "close" but indeed look a bit further if needed to afford, and have what you want and need for your animals.
It is fine to say must be...but be flexible that they don't have to only live in a pasture environment might give you some places that otherwise you would miss.
But for a place that has more horses and significantly less acreage she better learn to manage and maintain or be buried alive in poop real fast...
Her place will fall apart in a hurry with that many animals on it if she doesn't do daily maintenance and repairs...
It also will not look like a picture you viewed if she takes over with housekeeping as she currently does, nor will it smell so nice either.

Is it also possible she is looking to rent a small portion of the place so she has amenities she may now be wishing she had for her clients...???
I would ask for some clarification of what she is hoping to do...and when!

It is a vastly different business to have 30 stalls versus 5 to manage, keep filled to pay the rent and keep all your current and new borders happy and drama-free...
Yea...think I would start some barn searching now....
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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@Kriva you must have lived in Austin for a while -- I've never heard the phrase "cedar chopper" for a redneck, but it's just so perfect. But... I mean, of course they're chopping cedar, otherwise it will take over their whole property!

The place I'm at right now is only about 20-25 minutes' drive (toll road vs non-toll road) from the middle of town even though it's almost in Manor. The place she's looking to rent is about the same. Do you happen to know of any places that are that close or nearly that close that offer pasture board? Where we were before, I had to drive almost an hour to get there and it really discouraged me from spending time with my horses, which stinks. I don't want that to happen again.

@horselovinguy I thought the same thing about the stalls. She doesn't have any paid help (except for the instructors, and even not all of them are paid), mostly gets kids to do chores in exchange for part of their lesson costs, or ropes in adults who seem to have extra time. I'm not sure how she could scale that into 30+ stalls. She used to have a barn manager, but that person left and was never replaced. I thought about suggesting to her that if she moves to this new place she might want to hire one again. Yes, this new place is going to require more maintenance, and I don't know if I see her doing it. To be honest, despite all the amenities, I hope the plan falls through.
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post #10 of 14 Old 03-28-2019, 09:57 PM
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I agree, have an exit strategy but also wait and see if it's necessary. You're making assumptions.

Obviously you don't want to say "are you going to keep things clean??" but there are other ways around it, ask what her plans are for maintenance, ask with 30 stalls if most of the horses will be in and what the turnout situation will be, or are they going to stay pasture board. All valid questions and things that you should know anyways plus they'll help you determine how concerned to be based off how things currently are. My horse is in this situation, will this situation stay the same?

It's also a sort of odd situation, the barn owner doesn't own the barn (??) I'd imagine there would be lots of changes with this move (IF it happens sounds like) first of all different boarders and different horses, you're likely not the only one who may leave, plus changes in routines is likely, it may not be what you expect at all.
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