Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: East Central Illinois
You make your horse a priority in your life. It's not much cheaper to keep a horse in the back yard, but it ties you down. I don't mind being tied down to my horses after almost 29 years of horse ownership, BUT, if you board, your hours are freer.
I feed my horses 2x/day, October-April, 1x/day, April-October. Wintertime the chores are harder and longer, and I make instant decisions about whether to turn out or not, depending upon the weather and MY schedule. For example, if I was going to be home at 4:30PM today, instead of 9PM, my horses would have been turnout out, but they stayed in their stalls, instead. I also have to drive to stock up on hay, grain, straw and other bedding, load up, then unload and stack in my barn's loft. It's a LOT of work, and boarders don't have to do this. Plus I have to maintain my riding arenas, and boarders to not.
Leasing is a whole other kettle of fish. Make sure that you have a written contract or the wrong horse can end up becoming a legal headache. A good lease with a reasonable owner could be great and even if you fall in love with someone else's horse that you cannot own, you can look at the experience as a very short lease of a car you'd love to own but cannot afford.
If you can afford ~2x the cost of 1 year of monthly board, you should have enough to afford to purchase a horse. A few years ago I might have said to take out a loan to buy a horse, but prices are now in the toilet, and you'll be playing roulette with you finances to do so, so save up and buy, instead. DH and I have never taken out a loan to buy any of the ~35 horses we have bought (most sold, some passed away from old age.)