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What are some of the pros and cons of boarding your horse v/s keeping him at home?

Does the price of boarding (roughly 250-350 for most of the places I've looked at) exceed the cost of caring for the horse at home?

I like the idea of having more experienced people around to help me out and offer advice (since this will be my first independent adult horse owning experience), as well the chance to meet other horsey people in my area. At the same time, it would be convenient to have my horse close by, and I've worked enough summers in barns to have the basics of horse care down.

What other factors should I consider?
 

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I just moved 3 horses home last July. Board was $425 a month/ea. So besides the initial start up costs, it is waaaaaaaay cheaper to keep them home... probably about $600 a month for everything except shows. I could keep one horse for $150 a month.

Pros-
-They're close. That equals peace of mind to me.
-I know them better than ever before, quick to tell when someone's not quite right.
-Don't have any nosy boarders in my business.
-Cheaper.
-Developed better relationships with my vet and farrier, I can count on them to be there whenever anything is wrong.
-I can give my horses the care/nutrition they need, rather than what the boarding barn is willling to feed.
-I can assure they have hay in front of them all day long.

Cons-
-No horse person, with more experience than I have, is close by to "consult" with. But remember, advice from a vet over the phone is free :)
-No real ring to ride in (will have one in the future though).
-Have to trailer out for lessons.
-They turned the winter field into a dirt (mud) paddock in 2 months.
-Pretty tied down to the place, feed 2x a day. Hard to go on vacation.
And worst of all, getting up early on saturdays when it's freezing cold and raining in January to go feed, when all I want to do is snuggle in bed all day :lol:

At home is a much better setup for us, hope that helps!
 

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I prefer them at home. I will say that on occasion when it's really cold or dark outside I dread going out to feed. Once I get out there I enjoy it but the thought of going out into the cold to muck stalls and feed horses sometimes just makes me sad. On Saturdays I can't sleep in which is actually a good thing because by the time the horses are fed and watered you are awake and end up not wasting your day.

My mom is next door and can feed for me if I go out of town or work late at night. My brother can also provide back up help.

I have a network of friends and my trainer that I can call if I have an emergency or a concern. My vet is really good about phone questions as well. I would never be able to afford more then one horse if I had to pay board. I'm also one of those people that worry all the time so when I did board I worried like crazy if I didn't get out to check on the one horse I had at the time daily.

I copied My Beaus cons
-No real ring to ride in (will have one in the future though).
-Have to trailer out for lessons.
-They turned the winter field into a dirt (mud) paddock in 2 months.
-Pretty tied down to the place, feed 2x a day. Hard to go on vacation.
And worst of all, getting up early on saturdays when it's freezing cold and raining in January to go feed, when all I want to do is snuggle in bed all day :lol:

But I do like it better with them at home.
 

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So i have done both (but the backyard boarding was at a friends house) ...

I think that it depends on what you want out of it.. if you want to just have your horses close and have them as pets/pleasure then having them at home is great. But if you want to have a trainer that is easily accessible or be able to hop on and ride in an arena at any time then a barn is probably your best bet. BUT all barns are not the same :D

I have boarded at a few different placed and it took me a little while to find the place I am at now and LOVE (only wish they had a covered arena)...

I don't mind cleaning stalls and feeding but not having an arena is what killed me the most.

SO if you have a nice set up at home go for it (as long as you are ok feeding and cleaning all the time haha :D ) but if you want to have the feeding to take a vacation or go out of town for the weekend that is hard to do when you have your ponies at home.

Hope this all made sense :D
 

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I have honestly never boarded a horse but I would prefer it.

At home, you have them close. You can ride whenever. Unless you have no arena or no land. Then you have to haul. Boarding, if the place has at least an outdoor arena, would be better in my opinion. Sure, you know the care your horse is getting at home, but what if something happens and you don't know until hours later? Your horse gets fed and taken care of and if it looks like something is wrong, there's always someone there. And if you want to ride, you just drive there on your own and you don't need to haul.

With boarding, there's no buying, loading and unloading of hay, no stalls to clean or buckets to fill, no worrying about whether or not your horse got fed. I personally see backyarding your horse as a waste of time unless you own a whole herd and make money off of your herd through lessons. But if its one or two horses, I definetely suggest boarding.
 

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When I first bought my horse I boarded him for about 6 months and then brought him home.

Pros of being at home
No driving, ride whevenr you want. I could only ride between 12-2 on weekends because of lessons. During summer this was way too hot to ride.
Control over feed. When I boarded, the hay they provided was bad quality and my horse kept colicing so I bought my own chaff to use. It was expensive and I asked people not to use it because I had payed for it, yet a whole bag would be gone in one day. I also had to be careful what I left out there, otherwise people would use it (I'm fine with that) and then wreck it/break it/leave it really dirty.


Cons
When boarding I didn't have to clean stalls, feed or rug. Having them at home is a lot more time consuming.
I couldn't ride for 4 months due to injuries so it was really hard to find someone to ride my horses and they barely got any work in that time. If they were boarded it wouldve been easier to get someone to excersice them.
I feel like I'm less motivated at home. When I was boarding, there was always people watching you ride, so my horse was kept very clean and I always worked hard to improve my riding.
I had constant lessons when I was boarding compared to at home.
Depending on the people, you can really learn a lot from their advice.
 

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I love having my horses my horses at home. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to feeding and general horse care :) (at least I admit it!!)

Having said that I do board out once in while when i want to get someone ready for an early show and need use of places with more facilities than I have.

Kristine
 

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If I had to board my horses.I think I would sell them first. I have had mine in the back yard for over 30yrs. It has way more benefits than boarding any day. I agree with most everyone. I love to hear them nicker at me in the morning even though it's 4am. They know that on weekends they get fed late by 7am. They become more attached to you and you can read them alot better when you see them all the time. I love the fact that I can go out at anytime, whistle and they come running. The only time I hate having horse's is in the winter...but a few months of agony is worth the lifetime of memories. I have plenty of critter sitters if I go out of town but I usually take atleast one horse with me. Most of all thier the greatest mental therapy you could ever have....The only time I really don't like my horses is when they see the rig hooked up and they haul azz to the back of the pasture and stand there and look at you like "you talkin to me"?:wink:
 

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With just a few differences, Mingiz said it best for me.

The only problem is that you can't take a spontaneous weekend away. Everything must be planned and arranged. The bitter rain/cold or blazing sun makes going out to feed a dreaded thing (but I have it down to 15 minuets if everyone cooperates).

I've been taking care of horses for 26 of my 30 years of ownership and watching them out a window playing in the pasture never gets old.
 

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I absolutely hate boarding. I am like Renexarabs, a control freak. When I boarded, I did most things myelf. I really don't like other people handling my horses. I like them at home, I can have them out 24/7 if I want and don't have to worry weather or not they were fed the right amount. Plus I don't have to drive anywhere, if I just want to wander out and look at my horse or pet him, I can. Going away on trips is a problem, we have to find a "sitter". I usually worry the whole time I am gone as things aren't done quite the way I like them :wink: It is a lost cheaper to keep them here, I figured it costs me about $70-80 a month to keep my paint and $80-100 for the TB (not including shoes and vet). Can't board for that price around here.
 

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I love having my horses in the back yard. And to me... stall cleaning comes along with owning a horse. I believe if you have a horse and ride it... you should be just as willing to do the dirtier jobs as well. Or you shouldnt have a horse. (just my opinion). I want to be the one doin everything with my horse. I want to be able to know my horses. And to me you cant do that boarding. Especially if someone else is feeding them, and cleaning the stalls. And all the small stuff.
 

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IAnd to me you cant do that boarding. Especially if someone else is feeding them, and cleaning the stalls. And all the small stuff.
My boarders are as involved as they want to be. I have had boarders buy their own place "So I can ride more". They discover very quickly - it's not true. Normal chores aside - there is hauling out the accumulated manure. Stacking hay, going to the feed store, waiting for the vet or farrier yourself, going to the lumberyard, fixing fence, barn, stall, running water or fixing the auto water, etc. MUCH more involved than just feeding and cleaning a stall.

Most people board in our area because they don't have the money to have their own place. $200 -$300 a month (my barn fees) pretty inexpensive for all that goes into it.
 

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I am in kind of an in between situation. I think I technically board my horse since he isn't in my yard BUT he is on the same property our military housing community is in so it's very close. Anyone who boards does all their own work and provides all their own feed. I like how I have complete control of the cost of keeping him and I love the work. The only thing I don't like is our facility is not great and neither is out arena. I love who I board with, it's a fun little community and we ride together often.
 

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I board because I have to (suburbanite) but I think I kind of prefer it that way. I have no problem getting my hands dirty, I spent three summers doing nothing but mucking 20 stalls just so I could ride around their little jump arena for a 1/2 hour. I enjoy the community at the barn, and yes, the fact that I don't have to buy hay/feed. If I had the land I probably would keep my horse at home because like some people have said, it allows your horse to bond more closely with you, which I don't think is happening right now....I know he treats me the best out of everyone else, but I can't be as consistent as I could be when I'm only out there 4 days a week. The lucky part about my situation is its only 12 minutes from my house, so no real gas/time wasting there, and we do have two large arenas to ride in, and miles of trails that are a 20 minute ride down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for all the opinions guys. Y'all have given me a lot to think about.
 

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I like boarding. My wife suggested a few times that we buy a farm so I could have my horses at home.
But I need the people contact. People to brush with, people to talk horses too. Riding I prefer alone except when it is to trailer to a place and then a partner is fun.
At home like others have said you can't travel without finding/inconveniencing others, you need to worry about getting rid of poop, storing hay, cleaning stalls all the time, an arena, pastures.
And regardless of where the horses spend the winter everything is killed, mud everywhere and weeds grow in the summer.

No I like boarding and I am extremely annal about his care. The boarding facilities allow me to clean daily , pick my feed and which horses he goes out with.
I don't want the mess, the hassles of having a horse at home.
 

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I like boarding. My wife suggested a few times that we buy a farm so I could have my horses at home.
But I need the people contact. People to brush with, people to talk horses too. Riding I prefer alone except when it is to trailer to a place and then a partner is fun.
At home like others have said you can't travel without finding/inconveniencing others, you need to worry about getting rid of poop, storing hay, cleaning stalls all the time, an arena, pastures.
And regardless of where the horses spend the winter everything is killed, mud everywhere and weeds grow in the summer.

No I like boarding and I am extremely annal about his care. The boarding facilities allow me to clean daily , pick my feed and which horses he goes out with.
I don't want the mess, the hassles of having a horse at home.
Completely agree. I like riding alone, but I like having people to interact with, to watch, learn from, etc.
 

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Ours are at home which is our only real option here anyway. They were "boarded" at a neighbors until we got our barn and fence put up, but that turned into a bad situation. There are no "real" boarding facilities here 'cause I live way out in the middle of nowhere. However, I think I'd choose to have them at home anyway. I've decided that the chores on cold days aren't too bad as long as I have the appropriate clothing & boots for it (let's hear it for Carharts!) It forces me to get some outside time in the winter which I need or I get grumpy. We definitely are more bonded because hubby and I are their only caregivers.

As far as the travel concern that others mentioned, we have neighbors that are horse people and they'd help us out, just like we'd help them. I think if you have some horsie neighbors nearby like we do, you can get most of the benefits of boarding that people have mentioned. I always have plenty of people for advice, people to ride with, etc.

I think the only downsides for us are the lack of spiffy facilities: indoor arenas and round pens. When we had almost of month of 20 degree highs recently, there wasn't any riding going on at all! Also, so many training suggestions people make involve a round pen which just isn't an option for us, but we manage to make it work in other ways.

While their care is definitely time consuming, if they were boarded we would just be spending that time in the car to get to them. I'd rather spend time in the barn instead of the car anyday!
 

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Oh, and as far as cost it is definitely cheaper to keep them at home. Our startup cost was high (we probably spent $5000 total getting the barn built, fence, electric, water, etc. set up - expensive here, cheap most other places), but that is cheaper than boarding 2 horses in most places for a year. We spend less than $100/month on hay for two of them. After two years, we will have saved a lot compared to boarding.

Over the summer we will "rent" a neighbor's pasture for them, so we won't have to buy hay. He offered it to us for free, but we're going to pay him what we are saving by not buying hay. We'll have to put up a fence and simple shelter, but we can do that pretty reasonably.
 
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