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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am curious to know who here keeps their horses at home.

Boarding gives you the luxury of having someone scoop the poop and feed your horse for you, but when you keep you horse at home how do you manage all the barn chores if let's say, you work full time and have a family to raise as well. Or something along those lines. Basically how do you fit in taking care of your horse(s) in your busy life?

Do you manage on your own? Get your partner/hubby to help (is it enough)? DO you hire someone permanently or occasionally to scoop poop?

Also, are you ever worried about your horse being stolen from the pasture/barn when you are gone all day at work (or wherever)?

I Know this is a long list of questions, but if you could share your experiences in attempt to answer them, my curiosity will be gratefully satisfied. :lol:
 

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I had 1- 3 horses at my house from the time I was 11 til I was 17. Only one of them was mine, but I was told that if I wanted to keep her, that I was to do all of the work. I only had to work around school, not a job/family, but to me it was never a lot of work. I got up at 6, fed the horses and got ready for school. Got home around 2:30 and I always went for a trail ride as soon as I was home. Got back around 4, I mucked the stalls and pasture, fed, checked water, and was by 6 for dinner. I left homework for after supper, although in the warmer months, I would often go for another nighttime ride. Now, I work at a barn, so if I get a horse, I will just keep it there. I really miss looking out the window and seeing my girls though! Can't wait until the time in my life comes where I can have them at my house again!
Edit: My friends have a training/boarding farm, with 36 horses, and they do all of the chores and manage to ride 3 horses a day around school. Don't know how they do it! Less than 10 horses isn't so bad.
 

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I have a very low maintenance horse, thankfully. I don't show or compete in any way so as long as she is healthy and well-behaved, I'm happy with that. I work full time and have a hubby and two kids, though now both kids are basically independent and help out a lot with the activities around the house/barn/shop. But, for a while I had two horses and two kids in school and worked full time. That was tough, especially since it was an hour one way to work. But those times that I was really busy, I just gave up riding time for the maintenance time. In the end, I decided one horse was enough and hubby just couldn't ride with me unless he was willing to do his part of the barn chores, which he wasn't prepared to do given his work schedule.

Of course, I am no where near as obsessed about things, anythings, as some people are. I don't spend unnecessary time in the barn just diddling around because I'd rather just chill instead where many horse people would rather polish their horses to a sheen or train to a "t" instead of chillaxing. Maybe the family is going to go out for the day, so the barn and horse have to wait. So some days the poop doesn't get scooped and the horse will go weeks without being groomed. Then again, the house doesn't get swept and mopped every day like it used to either. :)

It's just about how you choose to spend your time. Do what is absolutely necessary first and then make decisions about the rest.
 

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I have always had my horses at home. I don't worry about theft, I am at the top of a 2 mile climb of a mountain top, with watchdogs, no one comes around, not even the hydro meter reader unless they call first, lol. I don't scoop poop, my husband scrapes the paddocks with a tractor or skidsteer and we compost it then re-use it for topsoil. It's is indeed extra labor maintaining fences, hauling hay, seeding pastures, raking the arena but it's not a hardship and I have my horses right at my fingertips.
 

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I have school until 2 and I work until 5 or 6 every weekday. Monday nights I have violin lessons, Tuesdays I have 4-h, Wednesdays I have Pony Club....it's tough, especially when I'm taking care of 5 horses at work, keeping 2 of my boarded horses in shape and taking care of and working the 5 horses I have at home. Some summer days, I'm riding 10 horses a day in addition to the cleaning, hay trips, and feed/bedding pickup for my 5 at home and 5 at work.

Time management is the key. I set aside an hour or two for my six AP classes each night. When it gets dark so early in winter, I struggle to keep just one of my own horses in shape. Things are much easier in the summer, when I can ride until 9 or 10 at night if need be. Weekends are devoted to picking up hay, grain and bedding and trailering out to lessons and competitions when I can.

Plan everything out so you don't run out of hay/grain/bedding before you can get to the store. Clean stalls in the morning so that stalls aren't as messy when you clean at night. See if daughter/neighbor/husband will feed lunch for you....etc.

Good luck!
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We have 5 horses at home. We have a 5 stall barn. Lean to off the back. 4 different pastures that we rotate. Keeping horses at home isn't difficult. They are fed 2x daily, am and pm. Between my mom and I, we rotate feedings depending on who has to work latest the next day. And if one of us has the day off...they have evening feedings.

My dad sometimes feeds them. Which consists of throwing a baleful to them. I don't grain them everyday.

They aren't in their stalls much so cleaning them isn't a big deal. We have a tractor for heavy duty cleaning under the lean to and for mowing pastures.

Fence maintance is minimal.

Overall...it's wonderful to have them here at home. Nothing like going out and having everyone come up for cuddles and attention.
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We have five low maintenance horses here at home at it's really not much work, and certainly less time than having to drive to a barn. They are out 24x7 in their main pasture and always have a free choice round bale. We open the gates to their two other pastures in the morning and put them up in the evening. There is only manure in their shelter if it's been cold and raining all day, otherwise there is nothing to clean up. They only get a full grooming every 5-7 weeks when I trim them.
No worries about theft. We're way off the main road on an unmarked private road. The only folks that even know we're here are friends, UPS, and the mail lady.
You can't beat having them at home. I don't think we would even have horses if we had to board.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It's really interesting to read everyone's experiences! Seems there is hope yet for me to have a horse on my own property one day (considering I am fortunate enough to buy land with acreage).

What do you do when you go on vacation and there is no one at home to take care of them? Ask the neighbors to pop by twice a day? Board them for a week or two at a stable nearby that has room?
 

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I have my 3 mares at home - like others have mentioned, there's nothing in the world that compares to stepping out the back door to greet/hug/ride/be with your horse anytime you wish. I'm in an extremely remote area, such as waresbear, (complete with mountaintop!), and with that also comes a rustic lifestyle in horse-keeping. Winters are the longest, (we have 4 ft of snow atm) and I have nothing fancy to accommodate. Hay and water is hauled up-hill via JetSled (a utility type sled that ice fishermen use) and most of the daily mucking is done in the morning. The run-in barn in my avatar also has an addition on the south side, so everyone has shelter when they wish. I had Star, my 1st horse, boarded for a short time while building fence/shed, and will never forget the very day she came home.... I couldn't stop going out back just to realize it was true! Couldn't sleep that 1st night either - I kept going to the window in anticipation of morning :)
 

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It's really interesting to read everyone's experiences! Seems there is hope yet for me to have a horse on my own property one day (considering I am fortunate enough to buy land with acreage).

What do you do when you go on vacation and there is no one at home to take care of them? Ask the neighbors to pop by twice a day? Board them for a week or two at a stable nearby that has room?
We have friends or family that we can have stop by to check on them at least once a day. We make sure the fence is hot, the water is full. And usually will let them out on a new section of grass that they can't resist. If we go away in the winter, we put out a roundbale to keep them busy.

During the summer, we don't have to feed them at all. Our pasture is great and my horses are borderline obese on it. In the winter is the only time we feed.

So most of the time it's just have someone stop by, do a head count and check the water level.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
We have friends or family that we can have stop by to check on them at least once a day. We make sure the fence is hot, the water is full. And usually will let them out on a new section of grass that they can't resist. If we go away in the winter, we put out a roundbale to keep them busy.
I guess life is easiest when they are outside 24/7 huh? Things get more complicated if they are brought in for the night to stay in a stall. Then there is more poop to worry about. :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't scoop poop, my husband scrapes the paddocks with a tractor or skidsteer and we compost it then re-use it for topsoil. It's is indeed extra labor maintaining fences, hauling hay, seeding pastures, raking the arena but it's not a hardship and I have my horses right at my fingertips.
HOw often do you scrape the paddocks waresbear?

Also how does one take care of poop in the pastures?
 

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I'm in southern Arizona. I'm retired, so I have more free time than most. My horses live in a corral...no pasture where I live! They get 3 meals a day: bermuda hay for breakfast, bermuda/alfalfa pellets for lunch, and bermuda hay again for dinner. The corral gets poop-scooped twice a day unless the weather is awful, which is not often in southern Arizona. They have shades for protection from the sun, rain, or the few times a year it snows.

This is an old picture, but it gives you an idea of how they live:



A more recent picture, with the corral behind the arena we sometimes ride in. The arena has no barriers on half of it, but it isn't as though they want to get away. They associate the corral with safety, food & water:



A rare snow day. My mare Mia would not stoop to playing with the geldings:



The few days of vacation I take each year, my oldest daughter comes over and takes care of them.

I think Mia has spent most of her life living in corrals such as this, which is why she is so awkward at cantering or galloping...she has very little experience at it, and almost none when I'm not on her back. However, they interact with each other constantly. They move around on hard stony ground, which seems good for their hooves.

And sometimes they get to see the sunsets:

 

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Before we moved here we had 3 pastures - 2 irrigated. I never scooped poop except in the arena. It is work to manage pastures, depending on the time of year - but it isn't a full time job. We could go on vacations together in the summer (they just needed checking on). Now, w/o irrigated pastures, I can't bring myself to leave them in someone else's care, so no going on vacation "all together". :(

I have always had horses and moved several times. I have boarded them during moves to have a place to "land them" until a home place was ready. And, when DD was into horses (she grew out of it), we boarded her then horse so they could be in a program together. From those experiences, I think there are a lot of advantages to nice boarding centers. Some of the facilities are really awesome, the social element is nice, the events, etc.,. And, if all your horses are boarded, you can go on vacation anytime you want! :) So, both at home and boarded have there "positives".
 

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I have my two horses at home, as far as I am aware it is not that common to board your horses in New Zealand apart from if you belong to a pony club.
I get up at 5am, give the horses some hay (they are pastured 24/7 but on a track system with limited grass) and put their sun masks on. Home from work by 2pm, I muck out daily, fill troughs etc and ride my young horse 2-3 times a week. Every second day I bring them in for a brush, clean feet etc. Another evening feed and take masks off then I'm done, usually finished up around 7pm. I do have two stalls but have yet to use them, may use them this winter at night though if it gets really wet since our block is quite small and my older gelding usually gets bad mud fever. Our winters are pretty mild compared to most though - no snow luckily!
 

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I have downsized to one mare at home -- used to have 3. The manure never seemed to be a problem to me if you keep up on it. I have found that the horses will sort of stay in certain areas with their manure, especially if you keep it piled up. My husband does the field with a tractor (don't have green pastures here), but I shovel out the stalls daily, as I do not allow the horses to stand in manure at all.

My biggest problem is the fence maintenance. We live in heavy snow country and a lot of times in the spring our fences get squished a little like an accordion - posts and all. After a few heavy winters the fences sink into the ground!

I don't know how folks can stand to live away from their horses. It is so worth the work to keep them home. Some people work out at the gymn and I work out by mucking out.
 

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It's not easy. There is ALWAYS work to be done but I would never want to board a horse for many reasons.

Right now our horses live with my mom. She get up 30 minutes early to make sure they are fed before work. After work she comes home and feeds. Now that is all easy enough. The hard part comes when there are special circumstances. They had rain rot last year and had to be bathed daily with medicated shampoo. One person working full time who had to bathe two horses daily? Yeah that was hard! Then there was a battle with thrush. Hooves had to be cleaned out and medicated daily.

The horses roam on 2 1/2 acres so at least there are no stalls to clean out. And no, we have never worried about someone trying to steal them. The thought has actually never occurred to me but we are surrounded by horses in the neighborhood and 95% of them would be more valuable than ours anyway.
 

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HOw often do you scrape the paddocks waresbear?

Also how does one take care of poop in the pastures?
Since they have access to the pastures from the paddocks and they are rarely shut in the paddocks, it only has to be scraped maybe 3 times a year. Poop in the pastures is left, because it is ten acres and plowed and reseeded every 5 years or so. They have enough pasture that they can "manure roughs".
 

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BSMS...where are you again? I have not seen snow like that here in Tucson
I'm southeast of Tucson, about 5-6 miles south of I-10. We're about 3700' MSL here, so about 1000' higher than Tucson. We normally get snow 2-3 times a year, although we had an uncommonly good snow last year.

With my son, wife, granddaughter and a very rare visitor, Mr Snowman:

 
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