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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

I'm thinking of leaving Hawaii, and looking at a whole bunch of places to live in the south and in texas. I probably will not bring my horse. (Seems cruel to ship a horse that far. and he's an easy guy, so I'm sure I can find him a new owner.) However, I know I will want *A* horse or horses wherever I live.

Which is better, in your estimation--being able to keep your horses on your own property? Or living near someplace with cheap board? (Or perhaps in one of those communities where there is a community pasture/barn?)

Thanks in advance for your advice. :)

-Daisy
 

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I bought my new property so that I can keep my horses with me, so that's obviously what I prefer, but I think it depends on what you want. I'd make one of those pros / cons lists, or even a spreadsheet with one column each for "boarding" and "at home." For instance:
Cost - boarding (and look at boarding costs near where you might want to live) Cost - at home (look at how much more you'd pay for a property with enough land, that is well fenced, and a barn, plus routine maintenance costs.)
Work - boarding, Work - at home
Etc.

Ultimately, if you can afford the cost of land, plus getting the land set up (people tend to have crappy fences, at least in my part of Texas, so you will probably need new fences), plus the maintenance that comes along with all of that, things will be cheaper at home. And you will get to see your horse all the time! But it's a lot more work. Plus, of course, you really shouldn't keep a horse alone, so you're looking at expenses for two horses, not just one; whereas with a boarding barn there will be plenty of buddies for them.

I guess there must be places with cheap board. There aren't any near where I live, in a major metropolitan area (in Texas) with a high cost of living. For that matter, there isn't any cheap land, either. If you move out to more rural areas you will probably find cheaper board, but you won't find very many jobs. So there's that.

Really, if you are in the position to be able to afford it, it comes down to what is most important to you: Seeing your horse all the time? Not having to worry about horse/house sitting if you want to leave town for a few days? Not having to do a lot of the manual labor associated with keeping horses?

There was a nice thread here a few months ago where someone was thinking about moving to Texas. They ended up thinking that the North Texas area might work for them. You could see if you could find that thread, as it had a lot of info about Texas in it. I'm in Central Texas, if you want to ask any questions about that area.

Oh, one thing I wrote in that other thread that I will write here as well -- try spending a summer in Texas (the whole summer, May - September) before you decide to commit. Our summers are absolutely brutal.
 

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I'm lucky enough to live a 5 minute drive from town where I live, but also only 7 minutes from my horse. (10, if you count driving through the ranch.) My board is only $150/month, but there are no covered areas or feed provided beyond what's in the fields.

So it's a tough call. But you are right that closer to an urban center, there would be more jobs...but fewer places to rent cheap pasture.

hmm. I need to do a road trip.
 

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I think the most important thing regarding home vs board, after quality of care, is how important are vacations longer than a day trip or overnight to you?

Those long vacations come to a screeching halt unless you get lucky and find a high caliber farm sitter near you:):)

I had to board after a divorce. I found a a small (14 horses) private, full care barn 15 minutes from my house, and was really really fortunate to have BO’s who cared as much about my horses as I do:)

My preference, however, is to be “married” to my horses and have them at home:). We have 24+ acres and do all our own maintenance, so it’s a good thing DH likes being married to this property as much as I do and as much as I love having my horses home.

The work never ends. There is always something that needs attending.

The left horse in my avatar is IR/Cushings, has seriously foundered in the past, and lives with a twice fractured sacrum. He is now 25 and I’m not at all sure he would have made it to 25 had he been in a boarding situation:)
 

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Well depends on your property & ability to easily pay the board, which may be 'easier', but I would not keep a horse alone as a rule, so if you can't have at least 2 horses - or at least a horse & a goat, donkey, alpaca... whatever - then I'd board it.
 

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Is this thread going to or should have tons of comments...
So, let me start...

I've never lived in a "horse community" so can not give a honest comment or opinion on that.
I can and have boarded my horses and have my horses home so can give my feelings on that.

First off, I wish you the very best making decisions on where to live, where to find employment and housing to meet your dreams.

I currently have my horses in my yard.
I have a pole barn with very large overhang for the animals protection from weather conditions.
I built my barn, or should say my husband built my barn with my help... a lot of help.
We fenced our property so our animals are safe and not plagued easily by stray dogs or other wild animals.
I have a combination of plank fencing, horse wire all top boarded and a small bit of barbed wire on my neighbors pasture we share that we have yet to convert as all are enormous expenses of time and material to lay out when done from nothing.
My horse trailer is in my yard.
My tack is kept in my house garage safely stored.
Hay and feed is kept in a feed stall.
We have well water here so electrical power is a must or no water for the horses...
So, with the background now understood...
I love having my horses at home, there is nothing like opening the door at anytime they are near the barn and they not whinny a greeting to us..
My horses are a great deal of work...grunt work of cleaning stalls and their paddock area, feeding and lugging food stuffs aound.
My horses eat off a round roll weather permitting but I am a neat freak they not waste by defecating on it, nor throw it around so they sleep on it...because I am OCD about it if I lose to waste 10 -20 pounds of a 1000 roll that is a lot of loss..
However, I also have 25 square bales stored in my feed stall for bad weather days you don't open the hay roll and ruin it nor want to make the horses be outside if a hurricane is present and storming...they then eat their fill in stalls each with multiple slow-feed nets hung so they have have for 15 hours or so..
Being my horses are not on constant grass pasture ever and fed feed 2x a day I must be here or have someone responsible here to feed my animals.
Water is on automatic fill in the trough, provided we have power for the well to run...
Any broken anything is my responsibility to fix, both labor and replacement of what broke.

I have also boarded my horses..
I would get to the barn, grab my tack and go get my horse from his stall and prepare him to ride.
After our ride I would clean him up and return him to his stall.
His stall was cleaned daily at least once, bedded with fresh shavings minimum of 2x a week or more as he needed, he was fed plentiful hay, more than adequate amounts of feed 2x a day, multiple bucket of water always hung for him to drink his fill from..
He was turned out for exercise for 3 hours a day with one other horse in a large dirt paddock.
The barn was responsible for maintaining cleanliness of the facility, grooming rings, picking manure from t/o, restrooms clean, heated lounge for winter to warm-up, my facility had a indoor arena with jumps, barrels although we were a "H/J barn" we also had a few who enjoyed barrels so we had them.
We had lessons and several instructors, clinics of the best of the best clinicians in all disciplines E or W...we had recognized shows on the premise, no cows though allowed.
No stallions were permitted in any barn where a "minor", aka under 18 rider would be utilizing the facility..
We did have several stallions and they were in a separate barn and only adults were permitted in that barn for obvious reasons.
We had horse trailer parking on site but if you wanted to park you paid a fee.
T/O was a monthly fee added to your board bill.
We had several farriers who came to our barn...
We had several vets also who came and did work for clients...
If we held the horse, you were charged a fee...
What I did not miss was major holidays my horse was fed and I did not have to feel guilty for having a family breakfast.
During horrible weather my horse was taken care of...if the power went out it was the barns problem to make sure every horse was watered.
I did not have to clean stalls, fix broken anything, feed or anything else I listed.
I came, I did, I went home and had no worries as my facility was top-notch in care given.
What I did not have was the sweet whinnying of a horse in greeting when I went out my door. My horse would nicker to me when he saw me as the treat lady has arrived...
I did not have the smell of horses that permeates my yard {horses are 200 feet behind my house}, the flies they and the surrounding cattle bring.

So, it is honestly to me a toss-up of what do you do.
Horses are a ton of work but great pleasure to have.
At home you are tied down and never go anyplace for long without first making arrangements to be away for many hours and not have someone check the animals.
At home it is a expense to have shelter and fencing to protect your animals properly. Your homeowners must have a rider or recognizes you have animals on your property in case someone even without your permission gets hurt...you are liable in many areas.
If you don't have acreage then you have to figure out how to feed, keep and keep within zoning regulations where you live for required manure removal, barns and allowed style of fence by law.
There is a lot involved with having at home...
There is a lot involved with finding a competent boarding/riding facility that you feel safe leaving your animals at that they will take excellent care of them 24/7, 365 a year...

So, some jumbled thoughts..
I love having my horses home, but it is a huge commitment on me to coordinate all their care not only of food but farrier/vet and keeping them safe from themselves as it is known fact horses get up in the morning looking to see what kind of mischief they can find that day..:icon_rolleyes:..always needing to stay one large step ahead of them.
Finding the horse is the easy part...
Affording with time and finances keeping the horse is the real task you need to answer and choosing the location to bring your dreams to reality is where you need to do some very intense looking at.
I wish you good luck in your search for a new home, new horse, boarding barn or backyard barn and all that goes along with either decision.
For me, if I was starting out again...I would invest in double the acreage I have so more room for the beasts as it also would allow me to have them out grazing nearly all the time and that would also free me up not having time deadlines I must meet as my animals come first to be fed not my belly...more pasture = they feed themselves. :cool:
If I moved back to a more populated area my horses would probably be boarded as the cost of land is just super pricey and I still need a home to live in...
You give up to have horses at home amenities...a trade-off.
Only you can decide how much of a trade-off are you willing today, tomorrow, next year and in 10 years to give up..or not.
Good luck with your decisions and dreams.
Off to feed those horses now as its their time to eat, again.................

:runninghorse2:...
 

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I lived in central Texas for over 40 years with my horses. The cost of living and real estate in Texas is LOW compared to other places. That is why so many people are moving there. Try California, its astromomical. Try Oregon. People food alone costs 1/3 more. Board at a decent barn is $1000 a month. When I lived in Texas I owned 20 acres of piney woods. After that I rented 50+ acres of woods with a cabin overlooking a pond with pole barn for $350 a month. Yes it is hotter than Hades in the summer, you get used to it. I laughed when snow birds would tell me OMG they were trapped inside by the snow for 3 months of the year. Now they are trapped inside with air conditioning for 8 months of the year. Heck, I would just ride in the morning and at night. Texans are pretty nice too ( I am one :)

I was not without vacations either. ICU nurses get a month of paid time off. I would take care to not get sick so I had a full month paid vacation, put horse in trailer and go on cross country month long camping trips. My neighbors were animal people and they took care of my livestock and pets when I went on vacation. And I took care of their horses, chickens and goats when they went on vacation.
 

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When those two choices are available, I'm keeping horses at home without a second thought.

If you travel quite a bit, look into hiring a kid involved in FFA/4H to come out and take care of your horses while you are gone. It is going to be simple stuff like changing and filling their water and if the feed isn't complicated you can expect them to do what you need them to when they come out. If I were in that situation I'd install a few of those internet-enabled cameras so I can check on things from wherever with my phone.

When you keep horses at home all of the responsibility is with you, but you also are making every decision that affects the horses. With boarding you typically give up most of the control over your horse's day to day in exchange for a place to park them. We could probably dedicate an epic thread to boarding problems both form barn owners and boarders.

Another thing to consider is that if you buy a place to keep your horses that it is going up in value. Whatever you do to it to improve it for horses increases the resale appeal if not directly increase the value of the property. Boarding on the other hand is like renting, you get no return on that monthly outflow of money other than being able to have horses.
 

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One thing you also need to consider is your actual workload - as in the work that pays for your horse(s).

As an example: I work an average of 60 hrs per week, but have put 90+ hr weeks in as well when necessary. On those occasion I was so glad that I am boarding and knew my horse was taken care of, even if I didn't make it to the barn. Or if I could squeeze in a couple of minutes, I didn't have to muck stalls, scrub water throughs and such and could just enjoy the time with my pony...
If I were to keep my horse (ok, would need a second one :wink:) at home, I would spend much more time taking care of the property than actual riding time...

Luckily for me I found an awesome private barn less than 5 miles form home. A property I could never, ever even dream of being able to afford. Yes, some things I would do differently, but overall my horse and I are very happy there. And If I want to I can stop by at midnight and say hello, if that is the time I get off work and need some horse time...
 

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You've already gotten a few responses and will probably get lots more, so I will keep it short and simple.

Are you willing to look after your horses 365 days a year?
Do you have enough money to buy a decent property on which you can keep more than one horse? Be realistic and honest with yourself.
Can you deal with the work on a daily basis, including fixing fencing, moving manure, finding a hay supplier, etc. etc.

Or do you prefer to have someone else oversee their care on a day-to-day basis so you can just show up and ride at your leisure?

I have two horses in my backyard and would not have it any other way. I actually enjoy every minute I spend in the barn. But I hear people complain about having to do chores, shovel manure, get up for 7 am feedings... so if that doesn't appeal to you, it probably won't get any better. Or if you want to be able to get away for a day, a night, even a weekend, well, maybe just board. I waited a long time to have horses again because I knew exactly what kind of commitment they would be, but now, I cannot imagine my life any other way. Still, we have not had a family vacation in years. I don't eat out, go on "getaways" or even stay out for more than a few hours at a time because my horses need me. I don't ride as much as I'd like, because there are too many chores to do, and sometimes, by thet time they're done, it's late and I'm too tired to ride. But that's ok, because I feel good knowing my horses are well taken care of. I did all my traveling and had all my exiting adventures in my 20s and 30s. I'm happy to be a homebody now. But if that doesn't appeal to you, there's nothing wrong with boarding.
 

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A lot of good comments here. As so many others have said I think that decision will be best made when you decide on a place to live and get a job. I have my horses at home, I boarded while in college and my daughter has boarded while in college (she is currently still in college) We live in NW IL and live rurally - boarding facilities are not all that common here and the places that do board are mostly rough board with a pasture and turn out and hay and some grain in the winter. Very very few have arenas of any kind. Horse keeping of any kind is expensive and your job will dictate so much of what you eventually determine you can afford.

Once you narrow down where you would like to live you may get better comments from those that currently or recently have lived in those areas.
 

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I much prefer having my horses at home, having to drive to see my horse just took too much time away from my riding time. So, I made my husband build me a small arena, barn and a tack room. Southeast Texas gets very hot n humid so a small window ac unit in the tack room is a must! Nothing like having a cup of coffee on the back porch while watching your ponies. The times I miss boarding is when the weather is bad and I have to go to the barn to feed.
 

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I have both kept my horses at home, and also have boarded. Over the past 15 years of horse ownership, it went something kinda like this:
- 2006-2010 Boarded at my neighbors house. I would clean stalls a couple of days a week for board reduction, and I would hold my horse(s) for the farrier/vet/dentist. My horse(s) were fed the barns grain and hay, and there was no added fees for anything. If the BO was gone, it was expected that at least one boarder would step up and take care of things while she was gone.
- 2010-2017 Horses were kept at home. I would clean stalls every afternoon, and share twice a day feedings with my parents. I would stay home to take care of the horses while the rest of my family would go on weekend trips. We fortunately produced our own hay, so until we stopped doing so, we never worried about hay. Trips to the feed store were regular, and scheduling farrier/vet/dentist were on my shoulders. Maintenance of the property was of course a new chore, from fixing broken fences, cleaning up the pasture, dragging the arena...you name it, it now was my responsibility. In the winter, I had to drag 300ft of hose to the barn to fill the water tank, which was my least favorite chore.
-2017-2020 Parents sold their horses, and I moved my horse to being boarded. I scheduled the farrier for the barn, and had to bring feed down regularly. I had to hold my horse(s) for the farrier/dentist/vet, otherwise pay a fee. Blanketing was included, and my horse's temperature was checked often to adjust blankets. Hay is provided. Occasionally I would help clean-up for no reduction of board, I just missed scooping poop and feeding. I never had to worry about a thing, and if I needed it, BO would pick up feed from the store when she went so I wouldn't have to worry about it.
- Now (2020) I board at a new barn. Hay is provided, but I still have to bring feed down every other week. I schedule my own farrier to come to the barn, same with the dentist. I will probably use the vet they use. I have to hold my horses for farrier/dentist/vet, otherwise pay a fee. The BO's will not blanket my horses, no matter if I pay a fee. I haven't done a single chore since being at the current barn. Hay is just fed off the ground, not in slow feed nets, so my horses stand around with nothing many hours of the day.

And currently, my heart aches having my horses boarded instead of at home. I would do anything to breathe their scent in morning and night, and any time between, no matter if it were doing chores, freezing my butt off to feed, whatever - I want my horses home. I waste so much time driving to see them, and worry about whether my horse is too hot/too cold with/without a blanket on, with no reasonable way to check often. If they were at home, they would have hay available all day, and my old guy would be being fed grain three times a day instead of just two. Can you tell I want them home?
 

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Everyone is making good points but here's some other thoughts.

Are you some kinda control freak where you have to know that your horse is being treated exactly as you would wish? Because if you are, you are going to end up wanting him at home. I know I sure did.

Things that a well-selected boarding barn will have that you will otherwise have to hunt up for yourself in a brand new place: Lessons, and/or training. A bigger nicer arena. Friends to ride with. Mentors to ask advice of. An established relationship with a vet and a farrier. Horses for sale or lease. You'll have a ton of questions in a new place.

If I were in your shoes, I would start out at a good boarding barn as a way to make contacts and figure out what's what in a new horse community. At a boarding barn you will soon learn all the local gossip (to be taken with a shaker of salt to be sure). It is almost certain to be a smoother transition. You can always move your horse later.

When I moved across country I already had my horse, and was looking very specifically for a home where I could keep her. Even though I bought a house with a stable already built, and pastures already fenced (with rusty sagging barbed wire), we still had long hard labor to get it horse-safe and ready (I had my horse hauled out three months after we moved). Starting with a more usual and cheaper property with say, uncleared land and abandoned dairy barn, it might be a year of work to make it ready. Meanwhile you could already be riding at the boarding barn ...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I want to thank everyone who left comments. Particularly, I think it is good advice to begin any horse-owning in a new location by starting at a boarding facility. It took me years to make the connections I have in the horse community where I live. Those wouldn't just magically appear in a new location. It would take work.

For the time being, I think I've decided to stay put. There are many reasons, most of them not horse related.

Though it would theoretically be cheaper to live somewhere else, moving is extremely expensive. And...my kids are settled here. Plus, I'll probably end up with more grandkids if I stay in Hawaii. LOL.

As for horses--I've never had to care for horses anywhere they needed blankets in the winter or air conditioning in the summer. My husband isn't handy, and...the concept of trying to figure out all the details of a barn, tack room, etc... in a new location are just overwhelming.

I adore the *thought* of moving, but as we all know, the idea of moving and the reality of moving are very different. Though the state of Hawaii has been a mess with COVID (I've been stuck in my house quarantining for the past 12 days. Two days more and I can leave!) But the time we go to the trouble of leaving, and getting settled somewhere else, things might have improved here in Hawaii.

Anyway, thanks for the reality check, as well as the great advice.

Maybe if enough people leave Hawaii, I'll be able to afford land of my own here!

(Though I won't hold my breath. HAHA)
 

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I rode more when I boarded. I had the time to ride. There is always something that needs at a house and horse property.



When I boarded, I met the Vet, I met the farrier. I did not want my horses care left to anyone else.



If I wanted extra supplements, I went out after work and fed them.



I cleaned my own pens. I did not blanket as it is not that cold in my area. We also did not have air conditioners for the horses even though it could get up to 110 f . in the summer. They had fresh clean water,salt blocks and shade.



If I had less to do , and nothing left to build, then I would be able to ride. I would never buy and build again . I would save up and buy a place that had what I wanted.
 

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The older I get the better boarding sounds but until old age started creeping up I'd never entertained the idea. Still don't really, I can't imagine not having them at home.
 

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If I had less to do , and nothing left to build, then I would be able to ride. I would never buy and build again . I would save up and buy a place that had what I wanted.
This is why I don't do DIY. My husband's not real handy, and neither of us has time for big projects. So we hired a contractor and had our barn built from beginning to finish. It wasn't cheap, but wasn't as bad as I thought (they actually finished slightly under budget and on time!) so I'd do it again. Ideally, buying a horse property with all the amenities is the way to go, but in reality, - at least in my part of the world - you often end up with something you either have to fix up, or that isn't exactly what you wanted. I get it - sometimes you have to settle for something that is less than perfect, but I have seen enough people trying to make do with horses in old cow barns to know that I wanted my barn to suit my needs. And I knew that if we didn't pay someone to finish it, it would drag on and take way too much time so I made sure that the contractor finished the job. I even brought him back in to finish a third stall.
 

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I think when we start out most of us board. It takes a WHILE to learn what you need to know to do self care well. Then when we're older but not too old, we decide we can afford a property and want our horses home with us, so we do that until we wake up one day and decide...."HMPH, I got old overnight! I need help." and then we hire someone to do some of the scut work. But then we figure out how much buying all that hay, concentrates, bedding and labor costs. And that's without any repair or building work on the farm. Once we figure out how much we're paying to keep these guys at home and how much easier life really is when you board (at a nice place, not necessarily fancy, just nice), we figure out maybe we'd like to let someone else do all the manual labor. I know I set pen to paper not too long ago for my 6 and it went something like this:

300 small square bales hay = $3600 ($300/mo)
30 big round bales (1500 lbs) = $1950 ($162.50/mo)
Concentrates =$11,400 ($950/mo)
Barn helper = $9600 ($800/mo)
Yard helper = $4800 ($400/mo) (does all the mowing & spraying for weeds & fertilizes)

Totals = $31, 350 year ($2612.50/mo)

Board at my trainer's place (no training, just stalled, put on hot walker or ponied for exercise) $450/mo per horse so $2700/mo and I have the benefit of having his whole family to make sure all the chores get done. Vet, farrier, blanket laundry, stuff like that is all on top of yearly costs and is still up to me regardless of home or boarded. I'm getting a LOT closer to moving them to the trainer's place and then all I have to do is go down and enjoy them.

PLUS all the repairs, building new when it's needed. I'd have to go through my yearly receipts and not gonna do it, I think this is a fair representation of costs.


Also, since you're living in HI, any place you landed here would seem cheap by comparison, except maybe for CA, OR and east coast.
 
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