Saturday, August 20, 2011

Boarding or horse property?

A horsey acquaintance of mine — not at my barn, but at another nearby — posted on Facebook just the other day that she was going to be looking for horse property, so that she could have her horses in her backyard.  The post made me think of how happy I am boarding now, and what a difference that is from 2 years ago.

Two years ago, Michael and I had just found out that we wouldn't be able to buy a horse property we had our eye on.  At the time, horse property was my dream, as I was sick of boarding — I'd had so many bad experiences with it.

These days, I have to say I love boarding.  Boarding somewhere nice has made such a big difference: I love the facilities, love the trail access, love the people, and no longer have to worry about the quality of the care my horse is getting.  And since I also love our house, it's a relief to no longer have conflicting desires (wanting to stay in our house, yet also wanting horse property).

The way I see it, there are a lot of potential advantages to both boarding and having horse property.  It all depends on your individual situation.  With boarding, someone else takes care of your horse (unless it's full care), which can be either good or bad, depending on the quality of the care.  It's usually a more social experience, which can also be either good or bad — good when your fellow boarders are good riding companions, bad when they bring a lot of drama to the barn.  Bigger barns usually have nicer facilities than you'll get with horse property or even smaller barns — I love having an indoor arena and direct trail access, for example.  The drawbacks are being farther away from your horse, especially if you are forced to board a great distance from where you live, and having less control over your horse's care.

But horse property can have drawbacks, too.  You have to do all the work yourself, so what you save in money you may more than make up for in labor and the costs of manure removal, having to buy hay in smaller quantities, etc.  If you don't have a very large property, you may not be able to do much riding there, and may have to trailer out in order to ride (which requires owning a truck and trailer).  But it can also be incredibly rewarding to have your horses right out your back door: You have the ability to spend more time with them, not to mention you also have more control over their care.

Like I said, I think people's preferences often have a lot to do with their situation.  Someone who has the perfect horse property is probably going to tell you that's the best way to go, whereas someone who loves where they board (like me) will prefer the superior facilities, the social aspect, etc.  Likewise, someone who has nothing but bad experience boarding will probably wish they could have horse property, and someone whose horse property isn't ideal will probably be pretty envious of their friends who board.

With that in mind, do you board or own horse property, and what do you like or dislike about your situation?  I know a lot of people on either side of the fence, both in the blogosphere and in "real" life, and I think it's interesting to see how people's situations and preferences differ, so please feel free to share!

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3 Comments:

At August 20, 2011 at 3:51 PM, Blogger RiverBend Farm said...

Very interesting post..we're, once again, looking for horse property. Sometimes I wish I had just a house to take care of and not all these animals but then, I'm sure I'd miss them.

 
At August 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I know what you mean! Sometimes I think about how much simpler my life would be without the animals -- and how much less it would cost -- but then I think of how lonely it would be!

Good luck in your search!

 
At August 24, 2011 at 12:48 PM, Blogger Judi said...

I'm a boarder and I love it! I just wish I spent less time driving. I know I'd never afford an indoor arena--very important in Cleveland in the winter.

 

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