October 8, 2013 at 2:06 pmJustDandy Original PosterTopics Started: 2Replies Posted: 0
My husband and I just retired and we’re finally living our dream – buying a house in the VA countryside and bringing our horses home! (The horses part is my dream, not his ;-)) I’ve had horses all my life, but I’ve always boarded, so I’m looking for advice from any fellow home-boarders. What was the most important thing you’ve learned about keeping your horses at home? Are there any seemingly obvious mistakes I should avoid? Any tips on important things I might not have thought of? Really just trying to be as prepared as possible. Thanks!October 8, 2013 at 6:00 pmpheetsTopics Started: 5Replies Posted: 477
Drainage. Can’t say enough about good drainage. Around the barn, in the barn, under the barn.
Hay storage. Preferably in a separate building. Figure about a bale per horse for budget and investment purposes. It is excessive but allows for the occasional bad bale, shortage, colder temps when you might want to put out a little more than usual.
Grain/tack. Best if not in the barn but if the door locks well and you can find solid, anti-critter containers, all good. A different building more for the maintenance, quality/condition and keeping the Ponykinses out of the grain than theft diversion.
Manure removal: check with your state/town hall on the local mandates relative to composting and/or removal. Plan a pile in a distant yet accessable place. Again, drainage.
If possible, set your stalls up with a paddock off each stall, gates on each fenceline between. Makes turn-out and feeding so much more efficient for all involved. Allows you a little more comfort of knowing on those rainy/weathery/buggy days that they are not forced in OR out.
Bringing the horses home is a huge relief as well as daily lifestyle beyond simple commitment. It can take one out of the loop a bit but I find this a small price to pay for the opportunity and freedom to manage my horses MY way. I like being able to go out to the barn a 4 am if I feel they need more hay on a snowy night and can do it without rousing the neighbourhood watch association.
Hopefully you will meet other horsey folks and will be able to soon set up a back up plan for when you need to leave the farm for events or emergencies.
My two boarders and I are putting together a calendar of Fine Fashions for Home Farming. The most ungodly of outfits can rival those of the Monday Morning Wal-Mart Society. We are home. In the back yard. At 5 am. Feeding, grooming, schlepping water thru 3 feet of snow, toting that barge up hill barefoot both ways, stacking hay at high noon in 90 degree temps with humidity over 80 %, falling in the mud under three sets of tack, standing with the farrier/vet/chiro/masseuse on 20 below days and sometimes nights… we relish every moment! Who cares what we wear, the horses certainly don’t : )
HUGE congratulations to you for finally being able to live your dream! I hope you enjoy the journey of getting to know your animals better than you ever thought you could, hearing that gentle almost silent nicker of an Alpha mare that knows all is in order when you show up with breakfast on time, watching the antics and cavortions of happy, well adjusted and beloved family. I sincerely hope you do enjoy it, even half as much as I do : )
Sure there's right and wrong but mostly there's just a whole lotta different.
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