Should I Keep my Horse at Home?
Friday 20 January 2012
Many horse owners consider if it might be nicer to have their horse at home. They would be able to see him any time they wanted, and transportation would never be an issue when it came to riding.
There are many things you need to consider as your make a decision about moving your horse to your own property.
First of all, is your property set up to keep a horse? You will need a barn with a safe stall, or even better two or three stalls, since horses are heard animals and prefer company. You will need a safely fenced paddock with at least 1 acre of grazing per horse you plan to have on it. You will need somewhere you can work with your horse. You also need to make sure that the local bylaws permit horses on your property.
Once you have assured that your facility is adequate for your needs, you need to consider how you will take care of your horse. A horse needs to be fed three times a day. He should be turned out in the morning, and brought in at night. Someone will also need to clean his stall while he is outside, so it is ready for him to come in.
While you can leave a horse outside 24 hours if you have a run-in shed, you need to consider that in foul weather, you might want to move him indoors. Outside you can get away with a round bale, but that round bale will still need to be monitored and replaced on a regular basis. The water trough will also need to be checked daily, and scrubbed and refilled at least once a week.
It is essential that someone be available to check on your horse once a day. This means that if you are going to be away, you will need a farm sitter who will be able to keep an eye on your horse. Many people who keep their horses at home do not get a chance to get away very often because of this. You can’t just up and leave, even for a weekend get-away. You need to plan ahead.
Having your horse at home can lead to more riding time, but keep in mind that you will need to make sure that your coach is willing to travel if you want lessons. At home, you may not have enough equipment to practice for shows, so you might need to ship out for additional training sessions. If you pleasure ride, you will need to find out what trails are available nearby that are safe for riding.
Often, people find that with their horses at home, they in fact get less riding time. So much time and effort is spent taking care of the horses that riding falls by the wayside. It is not uncommon for riders to complain that they ride far less now that their horses are at home than they did when they were boarding.
Keeping your horses at home is a personal decision. For some it works out very well. For others, it turns out to be more trouble than it is worth. You can always switch back to boarding if it doesn’t work out, but it seems a pity to throw away the money you sank into your farm to make it horse-worthy.
Take your time with your decision and talk to horse owners who do have horses at home. Make sure that you are well prepared before committing to moving your horse. There is no shame in deciding to continue to board. You may find that it is the best solution to your situation after all.