It’s the age old question for all equestrians: do we board or do we just buy ourselves a few acres and try this at home? We’ve all wondered if the tallyho at home is reasonable, affordable and most importantly – worth it. I’ve tried both, I love both (especially when it is time for vacation or I just don’t feel like bundling up to feed and bring in the horses at 4:30 and it’s dumping snow). As an amateur owner and rider, I wanted to put together a quick list of things to consider before you haul them to the homestead.
We all know the noble horse is the most beautiful, magnificent and – really? Did you just spook at your own shadow? We all know the truth – horses are truly something special. When considering your horses at home, think safety first. There are a number of options whether it is the classic four board fencing or more technical with the electric tape it all boils down to what will keep them in.
When looking to board – it is critical that their fencing and barn are set up securely to keep your beast in. It was always very important to me to walk the fence line when bringing my horse home or to a new farm. Pastures need to be clean, free of debris and offer access to water. Think year round obstacles when considering bringing your horses home – can you haul water to the pasture when there is no running water or the hose is frozen? There are summer obstacles as well and as all Virginians know, mud can be a real issue. Is your land going to dry out or will you need to build a second home for your farrier to keep shoes on and dig out abscesses?
Currently all of my horses (yes, I have multiple. Yes, it was an accident) are at boarding barns. My goals as a rider require me to keep them with my trainer as I intend on competing and riding regularly. One of my biggest challenges with keeping the horses at home was transportation and staying in a routine. If you haven’t experienced this yet, caring for horses and riding horses are two very different hobbies. If you opt to move your horses home, will you have access to a ring or somewhere to ride? Will you be able to haul to shows, trails, etc. as it suits you? Determine your goals first and the other parts will fall into place.
Most importantly, will the place that you call home (or are looking to call home) allow horses? If the property does not already have an established barn or fencing on site, are you prepared to clear fields and build as needed? As a Virginian, I rely heavily on Virginia Equestrian to find vendors and local farms. There are some fantastic local and nonlocal builders and developers who can fence, frame and put it all together for you. Whether it is as simple as fencing and three sided run in or as complex as a multiple horse barn with an attached indoor, we are the lucky ones to live in horse country. Richmond and the surrounding counties are full of phenomenal farms and properties. If you are looking for something in particular, give me a shout. Tallyho!