I have commented in a few threads that the boarding situation in my area is getting really chaotic. Barns are closing, more people have horses so there aren’t enough spots available, etc. When barns close, people are even retiring older horses and sending them to Virginia for pasture board. The expensive private barn where I board my horse, which is completely hidden from the road, is regularly getting people showing up desperate for a stall for their horse (the barn is full and has a long wait list.)
My mare is 24 and retired – we do not need the indoor, etc. I started looking for a less expensive barn for her last fall, and am now glad I didn’t find anything. She is a high-maintenance retiree – needs very limited pasture, but space to move because she is arthritic, soaked hay for mild heaves/allergies, etc. She is luckily very easy to have around – excellent ground manners, not destructive of fences/stalls/blankets etc.
I do not expect the barn to close, but anything could happen! Therefore I am looking for ideas for bringing her home in an “emergency” – say a 60 day notice that the barn is closing (which has been standard for closing barns so far.) Because I’m honestly convinced that if that happened, the only other choice would be to put her down.
I am lucky enough to have enough land at home that zoning allows for 2 horses. I have about 1/3 acre to work with should I need to bring her home. Building a “real” barn, running electric to it, putting in a frost-free hydrant, etc. doesn’t make sense given her age and health.
(Interjection: yes I need to setup for 2 horses so she has company. There are several local reputable rescues always looking for foster homes, the Morgan breed rescues etc so I am not worried about getting her a companion.)
Fencing: I can fence up to within 5 feet of the property line. I do not think that the town would look kindly on electric fence, at least not anything that is quick to put up. I am thinking of starting with round pen panels because I can get them quickly, and DH and I can move them. I would start with a small area (divided in half for 2 horses) and add more over time, etc. but they are expensive!
Shelter: I am kind of stuck here because the land has a slope to it, I can’t put shelter at the highest point because of a 50 foot zoning setback and wouldn’t want to anyway because it’s right by the road. Adding a “pad” for a run-in shelter seems like it would be necessary… but expensive.
I do have storage for hay, shavings etc. Manure management – would need advice from the town about this, but they do allow people to compost manure on their property.
Has anyone else done this? what did you do and how did it work out? Budget? I am expecting mid to high 5 figures which seems a lot for something that is supposed to be temporary – but can afford it.