No Arena at Home, Having to haul out to ride - who does this?

I’m debating bringing my show horse home to save the money on boarding. However, I do not have anyplace to ride at home and would have to haul out. Currently, I ride at least 4 days a week and have a trainer ride twice a week. Boarding barn has an indoor so riding when it rains is not an issue. How do others do this? I work full time from home 8-4:30 so it would cut into the dinner hour. DH has been bugging me about bringing him home but he needs the riding and having him at the barn makes it easy.

Are there others here that have to haul out to ride? How often? I want horse to stay in work as he’s progressing very well but I have a feeling that bringing him home will cut his schedule in half.

Hauling out definitely can take more time. My suggestion if you do this would be to make everything as quick and simple as possible. Have the trailer hitched all the time, make sure you never have to back up anywhere, possibly tack up ahead of trailering (depends on distance, big difference between 5 min down the road and 25min)

If you bring him home can you put a good chunk of money aside to building a arena? I have a feeling hauling out will get really old really fast.


I’ve done it before and yes, it gets old really fast. Luckily there’s a barn about 25 minutes up the road that has a huge indoor and outdoor with jumps and no backing involved. I’m exceptionally good at backing my gooseneck (brag) so having to back up is not a game changer.

I have an area picked out for an arena at home, just needs leveling and footing added. It’ll be small but better than nothing.

I can not imagine having horses at home and having to haul out 4 days per week, every week, to ride.

I suppose this would work fine with out a full time job and chores to do at home, etc. But I think you are going to quickly find that hauling out to ride is going to cut into more than just the dinner hour, even if the place you are hauling to is very close.

Edit to add - is there a fee to use the ring you are trucking to?


I brought my horses home before my arena was built. Brought them home fall of 2019 and didn’t really finish the arena until late summer of 2020. So a full year without any arena. Had a small, relatively flat-ish area I could school in the grass when the ground wasn’t too soft (or hard).

It does slow down your progress. Without a doubt. But, my horse was sound and fit and everything was SOOOO much easier once I had an arena again. The hill work and not riding on perfect, level, footing really helped to teach my cocky OTTB that half-halts were his friend and that paying attention to a rebalancing was a good idea. Even with my arena, I still try to ride in the hay field at least twice a week when I can–both for fitness and his brain.

I do think that I sill rode a lot more regularly than some other friends who keep their horses at home. I don’t mind riding in the snow or doing walk-only rides when the footing was questionable. I also live on a gravel road, so utilized that for hacking when things were really wet.

It’s all going to come down to your priorities. I have friends who haul out a couple times a week even with an arena at home. I have friends who board for a few months in the winter. I have friends who barely ride even when everything is great. :wink:

To me, hauling out twice a week feels pretty doable–three if you’re close. Then if you can supplement with two creative rides at home you won’t be far behind. I know at least two of my rides each week are not intense training rides anyway as that gets mentally and physically too demanding for my guy.

But I absolutely love having my boys at home, so YMMV.


Yes, the fee is $10. And yes, with the chores to do at home definitely cuts into ride time. I have two at home as it is so their stalls and paddocks have to be picked every evening.

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So $40 per week which is $160 per month.
Add fuel (since the price is going crazy).

How much are you saving with the horse at home versus boarding? (Your cost of hay. grain, bedding versus board.)

Does the math work out with the additional $160/month?


Its easy to end up with a horse on a property where there is nowhere to ride. No level groomed field, no arena, no trails access, busy road you can’t hack down. I would avoid this except for a retired horse. I can’t imagine spending almost an hour commute time to just ride.

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My husband and I share expenses on the horses at home, he has one as well, so out of my pocket would be a about $150 a month. Added to the $160 would be $310. Board is $475 and going up to $500 by the beginning of next year. Right now, savings are not very much on paper but would no doubt be more since it’s not one chunk coming out of my paycheck all at once.

If this is the type of horse that must be kept in regular work (four rides by you, two by a trainer, six a week total), I think bringing him home would be a disaster. Especially if the difference is only a couple hundred dollars per month.


He could probably do just as well with 4 to 5 days a week so maybe 6 days a week is a little much. It was needed at first otherwise he would be a nut case, bucking bolting for no reason. After changing up his diet, adding more turnout, he’s calmed down considerably.

I keep my horses as home and do not have an arena. I make do with riding in my pastures, which are fairly flat and even, and hacking around trails.

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There’s no way I would haul out 4 times a week even if I didn’t work full time. Just the gas and arena fees would probably cancel out any savings, never mind the stress for the horse, wear and tear on the rig, and the time. Hauling 25 minutes–50 round trip (and probably more like an hour with a trailer)-- and then tacking up, riding and cooling out is over two hours plus then coming home, unloading and parking cleaning out trailer etc.-- is going to add at least 2 and 1/2 hours and probably more like 3.


Having access to an arena may be important depending just what discipline the horse shows I suspect some disciplines would require an arena for the horse to stay in top form.

We brought our kids’ Western Pleasure horse home where she was just a backyard horse and the horse never missed a beat continuing her wins in Class As and national shows

I hauled out 6 days a week after work - but that was 10 years ago when I was single/no kids, and it didn’t matter if I wasn’t getting in til 8-9pm (I didn’t get home until 6). I lived in a MIL house on my friend’s property, so we hauled out together pretty much every day for 6+ months until her arena was built. But we only had a ~10 minute haul, too. Having someone to go with and ride with was definitely a huge motivator.

It’s doable, but it might get a little old doing it in the middle of winter in the dark/rain/weather all by yourself.

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We do eventing, at least attempting so need someplace with access to jumps.

I think you need to have some way to do some riding at home. Not necessarily an arena but maybe a relatively level 20 meter circle would do. For me, it was the graded track around my 34’x48’ barn, so maybe it ended up being a 15x20 meter oval? The rest of my pasture is hilly and semi-level spots were smaller than the barn oval. It worked for flatwork in between times I could haul out. For jumping, I used a slanted area that was a little too slanted for dressage work, but fine for jumping for eventers. After many years of this, I made friends and a help each other relationship with a neighbor with wonderful facilities I can use whenever I want.

I’d try to get the arena installed before bringing him home. Then at least you can do some rides at home. Trailering out 2x a week for lessons is a lot nicer than 4 or 5x a week.

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Pretty sure you’re in Washington, like me. I’ve considered doing this too, but the time commitment is not doable. You will rush to get loaded and to the lesson/ride time, traffic and weather will slow you down, you and horse will be stressed by the rush at times. There will be days you just won’t feel like it… and horse will not be the same ride when he’s only getting out 2 times, then 4 then just one day… consIstency is key to progress.

I’d wait until you had a ring at home before pulling the plug. My SIL is an event rider and used to haul out 3 days a week to lessons. It got old, very quickly. Put a lot of stress on her marriage as she was not home until after 9 those nights, especially in winter. She saved up and put in an outdoor but still, on those cold, wet evenings, it’s hard to ride outside at home, too.


But that’s also not considering fuel, extra wear and tear on the trailer and tow vehicle, and the value of your time. I wouldn’t do it until you have a place to ride at home, so you’d only need to trailer out for lessons or cross country schooling.