Thinking of Taking on a Boarder at My Private Farm

I did this situation with a friend. But they had already know me for a year from our trail riding club, before I hinted I might like to bring my mare to their place, and they stated they might be up for that. I paid for all my horses hay, bedding feed, etc. I also AM fed on the days she was working. She works a 3-2 schedule, and clocks in at 6 am. So it was a huge help to have the horses fed, turned out, and stalls done, on those days. There was minimal in terms of facilities. Wire fencing, a solid barn with fans, ample turnout, and we hacked on the roads and neighboring crop fields. My mare died and we tried my gelding at her place, but he was too distracted by her mares. Overall it worked great for 2 years. My older mare got a really great situation with tons of hilly turnout and good mare friends. And my human friends got a person to keep an eye on things during vacation, and someone to share the horse are workload with. They still had a ton of other property maintenance to do.

If you can find a friend, who will contribute to the work regularly, I think that is a very workable arrangement. You might reach out to your local horsey friend network and see if anyone is looking for what you might have to offer. But I would make sure they are sharing the horse care work.

A random person off an ad? It could still work, but you are going to have to say no to a lot of people before you find the right person.


I had a boarder for a few months here and it worked out great. No money changed hands but they took care of all property work. cut down blackberries, burned stuff, mowed the yard, etc. They were responsible for providing feed and bedding and cleaning their stall on their retired gelding. These two were the most responsible and hardworking couple I’ve ever met. Unfortunately, they moved to the other side of the country for a dream job taking care of an estate.

That said, I wouldn’t board again even though I have space available.


I am currently boarding at a private farm – but it has firm rules and routines and so forth. So far it has been a great experience; the BO and I hit it off right away and she loves my horse. I know this may not last forever, but maybe I lucked out.

(On bathrooms – it’s a must-have for me, and I was worried when I raised the issue, but I am welcome to use the second bathroom. They now know my bathroom routine: I will come inside to use it once, when I first arrive. This seems to be fine.)

Today she told me that if I’m going to have to wait for the vet etc. I can bring my laptop and use their wireless network to work.

This is full-care board. and I am not the first boarder she has had. If BO goes out of town, she has a horsesitter who is very good, and stays at the house. BO is also a part-time professional trainer, and I think that makes a huge difference.

That is your problem right there!

I love my MIL but we need definite separation and horse boarding would be way too much.

I will say that is due to personality and just how we view things differently. I can see that being a problem with any boarder. You need to find someone who sees things and does things similar to how you do it.


it doesn’t help that we don’t get along outside of horses, but we both save face for her son. If i ever end up in a psych ward, it’s 110% because of her LOL

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There are a lot of great points here. I am currently in a situation that is similar. Apologies for length.

The barn where I boarded for 10+ years sold at the end of 2020 so I had to find a place to board my horse while waiting for my barn to finalize (which will be the end of this month!). In the interim, I reached out to a horse friend of mine that I have known for several years (we actually met when we both boarded at my old barn, back when it was not private) who has a very small, private farm with home on-site that is close to my old barn. I am currently the only boarder so it is my horse and her four horses at a six-stall barn with sufficient turnout.

My friend charges more in board than I was paying before so I asked her about ways to work off some of the cost. We found that my shift schedule as a nurse would allow her to go on some vacations and work trips as she has always complained about never finding knowledgeable and/or reliable help who can cover the barn for 2-4 days let alone anything longer. We discussed this possibility and I was upfront with her about how my work schedule has set weekends (Saturday and Sunday) and holidays and I do not always get the requests that I make, as well as the fact that I have my own competition and training plans for myself and my horse. I also commute 30 minutes one-way to the barn.

She has always had her barn set up as an LLC and has had multiple boarders of the 5+ years that she has owned the barn, so the board contract was more of a legal, business agreement and less of a friendly contract. I signed the contract (and waivers, etc.) for full/total care board and she stated that she would pay me directly (cash, check) for any work that I did; this way I did not feel bound to anything, plus CYA. She has a history of going scorched earth on anything.

Largely due to the factors that I had discussed with her, I was never able to cover the barn for her. The first time I was lined up to do so was a few months into being there, I had a family emergency which required me to go out of town on the dates that I was supposed to barn-sit. I told her about the situation immediately, which was two weeks before the dates I was responsible for, and already had three horse friends lined up to help me. Nevertheless, she freaked out and it made things very tense between the two of us for several weeks. I was so upset by how she acted during that time, especially given the gravity of my family emergency, that I never wanted to help her again. I inquired about other boarding facilities but nothing really met my criteria so I decided to tough it out as I had already told myself that this was a temporary situation. I told myself that the most important thing is that my horse is taken care of, the rest I can deal with over the next few months. Ever since that incident, I have met her energy and started to remind her that I am paying her and we have a contact so she better keep her end of the bargain. For example, she goes through phases where she does not ride for several weeks to months due to her many and demanding professional/career pursuits. Therefore the arenas do not get drug consistently and I have to ask her to do it, which always feels like stepping on a mine field because I feel as if I never know if what I am about to ask or say will send her into a fit.

Though she and I agree on a basic level about the care and management of horses as well as training, we have very different goals with our horses. We also have vastly different personalities. I have always been a great boarder, my horse is lovely and low-maintenance, and I am respectful of her and her husband’s privacy since their home is 500 feet from the barn. The more time that I have spent with her, the less I like her. I cannot wait to leave in the next month. This experience has made me extremely wary of sharing with others when I get settled into my own place.


I have hesitated to weigh in on this thread. I board retired horses on my private farm, and I have had several friends board with me. It has (knocking wood furiously) always worked well. One reason is no one has expectations about riding (though 2 friends didn’t have retired horses, they rode).

Also, I heavily screen people. With people I don’t know I ask for and provide references. Some of my references are former boarders (as well as current ones, and my veterinarian). I look for people who are kind, authentic, and who will be there for me when I need them. (Friends, that is). And I try to be the same for them. If I assume something I try to assume the best (and look for that outlook too). I always tell my boarders to ask me about anything, because there is a reason I do things certain ways. It’s also helpful to be good at setting boundaries, and I believe I am. I have even had 3 friends work off board, and have only had good experiences. So, it can be done. But I don’t think I’d necessarily recommend taking on just one boarder to someone without experience or the desire to do boarding generally.


Really super input from everyone! Thank you so much. We have just two horses so I’d have to agree that sticking with the sitter is a better option.

Thanks again to everyone. You brought up things I didn’t even consider!


It’s nice to hear from someone who has a success story, instead of so many throwing us boarders under the bus.
This is something I’ve been heavily thinking on, as hubby and I contemplate buying land and bringing my horse home. He wants me to have somebody to ride with, rather than being alone all the time.
I will say, my single biggest gripe over many things, but especially my animals, is: if I tell you to do it a certain way, then do it that way, whether it’s “your” way or not. So. Many. Times. I have left someone else in charge only to come back and find that things were done “their way”. Not that “their way” is necessarily wrong… but my point is: if you asked me to do something for you I will do it your way without question… because it belongs to you and it is not my place to “know better” and I would appreciate the same respect in return.
Doesn’t happen.
This is what keeps me thinking I would not take on another person at my own farm.


You have to find someone who thinks like you. Or, someone you respect and who knows more than you do. One of these friends boarding with me is an equine vet tech. I give a lot of weight to what she says; we do things the same way so there’s never been a conflict about how things are done.

I run into this in regular life and it in some respects needs more information to impress people with directions if you explain why. Then they don’t so easily second guess you.

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If you’re the barn owner, I’d think that “because I said so” is a good enough reason.



My new BO has some weird rules around hoses, and more weird rules about cats.

No questions from me, you want XZY done with the hose it will get done, every time. You want XYZ because of the cats, no problem consider it done.


I am the same. Your place your rules. I do things your way. My place my rules. They are followed to the T or don’t come back.

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