Keep your horse on a friend's property
Keeping your horse at a friend's property is a good alternative to a boarding stable. Your horse lover friend may like the idea of sharing chores and having someone to ride with.
Have a serious discussion on how much you'll pay monthly to keep your horse on her/his property. Even if she offers to keep your horse just for the cost of feed and bedding, offer more. Trust me, it's a big job and responsibility taking care of someone else's horse even if you are a horse lover! Besides the cost of feed and bedding, your friend is making a mortgage payment on that land and also paying property taxes. Not to mention giving you the run of her place like it was your own.
Here's some good questions you should ask and think about before making the move.
Decide in advance if you will share feeding, stall cleaning and grooming chores.
- Will you be able to come every day?
- Or will you alternate days?
- Will your friend be the main caretaker with you pitching in on days you can?
- If your friend goes out of town, will you be able to fill in?
- Will you provide grain and hay or is it included in the monthly billing?
- Will you haul your own feed and hay or will your friend buy it and you reimburse?
- Will you be able to have a teacher or trainer come there and give you lessons?
If someone isn't horsey, they just won't know. Years ago, the acreage to the south of my place was sold for a subdivision. One day a neighbor called me and swore that one of my broodmares in the back pasture was stuck in a tree. Now, I could see out into the far back pasture fairly well from the house and everything looked ok to me.
But she insisted... so... I walked back there. The mare had found a low branch that she could straddle and itch her belly. All that rocking back and forth on the branch could conceivably look as if she was stuck As soon as I approached her, she gave me an indignant look as if I was disturbing her and walked off.
My neighbor was quite embarrassed but I asked her to continue callling if she thought anything else looked wrong. I figured an extra pair of eyes couldn't hurt and a walk into the back pasture was no big deal.
If you plan to turn your new horse out with your friend's horse, be sure to keep a close watch on them to be sure they will get along. It's normal for the resident horse to try to boss around a newcomer. Threats to bite or kick aren't anything to worry about. A few bites on the rump isn't going to hurt anything either. But if one of the horses pins his ears and relentlessly chases the other, that could be bad. Relentlessly is the key word here. A bit of chasing is normal. Try letting them get used to each other gradually over time. Turn them out in different pastures/paddocks or if that's not possible, turn out at different times. Horses live by pecking order rules and eventually they'll sort it out between them and one will be the boss (alpha horse). Occasionally you'll find a horse that just totally hates another one and will never get along.
Be sure you have good communication with your friend about what she/he expects of you as a boarder. Don't take advantage of her good-nature by shirking any of your duties.
Oh yeah, and be sure to bring enough carrots to share!
Places to keep your horse