I am constantly seeing posts from people about boarding woes and ‘should I buy a farm?’ questions. People want to know what it is like to have your horses at home. Is it glorious? Do you love it? (It depends on what day you ask me.)
They want a 20 minute commute to work, fabulous horsey neighbors, WiFi, and a location close to shopping and the grocery, all for $500k or less. Depending on where you live…good luck! Oh and the house must be a fabulous 4 bed, 3 bath home totally updated with granite countertops in the kitchen. The barn must have six stalls, a full bathroom and glorious tack room. The 10-20 acre lush pastures must be fenced and cross-fenced and all have beautiful safe run in sheds and auto waterers. LOL – /thump (me falling on the floor).
I have been living the rural life for about 15 years now on my own farms. Here are some of the FACTS:
- WiFi/cable/fast internet. Nope! Most places will not have them in rural environments. Be SURE you have good cell service and buy an unlimited plan.
- Pick one: house or barn. You almost NEVER get a good barn and a good house. If you do find a property like this BUY IT FAST, if you can afford it.
- Plan on a 45 minute commute to work. It is much more realistic if you work in a larger city. Our last two 10 acre farms have been a 45 minute commute. Seriously people, 10 minutes in the car is not that big a deal and it will open up a lot more options.
- Being close to shopping and people opens up a whole new set of issues. Your horses become an attractive nuisance to the curious. Zoning laws change to accommodate growth. Noise and other non-equine friendly activities are more likely to prevail.
- Check the potential area you are moving to for farriers, vets, etc. Find out what the vet call fee is. Mine is $65-95 for a regular scheduled call. If you simply cannot leave your current vet practice, call and ask what areas they cover. Draw a circle on the map and shop inside it.
- Check for the closest feed store. Mine is 30 minutes away and the one other feed I use I pick up on my trips to South Carolina (11 hours away…do not ask).
- Other horses nearby. This might not seem important but it is. Shared farm calls and farrier calls help you to get services. Also, if your Houdini gets out, they are more likely to run towards other horses than traffic.
- Make sure you have ample time and space to get your trailer in and out of the driveway. Busy roads with semi-traffic suck. Do not buy a barn that sits right beside a busy road.
- You absolutely WILL become so much closer to your horse. You will learn about their nap times, their moods, and what it looks like when the evil SOB spins, kicks, farts and runs away from you in the (pick one) mud, rain, snow, thunderstorm. Trust me, this sh*t happens and it is always right before you load for a clinic, have to go to work and are late, or are dressed to go somewhere.
- There are two kinds of clothes. Barn clothes and soon to be barn clothes.
Having your own place is a mixture of all the good and the bad that is life with horses.
I get to see mine whenever I want when I am home. / I never get a day off.
What’s a vacation?
I know all their quirks. / Restructuring life around those quirks.
Currently planning to cut bushes and hot wire fence to stop belly/side scratching.
I can control everthing about their lives (mostly). / I am in charge of everything (so tired).
Can someone else please run my life for a week so I can relax?
I can spend as much time in the barn as I want. / My house is never clean.
Seriously, only one thing is gonna get picked up and you can guess my choice.
My ponies nicker to me an snuffle my hair – ok, so no downside to this.