Adventures In Farm Sitting

Having a farm is not for the faint of heart. If I have learned anything from having horses at home in highschool and now farm sitting it is that it is legitimately a 24/7 job. When you board horses you write a check and you can go home. If it is in the single or triple digits you can stay inside… If it is raining or snowing guess who is not soaked or chilled to the bone? YOU.

Depending on where you board and how often you are able to get out to the barn as a boarder you have the flexibility of  “not feeling like it”. I am grateful that right now I am able to go out to the barn nearly every day but also have my horses in the care of people that I trust explicitly in the event that I am travelling or unable to make it out.

jonsnowBecause I am at the farm all the time already (sorry Kyle!!!) it was a pretty easy gig (famous last words) to just step in and take care of things when my BO’s are out of town. Or so I thought. Unfortunately the weather gods hate me and literally EVERY SINGLE insert string of expletives TIME I farm sit the temperatures either plummet and it snows or they spike and it is a scene from Twister. I seriously don’t know what I would do if weather was just semi stable and there weren’t 30* temperature swings and some version of natures middle finger slung at me the next time I take care of the horses. I am not sure how it is even possible for one person to be assaulted with the weather so violently and consistently just when the phrase “can you take care of the farm x days” is spoken. This week has been no exception and come Monday afternoon at pretty much the exact same time I was finishing up the majority of chores and about to leave a storm rolled in. It caused the barn room to start flapping, random doors to fly open, and for me to end up under an awning with the resident studly while we both stared in disbelief while plastered to the wall at what the actual heck was going on. In summary farm sitting has left me wondering if my dream to own a farm and keep all of my horses at home is really what I want. I always thought that 20 acres would be the sweet spot. I could have my own place, going to ride wouldn’t involve a car ride, things would be so easy. Then I remembered how spoiled I was in high school to have my horses at home but not be responsible for all of their care or maintaining the property. dorothyWhile speaking from experience I can say that there is nothing like looking out your window and seeing the creatures you love so much. There is also nothing like spending hours taking care of the farm and horses when its below freezing or during the middle of a storm that might have you feeling a little like Dorothy from the wizard of oz. Maybe just a few acres to keep baby(ies) and retirees at home? The “dream” continues to evolve. All I need is a few more terrible weather incidences while farm sitting to totally crush it!

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  1. We have just under 12 acres and I do wish we had a bit more. Mainly so I could some day talk Chris into letting me have an indoor 🙂

    I have to say out of all of it, the most stressful thing is when we have severe storms. I would rather deal with ice/snow/cold than worry when we are under a tornado watch. We had a bad storm last summer before the horses came home that really scared me-it ripped the roof off my chicken coop, knocked out power for hours and took down some pretty big limbs off our trees. And of course it happened when Chris was in Europe for work and I was home alone. Ugh.

  2. I love the idea of having just youngsters and oldies at home, my plan is just to keep my retirees at home and board my competition horse so that the barn work should be fairly minimal. Of course if someone wanted to build me an indoor I don’t think I would refuse…

    On the other hand I think I’m so detail oriented and so heavily involved in my horse’s care (feed, vet, shoeing, etc) that I don’t think it will be much different for me. I already go to the barn daily, pick out my horse’s stalls in the evening, feed them both extra night snacks, and make sure they are in appropriate clothing. Yes the barn does the day time stuff but that’s about it!

  3. Haha, this seems to happen to me, too and I still want a farm! However, I also know that 5-6 horses is about the limit of what I’m willing to do by myself, and there is NO WAY I would keep horses in stalls at my house. I think that living out is better for them, plus it SERIOUSLY cuts down on chore time to only have to pick out a dry lot or paddock instead of cleaning stalls! Having managed and/or worked at every barn I’ve been at so far, I think I’d make a bad traditional boarder, anyway. I’m too used to calling all the shots and doing all the work myself!

  4. Ah yes. I know this all too well. My 26 acres is plenty for me, and up until Dad passed away, he maintained it. Now the reality of dragging the pastures, bush hogging, fertilizing, fence maintenance, removing weeds from the fencelines, etc. is all too familiar. 😉 I say this literally…sometimes there just is not time to ride if you also work a full time desk job. It is rewarding in that I get to keep numerous horses without the bill that a boarding barn would charge and my herd have the exact care I want them to, providing nothing catastrophic happens that drains my bank account… Just keep in mind, the more you own, the more can break. Having someone out to look at the well today…while my mare is in the beginnings of labor. It all happens at the worst timing if it can. :/

  5. It can be really hard! I was just discussing the pros and cons of keeping horses at home with a friend this week — I have the best of both worlds because I do board out the horse I was mostly showing, although now I need to make decisions about that because I really need to be putting more time into my “baby”!

  6. My dream is retirees, injured horses (because nothing is more annoying than paying $100s of dollars a month in board for a horse to sit on stall rest) and perhaps youngsters at home. Two big pastures and a few paddocks with shelters plus a tack room/tack up area and a round pen. Nothing fancy. I like the social aspect of boarding and also letting someone else maintain a big barn, arenas, buy jumps, maintain trails etc. I think a small horse property would solve what really irks me, retirement and layups, that’s where boarding has traditionally fallen short for me.

  7. We have had our horses at home now for 1 1/2 yrs and I love it! But my husband helps out with everything – and does all the pasture and outdoor arena maintenance. Arranging to go away for a few days takes lots more planning now, but I seriously love having the girls just out our backdoor.