Blog By Nikki Alvin-Smith
If you’ve boarded your horses and then had the opportunity to bring your horse home to your own property, you’ve probably already experienced the sincere joy of keeping your own horse in your own backyard. Many horse owners love the availability of daily interaction with their horse, even if it does mean more work mucking stalls and fencing pastures.
The romance of sitting on the back porch after a hard day’s work, whether that was at the office or working remotely from home, sipping on a cold drink and watching the bucolic picture of your horse happily grazing in its pasture is one of the most satisfying ways to relax.
When you horse is right outside your back door, you’ll also be encouraged to be actively taking care of your horse throughout the day and find yourself spending more time than ever outside enjoying the benefits of immune boosting Vitamin D and heartwarming sunshine during summer months.
How practical is it to bring your horse home? There are a few things to consider:
You May Have the Space but Do You Have the Zoning?
If you live in a rural area, then chances are you can build a barn or horse housing structure without a permit as it qualifies as an agricultural building. For obvious reasons, if you live in a more suburban setting the rules and regulations may be stricter.
Rules such as maximum number of horses per acre may apply and the structure you choose may be dictated by height rules and proximity to neighbors’ property lines. Wherever you live, it’s important to check with your local authorities so you’re fully aware of any restrictions or permits required.
In places where a permanent structure is prohibited or subject to strict guidelines, a non-permanent horse building such as a run-in shed that can be moved around the property and is considered a ‘temporary’ structure, may solve the problem.
If you chose a modular or prefabricated barn, you enjoy the added benefit that it will be quickly and efficiently assembled by a small crew simply adding the roof to the prebuilt barn sections. The traffic of multiple barn raw material deliveries and crew members coming and going for an extended period of time can be avoided by choosing prefab over stick-built.
A modular build is also a much quicker option as it not subject to delays in construction due to inclement weather. The factory environment adds quality control and all materials are readily available. The advantages of these ‘instant’ barns cannot be overstated, and they continue to trend upwards in popularity. You can shop and purchase it online.
Agricultural buildings amy still be delivered during the Covid-19 lockdown. So, if you are yearning to see your horse and have been locked out of the boarding barn, this may be an option for you.
You Don’t Have To Say No To Boarding
The idea of keeping your horse in your own backyard appeals to most horse owners but having the option to keep a horse at home does not mean you have to say ‘No’ to boarding.
While you may have room to pasture your horse, you may not have access to an indoor arena or outdoor riding ring. Additionally, access to a trainer may be limited on your own property, even if you have the space and budget to put in a riding ring. Furthermore, many horse owners love the social aspect of being in a horse boarding facility.
Boarding doesn’t have to be an either/or option. Many barns accommodate boarders who seek the use of an indoor during winter months. On the other side of the coin, advanced competition barns are often seasonal with trainers migrating to warmer regions during winter months. It may be feasible to save money during the winter by keeping your horse home, and then board during summer months to take advantage of lessons and the show scene with the money you have saved by home horse keeping. Boarding for either summer or winter according to your need is a great way to save money.
No Rose-Colored Glasses
There are a lot of pros and cons to consider before brining your horse home. Keeping your horse at home can present challenges so remove those rose-colored glasses….
- Where will you put the manure?
- How much time do you have available for daily horse care?
- What do you know about how to buy good horse hay?
- Do you have a place to store supplies? Hay? Bedding?
- Will you have to pay more for vet and farrier visits when you’re no longer splitting the farm call fee?
Another factor to consider is ownership of only one horse necessarily means your horse will be alone without equine companionship. As herd animals horses much prefer some sort of animal companionship 24/7.
A friend for your horse does not have to be another equine character. The German Olympic Oldenburg dressage stallion Donnerhall, was kept content in his stable with the companionship of a rabbit! While the rabbit did need replacement due to its shorter lifecycle throughout Donnerhall’s life, he did not seem to mind the replacement rabbits, as long as he had one hopping about in the stall with him.
While a rabbit may not be the best solution for equine companionship, a donkey, miniature horse, a pony or even a goat, may fill the gap without the need for the larger feed and care expenses of a second horse.
Maybe a few chickens would fit the bill? Read more about that HERE.
A suitable horse or pony from a rescue that has been quarantined and is free from contagious disease can also make a friend for your primary horse. Who knows, maybe you can talk your other half or one of your kids into joining you in your riding pursuits!
It is wise to address all questions that might arise and plan for them in advance.
Take Advantage of Current Deals
It pays to shop wisely. Many large manufacturers of modular barns have discount deals for stock, demo or show buildings on their lot. These come with the advantage of immediate delivery / NO lead time! Ask about special financing promotions that may be available. Zero finance deals and reasonable interest options can save you a lot of money.
Remember that the addition of a horse barn can increase your property value but may also require additional insurance coverage. Be sure to do your homework.
Choose a construction company that can deliver on warranties, offers 3rd party financing options if you need help capitalizing the expense and provides a wide array of choices in colors, materials used and options. And, of course, good craftsmanship and a generous list of Standard Features!