I’ve been in self care boarding for over 8 years or there about. Only when we lived in Missouri for a year were the horses on my own property – in all other situations I had to drive out (30 minutes, usually 50, one way) to get there.
I can deal with the cost of buying my own food and hay. I can deal with pooping scoop. I can deal with dumping and scrubbing out water tanks. What wears me down though is the day in and day out responsibility with no break. It starts to kill my enjoyment of my horses; I become a caretaker with little time for friendship.
It’s not that I don’t love the horses but when you are doing something day in and day out the “special” is soon removed. You see the same burnout in Stay at Home Moms who end up doing all the cleaning and cooking with little time to be the “fun” activity mom for their kids.
I tried getting someone this year to help out but I ended up firing her within three weeks due to no-shows. I’ve been advertising on Craiglists and at feed and farm supply stores, again with no luck. The problem is I have to find someone in the area because if they have to drive more then 20 minutes one way themselves the cost of it to me becomes too high due to gas mileage.
For example, I talked to someone that does barn sitting and she was going to be $35 and thought she might have to increase that price because of the drive. 😦
Yesterday, I had the bright idea of looking for a dog sitter that might live in the area. I found someone who lives 12 minutes away and who grew up on a farm (had cattle and dad had horses). YAY!
She came out to visit with me today and I am tentatively getting excited and thinking this might work out. She’s an adult who wants a business looking after animals, lives close by and felt the routine was very easy.
The routine is now easy because of the changes I made on the fenceline back in April-May of this year which allows me to separate all three horses. Since the horses now know the routine, everyone easily goes to where they are suppose to be fed as long as you feed them in the CORRECT order 😉
When you look at the diagram, Dante eats at point A and is fed first; Dancer eats at point B and is fed second; open the gate and let Dulce through and she eats at point C (just close the gates so horse’s can’t mingle).
I meet with her next Thursday for her to review the process again and then she starts doing my Fridays. If things work out, I hope she can do twice a week starting this fall.
For those interested in the cost we agreed on was $20 for a weekday, $25 for weekends, and $30 for national holiday. This price is reasonable because she can get there in 15 minutes or less, and my feeding system takes less then 25 minutes (the only real delay is you have to wait until Dulce finishes so she can be moved back into the dry lot with Dancer).
The other feeder was also in charge of some grooming and care for the horses but I learned my lesson. I will keep those duties to myself and if I do hire someone to help groom, bathe, etc… I will have them work alongside me, not on their own.
This is part of the huge shift in our life. We both know that we will be selling our house in 18-24 months and downsizing.
Our plans at this point is to buy land in Arkansas, near Eureka Springs, where we can build a one bedroom barn house so we can stable the horses. Meanwhile, spouse will also have a 1 or 2 bedroom, near downtown, condo which we will travel back and forth from as his work will let him telecommute. The tentative plan is that I would be in ES 3 weeks out of 4 and spouse will be with me 10-14 days then back to Tulsa for a week, and then back to me etc.. while both of our kids are away at college.
These are big dreams but it means we need time these next two years to take vacations, look at land, be available to do research out of state, work on this house so it’s ready to sell, etc… which means we need more TIME to get crap done. And me feeding horses every day, and having to be here on the weekends, doesn’t allow for that.
I REALLY hope this one works out!