Help! I need some life coaching (horse related I promise!)(31 Posts)
Im going to try and make this as succinct as possible but bear with me!
I am very lucky to have a beautiful home, to which I am very emotionally attached (DD4 was born on the floor in the kitchen ). I have a lovely DP, and 4 sometimes lovely DDs aged 14 (next month), 12, 9 & 5. I also have 1 horse and 4 ponies . My eldest 2 DD are pony club/riding club/ school team regulars. DD1 is doing well competitively, DD2 is getting there, DD3 is less interested but enjoys gentle hacking and pootling, DD4 wants to ride every day and would spend every waking minute with the ponies if she could.
Here we come to the crux of the matter...
Our lovely home does not have horsey land, so I pay for livery - our 3 elderly (but still ridden) ponies at friend's farm (5 min drive/20 min walk), laid back to the point of horizontal, gorgeous hacking but no school (fields off limits when wet of course) and ponies are often not where we want them to be when we need them (ie dashing to pony club after school to find they have been let out with the cows and are enjoying the life of Riley somewhere over the hills and far away )
DD1 & DD2's "competition" ponies (term used lightly!!) are kept at a posh livery yard 10 mins drive away, which has school, lights, electricity, lockable tack room (all the mod cons!).
I spend a great deal of time every day driving back and forth between all the horses, waiting for DDs to ride and as you all know there's no such thing as just "popping" to the stables, 5 mins always becomes half an hour or more
Total monthly cost for livery is in the region of £750
I often think "wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to just step outside and have all my lovely ponies just there waiting for me on the doorstep"...
I've seen a house for sale about 25 mins from where we are now but not an area I know very well. Close enough for DDs to still attend their current schools with a 25 min school run (each way). It's a modern bungalow (not my usual style) and one less bedroom than we have here BUT it has paddocks, a manège, 3 stables, a barn, all outside the front door!!!
Price-wise it's on the market for similar to what we would hope to sell ours for, but the monthly livery savings would be immense. Now is the time when it would really make a difference in our lives, while the girls are still at home and into their riding.
But I'm so scared. I'm too scared to even go and view it. I love my house, I don't cope well with change, and although the "system" now is a bit bonkers, it works, and I don't have responsibility for paddock maintenance and muck heaps . I need a life coach, or a kick up the bum, or a stern talking too or perhaps all three .
Could you buy a field and build stables on the land somewhere close - I would hate to lose our house, but in our position having land close is important.
Sadly that's just not possible, I have been casually looking for the last couple of years, land is sooo expensive here and paddock lands very, very few and far between. I think only 3 have come up within a 7 mile radius in all that time and absolutely mega bucks (plus would still have to travel to do them)
If the properties are similar values at the moment, does that mean that when your situation changes you are likely to be able to sell new property and buy something similar to current property?
If so, it's less of a risk, if not then just keep the status quo. You don't want to lose a home you love. Have you spoken to the kids? They might have an opinion that they'd like to stay put?
I am not horsey but do live in my dream home. I would go give it up if I were in your shoes. You can change the bungalow as and when funds allow but you could never change the land where you are. You will save so much time and money (including fuel) . I would go for it.
I've had horses in livery, and horses on premises. There is no comparison.
Make yourself a pro and con list. But you'll save hours in driving and waiting time, your DD's and you can take turns with basic tasks like feed and turn out. You'll save a fortune in livery fees and petrol too.
I know it's smaller but that may be better long term, when your birds have flown and you can potter with your horses. You could also look at extending in the future.
Are you horsey yourself OP? I keep my horses at home. Stables, ménage, paddocks. It's glorious and I'm very lucky, but most of every day is spent on the yard as there is so much to do looking after the place.
I was on livery for the best part of thirty years, before following exactly the same thought process as you , and buying house with land . I love it . I love being able to say good morning to the horses from my kitchen , I love wandering up the fields with a glass of wine and the dogs to check the horses last thing on a summers evening . BUT . I underestimated the maintenance it would take , hugely . Fencing , repairing post and rail , resiting the electric fencing , hedge cutting , ragwort and thistle removal , muck heap removal , water trough cleaning and filling , field shelter maintenance , creosoting the yard and fencing , track maintenance , rehanging the gates , topping rolling and harrowing the field , fertiliser and weed spraying , arranging for hay deliveries , all of that takes up a lot of time , and neglect it at your peril . This Sunday , me and DH have a day off together . DH is hedge cutting , I'm on the tractor topping and harrowing the summer field before the thistles seed and the Autumn sprout begins . It is worth it , totally . But it was costs that I didn't factor in, like when big horse was so taken with next doors grass that he put his full weight on the fence and promptly fell through it , flattening 250 yards of post and rail in the process , that took me by surprise . Not as surprised as my neighbour mind you , who found big horse peering through his patio doors ....
Oh Plomino, the grass really must have been greener on the other side
All the reasons you have listed are exactly what frighten me. I didn't grow up with horses, and whilst I like to think I am fairly knowledgable and experienced now - we have had our own ponies semi-DIY for about 7 years (steep learning curve ), I do still have a safety net of lovely people around me who I can easily call upon for help and advice if needed. It's also handy (on the rare occasions I have been poorly or we have gone away for a few days) that at both yards there are people I can ask to cover for me.
I do worry about the upkeep and maintenance. Spending time with the horses and doing all the menial tasks horse ownership entails has been wonderful for my mental health (I suffer from PTSD) but what if the added pressure and responsibility of running my own yard actually adds to my anxiety issues? Trouble is, it's not something I can find out unless I give it a try but if it all goes tits up then where will that leave me?! .
Hmmm... So much to think about....
I suppose I really ought to just make an appointment and go and have a look. It might be really horrible and then I will have been fretting over nothing .
3 of my ponies are in their late teens/early 20s. They are super stars who have given years and years of service to many, many children and I'd like to give them a happy retirement when the time comes. keeping them on livery for another 10 years or so does sound a bit crazy when there is another option!
I am going to share with you something my mum said with me. My dad died 20 years ago, my mum was only 57. 2 years after he died she sold the family home, which we had all grown up in, they had done it up , and renovated it together. It's the only place I remember living. The couple of days she was moving over, I took off work to be with her, as I thought it would be hugely emotional for her. She was fine , I was the one who was emotional! Anyway I asked her why she was so good and she said to me "I have come to realise that this house is just a shell, where we have made the memories, but I get to take all those memories with me, I am not leaving those behind."
It was really profound for me, and I thought a great way to look at things. I hope that helps.
On the other hand - just look at the work involved in looking after your horses yourself, or factor in the cost of having someone help.
That's really lovely Mrslaughlan. What a great attitude your mother has.
Yes OP, go have a look, and let us know what you think!
mrslaughan thank you for sharing , I really do need to try and be more like your mum, so will carry her words in my head when I go and look round 😊
No advice but whereabouts roughly do you live that monthly livery for 5 horses is £750 a month? It's £550 per horse around here!
I have always had horses with me rather than at livery and don't find it that difficult. Yes, there's maintenance but ask around and you'll find someone who can top & hedgecut for you (if there's enough land see if you can get someone to run their sheep in return for doing the above), ditto muckheap removal. All the other jobs surely your dd's can help with - I remember being sent out on ragwort removal sessions and water trough cleaning by my mum and dad.
If the house works for you I'd be seriously considering it.
Yesterday I had decided no, I just don't want to move.
Today, sat waiting for the girls to return from a hack at 7.30pm, and ponies at the farm still needing to be mucked out and fed and a million things not getting done at home whilst I am here, I'm thinking I would be crazy not to consider it
Added to which, DP who is fervently anti-pony at the best of times has declared he thinks it would be a really good idea and I am under instruction to book a viewing for early next week. I think he would like to actually see me in the evenings and at weekends
Yes, how much land and what sort of soil (clay, sand etc)?
Not masses, just 3 acres plus manège and 3 stables. No idea on the soil, but most likely clay I would imagine. Haven't even seen it yet so no idea what condition it's in. 3 of my ponies need restricted grazing for dietary reasons so 3 acres should be just about enough.
Three acres of grazing will do for three ponies, if you are lucky and don't do 24/7 in the summer.
None of them ever do 24/7 otherwise they would be balloons on hooves
But I don't think 3 acres is enough land for all 5 animals even if 3 are on restricted - however nice it is, you won't have enough grass, even if you rotate turnout?
The thing that could put me off is- are your DC at the livery yard really gaining from being there? Do they still ride because of the friends they have there or because they love it? Do you use a space in the yard box to compete? Do they have regular lessons there etc?
It's a very small amount of acreage. If you had areas of hard standing for turnout to counteract the months when your paddocks may be too muddy to turn out and were prepared to feed hay for most of the year it could work, but it would need very careful managing. Good point about whether your children would want to ride at home without friends. Also see what the hacking is like - is the bungalow on a busy main road, or could the children hack put easily?
Yes, the hacking and friends points are very, very good ones I would need to carefully consider. The DDs just love being at the farm mucking around on bikes, scooters etc even when not riding and the hacking is wonderful and about as safe as you can get these days (no busy roads and plenty of stubble fields/field edges when it's not too wet!). Feel very sad even to think of not being there anymore.
In terms of the acreage I realise the bungalow doesn't have masses but my eldest's horse would only be there in the school hols, so the rest of the time would be 3 small ponies on 3.5 acres (slightly more than originally thought).
But the more I think it through, the more I think I just need to juggle stuff in our existing set up to make it more manageable. Like moving DD2's pony down to farm during term time when DD1's horse is away. Just need to magic him up a stable from somewhere as there are none readily available at the moment... And keep drop hints about building a school .
Estate agents haven't come back to me with a date for viewing yet (vendors are hard to pin down apparently), so maybe it just isn't meant to be at this time anyway...
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