Farm Owner Woes

Before I moved out to my farm, I had a very specific vision of what my life on the farm would be.

Man, I love that video.
Source. Man, I love that video.

Instead, turns out it’s a whole lot of this:

Always covered in dirt.
Constantly being covered in dirt.

Recently, I’ve been just wishing I boarded. Life would be so much simpler! Prepare yourself for a complaining post!

First, I have to think of the irony that I moved onto a farm to save money.

HAH!

HAH!

I only saved money in the sense that since I have three equines, I would have been paying for three equines board. But I wouldn’t have three equines if I didn’t have my own farm. I admit it, I have an equine hoarding problem. I can’t be content with just one, I have to collect them all, I need the full set. I have my semi-retiree, my active riding horse, my pony that I don’t really know what to do with, but dammit, I wanted a nice pony. And I have plans in a few years to buy a warmblood foal, because I need a prospect to show! By then, I’ll have forgotten how annoying green horses are! Thus, the cycle of buying horses will go on forever, and I’ll be one of those people hoping that the retired horses do actually die so they will fall off the payroll, but knowing my luck they will all live until they are like 40. Of course, I’m just going to assume I’ll have Pony until I’m 70, because they last forever.

To actually work all these animals, I needed a ring. So I built a ring. And that ring cost a few years of board money. Whoops, guess I didn’t save any money there either… Additionally, turns out even if you have a ring, it can’t just exist perfectly for you to ride at all times. While luckily I don’t have to spend more money on this, I have to groom the dang ring at least weekly, if not more. If it rains, I have to groom the ring, because if I don’t, it becomes as hard as a rock. I can drag it in about 20 minutes, but Dave manages to do it in 10. I don’t mind doing it, but it’s just one more thing in between me and being able to ride immediately.

It's like a zen garden afterward.
It’s like a zen garden afterward.

When I was a young kid, I would tell people I wanted a pony, and they would generally say, “Oh, but they are so much work! You will have to shovel poop!!” As though shoveling poop is the worst thing in the world. Let’s be frank, shoveling manure is not hard, it’s super easy, and not even that gross. Yes, it’s poop, but as far as poop goes, it’s not offensive.

The real hard work is the general farm maintenance: Fences need to be fixed. Grass needs to be mowed. Weeds need to be sprayed. These all sound basic, but for various reasons, I hate doing them. Fences are just hard. I helped put up fences at my parents farm, and I will always, always hate it, and it’s so much easier to pay the huge sums to get someone else to do it. Spraying weeds is okay, until the sprayer malfunctions, explodes like a liquid bomb, and then you’re covered with herbicide. Or it gets on your hands, and you’re paranoid about touching anything until you can take a shower. “Oh no, I wiped my mouth, I might die.” Yes, I have cleaned out my own mouth with soap, and yes, it’s nasty and horrible. But I’m not taking any chances!

I don’t mind mowing grass. But I do not like buying or maintaining the equipment to do it. Tractors cost as much as cars. Hurrah! Another payment to make! More money that could have been spent on boarding! Then, when the tractor needs maintenance, you can’t just take it down to Jiffy Lube, you need to either learn to do it yourself, or schedule someone to come to your house to do it. And it seems like there’s no actual tractor repair company, it’s individual farmers to be located, and then convinced to come do it. If they have time, that is. If it’s a busy season for them, your tractor’s going to sit a while.

During the winter, the tractor doesn’t get used as much, leading to the scariest moment of tractor ownership: Sitting on your tractor, turning the key, and praying it’s going to start. Please, please please! I don’t want to have to deal with this! JUST START ALREADY!!

It would be so nice to not have to worry about any of this, and just go out, tack up, ride, put away. Someone else can deal with the buttercup infestation, or worry about the exact ratio of chemicals the grass needs this year to grow.

There’s the loneliness. Dave doesn’t ride. Most of the time, it’s just me, all alone out there. Sometimes I don’t mind, because I want to work on things, but other times, it would be much more fun to ride with someone. It’s surprisingly hard to convince people to come ride. I feel like the free candy van man, except I’m trying to lure people in with free pony rides. Come on, come ride my pony!

It's completely legit!
It’s completely legit!

If I wish to not be lonely, I have to trailer out someplace. Trailers cost more money, both to purchase, and to maintain. My trailer is currently out for repairs, so I can’t trailer anywhere. But if I could, there’s also the 45 minutes spent hooking up the trailer, cleaning out the trailer, loading the trailer with tack, hay and supplies, loading the horse up (thank god she loads easy!) and then however long spent driving to my location. This is how my one hour riding lesson ends up taking three or more hours to complete. I need a nap by the time the horse is turned back out.

Then there’s also the things we gave up to come live out here. We used to have a carefree, maintenance free, city life, able to go on vacation at a moments notice. Well, Dave sold his fancy car for us to put a bigger down payment on the house. We obviously can’t leave all these animals to care for themselves, and I have anxiety when I’m not the one taking care of them, so we nearly never leave. And (horrors!) there was no good internet out here. As two of the internet generation, this was unacceptable. We have to have the internet. But it costs a pretty penny, more than enough to pay the monthly board.

So what I have now is an expensive, time consuming property, and somehow I’m riding less than I did when I boarded, despite them being only 100 yards from me at this very moment. What on earth was I thinking?!

That’s not to say I don’t appreciate farm life. It is nice to have so much space that I could go the whole day without seeing any neighbors. It’s nice to look out and see my horses grazing in the field. I just need a staff to take care of the property for me, and also a house big enough that I won’t have to see my live in servants, unless I wanted to. And if I do, they will curtsy meekly.

But, I do love seeing this sweet face daily…

content horse
I need to make a photo album of just Berry’s various faces.

I’m really just bitter that it’s been raining for like a week, and I haven’t been able to ride. I can’t ride in the arena when it’s wet because it’ll punch through to the clay underneath. I need more stone dust to fix the problem… that’ll be another few months of board…

Maybe one day all the costs will even out, and then I actually will be saving money. Then the bitterness will all fade away… Fingers crossed!!

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20 comments

  1. Seriously. I’m just renting a farm and holy cow. I thought it was going to be so fun and easy and carefree! Needless to say my arena isn’t even up and running so I can’t work any horses. Realistically my “show” horse stays boarded, and the horses at my house just are pasture puffs that help me not have to mow as much.

    1. I’m hoping one day it will be carefree! I’m dreaming of the day…
      They are good as mowers! Except when they decide one area is a poop area, and then they leave that long 🙁

  2. Solution: Build a tiny house and have Nicole move in. Nicole both keeps you company AND helps you with farm work. Nicole and Courtney are happy forever!

  3. Great post! Honestly, when I moved to NC, I was dead set on us buying a horse property. However, the more I think about the costs of maintenance and the cost of the property itself (because horse properties generally cost more), the more we are deciding to get some land (5-10 acres) and continue boarding. Down here they have to seed the grass twice a year in order to having grazing capability. I would love to own more than one horse but I have also realized that I really only have time to ride and work with one horse. 🙁

    1. Aww, but you will be super happy with Scout! She’s so perfect!! It’ll give you lots of time to pursue everything you want to do with her!
      Land is definitely nice… I think even if I did board eventually, I’d still want land.

  4. Hmmm, this is making me second guess my desire to have my own hobby farm. I would come visit you if you weren’t so far away. Maybe we can facetime ride together. lol!

    1. It’s not all bad, don’t give up the dream. I’ve just been very pissy about it recently!
      Maybe we could facetime, then we could yell to each other and hope the mic picks it up? hahaha!

      1. OMG IT’S TOTALLY DOABLE! All we have to do is invent a contraption that braids into the mane and is able to hold the camera at the correct angle or maybe even changes the angle as the rider posts or two points… patent pending…

  5. Are any of your horses able to be used for a work lease? Where somebody could come do some chores/help around the farm in exchange for ride time? Could be a good solution to get some help as well as somebody to ride with.

    1. Good idea in theory, but I don’t want to get involved with all of that. It’s too easy to rely on someone else to perform some task, and them not do it. I prefer just hiring people.

    2. fyi says: August 10, 2012 at 10:24 pm the author of that bit of warmongering, calculated to cost the lives of thousands and destroy Syria’s ancient culture– one of the first places where Indo-European civilization emerged, is unmasked: he is a venture capitalist/investment consultant for Bechtel Corp.=== -”genocide — part of the “master story” of Western civilizations.”

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