Boarding, Leasing Land, Other Options?

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Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
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Bald Eagle, PA
Hi All,

I am looking for recommendations both on whether I should pursue boarding or land leasing options (or something else), as well as how I should go about pursuing these options. All thoughts and recommendations are welcome!

I currently live in central PA, but will be moving my family (and small farm) this coming summer. There is a very small chance we might be headed to Houston, TX area (depending on job prospect), but a far greater chance that we will be moving to SE Virginia. We are planning to move near some family that live in Hampton, VA. I say near, as we don't want to live in Hampton (too much city for me!), and we are considering areas within a couple hours drive - so both SE Virginia and NE North Carolina.

We are going to downsize the rest of our farm - I'm selling our goats to a good friend, and shrinking our flock of chickens, but our minis are a permanent part of the family and are coming with us. We currently have three (with #4 due June 9th). We are hoping to be able to buy a home and property, but will need to sale our current place before we are able to do so. In the meantime, we will be looking to either board them, or lease a small bit of land to keep them on. I have a good friend here in PA that I can leave them with for a time - but once we relocate, I definitely want to bring them with us and have them close by - especially having a new foal.

So, with that background - I would appreciate any suggestions anyone has - whether it be of a person or facility in SE Virginia or NE North Carolina to contact, or if you are aware of a good resource online to look for such things. Really any thoughts would be helpful. I've always kept my horses on my own property and am new to the prospects of boarding or leasing land for them.

Also, if anyone is from this region - or familiar with it - I would really appreciate insight you might have not only in boarding and leasing, but also as we look to buy a small property.

Perhaps renting a small property that would allow your horses to be with you would work, I think you'd contact a realtor for that or a leasing company (which a realtor could probably put you in touch with). Otherwise I'm too far away to be of much help.
Contact Veterinarians and Farriers in the areas you are looking in. Also any "local" feed stores and/or hay producers. Any or all of them might know of a place that may be available - not on the open market. OR they might know of someone who knows someone who knows someone else.

When we were looking at moving back to NC from MT, I was totally upset. Didn't have internet then (the area where mom still lives in MT doesn't have reliable internet/cell phones now either - almost 20 years later) - so did everything via regular phone lines and "snail mail". The best thing I ever did was get into a contact with a vet that I remembered from when I'd lived down there previously. The property found thru the vet was leased for 7 years - our original house was 8 miles away from the "pony property".

When we were first coming back to NC - we simply weren't in a position to buy new property. The house we came back to had been on the market, hadn't sold and had been seriously vandalized. It was in a housing development that was not zoned for horses and though there were a couple of other properties available right "around the corner" - there were several things that made what we leased more promising. I ended up leasing 5 acres from the vet that I originally got in touch with. It was much less than boarding (folks here in NC charge the same amount to board a mini or shetland as you do for a full size horse and when we were looking no one believed that they could be pastured w/o being stalled), included water, an old tobacco barn that I used for feed and tack storage and they did very basic fencing (to which I added a lot over the years as 3 wires doesn't hold ponies very well). I'd found a knowledgeable vet that I was able to work with - giving me valuable instruction to current health care (I'd been out of horses for more than 10 years and there was a lot more known about then there had been previously!) and also caring for my ponies. I entered a "network" of horse people that REALLY helped and supported me - when I needed it. I couldn't tell you now how I got to the Pony Pasture every day w/ 3 young daughters - when hubby was overseas. We just did. In a pinch - I had others to call on when I needed help (had a emergency w/ a sick daughter) and sometimes that included help w/ the girls or just help w/ caring for the ponies. I also volunteered and off/on worked directly for the vet - during emergency horse procedures and for long weekends of necessary care for outside horses. Two way street - so to speak. Drawback - I couldn't make changes I wanted to to the property (later found out the vet was leasing it herself & we were sub-leasing it - that could have gotten really sticky but never did during that time frame). Water was sometimes "hit/miss" - but I built up a supply of 2 liter water bottles and rarely needed more than that before water was either available again or I hauled it in trashcans. Water/power issues at our house never affected out at the ponies, and the occasional times that it was out w/ them - it wasn't at home. I MISSED having the ponies right there outside our door - but had the next best thing w/ caring for them 2x daily myself.

The 2nd horse situation we had (8 acre "farm" property we leased for 10 years) came about thru an ad on Craigslist. For the first time, we were on our own - and in a new situation w/o farm equipment or the knowledge of how to repair/maintain any equipment. Over the years, we have done a variety of things to make the care of the "farm" work - both physically and financially.

The place we've just found and closed on and are still setting up/moving into was found on The "local" realtors didn't even seem to know it was on the market and had been for more than 7 months! I believe this is our last move - we will spend the rest of our lives getting it to where we want it and then maintaining it -

Let us know how your search goes and what you find!
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Thanks for the comments - you have some really good suggestions Paula. We'll likely be taking a trip down to the region in the next month or so and I will definitely make contact with vets, feed stores, and/or farriers and get their suggestions and try to make connections!

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