Boarding Horses and Organic Gardening

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by pcwerk, May 17, 2005.

  1. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Location:
    SE Minnesota
    Hello all,
    We have been approached by a neighbor who wants to board 7 horses on
    our place (They have 30+ horses and have run out of room). We have a 7 stall barn so that won't be a problem, but I am wondering if there are any problems
    that folks might forsee. We wouldn't be responsible for their care, just to give
    them a place to stay. Neighbor would come by to feed them and all. And pay
    for of all of that. I am wondering 1) how much are people charging for such a situation? 2) are there any problems I may be overlooking?

    We have a long-term goal to start an organic garden (CSA?) in three years,
    and I don't want to jeopardize that. The horses won't be hanging out in the
    tillable areas, so soil compaction won't be a problem. And I imagine we would
    have as much manure as we could handle for fertilizer ;-)

    James in Houston, MN (at least for next two weeks ;-)

    ps
    I am so green! Do horses make a lot of noise, or wake people early?
     
  2. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    You'd better check with your homeowner's insurance. That would be considered a business, and you can expect your insurance costs to go WAY up. Plus if they get hurt doing whatever on your property, again you are liable.

    What if a horse breaks a leg, and they decide to sue you for negligance for not filling in that dip in the pasture? Or a horse goes through your fence and gets hit by a car and kills the driver? Or when they decide not to bring over feed or pay you, but the horses still sit there?

    Boarding is a big old can of worms, not to mention the loss of privacy. We did it at one time, and will NEVER do it again. It is in no way worth the risk.

    Tracy
     

  3. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,264
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN
    Tracy covered it well - insurance is needed to cover _any_ liability on this deal, and you need it, not just your neighbor. Damage to the horse, injory to the owner, damage caused by a loose horse to other neighbors. We just live in that type of society these days.

    Will these be owned by your neighbor, or owned by several different people (are they sub-letting a boarding operation or are you boarding your neighbors horses?)? I'd be shy of the several owners thing, for Tracy's reasons. One owner, & you judge if that's an issue or not - nice folks you want to work with or not. :)

    Horses aren't much fuss for noise & such as little as I know about horses.

    Hey as an aside, this is not a typical spring up here in MN, it does warm up a _little_ bit 7 we don't get all this rain every spring!!!! :)

    --->Paul
     
  4. Ole Man Legrand

    Ole Man Legrand Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    515
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Location:
    NC
    Get a contract!!!!!!!!! Are they going to pay for the damages the horses do? Broken fences, Boards broken .Wood chew in the barn.Boards kicked off. You would be better off doing full board for people and charging accordly. LIke $250 per month. It can be a bag of worms,but if you cover all bases it can be a sucessful venture.They should prepay for the month not after a month of boarding.
     
  5. outsideman1

    outsideman1 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    61
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    nc
    to me the main issue is privacy. if you let someone keep horses on your place then you are kind of giving them permission to come and go as they please which i know i wouldnt like
     
  6. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    932
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2002
    Location:
    South West MI
    Say 7 horses @ 250$ per=1750$ per month with no work. I think insurance and water would be leass than that. Do it CASH$$$$ with a contract of course and pay off bills.


    mikell
     
  7. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Location:
    SE Minnesota
    Rambler,
    They are all owned by the one lady and gentleman down the highway (I guess
    they just raise horses?). They seem nice and all and they have been boarding
    with folks down the road for a good while, but now they need to "board out"
    a few more. I'm beginning to think it may not be worth it...
    Thanks Tracy and all for your comments. It has really helped to make our minds
    up ;-)
    james
     
  8. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    I'd say it's pretty darn unlikely they are going to pay $250 a month for each horse, especially if they are providing feed and feeding <g>

    In my experience, the folks with a lot of horses are the ones who would want to pay you $250 for ALL the horses to be boarded. ;-) It'd kind of be interesting to know what they would pay though.

    Our insurance agent asks me every time we renew if we board or train any horses, and if the ones here are owned by us. The way he frowns as he asks makes me wonder how much more paperwork it would involve! :)

    Tracy
     
  9. Kris in MI

    Kris in MI Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,634
    Joined:
    May 29, 2002
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    I think everyone has pretty well covered the 'horse boarding is sticky business' angle.

    As far as if having horses there will mess up your CSA/organic farming plans, I don't have any for sure answers, but I can tell you some things I am concerned about as both a fellow future organic market gardener, and as a horse owner.

    The way I figure it, that manure is a double edged sword (I do use it in my garden, great stuff!). It is high in nitrogen, so make sure it is aged/composted before you use it. Also, if the horses are fed hay and/or grain that isn't organically grown (most isn't), does that mean you can't use the manure because it might have trace amounts of pesticides, herbicides, gmo plant matter (undigested grain)? Also, it is common practice to deworm horses and most people do not use natural dewormers, so there is that (chemical wormer) in the manure too.

    Like I said, I don't have any answers on the organic part of it, but those are the things I worry about keeping me from being able to sell as 'organic' what I produce in horse manure fertilized soil. Hopefully someone else here can answer those for us.
     
  10. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,021
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Location:
    Appalachian Foothills
    I boarded horses in Phoenix. I also, after divorce, boarded out my horse. People there pay $250.00 month for board, hay and cleaning plus turn-out. I found the responsibility so high I went back to college to take barn managment, nutrition, etc.
    I really enjoyed it, and made some good riding buddy friends.
    It was a full-time job, what with feeding 18 horses in separate stalls, cleaning, etc.
    There are sites that have horse boarding contracts. Redesign one to fit your needs. Make sure all items: who does what are spelled out. Don't be embarrassed about the "small stuff", that's where arguments can start. I kept my gates locked. You can charge extra for storing trailers if you have room.

    You can make a lot of money that way. As a mater of fact, we're thinking of doing it again, a little differently this time (more acrage, different area). I ended up doing it under the table, kept books though.

    If you don't know anything about horses, the one thing you should know, is if anything can happen - it will.

    Go to the Horse Forum for lots of info.........

    PM me if you want. I could go on & on.
     
  11. Gary in ohio

    Gary in ohio Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,857
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    You want to have a contract on what you can and cant do as well as what the owners can and cant do. You want times that they can be on the property. You want procedures in place if they plan on removing the animals from your property. You want procedures in place to handle a default on payments. You want documented what to do if an animal is sick. You should have the right to call a vet in and have them boarders pay.

    As noted make sure your insurance is side is covered.

     
  12. Conni

    Conni Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    59
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    My parents board horses. It is such a pain for them. I have told them repeatedly to just charge less and let the people come do their own feeding, cleaning up, etc... lol!! But they are anal about how it is all done so they continue to control every aspect of it themselves.

    They do have in their contract *business hours*... That way people have to be off their place by a certain time in the evenings. Everyone else covered it all *i think*!! Good advice above. :)

    Maybe you could look up a boarding facility in your area and give them a call. They will give you the going rates and be full of info!

    I think my Dad uses a skid loader for the manure in the stalls-- it became to much for his back to shovel, shovel, shovel, scoop, shovel, scoop... It is ALOT of work!!! AS long you go into knowing that then you should be ok. I know the horses can tear up a stall too cant they??

    Hey~ my sister just got kicked by a horse last night. :( She was in the ER most of the night. Horses can kind of be a pain. You really gotta love'em. lol
     
  13. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Location:
    SE Minnesota
    Kris and all,
    Thanks again for all of your comments. I can honestly say that I don't know
    s**t from shinola on this matter ;-) As far as I do know, you cannot spray/use
    chemicals/pesticides _directly_ on your farm for three years in order to be
    certified organic. I do not think it applies to what chemicals etc. may be in the
    manure. We will check with the extension office next week about this.
    I have told my MIL to tell the neighbors we will be up next week and we can all
    sit down and hash out all the details. I also told her to check with the insurance
    company to see what is and isn't covered. If we need to up the insurance, we
    need to see how much money is involved. It very well may not be worth it.

    I have two ill-mannered Labs we are carting up next week (fun trip, yipee!) and
    I hope they won't be a problem with barking at the horses and all. There is a
    lot to think about and consider! On the other hand, I think the wife wants to
    do it since she has always LOVED horses and is hoping that this may be a gateway into her own horse ownership future ;-) I will keep everyone posted.

    james in Houston, Tx, and Houston, MN
     
  14. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    8,264
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN

    There are various interpitations of this, I know. But you have a lot to learn on 'organic' production:

    (e) The producer must not use:

    (1) Any fertilizer or composted plant and animal material that contains a synthetic substance not included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production;

    ( Above from the UDSA guidelines on Organics: http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/NOP/standards/ProdHandReg.html )
    ======

    You can download the whole pdf file & study for a few months.... ;) Now, the debate will be, does the manure still contain the synthetic substance??? Since GMO crops are on the list, any GMO corn fed to the horses will produce manure made up of GMO stuff..... This will set off alarms to _some_ people at least. Generally you need to use manure from organic livestock, and organic livestock needs to eat organic grains & grasses to truely follow the rules. I know many slip by on this, but depends on the inspector & market you find for your produce....

    I'm a regular conventional farmer over by New Ulm, so I'm on the fence on these issues myself, 'whatever'.

    From a practical standpoint, you want to set up your fertility & weed control for a year or 2, and then go organic. It is extremely expensive to jump in cold turkey, as so few things are allowed on a certified organic farm. In the Houston MN area, you might want to run soil tests, get fertility high, make sure weeds are under control, and plant alfalfa. You can place 3-5 years worth of fertilizer down before planting - alfalfa only takes P & K. Do not spray (pray you don't get leaf-hoppers - use an anti-hopper brand of alfalfa...) or fertilize, and you can then certify in 3 years. There should be enough demand for alfalfa in your location to make this work.

    The alfalfa will keep you high in N, you will need to add organic P & K from here on, weeds should be pretty well under control with 4 x a year mowing of the alfalfa. You could hire most of this out, no cost on machinery & such. Plowing under the alfalfa will give you a rich loose soil to start with, lots of organic matter, lots of tilth, if manure is allowed in your regulations can spread that first & take care of the P & K needs....

    This is your best route to starting practical organics. Perhaps it violates the 'spirit' of going all organic from day one & all, that is your choice. It is hard to start with poor soils & make it tho, be aware.

    Sorry to hijack the threat into organics, but I did mention the horse manure first, which is a concern for you.

    --->Paul
     
  15. Tracy in Idaho

    Tracy in Idaho Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    879
    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2002
    Along the lines of organic (though I'm not at all familiar with people crops) my husband deals with all of this for the family farm, which is all in dryland organic alfalfa now.

    He was approached by the sheepherders who wanted him to let him graze down the fields after they were cut. He told them no way -- he's obviously not allowed to use any weed killers, and the sheep poo is full of weed seeds after coming down from the mountains.

    Something you might want to keep in mind if you are using manure.

    Tracy
     
  16. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Location:
    SE Minnesota
    Thanks Rambler (and Tracy),
    I know there is a lot to know, and I am unaware of most. (My wife is the
    one that knows all that...I just plan on kicking back on the porch with a
    beer in hand ;-) Good thing we are in no hurry and have a "5 year plan"
    as far as the organics. And yes, during that time we will be engaging in an
    attempt to build the soil up. Btw, do you know of any good books on the subject? I will study that link as well. Thanks again!
    james
     
  17. Cygnet

    Cygnet Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    3,166
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Middle of nowhere along the Rim, Arizona
    If you are not familiar with horses, be aware of the safety issues involved.

    Sooner or later, even if they are caring for the horses, you'll need to handle a horse. The horse may get cast against a wall, or get sick, or get loose, or something may be in a stall that you'll need to get out.

    There are lots of nice horses in the world. There are also horses out there that are more dangerous than a wild tiger. We're talking a thousand pound animal that can pick you up in its jaws and throw you like you weighed nothing -- I've SEEN that happen, a nasty stud got a hold of a groom and threw him over a 6' wall. Broke his arm (upper arm) from the bite and his leg from the impact when he landed. The man weighed about 150 pounds and the horse picked him up and threw him like he didn't weigh anything, for no good reason.

    I boarded my mare for several years at a very large public boarding stable. The owner also ran a training facility and bought and sold horses. There were about 150 head there most of the time.

    I saw plenty of people injured, sometimes accidently and sometimes deliberarately. Two people ended up with broken backs, and one man had a nasty head injury -- he was kicked by a horse when no one was around and lay in an arena for about eight hours before someone came along and saw him.

    Food for thought.
    Leva
     
  18. pcwerk

    pcwerk Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2003
    Location:
    SE Minnesota
    Thanks Leva,
    The more I find out the more I'm thinking of denying the horse boarding thing...
    I'm currently unemployed and w/o insurance so the last thing I need is for my
    DW or myself to get injured! Time will tell.
    james