Do we, or don't we?

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8 years 11 months ago #39705 by ArohaEHH
Do we, or don't we? was created by ArohaEHH
Hi everyone,
Hubby and I are trying to decide whether or not to take the plunge and buy our first lifestyle block. I would be grazing horses. Mostly unwanted ones for rehoming and/or some "oldies" for retirement. Riding is not the main aim. The block we're looking at is 11 acres approx. Established house, big modern shed, cattle yards and loading race and fenced (electric) paddocks with water. Currently grazing cattle. Water is a tank with trickle supply from town. Never having done the LSB thing before, are we being foolish and suffering from romantic notions..? We both work full time. How time consuming will it be to maintain the pasture? Usually 1 horse per acre is limit, but ideally 1 horse to 1.5 acres or even 2 acres because they are such heavy grazers. Is that accurate? Is it very expensive to get a contractor to make hay/mow/apply fertilizer or herbicide? (That would be preferred, if it doesn't blow the bank). Or would it be better for us to purchase equipment and do ourselves, bearing in mind we want to be as "low maintenance" as possible? Have just started leasing 7 acres from someone else, to graze a couple of horses, and I guess that will be a learning curve in terms of grazing and paddock maintenance (I kept horses in SA, but paid full agistment and never had to consider these things). Any advice, thoughts on this? Thank you. :)

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8 years 11 months ago #507438 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Do we, or don't we?
Hi and welcome, me here .... "everyone" will reply soon :-).
You are planning to give up your freedom to do things and to go places for some animals. Are you both sure that you want to do that?
We now have 21 donkeys and 1 horse that we are caring for, and I am alarmed at the time and money spent on this absolutely unprofitable compulsion. With tetanus vaccines 3 yearly so average $7 per equine per year, farriering at $140 per equine per year, dentistry at $50 pepy, and grazing not able to be fed to 50 sheep or 10 cattle py, this hobby is costing "us" (ie her) $8000 per year. Will hubby mind you spending your time and his money on your hobby?
A big horse is actually smaller than a middle sized cow at 450 kg last time I weighed a big horse. (Yes, I have done it).
Have you had a family yet?
Where are you situated in NZ?
It is very definitely better to get in contractors unless hubby has "iron disease" and loves playing with man toys ..... in which case he won't be much use with the pasture and fence maintenance.
Give it a go, but do not get emotionally involved with your animals so that if one of you wants to return to town there is no hang-up about dog-meating the animals.

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8 years 11 months ago #507441 by Trace
Replied by Trace on topic Do we, or don't we?
It is definitely time consuming. you will be feeding out in the dark if you work 'normal' full time hours...sometimes you will arrive home to find a fence is down and a horse has injured itself, then it's an after hours vet call out, and no dinner for you till ten that night. However there is a satisfaction that comes with knowing everyone is fed, warm, well cared for. Nothing like being on your own land and in our case I love being surrounded by mountains. For hay, for a few years I would just get in contractors and then decide if it's something Yu want to invest in...time would be a factor for you...hay being cut and baled etc is very weather dependent and if you are both at work that will make it tricky to do the complete job yourself, whereas you can come home and spend a few hours putting all your bales in the shed.

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8 years 11 months ago #507445 by stephclark
Replied by stephclark on topic Do we, or don't we?
LR.. how on earth do you get the farriering done at $140pa per horse?..and does you farrier travel?.. [;)]
6-8 weekly trim $45 per head.. if shoes on $140 per head per visit..

anyway..OP.. if this is your dream..go for it..sounds like the property is reasonably set up.. just remember that older/infirm horses can be costly.. ie feed, good covers, good hoof care,vets.. then the time comes to have PTS and the last one I had done cost $800 ( include burial )..

we did hay this year ..cost $1000 but got 280 bales, initial outlay heavy but when compared t paying $10-20 per bale in winter, not so bad..and you always sell the extra.

depending on what the land is like.you don't neccesarily need to get in contractors for weed spraying.. a good backpack and a weekend and you can do it yourself..
many rural areas have landholders groups that are excellent for learning and making contacts, also there is usually equipment that can be borrowed for the odd jobs that need doing..you can do it!

we did.. biggest townies you could not have meet..always had horses adjusted or stabled, so no clue!..but we learnt, hard work and lots of fun..no kids, lots of animals, fulltime day jobs and made a few mistakes..but kept us fit and happy :D

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8 years 11 months ago #507448 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Do we, or don't we?
steph, at the moment the farrier lives with us, and he only works when The Manager has restrained the asses and is ready to help. The farrier believes that the owner should be present when her equines are pedicured.

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8 years 11 months ago #507453 by rider1803
Replied by rider1803 on topic Do we, or don't we?
The property sounds relatively well set up already which would be nice.
You will get lots of warm fuzzies undoubtedly but I would say that a lot of the time the hideouos reality is going to out-weigh them.
Don't get me wrong I would never give up my lifestyle, but I grew up farming and was well prepared for reality.
I work full time and have currently only one horse, luckily, recently I seem to have developed night vision (or it might just be my head torch) because that in reality is the only time I see my horse 5 days of the week. I seem to remember she is a chestnut and we do dressage (when she isnt injured, this years total vet bill (so far) $1800).
Although retired/rescue your horses are going to need checking thoroughly at least once a day and feeding hay in winter etc. You won't be able to just leave them because the weather is horrible - thats when you really need to check them!
Hay cost me $1200 approx this year for near on 200 bales (prices vary around the country). That was making my own, if you are buying it I see prices from $7.50 per bale to $15.00. If you are making your own you need to be able to lock up some paddocks for the grass to grow so if you have too many horses you won't be able to.
Thank goodness my husband is extremely handy and I am pretty good on the end of a hammer as well, as fences constantly need mending, yards need new rails etc. So think this through - are you and your husband capable of fixing a fence etc?
Horses make a lot of mud and weeds so you will need to spray ideally in the spring and autumn. Costs will vary depending on if you want to do it yourself or not.
The maintenance on the horses is also going to be expensive as well. 5 horses at $40 per trim approx 9 times a year is $1800.00 for a start plus wormers, extra hard feed and hay. Ask yourself do you want to be destitute and never have a spare weekend again let alone be able to find someone to keep an eye on things so you could actually go away...if so then go for it!

Confirmed horse addict.

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8 years 11 months ago #507455 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Do we, or don't we?
I would suggest that learning to trim a horses hoof is a valuable adjunct in this day and age to horse owning.
Although it requires skill to balance the hoof and the foot, it is not beyond the possible and makes a huge difference to the farrier bill.

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8 years 11 months ago #507462 by LongRidge
Replied by LongRidge on topic Do we, or don't we?
Very true muri. A pair of donkeys that I do only need a check and tiny trim once a year, now that the owners have learnt to regularly file the hooves. They used to need much more farrier care. A donkey with sore feet is a painful experience for the donkey and the farrier. Regular care by the owner makes the farriers life so much easier, and the equines life much more pleasant.

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8 years 11 months ago #507463 by ArohaEHH
Replied by ArohaEHH on topic Do we, or don't we?
Thanks everyone for your comments - exactly what I was looking for to help me take a proper balanced view of this. Some serious food for thought :-)

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8 years 11 months ago #507465 by ArohaEHH
Replied by ArohaEHH on topic Do we, or don't we?
:D Thank you everyone for your comments - straight from the horse's mouth! ;) Exactly the type of information I was looking for and will be helpful in our decision making. Some food for thought. (Sorry if this is posted twice - new to this)

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8 years 11 months ago #507475 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Do we, or don't we?

ArohaEHH;514046 wrote: Hi everyone,
Hubby and I are trying to decide whether or not to take the plunge and buy our first lifestyle block. I would be grazing horses. Mostly unwanted ones for rehoming and/or some "oldies" for retirement. Riding is not the main aim. The block we're looking at is 11 acres approx. Established house, big modern shed, cattle yards and loading race and fenced (electric) paddocks with water. Currently grazing cattle. Water is a tank with trickle supply from town. Never having done the LSB thing before, are we being foolish and suffering from romantic notions..? We both work full time. How time consuming will it be to maintain the pasture? Usually 1 horse per acre is limit, but ideally 1 horse to 1.5 acres or even 2 acres because they are such heavy grazers. Is that accurate? Is it very expensive to get a contractor to make hay/mow/apply fertilizer or herbicide? (That would be preferred, if it doesn't blow the bank). Or would it be better for us to purchase equipment and do ourselves, bearing in mind we want to be as "low maintenance" as possible? Have just started leasing 7 acres from someone else, to graze a couple of horses, and I guess that will be a learning curve in terms of grazing and paddock maintenance (I kept horses in SA, but paid full agistment and never had to consider these things). Any advice, thoughts on this? Thank you. :)

You wouldn't have a hope of grazing at the rate of 1:1 per acre. We have 15 acres and the limit is 6 horses. More than that and you won't need to worry about maintaining your pasture....you wont have any! It has taken us 3 years to get the pasture reasonable again after over grazing with horses by previous occupiers. We carry cattle as well to help with pasture management and cut hay to feed in the winter.

But if you can manage it financially, go for it. It is a great life albeit a lot of work as well.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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8 years 11 months ago #507478 by kindajojo
Replied by kindajojo on topic Do we, or don't we?
If it's your dream ....go for it, and you can start with one horse and expand as you can manage it.....
Depending on your age , circumstances, you can learn to trim hooves yourself .....if your horses are well looked after vet bills can be kept to a minimum but you may need teeth, vaccinations, normal expenses. If you keep under stocked, extra feed for an out of work is minimum...but if they are aged might need topping up, in which case coolaid, gum nuts or a maintenance mix is better than hay for an horse with no teeth...yes mine get molasses grain mixed with warm water when it's cold because I am a softer.
Think about cross grazing with sheep or goats to keep the paddocks from getting sour ..but then that requires a bit of extra work in drenching etc.
it is a tie but then if it's the lifestyle you want then go for it ...some people spend all their time on the golf course or fishing ...whatever spins your wheels.

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8 years 11 months ago #507503 by ArohaEHH
Replied by ArohaEHH on topic Do we, or don't we?
Thank you Kindajojo :-)

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8 years 11 months ago #507504 by ArohaEHH
Replied by ArohaEHH on topic Do we, or don't we?

Stikkibeek;514090 wrote: You wouldn't have a hope of grazing at the rate of 1:1 per acre. We have 15 acres and the limit is 6 horses. More than that and you won't need to worry about maintaining your pasture....you wont have any! It has taken us 3 years to get the pasture reasonable again after over grazing with horses by previous occupiers. We carry cattle as well to help with pasture management and cut hay to feed in the winter.

But if you can manage it financially, go for it. It is a great life albeit a lot of work as well.

Thank you Stikkibeek! Appreciate all the advice I can get - so in reality its more like 1:3. Thank you.

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8 years 11 months ago #507536 by stephclark
Replied by stephclark on topic Do we, or don't we?

ArohaEHH;514122 wrote: Thank you Stikkibeek! Appreciate all the advice I can get - so in reality its more like 1:3. Thank you.

start small and see how you go.. better to have lots of grazing than lots of mud...

we did 5 horses on 9 acres, but did it hard! and a lot of supplement feeding...we found that 3 was a far more manageable number and saved not only on feed but fert/lime/spray etc because the land wasn't being completely trashed each winter...

so where is this place you are looking at?...

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