Help out, cut cost on horse boarding
Horse owners who are willing to invest some of their own time and physical labor at their boarding facility can see a definite return on their efforts at the Bitter Creek Horse Owner’s Cooperative in Loma.
Full-care horse boarding at the facility, including hay, costs as much as $325 per month, facility manager Sarah Walker said.
But Bitter Creek Co-op members who are willing to work at least one evening shift a week cleaning pens and feeding and watering horses will pay no more than $205 per month, and their cost could be considerably less than that depending on the type of pen they choose for their horse — whether indoor or outdoor, shared with other horses or individual. Boarding in a shared outdoor pen with the owner picking up one shift a week costs $145 a month, she said.
Bitter Creek offers boarders access to two lighted riding arenas, a round pen, wash rack, several barns and covered shelters for all pens at 1411 M Road.
The property is the site of veterinarian Dr. Braden Shafer’s clinic, Shafer Equine Services, and Shafer plans to remain on the property, working cooperatively Dr. Jennifer Knighton, who operates an equine reproduction clinic and is the founder and owner of the Bitter Creek Cooperative.
“We plan to run our separate, complementary practices out of the same facility,” Knighton said. “I am still working out all the details of moving the repro facility out to Bitter Creek.”
Knighton’s interest in a cooperative horse boarding endeavor began when she was attending veterinary school and “I had no money, but refused to compromise care for my horses.”
“So I co-managed the co-op at a place called Covenant Grove Farm (in Georgia) with a great gal named Jennifer Scott. I got to keep my horses there for my efforts,” she said.
The cooperative idea was brought to Bitter Creek. But the Loma project has the additional benefit for horse people of having “two veterinarians involved with the facility,” Walker said.
Walker, an experienced horse person, does the morning feeding and related chores weekdays, and another lady comes in on weekends to feed in the morning, Walker said. So co-op members only have to cover evening feedings.
In mid-July, Bitter Creek had seven horses boarded for co-op members, and Walker said they expect to have 15 or 16 this month. “We don’t want to go over 23,” she said.
Horses boarded at the facility are involved in a variety of different equine disciplines, mostly Western.