photo of a horse in the window

Do you take short-term boarders or lay-ups?
We do not. Moving horses off of Welbourne can be traumatic for their friends, so we try to mitigate movement as much as possible, for the others’ physical and psychological health.

May I visit before I send my horse to your farm?
We insist on it whenever it’s logistically possible. We want our owners to be comfortable with our operation, and the best way is to show you in person.

May I talk to your current owners about their experience at Welbourne Farm?
We’re always happy to provide references and will try to match them to your particular horse’s situation and/or point of origin.

When am I allowed to visit my horse? What sort of notice do I need to give?
Anytime you want, 24/7/365. We want our operation to be as transparent as possible. Of course, a heads-up is always appreciated, but unless we’re dealing with an emergency, there should never be a time when we ask you to postpone a visit.

Do you provide updates on my horse?
We write a monthly update on the farm and the herd. You may also text, email, or call us anytime for an update on your horse. We can send photos and short videos. We’ll often do this randomly as we drive around the farm. We only ask that you respect the amount of horses, owners, and work we have and not ask for updates more than once or twice a month. We also feature our horses regularly on our Instagram feed, @welbournefarm

Will my horse drop weight?
Any muscle mass from working will go away quickly as your horse settles into a lazy life of retirement. He or she should quickly replace it in fat, though. Beyond that, a horse in her first year or so may adapt slowly to the new diet and environment. This is completely normal. We keep a particularly close eye on adjusting horses, and have blankets, grain, and vet care at hand should we worry. We will of course be in touch with any concerns.

What are your weather extremes? And how do you handle them?
Weather is generally mild. In winter, we might get a snow or two a year, but it usually melts in a couple days. In the rare case of a blizzard, the horses know to come in close to the barn (where the hay is) so that we can easily feed them. For those who we’re worried might not come in, we will place round bales way out on the farm to ensure they’re fed. We have heated troughs if the streams freeze, but that’s quite rare, too. In the summer, it gets into the 90s, but the horses spend the days sleeping in the shade and don’t seem to mind it much. We’re fortunate to be in such a temperate zone.

Will my horse have to compete for food with the others? Is there conflict between horses on the farm?
Absolutely not. In the winter months, we drop off extra hay portions to ensure that any shy horses are able to get as much as the more brazen ones, and there are plenty of round bales for extra feed when necessary. The rest of the year, and well into the winter, there is so much grass that there is nothing to compete for. As far as conflict, with 500 acres to choose from, any shy or reticent horse can always just walk away from any perceived issue.

Is any shelter available to my horse?
There are plenty of barns and run-ins for all. Many will choose to stand in the shade outside the barns, but that’s simply their choice.

What do you do about flies?
We spread Fly Predators around the barns and run-ins all summer. This godsend of a product suffices to keep the horses comfortable.

Can you provide extra foot trims?
Only when medically necessary, as determined by a vet or our farrier. Two trims a year, alongside the horses’ constant movement in a natural environment, generally keeps the herd’s feet sound and in good shape. We will of course address any hoof injuries or issues that arise, though.

Will you blanket my horse?
If we and/or our vets believe that your horse will benefit from a blanket, yes. Horses are extremely cold-adapted. Our many, many Floridian horses can attest to that. Winters here are pretty mild, so if your horse can grow a coat, she’ll be fine. We generally have about 10% of the herd blanketed in a given winter.

What about grain?
Very rare, and only when medically necessary, as determined by our vets. If anything, we’re struggling with keeping weight *off* the horses these days. Still, we usually grain a couple very old or at-risk horses in the winter.

Will you let me know if my horse is struggling?
Definitely, and right away. We have no interest in watching a horse struggle here. Life at Welbourne is supposed to be your horse’s golden years. The only person who may hear about it first is a vet, so we can immediately explain the situation and present you with a concrete plan. And we’ll be the first to tell you that your horse needs extra care or, in extremely rare cases, a different situation than ours.

Can I take my horse back or move him if I change my mind?
Of course! We take no ownership whatsoever of your horse. We only ask that if you think this is a distinct possibility *before* you even decide to bring your horse here, that you consider another farm: As mentioned in the first FAQ above, movement negatively affects the herd. But again, your horse is always your horse, and we will accommodate you.

Are your pastures separated? Are mares and geldings turned out together?
The farm is only fenced at its perimeter. The rest is just 500 open acres, with the mares and geldings all together. However, they separate themselves into distinct groups and determine their own favorite fields and migratory patterns. So it’s not the case that they’re all bunched up, except in the summer when they choose to gather together in the barns and run-ins.

How do horses settle in? What is your process for releasing them into the herd?
If your horse arrives late in the day or at night, we’ll often put her in a paddock for the night to settle in. From there, she’ll be able to get her bearings and see the others before joining them. If she arrives early, we’ll just let her out within sight of the others and follow her throughout the day to ensure she’s settling in. Horses are herd animals and are generally attracted to company, so they figure it out. Some quieter or loner horses may just stay near the others and begin to engage slowly. Every horse is different.

Will you provide updates as my horse settles in?
Yes, this is when we are in closest contact with you. Once they find their place here, they develop a routine and there’s not as much to say anymore. But over those first days or weeks, we will be sending photos and/or videos, as well as updates, to ensure that you know what is going on and are comfortable.