Pay Big Money Or Do It Yourself'

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About a year ago, my husband and I finally gave in on our new-barn project and hired professionals to do the work.

I say ?finally? because We've gone a year trying to figure out how we could do it ourselves. it's just the two of us, it's a big barn, and we have precious little spare time. So, last week we came to our senses and wrote a big, fat check instead. The barn looks beautiful.

We did the same thing with electric, although we went through a lot of bids before we chose the right one. Bids ranged from $2500 to over $12,000. Why' Your guess is as good as mine. The point is, though, we decided tackling painting and electric on our own was holding us up too much.

But we're disappointed, too. We're both diehard do-it-yourselfers. We don't believe in paying anyone to do anything that we can do ourselves. And, by and large, that's worked just fine.

It may take us a little longer to get it done?and heaven knows we sacrifice ever going on a real vacation to do it?but things get done the way we want them for a lot less money. So, we paint, mow, repair fences, re-do the gravel driveway, garden, clean stalls and care for the horses, haul in bedding, etc.?whatever needs to be done is accomplished with our four hands.

Of course, in order to succeed at this you need enough common sense to admit if something?s not within your realm of expertise.? We can paint, but we can't do our horse's teeth.? We can repair the fence, but we can't diagnose veterinary problems, not even with all the ?help? you can find in Internet chat rooms.? Sometimes those forums get you into trouble, too.

that's because chat rooms are just that, folks sitting around discussing things. they're just doing it over the Internet instead of a coffee table. Go ahead and enjoy the chats, but verify the information you're getting before you use it.

People can tell some pretty tall tales when they're hiding behind a computer screen.? Bad painting advice might just be a matter of wasted cash, but improper suggestions for horse care or training can get you or your horse hurt.

Double-check online information through reliable sources, like your own veterinarian, farrier or trainer. Consult Horse Journal and other reputable publications and books. Attend clinics and seminars. Learn all you can. Then, get right out there and do it yourself. you'll enjoy every minute of it and save a bundle ? if you have enough time.