Sunday, July 15, 2012

Boarding Barns - what are your deal breakers?

Need some feedback. What are the things and amenities you feel you MUST have in a barn where you will be boarding your horse? What can you live without? Right now I have everything I could want but the future seems unclear where I am and I have to see what's out there that I can afford.


Is an indoor arena a must? ( I can function okay without one if I have to)
Must you have a large or grass turn out? ( I can function without this, too. Smallish dirt turnout is ok)
Group or individual turn out? ( I much prefer individual)
Can you ride whenever you want - within reason? ( I have been lucky with this so far)
How far are you willing to travel? ( Would prefer to keep it within a half hour drive - in other words, no further than I am now)

I could list more but I want your thoughts and opinions, please!



Ian said...

It sound like you are well on the way to a "Needs and wants" list.

I would list all the things that are important to you, such as farrier , vet services, plus the things the horse might need, such as exercise when you aren't able to. Then go through and identify what is a "Must" and what is a "Need"

The musts will be the potential show stoppers. For example if a
"must" is a food supply for a geriatric horse, and the boarding stable and you can't supply it, that stable would get a No-Go rating.

Best I can do without knowing your situation.
Good luck!

Miranda said...

I can personally live without a indoor if there is a good outdoor. But I guess that depends on where you live and how your winters are. I would need grass turn out and Id like for pip to have a buddy but she is fine alone. I prefer there be a bathroom with plumbing. Hate having to squat in a stall. Distance is a factor and paying for what you get. If I am paying a bunch of money I better have a fantastic outdoor or an indoor. Also if my farrier and vet can come to the new barn or of there is one there just as good. The type of people there. I'd like to have a few other jumping people vs having a barn full of western pleasure then me. Of the management is willing to help like give supplements and take jackets off or if the horse got hurt change a dressing.
I'd make a Need! Want! And don't need list and go from there if the time ever comes.

Net said...

My "wants" were too many to find in a boarding facility so I built my own place, but as far as must-haves...

If I were somewhere with true winters, I would have to have an indoor. Here we can generally ride year round, though footing which allows riding just about daily even during rainy season is a must. There are a few covered arenas here which are great in the summer, but true indoors tend to be unpleasant due to lack of air flow in the hot desert.

Quality hay of a type which my horses thrive on. In the southwest we don't have pastures, so we feed mostly bermuda hay and a small amount of alfalfa. If that weren't an option, since many facilities only feed alfalfa out here, I'd say no way.

Pens as safe as the facility can make them. Horses would suffocate themselves on a padded stall, so there's no 100% safe facility no matter how hard a barn owner tries. But, facilities which tend toward the safe side are a must.

Good employees who care about the horses. This can mean just the barn owner in a smaller facility, but if it's large enough to have hired help, the help will care about things like swelling on legs or horses who change their eating habits. When I boarded the workers knew my horses both tended to walk away from their hay and look out in the distance because they're not huge eaters, but called people with horses who tended to be more dedicated to their food who exhibited the same behavior in case it was colic. VERY important that the eyes present there pay attention.

Location. I have to be able to get there to see my horse; if the facility doesn't feed grain, that's even more significant.

Lights. Especially in the winter, an arena must have lights so I can fit in rides after work. I have the horses at home within 15 minutes of work so managed without lights at home, but at a boarding facility it's pretty guaranteed the time wouldn't work out as easily for me to ride during winter daylight.

OnTheBit said...

I think that because you have two adorable boys who need you at home you need a place that is within a half hour and has an indoor. You need to be able to ride when you have time to get out there. I hope you find a new place soon, or that your current place stays the way you want it...

Once Upon an Equine said...

A convenient location where I can get to the barn quickly and daily (or twice daily) would be very important to me. Close to home or close to work, so I can keep an eye on my horse and know what's going on. I had bad experiences one time with my horse being used by other riders and over-used by a trainer without my knowledge when I boarded long distance. After that, the place has to be clean and well maintained-no broken glass, jagged wood, hazards left lying around. Always a supply of clean fresh water. I can't stand my horses having empty water buckets, and that happened at the same bad boarding barn in my past. Good hay and good turnout is important. I like group turnout if done responsibly. When I boarded Misty when I first got her, they left the horses in their stalls for 12-15+ hours a day. Feeding was done only at turnout, except for a small bit of hay given in the evening (or early afternoon) when they came in. So they went long hours stuck in their stalls with nothing to eat. I hated that. And it is a must that the barn helpers be responsible and reliable. I think it is great if teens can work in the barn to pay for lessons or board, but it should be like a real job with real hours. Not..."I'm going to bring the horses in early so I can leave and hang out with my friends."

Jean said...

The care is always tops on my list.

Tons of turnout, as much as possible.

Can choose your own vet and farrier.

Indoor is nice but good footing in and outdoor is good too--and for me a place without jumps in the way.

Half hour drive is about max.

My Boys are in the back yard now, so I can't even imagine the old days of boarding. But the deal breaker was always the care the horses got.

jill said...

Horse's needs first. CLEAN, fresh water, everyday. Quality hay, I don't care about grain, don't feed it. Group turnout, everyday for as long as possible. Horses are social and need to be able to be a horse, plus if for some reason I can't get to the barn to ride, I know the horse has not been stuck in a stall all day. Well ventilated stall/barn,cleaned everday. No urine smell!The amonia is so awful for a horses lungs.
As for me, location and an indoor and outdoor riding space. It's just so much easier to have an indoor here in the Chicago area.

SunnySD said...

Second on Jill's comments.

Just had a long conversation with a friend about this - she's checking out spots, and thought she'd found a great place. Fit & shiny horses. Big, heated barn with nice stalls, indoor arena with good footing, nice roomy turnouts. No lesson requirements, but they host clinics. It's close to her house and not too far from some good trails.

Sounded perfect.

But she made a point to drop in a couple more times and found that the owner was a) feeding really crappy hay, and b) lied to her about it. Deal breaker.

Wendy said...

I think a lot it depends on your horse. I have two and one of them pretty much dictates the order of importance at a boarding facility. He gets ulcers easily and the best way for us to control the problem is for him to be able to be out in a field most of a day and be able to graze.

My other horse is a senior equine and being in a stall for long hours is tough on his old bones. He won't lay down in the stall (12x12) because he feels he can't get back up. But moving around a field grazing helps him out a lot. I bring him in during the hot summer days to get some relief from flies and heat. He thrives with this program.

So my main concern is turnout and quality of fields. I also like to be at a barn with like minded riders in terms of riding discipline but don't mind if there is a wide variety.

As for the importance of an indoor, I think that depends on where you live. When I was in northern Michigan an indoor was a must because winters are brutal with amount of lake effect snow. Now I'm in Kentucky and I don't have an indoor and I don't miss having one.

Care is important too. I'm happiest with doing self care so I can keep a watchful eye on my horses each day. Plus it really helps in solidifying my relationship with my horses.

Best of luck to you! It's never fun looking for new places.

Kelly said...

Great care from barn owner is at the top of my list. Stalls cleaned every day, good turn out, good venilation in the barn. Well kept footing in riding arenas. And very low barn drama!