Say you’re new to the horse business and you’ll need to board your horse elsewhere. Picking a good facility can be tough, but in this article, we’ll discuss some of these things. Here are 10 quick tips about picking your horse boarding facilities.
10 Quick Tips About Horse Boarding Facilities
Sometimes, we want to have a horse, but we don’t have the space to keep one. In situations like this, a boarding your horse elsewhere might be the best choice. But if you’re relatively new to horses, you might be in doubt about what makes a good or a bad place to board your horses. So let’s explore some tips about horse boarding facilities.
1. The horses in the pasture are around the same size and age.
This might seem odd, but hear us out. Sometimes, the best solution for your horse is a pasture boarding: the horse will be out in the pasture most of the time, doing horse stuff the way nature intended. This is particularly common for retired horses, who earned their well-deserved rest.But, it’s not as simple as just turning a horse out, because horses are herd animals.They fit into hierarchies and herd dynamics, including some already established. To prevent issues, the horses should be around the same age, weight and size. A weaker horse might end bullied or pushed aside by stronger horses, which could end in injury and stress. Sometimes it might just end with the horse not finding a place to shelter, or being lonely.
But, it’s not as simple as just turning a horse out. Horses are herd animals. They fit into hierarchies and herd dynamics. Some of these might exist since before your horse’s arrival. To prevent issues, the horses should be around the same age, weight and size. A weaker horse might end bullied or pushed aside by stronger horses, which could end in injury and stress. Sometimes it might just end with the horse not finding a place to shelter, or being lonely.
2. Pre-plan in case of emergencies.
So what happens if you have an emergency and need to be away? Discuss this prior to boarding, both with the facility and other people in your support network. This is especially important in facilities where you need to be more active in your horse’s upkeep, such as through mucking and caring for it yourself. But even if you have a full care or even pasture boarding, you still need to have a plan in place in case emergency hits and you are not there to solve it.
What happens if you need to travel? Who is responsible if something happens to both you and your horse and your input is needed?
3. Tag your stuff.
Whatever you leave at the boarding facility — tag it with your name. This is important in case something gets lost, and also to prevent other people from using your stuff without permission. Likewise, don’t use other people’s stuff, especially not without permission.
4. Have a second option in mind.
Sometimes, things happen and your horse simply doesn’t adapt to its new home. Or maybe you don’t adapt to the ways the facility is run, or an accident happens, or it shuts down. Whatever the case may be, have a second option in mind, in case you need to move out. Even if you don’t have to, make sure to never force a situation that isn’t good for all parties involved. Forcing situations never end well, neither for you nor for your horse.
5. Be realistic about your needs.
It might be tempting to want to give your horse the best possible experience ever. Just remember: horses don’t quite think like we do. Be realistic about your choice horse boarding facilities. There is no use in paying for a place with a show jumping training area if you won’t use it, or boarding in a massive stable that will stress you and your horse out with the excess noise and movement. Contrariwise, a cheaper boarding stable with fewer features might not meet your needs, either.
6. Check the working hours.
What if you want to ride in the evening but your boarding doesn’t allow you? Horse boarding facilities have working hours as any other business. Make sure the one you pick has theirs according to what you need. Be realistic about your schedule as well.
7. Check the main discipline of your stable.
You don’t want to be the one person who rides Western in a barn where everyone else rides English. Horse boarding facilities, especially those that offer training arenas, are a great way to socialize with other riders. Being the one odd duck in the barn could both mean you don’t fit, but also that you don’t have the structure and facilities you need, so keep that in mind.
The same applies to the mood and feel of the boarding facility. If you’re older, you might not feel as at home in a boarding facility full of young people. Try to find a place where mood, feel and style combines with your own,
8. Location, location, location.
This should be obvious, but oftentimes it isn’t. Your boarding facility should be close enough to you that you can visit often, or at a moment’s notice. This is because you might need to respond to an emergency as quickly as possible, but not only that. You don’t want to get burnout from traffic and the hassle of visiting your horse, to the point it stresses you and spoils your enjoyment. If it’s too far or too hard to get there, that’s less time you have to spend with your horse. Choose wisely.
9. Be there when your horse needs you.
Does your horse need a farrier? Vet? Massage therapist? Whatever the case, be there when the professional is there as well. Don’t rely on the boarding facility’s staff to take care of everything for you. Even if their contract says they give you full boarding, caring for the horse in the day to day activity is different from special care. You want to be there and supervise everything if you need anything different than the usual done.
10. Be nice to people.
Nobody wants to be the uncourteous, annoying customer. While you need to make sure your horse is okay and well-cared for, don’t nag the staff or other boarders. If you have an issue with another boarder or the staff, speak up; if your horse isn’t well-cared or suffering, speak up (or move out). But don’t be that person who wants to micromanage everything about the barn and its occupants. That creates a bad, tense environment and you and your horse will suffer for it.We understand it can be tough to relax about certain things (and you shouldn’t) but do try to stay calm, civil and kind to people.