Cultural differences: Barns in the US verses UK - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 03-29-2011, 03:38 PM Thread Starter
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Cultural differences: Barns in the US verses UK

I was just curious, wondering if this was my own experience or if others can relate to it as well. It seems to me, having lived in Britain for a bit over four years, that the barn owners here take a more proactive role in your horse's care than ones in the US.*

At most stables in the US I've kept horses at (there was one exception), the barn fed and watered your horse, cleaned its stall, turned it out, maybe blanketed it, and left you to get on with everything else. If you needed their help, say to hold the horse for a vet visit or shoeing, they are available, but for the most part that is up to you. It's also your job to inform them of the more mundane things, like what blankets you want on at whatever time of year, what supplements you want, etc.

At most of the stables I've kept the horse at in the UK, I have found that the barn owners take more responsibility for your horse's shoeing, worming, vaccinations, and other stuff. For example, I had my horse at one barn where I was constantly rowing with the owner about what blankets (rugs) my horse wore -- she had her ideas and I had mine and I wasn't there 24/7 to put the blankets I liked on my horse and make sure they stayed on. They decide what blankets are most suited to the weather, the supplements your horse should have, etc. As an owner, you hardly ever interact with folk like your farrier.

The latter used to drive me totally bonkers. I've gotten more used to it, though sometimes (like with the aforementioned blanket issue) it still drives me nuts.

As I said, I'm just curious. Does this reflect anyone else's experience?

*I mean full livery in the UK, not part or DIY or whatever
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post #2 of 9 Old 03-29-2011, 07:42 PM
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I have not had the experience, however, what you say about the UK stables would drive me nuts. I like to have control about MY horse. That's the point in having My Own horse. =P
My barn take care of the essentials (feeding, watering, turn out when I'm not there, etc.) and I make sure everything else is taken care of. That's the way *I* like it.
(and my horse doesn't wear blankets)

Last edited by Reiterin; 03-29-2011 at 07:45 PM.
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post #3 of 9 Old 03-30-2011, 01:23 PM
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I guess I run my barn more like the Brits then since I include farrier and worming in my board. I find that I get a lot of newer horse owners and they rely heavily on my guidance. Owners have the option of forfeiting the service and using whatever farrier they like of course.

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post #4 of 9 Old 03-30-2011, 01:27 PM
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I worked at a stable that offered full care, partial care, and self care. The full care was obviously... full care, while partial care was feeding only and then self care was no help from the barn.

I think it just depends on where you are. When I lived in Germany the place where I rode was actually a community barn. The horses were kept in private barns, alot of them were attached to the houses. Really neat, they could open a window and the horse could look right in!

There were a couple boarding facilities there too but I don't remember how they worked.

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post #5 of 9 Old 04-01-2011, 04:37 PM
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This is very interesting to me, and something that I have thought about quite a bit.

I am English, but have lived in the US for the past 10 years.

To me in the US full board includes feeding, watering, turnout, maybe blanketing (sometimes for an extra charge).

In the UK full livery means everything is done for your horse, the same way that you would care for the horse yourself.
I think the problems you had with the barn owner in the UK is more due to the personality of that person rather than being the norm.

When I had full livery in England, they would hold for and book the vet or farrier, but I was certainly able to be there, which I always would. And they would use whatever blanket I wanted them to.

I was shocked when I had my first horse here in the US at a full board facility, and they would put a blanket on, but would not remove it when the horse was stalled at night. Once the blanket was on, it stayed there until it was no longer needed in Spring. However they would remove a fly mask when the horse was brought into the stall - this made no sense to me.

I was shocked by the lack of bedding here in the US. I am used to a loaded stall with banked bedding against the walls. But it's just different, doesn't mean that any one is better than the other.

I am lucky now, that I board with my trainer who is English. She treats my horse as she does her own. She calls me AFTER she calls a vet or farrier if there is a problem. She tells me that I pay her to look after my horse first, and she is right.

She would hold for the vet/farrier if I could not be there. She would stay up all night if there was a problem. Of course I would not ask this of her, but I love that she considers full board to include all of this.
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post #6 of 9 Old 04-02-2011, 08:03 PM
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I think it's very much a barn to barn thing, not a country to country thing. I've worked at three other big boarding barns in my area, (as well as a couple private ones and my own). Two of the three were very much "hands-on, do everything" barns. We scheduled all farrier and vet visits, our staff was there to hold and retrieve horses. We blanketed or not as needed, even put sunscreen on and fly spray on those we felt needed it, and this was all included in the monthly board. We bought and added any supplements or special feed or hay the owner wanted and added just the cost of it to the bill, but nothing extra to get it and use it. The third big barn I worked at charged extra for every one of those things, if they did them at all, and IMO nickeled and dimed the poor boarders to death, but that was where they made their money. So I really think it has more to do with the individual BO's. And of course, in the US it always seems to be about the bottom line and making a buck. Which often cuts into good quality care.

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post #7 of 9 Old 04-02-2011, 08:51 PM
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I think it depends what barn you are at. I do the QH world and basically every trainer I know (that owns their own barn) waters, feeds, cleans stalls, blankets, worms, vaccinate, and has the farrier come out for their horses. At my barn, they do all that, but we have to ride, tack up, groom, and bathe ourselves, which IMO is how it should be. Why own a horse if you never do anything with it besides hop on and go show/ride? I don't really get why some people own horses and are barely part of their day-to-day lives; then again, that's just my opinion.

Anyway, that's how showing AQH barns do it!
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post #8 of 9 Old 04-03-2011, 08:11 PM
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Definitely depends on the barn.

I've been to some (including the barn I am at now) where I would have no problem just leaving the horse and going off somewhere for months on end with no worries about his feeding or scheduling for anything. I've been at some where you can't even pay them to do boots, medication or extra blankets (for $800/mo one might expect this) and your horse would be turned out where-ever they felt like putting it.

I like to take a really pro-active approach to horsecare so I do schedule all my vet and farrier visits and manage my horse's diet but I have no doubt that the owner/manager would do any less of a good job in my abscence. There are some barns (which I will not board at) that tell you how to do everything and what to buy for your horse and do it all themselves (incl the tacking up and cool down). I personally can't do that, I need to have that time before and after I ride to supplement my training that I know how the horse is "doing" so to speak.

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post #9 of 9 Old 04-05-2011, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by justjump View Post
I think it depends what barn you are at. I do the QH world and basically every trainer I know (that owns their own barn) waters, feeds, cleans stalls, blankets, worms, vaccinate, and has the farrier come out for their horses. At my barn, they do all that, but we have to ride, tack up, groom, and bathe ourselves, which IMO is how it should be.
Agreed. That's how my barn is. If you pay full board ($400/month) it includes twice feeding, adding in supplements (which you purchase), wormings, holding for farrier, blanketing, being around for the vet, etc. You can get the extras like clipping, braiding, grooming, etc. but it'll cost you extra.
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