How did you choose your stables? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-27-2008, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: South Wales
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How did you choose your stables?

How did you choose where to go? I suppose I'm thinking more of riding than boarding, as I'm a total beginner and I have no plans to ever actually own a horse.

There are two riding schools within a reasonable driving distance of me. I have friends who learned at both. The nearest one is downsizing - they only run lessons a few days a week, I saw their outdoor arenas and they were run-down with broke fencing, and the horse-walker clearly hadn't been used in years as the weeds were three feet high in it! Horses stood in small stalls that weren't level and the buildings looked very run-down, including some with broken roofs. A friend who used to ride there told me that old horses, or those with long-term injuries, were sold off - sometimes to the meat man.

So, naturally, I chose the other one. It's more expensive, but they have clean, new facilities with an indoor arena, outdoor arena, and lots of stabling. They're what we call 'American-style' stables - a big barn under which it's all assembled - with loose boxes, stalls, pens, the office, tack room, a sort of classroom for more academic teaching, a shower/washroom for the horses, and so on. The fields all have proper fencing - no barbed wire to be seen - and the owner trains showjumpers, so there are a lot of good quality horses there. I also know that they take care of their horses when they're old. One of their founding ponies, a mare called Black, was being ridden by a friend about eight or nine years ago. Black was twenty-seven then, and still sound. She did gentle work with young beginner riders. Later on she was completely retired, and died of old age last year.

The instructors I've met so far are all great, and one of my friends used to board there until she found a livery stables much closer to her home. While she wasn't fond of some of the people there, she told me that they always took very good care of her horse.

I'm glad I chose the stables I did, because I wouldn't want to support somewhere that didn't have responsible practices, both in teaching and horse ownership. I've also heard horror stories about some of the practices at the other stables - pushing beginners into things they weren't safe to do, unsafe riding environments, not replacing hats after falls and so on.

I don't know much about horses and riding, but I did try to think about all of these things. It wasn't a hard choice between the two schools, but I wanted to find out as much as I could about their practices before I started riding. While I don't have to take care of a horse myself, I'm indirectly responsible for their care through riding at that school, so I wanted to go to a place that took care of their horses properly. I know that I'm very lucky that my dad lets me drive his car and doesn't use it to go to work, because otherwise it'd be a choice between the poor stables (just within cycling distance) or no riding at all.

Oh, and I've just found out that time Times named it as one of the eight best riding schools in the UK, and the owner's trained Grand Prix dressage horses too. Heh.

So, how did you choose where to ride or board your horse?
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-27-2008, 04:11 PM
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Good questions!

For riding:
-Nice-sized arena, good trainer(s), nice-looking place, nice horses, people are nice, etc. & a reasonable price.
When I'm checking out a barn, in must be in good condition, the horses are well-cared for, the people are nice, & the pricing has to be good. Also, an indoor arena is a plus. & good trails, as I loveee to trailride on nice warm days! Get info about lesson times too of course lol.

For boarding/leasing:
Always make sure the horses are well-cared for (your horse is gonna be one of them!) & also sign an agreement/warranty of course. Ask a lot of questions about feed, the farrier, & the schedule of feeding, turnout, blanketing, etc. ;) Or if they use the combined system (which is half turnout half stables). Also if other people are going to be riding your horse (like for lessons). Good conditions (of pastures/fields, tack room, barn/stable, stalls, hay, etc.). You want the best for your horse, lol. Also a good price. & ask about when you can see your horse, like some barns have restrictions on when you can go to the barn (like late at night & such), etc. There's more but I'll add later.

You're definitely on the right track!! It is very important when you're looking for a place to board your horse(s), the current horses are in good health & cared for properly.

I think I covered most of it, that's my 2 cents! Prolly forgot some things, soo I'm gonna have to add more soon. LOL!

Ride more, worry less.
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post #3 of 12 Old 09-26-2008, 11:14 PM
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This is the Barn I Ride at , I really love this place but I mainly choose it because It was very local only about 20 mins while other barns were atleast 45 mins.

when I choose a barn

I look at there horses and make sure they look happy & healthy.
i look at where I would be keeping my tack and horses food
Where would we be riding? Is there an indoor?
Are the other boarders or lesson takers freindly?

And most importantly is the barn safe? I mean like no nails sticking out, wire laying around, fallen pasture boards etc

What are there methods of training or teaching styles for lessons!
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-12-2008, 09:21 PM
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In the end, it doesn't matter how nice the facilities were, but how much you learned at them.

This obviously isn't true at all for every place, but when I started taking lessons when I was eleven or so, we found a nice barn, but the instructor didn't know anything. We moved out to an old thoroughbred race horse barn. It was definitly not the nicest of sorts, but the instructor was and still is a natural.

When I look at barns, I look at...
-How healthy the horses look and what sort of circumstances they're kept in,
-Trainer's knowledge,
-Safety things,
-And the trainer knowing how to handle people well.

I've had bad experiences with barns, butthe one where I'm keeping my horse now I'm very happy with and fits all of the above.
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-12-2008, 10:46 PM
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the main things I looked for was the proper care that I believed that my horse should have. I wanted pasture board, unlimited hay, and him to be with other horses.

I looked for how clean water buckets were, the pasture' the horse's looked, how clean the place was, the BOs knowledge, lessons, and how all the other boarders were
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-12-2008, 11:10 PM
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It was the only place that would take a draft horse! Thankfully it turned out to be a great place to be.

Unless it weighs a ton... it's just a horse. Draft horse motto.
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post #7 of 12 Old 10-12-2008, 11:35 PM
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BUT - back when i did board... i wanted my horse to have turnout 24/7 with shelter. I wanted him to get fed twice a day and have plenty of hay. The place had to have an arena of some sort and beleive it or not, the place I was happiest, was someones house, not a fancy stables....

"Be a best friend, tell the truth, and overuse I love you
Go to work, do your best, don't outsmart your common sense
Never let your prayin knees get lazy
And love like crazy"
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-13-2008, 07:24 AM
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For boarding, I unfortunately had to set myself a price limit, then choose the best facilities within that limit! I always look for good fencing (my horse is a klutz and will always find ways to injure himself), top class facilites (ie floodlit, fully equipped arenas), things like undercover washbays etc. Where I agist, my horse gets fed twice a day (my feed), rugged twice a day, put out to paddock on my paddocking days (3 days a week). For extra charges you can have them brought in, have your manure picked up for you (!!! no thanks lol) etc. What really got me with the place I am at now, is that everything was clean and tidy (as far as horses go), the stable block was new, airy, etc etc.

For riding instructors/schools- I have 2 instructors. One is a previous Olympian who I volunteered for a few times, and you know you're going to learn a lot from an Olympian so that wasn't a hard choice! The horses she has are all very well cared for.
My other instructor was a matter of location- was very close by where I used to agist, but her facilities were excellent and she was very professional.

I've agisted at some awful places. One place I was at had feral goats roaming around, who would always eat my hay. The fences were AWFUL (numerous injuries from them). And the owner would regularly forget to fill up the water tank, and my horse would often go a full day in 35 degree + heat (celsius) without any water in his trough, I ended up having to bring water from home for him!
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post #9 of 12 Old 10-19-2008, 11:55 PM
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We called the vets and asked for the local barns. We got three called each one and only one was looking for people to work in exchange for lessons...Then we bought a horse from there, bored, ride, work you name it.

From east to west a travlin gypsy found her prancing pony for now their hearts run as one...into the north
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post #10 of 12 Old 10-20-2008, 10:57 AM
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I looked for a few things (in no particular order)

-proximity to my house
-cost of board (I wanted 24/7 turnout with shelter and hay)
-how well cared for the horses looked
-amenities (I must say I'm a little bummed we don't have a full size arena but there is a small indoor work space I can use on winter nights)
-safety stuff (anything the horses can hurt themselves on in the pasture? fences broken?)
-are outside trainers allowed?

I just read that you're thinking more of riding than boarding your own horse, whoops!

"Be the change you want to see in the world."-Mahatma Gandhi
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