03-04-2009, 11:28 PM
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I'm going to just post this list, I think it might help you probably already know most of the stuff on it.
Things to watch for when looking at turnout:
-access to shelter with enough room for several horses
-access to water (large clean water troughs)
-regular feeding of a sufficient amount of good quality hay (half a large round bale will feed approx. Ten average sized horses for one day) (for non-graze fields) OR
-good grass, not dry or overly green (the standard is one acre per horse)
-not overcrowded (too many horses for the feed given, or just not enough space)
-not too wet/muddy, dry/dusty, or steep hills
-no rocks that could damage a horses hooves or trip a horse
-no debris or trash, (no cars, machines, tools peices of metal or plastic)
-horses that have hind shoes (this is very dangerous for other horses if they get kicked)
-proper management of manure
-trees to break the wind/provide shade
-no dangerous plants (Consumed-oak, nightshade. Contact-rash or irratation causing plants. Carry-burrs and the like)
-avoid "individual turnout" (unless the horse has a medical issue or other related problem, is a stallion, or is shod on all fours)
-look for regular turnout schedules/individual plans
-make sure that all horses are dewormed on the same day as part of a regular "heard health plan"
-check that horses living there look healthy, well maintained, and contented
Most horses whose diet is balanced with the amount of work they do can thrive on hay or graze alone without added feed. Feed is important for horses who need something extra to keep their work and diet balanced, some are also harder to balance like older horses, or certain breeds.
Talk to potential boarding facilities to see what their standards are, what costs extra and what is provided. Look at as many facilities as possible even if you find one that looks or sounds good. Thoroughly tour anywhere you see potential and try to talk to people who board there. Get all the facts to make the best decision.
Barns that you want to avoid often:
-offer no turnout or turnout only if the horse owner provides it
-charge extra for turnout
-turnout less than four hours a day
-give your own hay A.K.A "feed your own horse or he'll go hungry"
-provide your own hay "we'll feed your horse hay you buy"
-both the above combined
-inapropriate turnout area (debris, bad fences, no shelter ect.)
-other horses appear unhealthy
-no health plan
Hope this helps, good luck finding a barn.