I used to board at my university. I got the last stall with a run (they were not desirable by anyone else, really). Unfortunately it was on the end, and they hadn't fixed the gutter system, so every time it rained, it flooded my horse's run. He had this tiny little corner in his (dirt floor) stall to stand in. I did a lot of fixing up, but since I was afraid of him getting hoof rot, I asked if I could let him have access to the small turnout area next to his stall. There was a grandstand in there. It wasn't very big, but it would help keep his feet dry. This was actually a stipulation of being able to board there, and part of our verbal contract.
Boy oh boy did the other girls have a hay day with that one! I was, and still am, quite shy, don't voice my opinions very often, and have never, ever been in the middle of any drama whatsoever, even in high school! I always try to be polite and nice to everyone, even if I cannot stand them. So when they brought up the "unfairness" of it all at a barn meeting, I set them straight. A week later, I found that the gate between his stall and the turnout had been closed, and padlocked. I called the guy in charge of the stables, and he acted indignant that I even asked. He said that "some of the other girls had seen my horse cribbing on the grandstand." Believe me, I looked high and low for any crib marks (a habit that my horse had never, ever indulged in), but couldn't find any. I decided that I couldn't do much about it, and let it go.
Then I came out there a day or two later, and they had tied my horse up (with a slip-knot) in his stall, and chatted the stall, but left the gate wide open. He was standing there, almost asleep, so I knew he'd been there for a while. Since he can untie a slip-knot in -0.3 seconds flat, and since the property wasn't fenced in, and by a major road, I was ppppp-ooooo'ed!!
I was so p-o'ed that we left that week, with enough credit for another month. Thankfully we were only paying $40 a month for the stupid stall!
The best advice I can give anyone who is looking at places to board is to:
1.) Look at the age and experience of the barn owner and manager.
I boarded at a place where the barn manager (they were leasing the property) was a year older than me (I was 21 at the time). She caused every bit of drama in that barn, and was as dumb as a box of rocks! My horse had been colicking horribly all day- which they noticed numerous times!- and she just thought that "she had an attitude." She was one of those "cowgirl wannabe" types, and manhandle everyone's horse, including her own.
2.) See what condition the horses are in. Ignore the fancy schmancy "human amenities" like a heated indoor observation deck, or automatic waterers. Look at the horses. Are their stalls messy? Do they look depressed or wound up, like they haven't been out in a while? Do they have enough water? Do they get enough food?
3.) Watch how the boarders there interact with their horses. That will tell you a lot about them as a person. As they say, "Horses are the windows to our soul."
Thankfully the barn that I board at now is run by a little old woman, and she is as picky as all get out! She will call you at 2 a.m. if you left something unlatched, or didn't close something, or etc. She's OCD to the MAX, but she only has room for 8 boarders, and all of our horses are well taken care of. She was also the only one in this area with any pasture left after last summer's drought. She achieved this by regulating the hours that pairs of horses went out. When she took a tumble off of a horse a while back, we were all afraid that she'd close the barn. We begged her not to, and picked up the slack with chores. Thankfully she's recovered, and we're still boarding there.
Last edited by TurkishVan; 02-21-2013 at 09:05 PM.