I have been at some big barns of 100+ horses and as small as three boarded horses.
A few things I have noticed over the years... unless each boarder has thier own locked tack locker, stuff gets 'borrowed' and usually returned, but not always. This is true for any size place.
The personal care of the horses usually tends to be best at the ten to fifiteen boarded horses level. Less than that and the stable owners are not making enough money to make it. More than that and the don't have time to take notice of each horse.
At big barns, if you don't ride the specific main disapline, you are an outcast. At a small barn, if you don't ride the specific main disapline, you get looked at wierd and may have to answer a LOT of questions.
I have gotten phone calls before on why I was not out in a couple days from both the smal and the huge barns. I find that the smaller barns are better about contacting if there is a problem with your horse - ie injury.
I have been told that my horses were not welcome at a large barn because they did not want my driving horse - only Western riders. I have never had a small barn have a problem with my horse cart - other than I wind up giving a log of lessons!
I find that peopel in larger barns tend to be a bit more stressed out than at the smaller barns.
Then, from left field, concerning your specific situation... If someone touched my horses without my specific permission, I would be gone the day I found out. Even if I had to ride them out, we woudl not stay there.
I actually met a lady who did what I consider an 'emergency' move. She had kept her three horses at the same stable for several years where they had recieved excellent care. One weekend she goes out to ride and only two of her three horses are on the porperty. After a frantic weekend of trying to locate the missing horse, including police reports, it turns out the stable owner had borrowed him.
The stable owner went on a large four day trip and they were one horse short for the number of people they were taking... so without asking or even informing the horse owner, had the horse shod and took him for the four day camping trip.... I can't even imagine.
The very day they got back, the three horses were moved to the stable I was at.
Last edited by yadlim; 03-26-2012 at 06:27 PM.