Interviewing Boarding Facilities

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Interviewing Boarding Facilities

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  • Questions to ask horse boarding facility
  • Interviewing for horse boarding facility

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    01-06-2014, 06:08 PM
Green Broke
Question Interviewing Boarding Facilities

I'm starting to set up appointments to look at potential horses for me which means I should probably think about securing a boarding facility soon.

I'm trying to come up with a list of questions to ask and was wondering if y'all could help me:

How much is pasture board & indoor board?
Does that include feed?
What do you feed/who is your feed supplier?
Is there someone onsite 24/7?
Are there extra charges for using facilities (arena usage fee)?
How long has your facility been open?
How many years of experience do you have working with horses?
Do you require a security deposit?
How many boarders can you accomodate?

Anything else?
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    01-06-2014, 06:53 PM
Does board increase in the winter? Can you ride in the indoor while lessons are going on? Is blanketing extra or included? What's the policy for turnout? How many feedings a day? Will you need to provide extra feed if your horse needs more than the standard amount? Is there trailer parking on site?
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Phura and frlsgirl like this.
    01-06-2014, 07:13 PM
I like to split my questions up into ones to ask before going to see the place, and others to ask while I'm there. The "before" questions are the deal-breakers: is it in my price range? How much turnout do the horses get summer/winter? What riding facilities do they have?

If there aren't any deal breakers then I go see the facility and try to get an idea of what the average day is for the horse- when they get fed, when they get turned out, when they're brought in, etc. (I try to get an idea of how regular they are with the schedule, but it's hard to know for certain) I look into the horse's stalls and check if they're clean, if they have water and hay to munch on. There may be one or two older horses that might be a little ribby, but for the most part the horses should all be in good weight and healthy looking. All should have properly trimmed feet (even if they don't belong to the BO, it speaks poorly of the facility if they allow boarded horses to go neglected). Look into the feed room- it should be relatively neat and clean without signs of rodents, bugs, or other vermin. The arena footing should look well maintained and not be overly dusty.

As for actual questions-

- How is turnout handled? Do they turn horses out individually if desired? For groups, how do they handle introductions? When is the weather considered "too bad" for turnout, and do they do anything extra for the horses if they can't get turned out (extra hay, extra stall cleaning, etc.)?
- How much hay/grain they typically give horse? Are they willing to adjust it as necessary if the horse is a hard keeper?
- Have they done a nutritional analysis on the hay (most have not, some don't even know what that is)?
- Do they give a discount if you provide your own grain?
- Will they put fly masks and blankets on/off as needed, and if so do they charge extra?
- Is there a wash rack? Does it have hot water?
- Is there a bathroom?
- Is there a washer/dryer?
- Is trailer parking available? (Look around and see if it's easy to get in/out of. If it's not, will they park the trailer for you?)
    01-06-2014, 08:57 PM
Another few things in addition to other questions: Will they feed your supplements? Do they have fans in summer? Will they apply fly spray? Check to see if all these extras cost. What about instruction? Do they have a dressage instructor on site? Will they let you bring your own? Is there a fee to do that?
frlsgirl likes this.
    01-06-2014, 10:31 PM
I started a similar thread when I started looking at boarding places and a few good key points came up!

Some good things to ask or check out yourself-

How many horses will your horse be pastured with? Is there adequate shelter? Is the fencing safe? If indoor board how often are horses turned out? Stalls cleaned? If you go to check out a place check out the condition of the stalls- are they dry? Are the water buckets cleaned? Troughs? Check out their hay for quality and ask how many times they feed a day. Do they offer grain feedings? If in a pasture situation will they separate your horse for their grain feedings?

If required do they offer extra services like blanketing, medical treatment etc? It’s not something you might think of right now but down line in an injury comes up it can be difficult to wrap or treat multiple times a day depending on how far you are.

Who is their vet and farrier? Can you bring in an outside vet and farrier if you prefer? Are their horses required to be vaccinated and dewormed? Do they offer coaching and are you allowed to bring an outside coach in? Are there times the arena will regularly be booked? Is the arena generally pretty busy?

How do they horses there look? Pay attention to both boarded horses and their own… I’ve worked at places where they were treated very differently. Look for scrapes, injuries, weight and their general attitude. Happy horses are a good sign!

Is a tack locker or secure space for your tack available? Is there a bathroom?

There must be more but that’s all I can think of at the moment. You will have a better idea once you know the horse you will be getting and their and your requirements, good luck :)
    01-07-2014, 07:21 AM
Vet & farrier...can you have your own or must you use the "barns"? Is there a charge for assisting with vet or farrier if needed?
Do they require worming and vaccinations be done during a specified interval of time for all horses on the premise?

Are there days they are closed, barn hours?
Does someone live on premise?
Someone do night-check?
Who are the staff / barn workers? Kids, adults...knowledgeable?

How often are shavings added {if stall board} and are they limited to certain amount?
How often are paddocks / turnouts cleaned? Are the fences in good condition?
Are the barn aisles wide, free of debris and well lit?
Are there night time riding lights? Indoor arena?

Can you ride during lessons? Can you bring in a outside instructor?

What is there policy for "Smoking" and are there fire extinguishers, smoke detection system and fire sprinklers?

Is there a locked tack room? Who has key or combination, when is it open?
Can I have a tack trunk? What size and where would it be located?

Do you have shows in the premises and if so what riding discipline?
Do you have a "helmet" policy?
How do you monitor outsiders in to ride? Are outsiders allowed to ride my horse on the premise?

Is the feed room, hay & shavings storage separate and away from the barn area? Locked?

Is there adequate level parking lot available in size relation to the barn?
Is the entire facility perimeter fenced in case someone gets loose???

Things to observe that come right to mind...
*are the horses friendly and come out to see you when you enter the barn? Do they show interest?
*are the horses well-fed? Skinny, dull coat and eyes or sleek and bright eyed?
*are the stalls level with no gaping holes under the walls?
*are water & feed buckets clean looking? Water at least 1/2 full?
*is there any hay down you can see and smell for "freshness"?
*does every horse have their own halter & shank hanging neatly outside their stall?
*is there a stall plaque with emergency information on stall?
*is the place neat & clean looking, smell nice?
*Are people polite and courteous yet question (if you are by yourself) can they help you?

If outside pasture board...
*how many horses to a pasture/paddock?
*how large is the paddock and when the grass is eaten down what is given in place {bales or rounds}?
*are fences safe and in good condition?
*are paddocks/pasture muddy looking or appear to flood in great amount of size to paddock and horse?
*are the paddocks cleaned/dragged? When?
**what happens if a true storm is forecast? How are the horses protected and where do they go?**
*are horses turned out / kept out without halters on them?

Some things I would be asking along with many that others suggested..
stevenson, Phura and frlsgirl like this.
    01-07-2014, 07:51 PM
Green Broke
All good info. Thank you very much.
    01-07-2014, 08:09 PM
Amounts fed .. if you get a horse that will need more hay you need to make sure that is included in the price, or if it needs alfalfa vs grass hay.
Do they supply salt ?Do they clean the pen/stall ? Is there auto water or bucket or barrel?
Will they feed supplements if you supply them ? Do they meet the farrier ? Or are you meeting the farrier ? That used to be one issue that would really tick me off, the boarder have to leave before the farrier was done. Blanketing ? Off and on ? Turn out ? Shavings vs straw, The hay supplier should be the least of your worries, and I did not tell any boarder whom I purchased the hay from, actually it was none of their business.
    01-07-2014, 09:42 PM
Green Broke
Originally Posted by stevenson    
Amounts fed .. if you get a horse that will need more hay you need to make sure that is included in the price, or if it needs alfalfa vs grass hay.
Do they supply salt ?Do they clean the pen/stall ? Is there auto water or bucket or barrel?
Will they feed supplements if you supply them ? Do they meet the farrier ? Or are you meeting the farrier ? That used to be one issue that would really tick me off, the boarder have to leave before the farrier was done. Blanketing ? Off and on ? Turn out ? Shavings vs straw, The hay supplier should be the least of your worries, and I did not tell any boarder whom I purchased the hay from, actually it was none of their business.
The only reason I'm concerned about hay quality/source is because I've heard horror stories of horses eating bad hay and getting sick from it. One barn a few miles from here took round bales and re-pressed them into square bales and a bunch of horses got sick because the mold that was on the outside of the round bale got pressed into the middle. Just saying...stuff like that does happen.
    01-07-2014, 10:04 PM
I feel very lucky in that I had been taking lessons from the place I'm boarding my TB for months before I brought a horse there. I had a lot of time to see her hay and feeds, was familiar with the facility and schedule, etc. I found that the place was managed basically how I would manage my own if I had such a nice facility and endless time. It makes me feel kind of bad about my little run in and weedy pasture at home, honestly.

Maybe you could narrow it down to a few prospective barns and do a few lessons at each? I don't know what kind of time crunch you're on to find something, but I think you need more than one visit to get a feel for a place.
stevenson likes this.

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