Need Advice in Making Boarding Decision - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-06-2013, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
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Need Advice in Making Boarding Decision

I've been having a heck of a time trying to find horse boarding down by the university I'm going to. I don't really understand why, as it's a nice, big town, only about forty minutes away from the capital. Yet, nothing. So, hopefully you guys can help me decide what to do.

A little background: I own three horses, a 19 year old Arabian, a 12 year old Quarter Horse that I love to death but sustained a hock injury that has rendered him arthritic and in light work, and my 12 year old Appendix that is my current show horse. My parents don't know a whole lot about horses but know enough to provide the feed and see when a vet should be called. All of my horses are pretty well-behaved.

I am going to school about an hour and a half away. I am a junior in college, although I went to community college for two years. I have planned on taking my show horse with me so I can have a "time-out" from the hectic college life, have a friend, and to keep him in shape since I did buy him to show with. I figured that, with my new job, I can afford $300 boarding or less, working about 16 hours a week. I worked 20-30 hours these last two years while taking 12-15 credits a semester. I had decent grades and made the president's list the last two semesters. My show horse, Casper, has, so far, been the alpha horse in the pens he has been in. He needs grain and really seems to prefer a stall with turnout. He's kind of a big baby.

So, here are my boarding options, all of them. Please tell me your thoughts and what you would consider doing.

A: Stagecoach Stables. It's only a couple of miles away from the college. Nice facilities. I could only afford pasture boarding at $275. Horses run in a herd throughout the property. There are various buildings for shelter. They eat grass in the summer. There is a medium indoor arena and a large outdoor arena. Indoor wash rack, again, nice facilities. HOWEVER, the barn managers seem really catty to me. My friend works there, and they only pay her minimum wage for one hour of work, even if her works takes her two hours (sometimes she has to muck stalls as well as feed, water, and turn out, and she's an efficient worker). The barn managers are always swearing, even around people that are potential boarders or people they don't know. In addition, they gossip about their boarders to other boarders and are hard to get ahold of. They turn horses out to the fresh grass right away even if they are new to pasture board. My friend told actually told them several times that I was planning on boarding there, and they were always okay with it. I talked to one of the owners a week in advance of my intended board, and she said I could probably be fit in with one horse in pasture board - she said she'd okay it with the other manager and text my friend about it. She never texted my friend, and when my friend called her to see about her answer, she said pasture board was full. This prompted me to look other places.

B: Belinda's Best Little Horse House. This stable was full at the time, but was opening up with some pasture board, which was in a dry lot with not a whole lot of space to roam. The barn manager seemed to really care about her horses and even recommended other places for me to board. She had a nice facility, not super nice, but safe. She had a huge indoor arena, good hay, and a good sized outdoor arena. Pasture board was $275, and the horses were fed off of a round bale. Stall board was $300, not including sawdust and feed.

C. Evan's Arena. This facility needed some cleaning and lighting, but had 72 box stalls and a huge indoor arena and an indoor wash rack. Board was $300, provided with sawdust and grain. No outdoor arena. HOWEVER, the barn owner is physically disabled and gets around on a scooter or golf cart. She can feed and bed the horses, but the owners are in charge of turnout and stall mucking. With some help cleaning, this barn could be really nice -- I would coin it a fixer-upper. The owner seems to really care about the horses and said that she will stay in the barn in the winter if the weather gets bad just so she can feed the horses.

D: Stillwater Stables. Beautiful facility, half an hour away from the college. Nice indoor arena, large outdoor arena. New wash rack. I actually met the owner at a show she hosted there and she was super nice and really liked my horse. However, boarding is $440, but she is offering some move-in specials.

What would you do? I've searched high and low, and this is all I can come up with. :/
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-06-2013, 01:24 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
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I like Belinda's, and not just for the clever name.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-06-2013, 01:45 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
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I sure don't like the sounds of the first one but Belinda's would be my choice just for that name! I have never boarded anywhere so don't take advice.
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-06-2013, 02:06 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
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I would go with B or D. I would not go to barn A unless I absolutely had no other choice. Seems filled with drama and crap you don't need to put up with, and it sounds like you wouldn't get treated like a client at all.
I would be weary going over budget, so my recommendation would be to go with barn B.
You want, first and foremost, to ensure your horse is going to be well cared for and that you feel that your horse will be well cared for. Which barn did you feel the best at?
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-06-2013, 02:45 PM
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Location: Portland, OR
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Belinda's would be my choice, as well. How small are the enclosures and how many horses in each one?
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post #6 of 21 Old 08-10-2013, 12:55 AM
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Location: USA
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Belinda. Then C.

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post #7 of 21 Old 08-10-2013, 01:06 AM
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Join Date: May 2013
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If you are sure that your horse can go without feed then I would go with belinda. You don't want to be counting on staying under 300 only to find that you have extra to spend on feed etc. Given you are a student I would avoid anything self care. No matter how good your intentions may be you may have things come up that make going to the barn not in the best interest of your studies. Don't make your horse or your grades suffer for it. I would avoid barn a because of the drama. If things already seem bas then they would probably will only get worse. I would avoid the last barn because of the price unless you can get a contract stating that you will be paying only $300 for the next 6 months or whatever and have the ability to move if you have to. Don't go over budget!
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-10-2013, 02:18 PM
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Long Island
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If pasture board is 275 how much if full board in your area? I'm just wondering.
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-11-2013, 02:20 PM
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southeastern PA
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A. Too much drama.
B. Would be my choice
C. Personally I could not commit to daily turning out my horse, that's why I board. I'd think if you are in college, there would be days when this would be hard for you too.
D. Over your budget, so no.

So B first, then C.
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-12-2013, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: North central Iowa
Posts: 1,199
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Thanks guys, it's been really tough. I'm actually at school right now, and my horse is still at home...

Belinda's does seem like the best choice, even though the facility isn't...well...the greatest. There isn't all that much room to roam as the paddocks are pretty small, but there's only one other horse. The bad thing is that Casper is part Thoroughbred and needs his feed. So...

Yeah, I've pretty much ruled out C because I know I'll be way busy. My friend keeps begging me to board at barn A with her, but I really just don't know, which is why I haven't made a decision. I would LOVE to do barn D but know that the price is just too much. Boarding seems like exorbitant amounts for crappy stables in this area.

Gosh darn, wish my horse was here. Roommates are fighting, I miss my old job, keep screwing up my new job...nothing feels right. And nothing beats the blues better than a ride and being with my horse.

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