what do you look for in a boarding facility? - Page 2

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what do you look for in a boarding facility?

This is a discussion on what do you look for in a boarding facility? within the Horse Boarding forums, part of the Barns, Boarding, and Farms category
  • When is the owner of a horse boarding facility considered incompetent

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    04-29-2012, 11:40 PM
I agree azwantapaint. I'm glad people are willing to take the time out and help me with this.
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    04-30-2012, 12:07 AM
Green Broke
Clean, safe, well-maintained facility. I want to KNOW my horse was fed and given clean water at the appropriate intervals.

I want the ability to choose my own vet, farrier AND trainer.

The garbage that the barns around here spout "No outside trainers so we can keep our prices low" is unacceptable IMO. Your prices are far from "low" and the trainer you have is beyond incompetent which is why you don't dare allow properly insured trainers to come in..... absolutely nobody would use your in-house trainer! Not to mention 98% of the barns here are Western and I don't ride Western so even if they have a good in-house trainer, they are not appropriate for me and my horse.
    04-30-2012, 11:27 AM
Now this may sound ignorant because I have never boarded a horse before only because we have always had land to offer them, but is it common practice for every boarding facility to offer the use of a trainer that the BO has chosen themselves?
    04-30-2012, 03:16 PM
Things that I look for...

1) happy horses when I drive in, no depressed skinny ones
2) Safe fencing
3) place to get out of the weather - stalls or trees
4) mud management - no more than four or five inches in turnouts
5) quality feed - fed in enough quantity to keep my horse healthy
For my horse that means five to six flakes of hay a day - about twice what most horses eat
6) barn owners/managers who like horses and who will talk friendly
7) set barn rules that everyone has to follow - no gray areas
8) someplace to ride - not just an arena, but trails too
9) trailer parking is nice, but not everything
10) no hidden fees
11) friendship with BO and other boarders
12) no drama allowed
13) horses safety and health put before all else
14) no 60 or 90 day warning before I leave, if I feel my horse is unsafe (or unfed), I pick up and leave within 48 hours.
    04-30-2012, 03:22 PM
Originally Posted by JanetsPaintedRayne    
Now this may sound ignorant because I have never boarded a horse before only because we have always had land to offer them, but is it common practice for every boarding facility to offer the use of a trainer that the BO has chosen themselves?
I have been at places where the BO took a cut from trainers, so only those willing to pay got to train there. Mostly though, I have been at stables where there weren't any trainers. I keep my horses at relaxed barns where most people just trail ride.

Where we are now... Last year my 19 year old daughter trained a horse for the BO. This year a 23 year old is being paid to start another horse under saddle for 60 days. My daughter, with my help, is starting her filly under harness this spring - and I will be walking the BO through startign her mini under harness at the same time.

The BO and her significant other have trained horses professionally before, but don't have the time right now.
    05-02-2012, 12:42 PM
It is highly unusual to boarding facilities to allow boarders to bring in outside boarders unless the barn owner receives a cut of the lessons, at least in my area. Here's what I look for

1. Well fed horses. I don't want to see ANY horses, even the barn owners', that look too thin.
2. Stalls with ample bedding-- I shouldn't be able to ever see the ground/mat underneath (this is a big part of why I am leaving my current barn). I would NEVER EVER consider a barn where this was a problem, no matter how good the rest of it was, now that I've had bad experiences with it.
3. Communication-- someone in charge should always be on call over the phone or on premisis-- not necessarily the barn owner, but someone who can make the call to call the vet or farrier in an emergency. For non-emergencies, there should be a clear procedure for returning calls/emails.
4. A turnout schedule-- when will my horse be on grass vs. dry lot? If there are several groups of horses, how are they rotated through? I want to KNOW my horse has been out.
5. This one is oddly specific, but you end up seeing how important it is when it doesn't happen-- I want to know that the stablehands feel comfortable contacting the barn owner about issues with the horses. They check in the most on the horses through feeeding, mucking, turnout, etc, so they are in the best position to monitor horses. I want to see good communication between them and the barn owner (another reason why I am leaving current barn-- barn owner heavily discourages stablehands from contacting them, so they are now scared to do so in borderline emergencies. When they have gone to barn owners about horses that refuse to get up or eat, they were ignored because they are "just" stablehands).
6. Full water buckets in stalls at all times.
7. This one isn't a complete deal breaker, but it's important: a webpage detailing what is available in the facility, what boarding entails, and how much everything costs. I'll be much more inclined to look into a barn if basic information is easy to get. Again, this is probably the lowest factor, but it's just good business sense that a lot of horse people seem to ignore for some reason.
8. No surcharge for "extra" hay or grain (unless it's supplements or a truly extraordinary amount way outside the facility's norm). Horses should be given the amount of food they need based on their metabolism and size, end of story. Trying to upcharge for basic necessities comes off as really unprofessional. If it is absolutely necessary to charge extra, the exact amounts of food should be spelled out in the contract.
    05-02-2012, 12:50 PM
Msulli22, thank you for the detailed information. It is much appreciated.
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    05-02-2012, 12:54 PM
All year round turn out (and turn out with other horses)
Hay/woodchip/straw delivered to yard
Hacking/bridle way near by
Large stables
Plenty of riding facilities (because sometimes everyone is using the ménage)
I agree with insurance obviously!
Also like the lockers in tack room idea, and locked tack room. (or maybe own tack room?)
Livery, part livery and DIY
Secure and safe fencing
Trailer storage

I like do-it-yourself yards
    05-02-2012, 01:03 PM
Your welcome. I think that was partly me venting about my own situation! :) But, on further reflection, it makes me feel just a little better that the trouble I've been dealing with might actually help someone.
    05-02-2012, 01:11 PM
I know that if I ever had to board my horses I would want the best for them. And I would certainly expect someone to treat my horse with the same love, care and respect as they do their own (for the decent horse owners anyway, some really do suck). I do know there are certain things I will never be able to offer like trail rides, only because I live in eastern CO and our property is flatlands. But in the end I will do my best to make our home comfortable enough for everyone else to call home.
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