What do you look for in a boarding facility? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 37 Old 09-06-2013, 12:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Ontario
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If the aisle is narrow, V doors can be a disadvantage. Not needed if the mesh is used. The mesh allows a horse to see what's going on without hold it's head in an unnatural position. My barn is two stalls, a 12 x 16 and a 16x16 and in bug season often all four horses shared the larger stall with enough room to move around.
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post #12 of 37 Old 09-07-2013, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Mississippi
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i love nice open large pastures im not really a stall person when my horses are in a stall i like a nice open stall with a single chest high door so my horse can look out and around i like clean walkways with nothing is the hall that dosent belong with a walk area at least 4 horses wide individual tack rooms large enough for what you need dogs... are iffy... ilove dogs but dont want them under the horses or barking at them for any reason covered arena witb fanns is the best but long as its sturdy place must have a arena and a round pen i also dont mind other animals long as its clean and i like for owners of the property to live on site plenybof acess to wash racks and a room to cool off in during the summer and i like wood fenceing never any barbed wire or eletric ropes
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post #13 of 37 Old 09-07-2013, 06:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
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I want my horses out as much as possible, 24/7 rain, shine or weather. So long as their health is good enough to do so. They're horses, not pampered babies haha. Though I do want the option of them to have a stall if they cannot be outside. Group turnout is a must. I prefer to ride outside but having an indoor arena would be nice sometimes (though i'm so used to not having one it feels strange to ride in one lol). Also a place that doesn't have strict rules. If I want to be out there at midnight I think as a paying client I have every right to do so, same goes for riding in feilds/areas (in example my current place lets me ride wherever and that includes the big field where the main herd is). I don't mind about dogs so long as their well behaved/kept out of the way. The way I look at it, if it gets kicked it'll learn a lesson.

Also I want a BO who takes care of the horses and looks at them EVERY day. The places I see advertised have a special price where they give your horse a 'look over' once a day and imo that's ridiculous. You may not be able to look over every inch of a persons horse but a good BO is one who looks out for their charges. I also want one that will bring my horse up and doctor it if it needs it before calling me (if it's serious, if it's a few scratches/minor cuts I'll deal with it when I come out lol). Other than that I'm not to picky. I'll let the stalls go a bit dirty if the horse is only going to be in there a short while/it's going out in a bit so another couple of hours won't kill it. I love the pics by the way!! :) Bit too fancy for my blood though, my horses would rip through those stalls in a heartbeat
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post #14 of 37 Old 09-07-2013, 08:25 PM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Maryland
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I look first at condition of the horses and how the stalls are kept. By this I mean that if I walk into a barn and my eyes start to water due to the smell of ammonia and I peak inside a few stalls and they obviously haven't been cleaned recently (as in days), I will walk back out. I look to see if the majority of the horses are in good weight and look cared for. By this I mean I don't want to see every horse underweight with open wounds etc, understanding that a few may be underweight due to age, new horses coming in etc.

After condition of the stalls and horses, THEN I look at the overall situation. I live in Maryland so an indoor arena is obviously a must. How big is it? Large enough for several horses or is it going to be a one horse (so to speak) effort? Even a covered outdoor arena could suffice. Footing is negligible as long as it isn't something like stone dust only. Sand, a mix of sand/clay is acceptable as long as it is kept dragged and "fluffed on a regular (dragged at least every couple of days) basis. In an outdoor, how well does the arena drain water? Does it flood in the least little rain, turn into slop with no traction etc? An arena can be sloppy but if the footing is decent, other than getting splashed with mud, there is little danger to the horse slipping and/or falling.

Trails are nice but again, not a deal breaker..I don't go out on them on a regular basis as I have had horses that just weren't trail safe.

I also look at the barn staff and other riders. Is the staff friendly or standoffish? While I don't need a chatty person, I want people to at least have some level of simple courtesy. Same with other riders. I don't need chatty but at least have the decency to have some manners and courtesy.

A trainer is good but I lump that in to the staff. Any barn I have been at always had instructors of some sort but there is and was the option to bring in your own trainer so that particular point isn't a deal breaker if I find barn I really like that may not have a specific trainer.

The barn I am at now is not the most updated and beautiful palace some of these places are. The place is 30 yrs old, but, they have an excellent staff and take excellent care of the horses. I have two indoor arenas, two large outdoor arenas and trails. Out of 14 barns in the area I looked at, both less expensive and more expensive then the one I am at as well as more "pretty" on the inside, I chose this place and will have been there for 11 years come November. Why? Staff, instructors and care of the animals. The place will never be featured in House (or Barn) Beautiful but it is kept in repair. W ehave a wash rack with hot and cold water, are allowed stall fans, horses have good turnout time, generally in groups but only with horses with which they get along and new horses are introduced to all potential paddock mates under strict supervision and first turnout in the full group is monitored by two people. We have a special quarantine paddock for those horses new in to use who are automatically quarantined for 14 days. These horses are taken into an area of the barn to stalls that are set up specifically as a quarantine area unless their medical history and history of locations is well known. For example, we have a sister barn about 5 miles away. A horse brought to our barn from that location is placed in a regular stall as their history and location was known (only for horses that have been at either barn for at least 6 months) but they are not turned out in group turnout until the 14 day "technical" quarantine has passed.

Last edited by tlkng1; 09-07-2013 at 08:34 PM.
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post #15 of 37 Old 09-08-2013, 09:20 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: michigan
Posts: 361
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I prefer pasture board myself. Let them be horses. Trails are mandatory for me! ( our barn has trails, and there are others close by) Locking tack lockers are nice- no problems now with theft but when we had young girls boarding here, they tended to take what they needed .. so I keep mine locked. A bathroom!! DOnt laugh... the first 2 places we boarded did not have bathrooms... had to use the one at the owners house. Kind of awkward! Barn I am at now has an outhouse and hand sanitizer- not perfect but it works!
No set hours. I like to be able to stop by whenever. Not that I do.. but I can!
I want a BO I can trust to call the vet if needed. Call me, let me know what is going on, but if I am at work, I cant just leave to decide if we need the vet to come. That is what I rely on the BO to know. ( daughters horse sand colicked. BO called, told me what was up... did I want a vet? I told her I trusted her to make the call... and she did.
I dont want to be limited in who I can use as a trainer. I want to be able to bring in who ever I personally trust. Daughters new barn ( she moved away for grad school...) Has a trainer you HAVE to use. Daughter talked to her and says she knows more than the trainer. ( trainer agreed!) Sounds like they are willing to work with it... but usually want you to use their trainer.
Love the mesh stalls. I would love that if my boy were indoors. The ventilation would be so much better!
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post #16 of 37 Old 09-08-2013, 09:47 PM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Virginia
Posts: 35
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A lot has already been touched on but I can add a few things...

A consistent feeding schedule, meaning feed hay/grain within a reasonable time frame each day. I also like the option of parking a trailer on site, either to be included with board or a small fee.

Another thing is, we're all human and take vacations so a peace of mind that if you take vacation or have some other off site emergency that you have someone trusty and just as knowledgable about horses to fill in for you in your absence.

I also like the option to get in on regular farm-wide vet and farrier schedulings. And if I'm not able to make it out due to work, that someone can be there to handle for me.

Outdoor arena footing is important if there's no indoor arena since I'm in a wet area. It needs to drain properly and be safe to ride in year round.

My mare is at the bottom of the herd and, while I don't expect her to be pacified, I'd like to know that she's not constantly being beaten up on and that there's flexibility in finding the right pasture mates for her.

Having an on site trainer isn't important to me nor having a viewing room. Trails are a bonus and were a deciding factor in my current situation, but not a must.

This is what comes to mind for now. Best of luck!!
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post #17 of 37 Old 09-08-2013, 10:45 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Alberta, Canada
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A few things that I like to look at, in particular:

- How clean and full are the waterers?
- Pest maintenance, ie flies. You can walk into one barn and be bombarded by flies, and not at another
- Waste management (human and horse)
- How is the arena kept? Is it dragged/harrowed daily? Watered? What's the footing like?
- Access to amenities - i.e. can you ride out anywhere or are you stuck riding in circles in an arena?
- Trailer storage/parking

The lovely images above provided by CVLC Photography cvlphotography.com
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post #18 of 37 Old 09-09-2013, 01:29 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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Wow, gorgeous tack box in that first post.

For me, there are some really important things, and the rest is way less important. My priorities:

*Pasture turnout with shade and enough space to play (not just a run, although an all-day access run plus turnout would be nice :))
*Social opportunities for my horse doesn't need to be group turnout, but if not I want his turnout alongside other horses he can "talk to"
*A covered arena (here I need it in the rainy months, which is...like 8 of them. In a hot state, I'd want the shade)
*Somewhere to ride outdoors trails are my top choice, but at least fields or enough property to wander around on

*Tack lockers trunks are ok, but lockers with saddle stands are so convenient, and it's nice to be able to organize your things. I use my tack locker at least as much as I use my makeup and hair supplies, and I wouldn't want to keep all my toiletries in a tub in the bathroom!
*An outdoor bathing area nothing fancy, just a place to park my filthy boy where he can graze while I rinse him
* Seating or a comfy place to stand while I watch other people ride
* A clean, locking bathroom!
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post #19 of 37 Old 09-09-2013, 02:19 AM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Portland, OR
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Oh, and "unnecessary but nice":

*Trailer parking — I don't have a trailer, but others at my barn do and they really appreciate being able to leave their trucks and trailers
*Auto waterers — nice not to have to lug around heavy buckets and get wet when it's cold
*Cross and ground ties (somewhere to tack up and more than one so we're not fighting for the space)
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post #20 of 37 Old 09-09-2013, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
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Thank you all for the ideas!! Keep em coming!! I know for me personally, I like my horses outside all the time. I have them running about 40 acres right now, but it is all cross fenced so I can rotate pastures (much easier on the grass). I have 3-sided run in sheds in every pasture, and water tanks in each as well. I like having stalls as an option, but only for vet care for my horses. They are outside rain or shine. Most of my mare will stand right outside the shed in the pouring rain because she loves it.

And yes the arena would be worked daily. I am very picky about footing and how it looks and rides on. I have been in to many unworked/uncared for arenas, and I know what I want.

A few things I think I have decided:
1. No barn hours. If any of you are anything like me, I need 24/7 access to my horses.
2. I probably will have one dog on the property. My Hangin' Tree is very well trained. She does not mess with horses, ever. Period. She is one that will bark 2-3 times when somebody pulls in the drive, but will then leave them alone. She has done 'her job'. I like the companionship of her, and she is a very friendly dog.
3. I am thinking that I will have many different kinds of feed available. I have my horses on Strategy and Omolene 200, but I know that everyone has a preference. If there is a boarder that is unsure of what to feed, I will decide (with the assistance of the owner and a vet). Of course based on breed, temperament, how much work the horse is doing, etc. This is also something I know a fair bit about as I was an equine feed sales rep for a few years.

One more question for yall- how do you like your horses fed hay? I have always preferred them eating of the ground. Clean ground of course, not mud or anything. I have black stall mats down in the pens and I throw bales on them. I am not a huge fan of bale feeders, because I like my horses eating on the ground in a natural position. I am not worried about hay waste; there is always some wasted anyway. Eating on the ground gives them a chance to push it around and get what they want.

Any other ideas?

American by birth. Cowgirl by the grace of God. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
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