I've never boarded at a professional barn, per se, but I have boarded places other than my backyard. Since 1990 we've had horses in our backyard, and after my parents' divorce, when I was around 5, my mom free leased the horses out to a couple an hour away. After two years, when Bo had died and Arthur was still there, we brought him closer to home to a friend's barn down the street who needed a companion for her horse, and for two years we cared for them daily. We really did not like it....it was better than the free lease but we just needed them here. So we got the barn fixed up and brought him home.
Ive never boarded as its not very common in Australia. Id always prefer to keep my horse at home though as I know exactly whats happening with it day to day. Theres so many horror stores about horses not being fed, other boarders stealing, other people riding your horse etc etc.
Its also more convenient as you don't have to travel to see the horse.
I'm a bit biased because the only boarding barn I've ever been at was awful. I was there for almost 5 years before we moved to a farmette and brought our horses home.
Boarding stables are nice because they usually have more amenities (wash rack, arena, trails, etc.) and it's nice being around other horse people, assuming they're not loony. My old BO was absolutely out of her mind, which ruined the whole boarding experience for me, although I did (and still do) have some great friends there.
I LOVE having my horses at home. There's no drama, no worries about horses being taken care of, and I can do things the way I want them done. It does kind of suck not having an indoor arena or bathing area, but it's a small price to pay for getting out of that barn. I can't tell you what a relief it is not having that stress, and actually being able to enjoy my horses.
I must say I got lucky. My horse is boarded at a farm literally 5 min from my home, and I love it there. It is owned by a lady that has two of her own horses and I am her only boarder. So there are 3 between the two of us. She and I get along famously, she treats the horses like her children. She really loves my horse as well, I even see her on hot days over the summer, she will hose him down for me, just so that he isnt too hot, and she always talks to him and gives him treats. I must say that between the two of us all the horses are absolutely spoiled. I would only move mine if he was going in my yard, but im in no hurry, the price is great to board and I love it there.
I like boarding my horse. I'm a very people-orientated person and I would get lonely keeping my horse at home by myself. Plus, I couldn't afford another horse and now my horse isn't lonely. I like knowing that there are more experienced people at the stables to help me if I need it...and I like sharing the price of a farm call instead of just paying it myself when Coggins and vaccines are done. Plus, having access to an indoor is nice when there's 3 feet of snow outside. But, another plus is that the barn is only 5 minutes away from my house and I get free advice over there.
I personally am enjoying having my horses boarded.
My horses are boarded with my trainer where they receive the utmost in care. It's incredibly cold and snowing right now, I'm in my nice warm house knowing that my horses are in clean, warm stalls with tons of hay, clean water and I didn't have to go out in this muck to ensure they had it!
I don't have to drag the arena, fix fences, haul hay, clean stalls, fill water buckets, turnout horses, schedule the Vet, Farrier and so forth.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not lazy and although I pay for full care, I generally clean the whole barn whenever I'm out there as I greatly appreciate the over and above care my trainer provides and it's non-riding time I can spend with all the horses. But as a Mom of small kids who works a fulltime job, this means I can have the best of everything. Fat, happy, healthy horses AND time to spend with my kids doing what they enjoy.
I'm also incredibly lucky in that I am her only boarder so there's never a crowded arena, stuff going missing or any sort of drama. I have all the peace and quiet I could ever want and my trainer is available for help and advice if I need it.