What Do you look for when your looking to board :)
Things you think to ask the barns, and what to look for when picking a barn :)
First time boarders !
Having just gone through this, I'll see if I can help you out.
Things to look for:
1. Healthy horses. It's ok if one or two are a little underweight, as they could be new to their owner and bringing them along, but if every single horse is ribby, that's probably a problem with the feeding regime at the barn.
2. A boarding contract that protects both you and the barn owner. Ask for a copy to take home and look over.
3. If they're going to be feeding your horse their food, look at it closely and ask for a detailed list of whats included, including how much hay so you'll know if you need to provide more on your own.
4. What's included in the price, turn out and in, feeding, stall and paddock cleaning, blankets on and off, fly masks on and off etc. This will largely depend on what you're looking for re: self, semi or full board, stall or paddock/pasture board.
5. What are their requirements for vaccinations/worming.
6. If it's important to you, do they allow your coach to come to the barn and teach you (assuming you have one already)
7. What facilities are included, again depending on what you need. If you're primarily a trail rider...obviously you want a place close to trails. If their are arena's, are there times when they are not available for use...such as when a trainer/instructor needs them.
8. Inspect the turnout for footing, fencing, water access.
9. Inquire as to whether your horse will be turned out alone or with a group, if with a group, how big, and how will they introduce him.
10. Tack storage, is there any, is it secure, heated, etc.
That's all I can think of for now.
Kenda came up with a smashingly thorough list.
I will just add 2 things.
1. In addition to the horses weight, take note of their temperaments. If they all seem really nervous and anxious, I would have doubts about the place. Of course there will always be a few who are hyped up, but the herd as a whole should seem calm.
2. I would also ask to talk to some of the boarders themselves. They can clue you into how involved in eachothers lives the community gets. Is it an active barn that does a lot together, or more of a live-and-let-live atmosphere. Or is there drama?
Best of luck! Vets and farriers can also sometimes give you insight into the inner workings of barns in the area.
I realize I'm on this thread kinda late, but I've done this twice in the last year. We are very fortunate to have a huge selection here, so I can allow myself to be picky :).
So here's my list:
- I only board in winters to keep my horse working year-round, so an arena is essential for me. I won't even look at anything without an arena.
- I set myself a radius as to how far I am willing to drive max.
- I pick a barn with my discipline, cause I work my horse (dressage) in winter and mostly trail / mountain ride in summer. I make sure the instructor is qualified and has proper insurance.
- I visit the barn. Have someone tour me around the place. All of it, even the areas where my horse won't be.
- I look at the level of maintenance of the facilities (arena, stalls, tack / feed room) and cleanliness. E.g. Some mice are normal, but I don't want to see lots of mouse poop in the feed room. Also not a big fan of stuff standing around everywhere.
- How big is the arena? Is it heated? Is the tack room climate controlled?
- Where would I be brushing / tacking up?
- what does the lesson schedule look like? Will I be able to ride during lessons? Are there mostly kids (lessond in the afternoon) or adults (lessons evening / weekends).
- who is instructing? Do I like him/her and how he/she teaches? Is it possible to bring in my own trainer (with insurance)? Are there regular clinics?
- I look at the pastures, waterers, and fencing. Barbed wire is an immediate no-go.
- Who is taking care of the horses? Barn owner? Hired help? Other boarders (for a reduced boarding fee)? How often are the pastures and fences checked?
- I look at the feed, esp the hay. Is it good quality, how is it stored? Do they make their own hay or buy? Alfalfa content? Do the barn owner's horses get the same as the boarders?
- I look at the other horses. Does everyone look happy and healthy? Do they keep mares and gelding separate? Does anyone look like they've been fighting?
- I go over health requirements with the barn owner. Do horses need vaccinations / coggins / strangles? Is there a quarantine? What's the deworming schedule?
- will I need to use a specific vet / farrier? What's the farrier schedule?
- Will I be able to bring my dogs? :)
- Anything else I should know?
Posted via Mobile Device
The very first thing I like for is safe facilities- no barbed wire, good fencing, etc. The second thing is turnout if the horse is stalled or in a small area, a minimum of 8 hours a day in a 20x80 pen. Other than that.. what kenda said.
My advice is when at all possible, choose a rediculously rainy day after it's been raining for a couple days. Nothing tells you more about a barn faster than their mud plan.
Are the horses standing in the rain or are there shelters?
Have blankets been put on? Is this even an option?
Do they turn out when it rains or are they stall bound?
When they are turned out in or after foul conditions, is there any mud? If so how deep is it?
How is the barn cared for in bad weather?
I know it seems like something stupid to pay attention to but making pastures and turnouts mud-free cost A LOT and they're not something you can identify unless you're in the right weather conditions. They're also something that everyone SAYS they have but very few people do.
Horses NOT standing in mud to me says, these people put their money where their mouths are and really do care about their horses.
Silly, but easy.
Definitely agree about going there after a good rain. Better to see a place at its worst then be surprised when it turns into a total swamp.
When i look into a new barn i always look for :
-an indoor (AC'd) tack room
-fenced arena with nice footing
-safe fencing (especially if he will be out 24/7)
-happy boarders (if theyre not happy with the place , chances are you wont be either)
-ask if they will blanket your horse before turnout
-auto fly sprayers in the barn in a HUGE plus but not a must
Just some things i could think of off the top of my head , but its a good start for things to look out for
A clean safe yard with proper wooden fencing, not eaten.
Clean stables with good locks, lights nearby and no holes in the roof etc.
Good fields not on a giant slope, not too far away from the yard and not overcrowded. The grass doesn't have to be amazing but mud is useless.
A hose with decent water pressure so I can actually clean my horse
Not too many other boarders/liveries.
A well fenced in, weed free arena, preferably where I can let my horse loose during the day.
I don't mind other animals as long as they aren't allowed to wander in the arena or chase my horse when I'm riding. If they are the yards neighbours animals it's even worse.
Decent hacking, I hate riding in arenas really but you don't have much choice around here anymore.
Good fences! I hate unsafe turnout. NO wire fencing.
A big, safe pasture. I keep my horse turned out 24/7 and want a place where she can exercise. Good gazing is a plus.
Reliable staff. I want my horse to get her supplements and feed as I direct. Blankets and grazing muzzles on and off at appropriate times. I want to be able to trust them to take care of my horse like I want her cared for.
Trails. At least eight miles of trail, but more is a HUGE plus.
A riding arena. Decent size; at least dressage sized. A couple jumps would be nice to play with.
I can deal with a lot of stuff, but these things are indispensable.
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