What do you look for in a boarding facility?
Hey all- question for you. What do you all look for in a boarding facility? I have always had horses of my own, but I want to know what you want out of a place. I have six horses of my own, and plenty of land. I do know that I most likely would not have 'closing' hours for the barn, because if I were you, I would want full accessibility to my horse at all times. (I am a big fan of midnight riding :))
So, what do you like? What kind of arena- indoor or out? What kind of footing? Do you want your horses out in pasture with shelter access, or in a stall with turnout? What kind of stalls to you like? I have seen the mesh fronted stalls, and I really like them. I like the ventilation, and being able to see the horse without going into the stall. I would like a v-shaped drop down door on the front though, so they can put their heads out. And I think this stall would help with those stall-shy horses that don't like being in a 'box' if they need vetted. Something kind of like this-
What about a dog policy- yes or no? What about a lounge/viewing area? What kind of fencing? Do you prefer your horse to be out with others or by him/herself? What kind of feed do you want available, and automatic waterers or bucketed water? Round pen indoor or out? How big? I have a 60' right now and I love it- but I have thought of getting another, possibly smaller one.
And tack rooms? Heated and a/c is a must here in Missouri. What do y'all think of this as a lockable tack place? Could have locker number and name plates on front, and have keys for it? Extra keys would kept at the barn incase yours were lost or forgotten.
Please let me know!! Thanks!!
Firstly, I will say that I like the look of those photos. Those are some good ideas.
The first thing that I look for when I look for a barn (this was especially important a few months ago, when I moved my horse to Texas), is a reputable trainer. Advancing my riding and showing is very important, so that's always the first thing. The next thing I look at are amenities--particularly arenas and jumps, as those are important for me, as well as the condition and safety of where my horse will be kept.
I personally prefer both an indoor and an outdoor arena, but I know that that isn't always feasible. In my case, I settled for just an outdoor, because the training/showing program was so pristine. I, personally, like Sandy Loam footing, and I got my preference there.
My horse also got the best of both worlds when it came to stabling. He is in a private box stall during the day (as it is so hot in TX!!) and is turned out at night with a few other horses that he gets along with nicely. I can't think of a living situation that makes me more happy xD
I have no preference about dog policy. I have a dog, but I never bring her... I will say, however, that I have seen dogs make a bad situation worse so that's something to consider. I do like to have both a lounge and a viewing area. My last barn had one, my current one has only a viewing area. I like pipe fencing.
In regards to turnout, I like a facility that doesn't just toss a horse in with the herd. I want them to cater to my horse--if he doesn't get along with one group, move him around until they find the idea situation.
I personally prefer bucketed water, because then you can monitor more effectively whether or not the horse is drinking.
I think an outdoor round pen is fine.
As far as a tack room, air conditioned isn't a huge deal to me. It does, however, need to be lockable.
Hope this helps!
Oh wow. Let me wipe the drewl away.
Ok, now I can focus!
My first stable experience was in MO, and I loved it. (Actually considering moving back, JUST for the barn.)
As far as arenas, I would prefer to have both. One, for the convenience in any weather, but also for the option of riding away from lessons/training. If I had to choose one of ther other, however, I would choose indoor.
I don't mind dogs. And cats are a must have. Behaved, of course. I have German Shepard to deal with where I currently board that is a terror to the horses.
I prefer pasture over stall boarding. By my mare is entirely too energetic and social for a box. I do, however, prefer an unrocky field, with a shed/run-in. I do like to see barns with at least 12x12 stalls though, with fresh clean bedding. Also, I prefer a barn with (level) concrete/asphalt isles. So much easier to clean, and just have to love the sound of the hooves against the pavement. <3
A/C and heated tack room is a must. A community type tack room is fine with me, and an office/lounge seems to be a staple at most barns. However, I would't be so picky as to need a viewing area. I can always stand outside and watch.
I think I actually prefer the idea of "barn hours." I know I wouldn't want someone being in the barn, around my horse and tack, without surpervision. But, there are always exceptions, of course.
I'm not picky about fencing. My mare deals with wooden and wire fencing right now. Just NO barbed-wire.
A serious trainer would be something to consider. However, I will NOT board at a barn that would limit my training to lessons only. I'm an adult, and I feel that I should be able to utilize the arean/equipement for trianing whenever they are available. I hate barns that limit jumping to "surpervised" lessons only. If somene is a legal adult, they should be able to train when they wish. Also, I would never board at a barn that required their boarders participate in a training program.
I like the idea of barn owners who provide the option of being there for your horse if/when you can't make it. Lunging, riding, wormng, vet visits, farrier visits, ect...for a nominal fee, of course.
Most importantly, I need a barn with a friendly atmosphere, that will actually get to know me/my horse, without the pressures of spending a boat load of money on extra add-ons. Those who pasture board should not be treated as less than thoose who pay more for a stall. Those kinds of barns drive me insane.
Those mesh front stalls looks nice, but I don't know much about them. But I definitely like drop down doors - they make things much easier and I think they are safer than half doors. The stalls should have bars to hold blankets unless you have a blanket rack somewhere and probably even if you do. I don't want to have to store blankets in my locker or haul heavy winter turnouts all over the barn.
One of the best things I've ever bought was a stall fan and I think every horse should have one - they help so much in the summer!
A lounge/viewing area is not that important to me because we have a great seating area in the arena itself. At the same time, if people want to socialize while watching rides they should do it in a lounge, not in the arena. It lets people watch rides without distracting riders or making them feel too watched.
It would also be nice to offer storage for blankets, extra tack, etc.
Other things: I need someone who can be there for farrier, vet, etc. visits because I am almost always at work when they come. I would like routine vet care to be coordinated as much as possible to save on call fees and for all the horses to be on the same worming, vaccination, etc. schedule. I need blankets put on/taken off, I need someone to be able to deal with basic first aid and minor care - if my horse comes in with a gash I want that taken care of as soon as someone sees it. If my horse has an abscess and needs to be wrapped every day but I can't come someone should be able to do that. I need a barn owner who will know when to call the vet when I cannot be reached. Basically I need a barn that recognizes that as much as I would love to hang out with my horse all day, I can't, so we have to work as a team to take care of him and I will pay a lot of money and think you are just the greatest for that.
Indoor and outdoor wash stalls
Heating lamps in at least one grooming stall
Thanks guys!! This has helped a ton!!! And yes- I will definitely always be around. I very well know my way around horses, I have a farrier right now that has agreed to take on more, but he also said he will not mind if somebody wants their own/or a different farrier. Same with my vet.
Having an on-site trainer is something I am still working on. And I would not be apposed to the horse owner wanting to bring their own either.
I do know for sure that I want to leave as many decisions up to the owner that I can (within reason, and as long as it is good for the horse).
And about the barn hours, I am more than willing to do a night check, around midnight or 1am-ish, just to be sure everyone (humans and horses) are okay. Although I am considering making it a "gated" property, and only giving the code to boarders, and the vet, farrier, and trainers. Do you think that would be okay? I don't want it to seem to standoffish, but I also want it to be safe.
I think a gated property would be great!
I really like these stall fans. Just not sure if they would be as good as a fan in every stall. The good thing about mesh front stalls is the ventilation.
And for a gate...maybe something like this. Not to sure about the stone though. And would take out the cattle guard under the gate. Maybe an iron automatic gate, just haven't seen one I like yet.
I think that Pinterest is my new best friend for building a boarding facility. So many ideas, pictures, and good thoughts.
While I would love 14 by 26 foot stalls, grooms, and a swimming pool at the place I board I don't require it. There isn't anything nice like that around so I have to make do. But I still have a lot of requirements to put my horse somewhere.
The first is the general care. Is my horse on a set schedule. What quality and quantity of hay are they getting? The first barn I went to starved my horse and they wouldn't be fed until 10am because the BO would sleep in. Stalls wouldn't be cleaned every day and she put my horse out with the young horses when he was to have individual turn out. Not ok. Even though it was a beautiful stable.
Tack lockers. while it's not a deal breaker I prefer greatly individual lockers that I can lock. I don't like people touching my stuff. Ever.
Stalls. They need to be at least 12x12. The fronts should be open so my horse can see she isn't alone. Matted, of course. With daily cleaning.
Turn out. I like individual to keep my horse safer, plus I don't have to deal with other horses when I go to get her. They need to be huge. Small turn outs are a deal breaker. I ask a lot from my horse, she deserves to be able to run and eat grass. Not stand in mud. She also should be out as much as possible in the day. horses should live like horses.
Arena. There has to be an indoor. I live in Oregon. it rains all the time. It needs to be big enough that I can at least do a strong canter without dying.
General rules. I won't stay at a place with hours. If I want to see my horse at 11pm I'm not going to wait until morning. It's normal for me to be at the barn past 9. I work all day and then ride for two hours. I also won't stay in a place with dogs or smoking. I hate dogs around my horse. I will purposely run them over if they bothering me in the arena. I last thing I need so your border collie play herd the horse while I ride. This is coming from a groomer that loves dogs and owns a border collie. Keep it at home or in the car.
Tack lockers are nice, but why not just put a lock on your trunk?
I forgot to add how much I like fans. My guy has one in his stall.
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