What do you value most in a boarding barn??
Up until now I've kept my horse at my family farm so this is really the first time I've considered boarding... There are 2 barns close by that I am split about. It would be outdoor board. Both are smaller barns, great reputations, polar opposites.
Barn one: Slightly higher price.
-60x120 indoor arena
-Small uninsulated barn for tacking up
-Individual pens with open box stalls and group turn out
-Hay 4 times a day, grain twice, pens cleaned twice a day
-Dressage instructor with competitive trail experience (I'm trying to get back into the sport)
Barn 2: Slightly lower price.
-100x200 outdoor arena
-Attached insulated barn
-Group pasturing with shelters but less personal care
-Western barn focused on futurities
So what do you value the most with your barn? Facilities vs. personal care? Anyone an english rider at a western barn? How is it? I grew up western then went hunter jumper for a few years then on to CTR... So I won't really fit in at either barn.
How many horses are at each place? I prefer barn 1 depending on how many people may be sharing an arena with you.
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If I were in your position, I'd keep my horses at the family farm. Arenas and round pens don't really mean much to me because I'm just a trail rider.
I'm more of a hands on person, maybe even a control freak when it comes to my horses. I like to make sure my horses are fed the same amount every time. I like to clean up after my horses. I want to know what their poop looks like and if they are going enough. I want to know if they are drinking enough water. I didn't like the shelters they had so I rebuilt them.
I can't have my horses at my house so I have to board, but I still want to be in control of everything about them. Luckily the barn I board at lets me do just that.
Personal care hands down wins. What I value most in a boarding barn is the BO taking care of the horses and interacting with them every day. (For instance, at my barn the BO always checks the horses when they're fed, goes out in the pasture with them in the morning to look over every one and if anything's wrong she takes care of them and then calls me, so my horses will never have to wait for vet attention.) I would love to keep mine at home but that isn't possible so care wins out every time. It can have the nicest facilities/instructors in the world but if my horses aren't getting good care then I'm moving.
I wouldn't worry too much about fitting in. I ride western primarily but when I've been at an english barn I've never had much of a problem fitting in. Where I boards mostly western but there's a woman who rides solely english. We all get along just fine. Always a good time to pick something new up! :)
I look for a combination of both. An indoor arena is very important to me, because oft the weather where I live, so that's one of the first things that I look for.
I was an English rider at a mostly Western barn for a while. I get along with everyone (teehee <3) so it wasn't an issue at all. Aside from the occasional confused look and "What in the world are they doing...?" (But I think everyone asks that of Westernaires, sometimes)
I'm leaning a bit more towards barn 1.
Is the 60x160 arena in barn 2 an indoor? What do you mean by personal care?
The general riding discipline of a barn doesn't bother me, as long as they don't try to get me to change. I am not big on socializing so I'm not too concerned about fitting in at places.
Hmm Lots to think on thanks guys! Yes the 160 by 60 is a indoor. And both are family run farms... it's hard! I trail ride mostly for training but that indoor work space is a must for me over winter with it dropping to minus 40. It's also so nice to have to develop a young horse. Barn 2 offers great care too, checks, blanketing etc but isn't quite as hands on... certainly not out checking horses over multiple times a day, turning in an out daily, feeding 4 times a day and pen cleaning twice daily.
I really like the background and care with barn 1... but barn 2 has much better facilities. And an insulated barn! I love going over when its too cold or snowy and just grooming and pampering. I know the family of barn 2 and have heard super things about barn 1. Thinking I'll go check each of them out This weekend.
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It does sound like a bit of a tough call. Barn 2 might offer free choice hay, thus no need to feed so often. Check them out and see how it goes. Ask about bringing your own farrier/vet/trainer because if you opt for barn 2 you could always try to hire a trainer to come over.
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Those are great points DancingArabian thank you :) I'm pretty sure the owner from barn 1 actually comes to give lessons at barn 2 lol. I know she gives clinics there.
That is a tough call but honestly I would go with barn 1. I have had too many experiences with boarding to know how important good care is to me. Too many instances of not being fed, not being checked or contacted about injuries, etc. And when they're dealing with my main man, well, things best be done right. But that's my personal feelings. I'll bite the bullet and put on a few extra layers if it means I am confident in the care my horse is receiving.
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