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What is the best barn you've boarded at? What made it so great?

For privacy reasons, don't mention the location, name of barn or the BOs.
Never boarded a horse anywhere but home. Here the stalls are always clean, the horses have 24/7 turnout on 7+ acres of grass for two horses. I never have to drive to get to the barn only walk a couple of minutes out my back door. If a horse needs attention I know it immediately. I can interact with them several times a day. Have a tack room or Ag shop to work on tack anytime it needs it. Never wait for my turn to use the wash rack. And best of all I know my horses are well fed, well cared for and are not cooped up in a stall all day.
 

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Best barn I've boarded at (and am still at) is probably the least fancy barn I've boarded at. It is a small barn (one other boarder) with a nice outdoor arena, large stalls, tack room and 24/7 turnout.

Although, I really do miss the convenience of having an indoor arena and a washing stall, but this barn is my favorite because:
  1. The BO's are super caring and honest. I have no doubts that I can depend on them for the well-being of my horses. The barn owner is also very upfront and will tell you if she can or can't do something, which is something I highly appreciate as I've dealt with the frustrating opposite end of the spectrum before.
  2. They are also flexible in stuff they can do for any health issues that may pop up in the horses
  3. The Bo takes a lot of care in what hay she gives, and will actually throw out hay that is quite dusty or if she feels it is salvageable, then she will soak it.
  4. Family like environment. I've known the BO for years now, but the barn is truly like a second home for me.
    1. also a no drama environment.
  5. The barn itself and arena are super tidy, and the BOs keep up with maintenance on the property. The drainage is also good, so we are still able to ride on rain days or after a rain day.
    1. There are also rubber mats down where the horse stands on crossties. I really like this instead of them standing on the concrete.
  6. I can bring whichever trainer I want in.
  7. BO is a stickler for ground manners and that helps maintain the horse's manners. One of my horse's developed feeding time issues at another barn (kicking, rearing etc before being fed). My horse is smart and will pick up quick if he can get away with things. My barn owner fixed that within one week and my horse went back to their old angel ways.
 

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I have not boarded much, was able to keep my horses at home. I have boarded at a few stables for a couple of months in the winter for schooling and found most of them to be ok, just not enough turnout as I would like.
now I board at my sister's, an old cow barn that her husband and my father fixed up over 50 years ago. Old facilities but as far as I am concerned the best place. the horses have a stall in the barn but they have lots of turn out time, the back third of the barn is fixed up for two big run ins, one at the back the other at the front so they have a place to go and lots of space in there. From the barnyard they have access to two pastures so lots of grass, really more than they need so have to have limited pasture time to prevent obesity. They have unlimited pasture in the winter with good hay as well.
A nice sand schooling area at the back of one pasture and some pretty nice trails for riding.
What more could a horse and owner ask for?
 

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Mine. But after that, my neighbors'. It was a private barn with an indoor and huge pastures, and the owners looked after my horse as if he was one of their own. It wasn't perfect, but if I couldn't keep my horses at home, that's where I would want them. I think private barns can be a great option for people who don't like busy, competitive barns. We had a coach come in for lessons, and it was a great way for me to ease back into horse ownership until my own barn was built. I am still good friends with them, we exchange horse-sitting services and I just referred a friend to them - she was looking for a nice retirement barn for her senior. It is working out wonderfully for all of them. They don't generally take on boarders, but since their herd is dwindling down to just two - one of which is a senior who recovered from founder, and the other hasn't been ridden in years - they don't mind having an additional horse here and there as long as it has good manners.
 

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Honestly, every boarding barn I've boarded at has been terrible unfortunately. They've had great amenities, like 3 riding rings, 1 even had an indoor, but every single one I've been to 3, each one ended up not feeding my horse properly (they'd skip meals, or not provide forage which I was paying for in my board amount!). Just a terrible experience at each one. Or there's been drama, & I'd like to just go see my horse then leave, I always stayed out of the mix but people can be, well, people & ruin it.

Every single boarding barn I've been to has lacked basic care. It's a shame, really. :(

So, I've been to 2 private barns total, & my current PRIVATE barn is the best so far.
It's close to home, it's self-care, I have a barnmate (he has 2 horses) so we split the feedings & I've known him for years; I don't have to worry about my horse not being fed or not having forage, etc. I will never, ever board my horse at a boarding barn ever again. Private barns/self-care is best IMO. It's lowkey & peaceful.
 

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I agree with @PoptartShop and @Acadianartist , private barns are the way to go. Now, I've never been at a big boarding barn, so I can't say for sure there isn't a good one out there, but I just love the quiet that comes with a private barn. I've boarded Nav at three different places, and I would honestly be happy having him at any one of them again.

Each one was at the owner's private home, I was either the only or one of two or three boarders. Horses were extremely well looked after and cared for with the same care as the owner's horses. The facilities were nice and well kept, if simple. There was no drama between boarders or BO. I can bring in my own farrier, trainer, etc. should I want that.

Every private barn I've been at the horses get 24/7 turnout, which is the one thing I don't want to compromise on for Nav's wellbeing. Most of the boarding barns I looked at when we moved to Texas only did partial or single paddock turnout. When asking around at a tack shop I mentioned 24/7 turnout was a priority for me and the woman I was talking to said good luck finding that around here, and that her horse got about 2 hours of turnout a day! It may be harder to find a private barn taking boarders, but in my experience it is worth it, even if it is a little out of the way or more self care. But the main thing is go and visit and take a look around before moving your horse there.
 

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My house. I have 6 clean stalls, 2 clean paddocks, a large pasture and a small riding arena... perfect for me...

I did board at a really great place once though. They had a covered round pen, two huge outdoor rings, an indoor ring, hot and cold water, washing machine and dryer, and a tack store on sight.... and the owner operator was a world champion.
 
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Every private barn I've been at the horses get 24/7 turnout, which is the one thing I don't want to compromise on for Nav's wellbeing. Most of the boarding barns I looked at when we moved to Texas only did partial or single paddock turnout. When asking around at a tack shop I mentioned 24/7 turnout was a priority for me and the woman I was talking to said good luck finding that around here, and that her horse got about 2 hours of turnout a day! It may be harder to find a private barn taking boarders, but in my experience it is worth it, even if it is a little out of the way or more self care. But the main thing is go and visit and take a look around before moving your horse there.
Yes! I cannot believe the compromises on turnout at a lot of boarding barns. Tiny, muddy paddocks, no big fields, and very limited hours for the most part (though not all are like this). I know of a fairly new stable that has unbelievable stalls and a gorgeous barn... but tiny little individual paddocks for turnout. It just seems like priorities are all wrong - at least for me.

Finding a small private barn is definitely not easy, but when you do, you treat them right! I often offered to feed the BO's horses so they could go away, on Sunday morning so they could go to brunch, and was pretty generous with gifts. When we left, I had a watercolour painting done of their three horses. Because honestly, private barns aren't taking you in to make money so I went above and beyond to respect their property, and help out in any way I could.
 

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It's interesting to hear that on the 24/7 turnout for public boarding barns because it is a bit of a mixed bag where I am. Most barns in my area have 24/7 turnout, and then some will have limited turnout. It depends on the type of barn and I find that ""fancy" or competitive barns usually error on less turnout for whatever reason.

Although, I do agree that it is difficult to find a great public boarding barn and private is the way to go. I think when it comes down to it, boarding barns are a business and profit most often trumps quality care. I haven't been to one boarding barn that hasn't had one issue or another in terms of horse care, and I don't believe that is just me being picky either since many of them have had instances where a horse has gotten injured or a health issue due to the quality of care provided. I know there are some really nice ones out there, but I think they are harder to find and probably harder to get into, as a result.
 
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