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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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
-Round ring
-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.
-60x160 arena
-100x200 outdoor arena
-Round ring
-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.
 

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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.

Key
 

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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! :)
 

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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)
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
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.
 

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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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I think the horses personal care would be top of my list...

Both barns offer very close amenities actually.

For me....
If your horse is going to be on "outside" board, I would be thinking he would be uncomfortable in a "heated" barn situation. It is the horses needs being met not yours. You need to dress for the biting cold, not acclimate the horse to warmth and then back out to the cold...as long as you are out of the winds, the cold the horse can adjust for and you can put coolers or blankets on as needed before, during or after a workout.

My other thought is... attached indoor to the barn can sometimes create a dusty breathing environment, over time a breathing health issue.
I would go for the barn that is a separate indoor so the horse is not breathing that "dust" longer than necessary.
Also a "closed" up barn as such... I prefer a fresh air environment and good air exchange so respiratory problems and illnesses are harder to transfer, hopefully the barn workers are diligent in equine hygiene practices.

I also like the individual pens idea. I am not of the mindset that says they must be out in a group all the time. Fed in their respective "private" area so you know your horse ate his ration & supplements not the neighbor eating his and pushing him away or your horse eating anothers...I don't go for group feeding of grain... see to many horses learn to bolt their feed for fear of not being left to eat in peace. Individual will also allow you to know if there is a eating issue with your horse.
I would think that there would also be hay fed in a turnout that all can munch at during the day, many piles or a few round bales so no one is pushed away or chased off...

Makes no difference to me what discipline is being ridden.
Skilled riders no matter the discipline all have certain basics that are common to all... biggest thing to me is other riders having ring courtesy and respect for fellow riders.
Although one indoor is larger, it isn't by a great amount truly...and the smaller indoor is absolutely ride-able and workable in even in company...all boils down to respect for each other and ring etiquette.

Me... I would go for barn #1...
the horses needs sound better met.
Your needs are second to his, yet all is more than adequate that is provided.
:wink:

Are there bathroom facilities???
To me that is a must!!
 

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I've never boarded at an official boarding barn, but PERSONAL CARE is my top priority.

I've boarded privately at two different places. The first was wonderful (I only left because of how far away it was). I could literally not see my own horses for a month, and trust 100% that they were okay because she checked them with a fine tooth comb. Excellent piece of mind!!

The place I'm at now? Perks because it is much closer and has an outdoor arena .... but lacking that personal care. I'm responsible for checking my own horses, pretty much. They'd only notice something horribly serious (like someone missing a leg ) before they'd call me.

So for me = personal care!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Wow it sounds like you guys have had a hard time finding a barn that offers personalized care for your horses! It’s a real eye opener for me… I guess I have taken it for granted having my horses at the family farm and knowing they’re receiving quality care. It’s part of the reason I’m worried about facilities… I can continue to keep them there for much cheaper but bringing them out here allows me to spend more time with them and facilities are going to affect that over winter as well.

The attached barn at #2 isn’t heated just insulated- when those winds get blowing it really helps. As for the arena it’s supposedly “dust free” so I guess it’s treated? In any case that’s a valid point thank you :) I’m also glad you mentioned arena size, I did wonder just how much a difference it would make 160 vs 120.

The individual pens with barn #1 are a huge plus for sure. In pics her horses are fat, glossy and completely nick and scratch free… They are obviously getting what they need and staying safe. The size of the pens does worry me though. There is not enough room for a horse to open up and run but I suppose they would have that with the group turn out.

Barn #2 keeps pasture groups small and organizes pastures according to temperament and feed needs. Seriously both great barns here.

Washroom!! Haha never thought of it. An outdoor port-a-potty at barn #1 and I believe an indoor heated washroom at #2.

I am leaning towards barn 1 It has quite a few less horses and arena traffic would probably be less. Not to mention the extra care. I think I’ll still check out both barns however.

Thanks guys!
 

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When you go asking questions...being it has a indoor...

Ask if they allow outsiders in...as in renting for an hours ride time.
When and are they allowed use of the barns then to to tack up. Are there certain hours this goes on and days...

Barns may appear one way and then when you arrive to what you thought of as a "quiet" setting you find a lot of people trailering in to use the facilities during the winter months...called traffic jam!!

As for the difference in arena length...
hunter/jumper average:at the canter the average stride of a horse is 12'.
So, this can get confusing but...
The average length of a galloping stride of a horse is 3.5 meters long. {this is also about 12'}
To me galloping is a faster gait than a canter or lope, but not necessarily a longer stride involved..
So,...a arena with a 40' difference in length is going to be 2-3 strides shorter on the long side.
{they hold indoor h/j shows where junior riders ride a course over 3'6" - 3'9" fences in arenas of this size, in a flat class you may have 10+ riders riding at once in this space safely too. Jumpers ride higher fence heights and faster speeds and do great in spaces of this size.}

Also realize that the actual shape of the indoor may make a difference in long side length available... a viewing area in the arena included in the length or not, curved walls, walkaround the entire arena,...all thing to take notice of and ask about.

Bottom line is...
if you have access to a trailer and they allow outsiders in to ride for a nominal fee, maybe just stay home and trailer in a couple times a week...save the money on board and be assured of the care your horse gets.
:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I went to see both barns today and it’s a pretty clear decision for barn #1. The horse are all happy, inquisitive, and gorgeous. She provides excellent care- only feeds small square bales which is a requirement for me, can blanket and feed any grain I proved twice a day. A lady with a big warmblood was just finishing up a lesson and went out of her way to sell me on the BO/coach which I thought was cute.

I followed your advice Horselovin guy and did ask about people renting the arena and while a few do I don’t think it will be an issue. She has about 8 horses on the property between her own and boarding. Your arena length breakdown was very helpful thank you :)

Barn #2 was good as well but free feeds big rounds, the fencing is older and needs a bit of work, and has an overall more commercial feeling atmosphere. That arena was to die for though haha.

I’d love to continue keeping my guys at the family farm but I’m living an hour 15 away so it gets too hard to make it out :s I’m really excited to have one of my guys closer and at such a nice barn.
 
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