Boarding a horse can be an emotional event. You either have your first horse and you need to find a suitable facility to stable it, or you have determined that it is time to search for a new boarding facility because your current one no longer meets your standard or needs. Whether you own your horse simply for fun, equestrian sport eventing, or as a pet, you want to have the best care possible. Those who enjoy trail rides usually search for easy access to open riding areas and often wish to meet other likeminded trail riding enthusiasts. Horse owners who enjoy the outdoors should seek access to private and public trails, groomed bridle paths or riding track, lighted outdoor arena and a round pen to exercise and train the horse when they cannot get on the trails.
Boarding Your Horse
Decisions, decisions! It will take time and research to find a suitable place to make you and your horse both happy. First and foremost, when searching for a stable or farm, you have to decide on how you want your horse boarded. Do you want to participate in the care or do you want to just enjoy time with your horse. Here are some options for boarding:
- Rough board – You basically rent a stall and space for turnout and provide all the care and supplies; hay, grain and shavings. You clean the stall and turnout areas, and feed and maintain the horse. In some cases, you can rough board with several individuals and form a co-op.
- Semi-rough board – You rent a stall and turnout, but only provide the supplies; hay, grain and shavings. The owner then feeds and maintains the stall with what you provide.
- Full board – The stable owner signs an agreement with you to fully care for your horse’s stall and feeding program.
Once you decide how you want to board, you can then search for the best boarding facility for you and your horse. There are many types of boarding facilities to choose from; large facilities with trainers, or small farms with few boarders, some abutting trail systems, and some without any trails. You can view ads online or contact facilities directly to obtain information on available stalls and what services they offer.
Barn Viewing Appointments
Appointments can be made with any boarding facility whether they have an available stall or not. Ask for the rules of the barn and the feeding schedule. Ask questions about the type of hay and grain they offer, the veterinarian they use, how they will deal with unexpected emergencies, such as a colicky horse on a Saturday evening, and don’t forget to ask about their worming schedule. Also, find out about turnout. The facilities can have run out stalls, enclosed stalls or run out shelters, but again this is all according to your preference and what you think is best for you and your horse.