Whether you're a new horse owner or you've been thinking about switching barns for a while, where you decide to board your horse can have a big impact on your horse's happiness and health — as well as your own.
As a result, your decision should be well thought out and carefully made. After all, the barn where you ultimately decide to board your horse is going to be responsible for their daily feedings, care and overall wellbeing.
That's why it's a good idea to create a list of requirements before you begin your search. This list will help you narrow down your barn options and make the decision-making process much easier.
What Should an Owner Look for When Evaluating the Best Boarding Facility for Their Horse?
To help you get started, we put together a few things you'll want to keep in mind to help you find the best horse boarding facility.
Self-Care vs. Full-Care
One of the first things you'll have to determine is whether you are looking for a self-care or full-care barn. Self-care barns tend to be cheaper because you are responsible for feeding and looking after your own horse.
At a full-care barn, which tends to cost more, the staff will feed your horse, muck their stall and bring them in and turn them out for you. Many full-care barns will also blanket and do other additional services for you, like putting on your horse's fly mask before turning them out.
Regardless of whether you decide on self-care or full-care, you also need to consider the overall size of the property. Most horses need about two acres of pasture. Does the barn have enough space out in the pasture for the number of horses boarded there? Do they have roomy stalls — at least 10 feet by 10 feet?
Barn Quality and Safety
Horse owners should also evaluate the overall quality and safety of the property. Are the owners or barn manager and staff experienced and professional? Do they regularly upkeep, maintain and rotate the pastures? Is the fencing sturdy and secure? Is there a shelter in the pasture? Do the horses have enough forage, hay and fresh, clean water available at all times? Do the horses look happy and healthy?
Be sure to walk through the barn and common areas as well. Are the stalls clean and well-ventilated? Do you see any safety issues that could cause a fire? Are there safe areas to tie, bathe and tack up your horse?
Depending on the barn and price range, available amenities can vary greatly. Think about which amenities you can't do without. For example, some common barn amenities include:
- Lounges and breakrooms.
- Fly control.
- Feed rooms.
- Tack rooms.
- Wash racks.
- Washing machines.
Consider the Needs of Both Horse and Rider
When trying to find the best facility to board your horse, it's also important to consider your horse's needs as well as your own needs as an equestrian to help you narrow down your options.
There are a few horse needs you'll want to consider:
- Does your horse prefer stall vs. pasture board?
- Does your horse need a separate paddock, or can they be turned out in a herd?
- Do they have any special needs, like needing a dry lot in the summer?
- Can you bring and use your own feed and hay?
- Can you use your regular vet and farrier?
Of course, while your horse's needs should be the top priority, you should also consider your needs as a rider:
- Is the barn within your price range?
- Is the barn located a convenient distance from where you live?
- Does the barn have the features you need and desire?
- Is there a trainer available for lessons, clinics and shows?
- Is there trailer parking available on the property?
Find the Tack and Horse Supplies You Need to Love the Ride
Here at Horse Tack Co., we have over 15,000 products for both English and Western riders. We carry the top equestrian brands you know and love, and we make it easy to find the tack, apparel, accessories and supplies you need.
From stable buckets and feeders to boots for safely trailering your horse, we have everything you need to make moving to a new boarding facility easy and stress-free. Best of all, our broad product range is always up to date and affordably priced.
Enjoy quick checkout and fast shipping when you order from our site. If you have any questions about what you and your horse might need, be sure to give our team a call at 866-624-8225 or fill out our contact form and we'll get back to you.