Finding the right place to board your horse is no easy task. There are a lot of details to consider.
Pricing is the very first thing you’ll want to look at. Is the monthly fee within your budget? What services are included in the monthly fee? Are there additional charges for things like
blanketing or holding your horse for the farrier? These questions will determine whether or not you need to look any further.
Once you have decided that the facility is within your price range, look at the safety of the facility. What kinds of materials are used for the stalls? Are there any boards or objects that the horse could catch a foot under when rolling or walking around in the stall?
Look at the fencing and pasture areas. Are the fences safe and in good repair? Are there any areas where your horse could get out or get hurt? Are the turnout areas clear of debris?
Take a look at the condition of the pasture as well as the trees and plants that your horse would have access to. Are the pastures rotated to allow for growth? Are there any poisonous trees or plants? Poorly maintained pastures that are over-grazed usually carry a higher percentage of parasites. In addition to the potential of a higher parasite load, horses have a tendency to eat tree bark and plants that may not be good for them when kept on poor pasture without free access to hay.
After you have assessed that the facility is within your price range and a safe place to keep your horse, verify the feeding schedule. Who will be feeding your horse and at what time? Stalled horses need to be fed at least twice a day. They also need to be kept on a regular schedule to avoid stress.
If the boarding facility is providing the feed and hay, get the nutritional details for what they’re feeding. If possible, get a nutritional label from the feed bag so you can make sure that the nutrient levels are adequate for your horse. Check with your equine veterinarian if you’re not sure what those nutritional requirements entail.
Ask what type of hay they feed and how much. Go look at the hay supply and make sure it’s free of mold, dust and weeds.
Discuss the amount of feed and hay your horse will receive. Some boarding facilities will only feed up to a certain amount and will charge extra if a horse requires more feed or additional supplementation.
Talk about the turnout arrangements for your horse. If your horse will be stalled, who is responsible for turning your horse out? What is the turnout schedule? How long will they be turned out? Regular turnout is essential for stalled horses to keep them healthy and mentally happy, not to mention it helps keep their energy levels down. The longer turnout time your horse will have the better.
Choosing a boarding facility for your horse is a big decision. Review these questions prior to making a decision or signing a boarding contract and you’ll better your chances at finding the right place for your horse to stay.