View Full Version : What CAN you live with at your barn

Mar. 12, 2012, 01:17 AM
I live in a small area with few choices in boarding barns. I am at a nice new facility. The pros about this barn are it is new, there is lots of turnout, the hay is excellent quality square bales, the fencing is safe, my coach is welcome, and there are only a few boarders who are all very nice. Cons are I have to buy extra bedding and feed on top of the most expensive board in the area. Other barns in my area have serious drawbacks that I absolutely can't live with (unsafe fencing, limited turnout, inexperienced staff, and I am not a fan of round bales). I want to get others opinions.....what drawbacks CAN you live with for an otherwise nice facility?

Mar. 12, 2012, 03:06 AM
That barn i am at right now is the samevway. Nice, new, great people and trainer, great care. Except the barn is pricey but no extra for any fed my horse is the fattest he has ever been. The drawback i Can live with is the distance the barn is from my house. Its about 40 mins which gets annoying but i love everything else too much to leave

Mar. 12, 2012, 07:13 AM
I can live with a facility that isn't fancy or new. I pay on the high end for board. The facility has an indoor, etc. but the previous owner let the place run down. The new owners have made things safe, but are working on other stuff as they go along.

What I'm most concerned with is the level of care.

What the new owners do provide is excellent quality hay/grain; experienced, friendly help; clean, dry stalls; meds/supps given as directed; bed checks that are actually done(!); and a place where open, honest communication is welcomed.

For me, peace of mind is a lot more important than a perfectly manicured lawn or fancy lounge.

As an added bonus, the barn is only 20 minutes from my house...the closest my horses have ever been except when they were at home!

Mar. 12, 2012, 12:18 PM
I've given this a lot of thought since I've purchased my gelding, as I've decided whether or not the place I have him at it where I want to stay long-term.

Pros: partial care (I really like being able to take part in my horse's care, being hands on, plus the lower cost. It's a con for some, for me it's a pro); location - only five minutes from work, ten minutes from home; areas to ride - indoor, outdoor, trail, field in the summer; summer turnout - decent sized turnout in the late-spring to fall seasons; good sized stalls; wash-rack; area for storage (though not large); VERY family like atmosphere - people are close, helpful, very cooperative with each other.

Cons: partial care does not include any part of turnout (you must arrange to do this yourself or work together with other boarders, etc. It ends up being workable, but can be frustrating); winter turnout - limited to mud paddocks which are VERY difficult to navigate; Small management/staff means things don't always get fixed in a timely manner, though it does seem like an attempt gets made; the family atmosphere can get TOO close - people who are judgemental or catty.

Overall, I can deal with the cons and I think the pros far outweigh them. There are few options within a thirty minute drive for me and the two closest barns other than the one I'm at have MUCH worse turnout and other issues that make them non-options for me. I feel very much at home at my current barn and I keep in mind that no place is perfect, you just have to find what works for you.

Mar. 12, 2012, 01:19 PM
One thing i can not do is drama or catty people. The barn and my horse is my get away from stress in life and drama at the barn is something i definitely can't do.

Mar. 12, 2012, 03:44 PM
I don't own or board, but pretending I did own the current horse i ride, this is how I feel.
My barn is 40ish miles from my house, all highway/country roads (55 mph), so it takes like 30 minutes (if I don't go out of my way for coffee... But I usually do, so add on another 15mins). There's a really nice facility about 25 miles away from my house with an instructor that my trainer has recommended in the past. That facility is pretty darn nice and has trails, too.
If I were to buy this horse, would I move him- to that place or any other? Probably not.
My trainer's barn isn't fancy. There isn't a wash stall or covered arena, and not much riding outside of the (smaller) arena. But the horses usually get 12 hours of turnout, which this boy needs. His hooves and weight have been great, and i know he's a sensitive type. He gets semi private turnout, either with his gelding buddy or by himself. The stalls, while not fancy, are huge- 12x16 or so. My trainer is a great balance of hardass and patient, and she has a firm understanding of the physics and biomechanics for horse and rider. She challenges all her riders, but her approach is different depending on the kid and their goals. The atmosphere is relaxed and homey and i think her rates are reasonable.

If I could wave a magic wand, I would like trails or (hey why not) cross country type obstacles. It'd be nice to have a bigger arena, but this one really makes you ride every stride and now that I'm used to it I don't think about it.
The last barn I was in was POSH, and my goodness would I love to have some of those amenities (the barn apartment with refrigerator access and use of the bathroom and shower, aaah)... But the personalities involved... Not so much. It was OK then (just shrugging off the wackadoodles and riding at quiet times) but I wouldn't leave this current place and trainer to go back to a pretty barn.

Probably the only other place I'd board around here is at a co-op just down the road where a friend and fellow cother boards, but id have to consider the travel time from my house, especially if/since horsey wouldn't be in full training (having to make the drive more often) plus bringing in my outside trainer and how much the fees would increase that way.

Mar. 12, 2012, 04:27 PM
One thing I've recently decided I absolutely can't live with is an almost complete lack of turnout! As in, I believe the horse has been out twice in the last month (and I know for sure has only been out once in the last 12 days). But I'm not bitter or anything...I LOVE practicing my rodeo bronc skills!

But I CAN live with a lot as long as the care is good and I feel that the people taking care of my horse have good judgment and his best interests at heart.

Mar. 12, 2012, 04:53 PM
I can live without hot water, have for years.

Mar. 12, 2012, 05:07 PM
I can deal with everything except for less than stellar horse care, and putting the animals first. (this means feed, cleanliness, attention to detail, safe fencing, fresh water, adequate turnout etc).

Cattiness, drama, no hot water, not super fancy etc don't bother me.

Luckily I have my own place so don't have to worry :cool:

Mar. 12, 2012, 11:09 PM
As long as my horse is safe, happy, well cared for, and well looked out for when I'm not there, I can put up with a lot. At the barn where my trainer and her students used to board, the manager was always trying to find new ways to push my trainer out-whether it was ring fees, even for owners; lessons allowed only on 2 certain days of the week; limit to number of children under a certain age on those days, etc. But the horses were fed, stalls were clean, pastures maintained. It was a pain in the butt, but it was better for the horses than some other options around us.
We're at a much better barn now. It's farther away and doesn't have an indoor, but I don't think I've seen such a group of fat and happy horses.
My other horse, whose sole job is bossing around snarky two year olds in the field, lives way far away, because she's at a place where she's getting wonderful care. The owner is the most knowledgeable horse person I know. She got my horse from an underweight and under-muscled mess to a fat and happy sassy mare who at age 13 and 17+ hands gallops around the fields barefoot, when before she had to have stripper platform shoes. Even though I wish my horse was closer so that I could see her more, I know it's better for her to be somewhere where she's well taken care of

Mar. 13, 2012, 08:37 PM
I have kept my horses at home for the last 30 years. But if I boarded out I would demand the following: Good HAY!!--You can skip all the fancy supplements if you feed good quality hay--clean water--no dirty waterers or stock tanks--turnout!!!! And an indoor arena!!!! (I live in Colorado) I show on the "A" circut and most of the shows we attend are within about 1 hr drive (highway) from my house. I no longer even consider a stall. My show hunters tie to the trailer. When I am done with their classes the reward is to be turned out when we get home at the end of the day!!. On a multi week show I really notice the difference between the horses who stay at the show grounds and mine who are on the road 2 hrs a day, but get to go home each night and roll!!

Mar. 19, 2012, 01:04 AM
My horse lives 10 minutes from my house. But work is 30 minutes away to the south and horse is 10 minutes away to the east. She has her own paddock and lots of food. There is no barn. If I want jumps I will have to make them. Trainer 5 minute walk down the road has arena full of jumps, dressage arena, and xc jumps. The board is cheap. I eat many free dinners there and it is a wonderfully casual and fun environment. Much nicer than the place I once boarded with a BNT and rules up the yin yang (no turn out in arena, no jumping outside of lessons, horse can't roll in arena, and no drinking). Love my where I am at where horsie can race around the arena (does it all the time and in 4 years, not one injury), she can roll to her hearts content after a work out, a beer is OK, and I can jump to my hearts content OUTSIDE of lessons!!! Yay. I am a happy girl and so is horsie!

Mar. 19, 2012, 12:27 PM
After all the years in boarding barns, I learned to live with just paying a little more for full service. I can live with just about anything IF I trust them to properly care for the horse when I cannot be there. And I can deal with little or no turn out since I went my first 20 years as an owner without it-long as there are alternatives I can trust them to do.

Anybody with career and/or family demands needs to really consider the "what ifs" of spending less and doing more yourself. The "what ifs" like I break a something, get sick, kid needs surgery, parents needs help etc. etc. can mean your horse just gets neglected in your absence (oh, friends? BTDT-twice. Ended friendship, don't count on that).

I gave up on partial or self care years ago. Mine was cared for and the one in the filthy stall next door was coughing up a lung on 3 shoes while the one on the other side belonged to a minimalist in horse care. They were not shy in helping themselves to my stuff either.

The rest? The drama, some catiness and such? Never drove me out of a barn.

Mar. 19, 2012, 05:24 PM
What I can live with: I can live with a not so fancy place but has good care. I can live without an attitude that I've relinquished nearly everything about owning a horse except for paying the bills.

Mar. 19, 2012, 05:41 PM
I can live without a wash stall and I can live without hot water. Not my favorites, but I can (and currently do).

Mar. 19, 2012, 06:53 PM
I can live without a place being super fancy as long as the horses get regular care and attention.

I don't need somebody grooming my horse everyday, but I want the barn manager/owner/care taker to be aware enough of my horse and their personality to know if something is wrong (lameness, colic, wounds, etc).

Stalls cleaned, fresh shavings as needed, clean water buckets, and decent hay.

Turnout: doesn't need to be grass but if there isn't grass then there should be round bales or adequate hay to keep them from scrounging on the ground.

Decent tack room is a pretty important part because I hate having stuff everywhere and having to carry my stuff all over the place.

Can't do without an indoor in Colorado, but did just fine without one in Florida ;)

Mar. 19, 2012, 08:52 PM
I absolutely cannot live without daily turnout. No, I don't mean 15 minutes in the indoor arena, alone, while his stall is cleaned. I mean several hours per day for my horse to socialize with others. He is a herd animal, and despite being worth a lot of money, and the fact that a lot injuries can happen while in turnout, I believe that lack of turnout is not only unnatural, but unhealthy and results in an unhappy animal.

I also don't believe there is ANY excuse whatsoever for a boarding facility, especially one you are paying $$$$ for to fail to provide your horse enough, or a good enough quality of feed. If your horse is eating an exorbitant amount of feed, and still skinny, then maybe a weight gain supplement is needed, and that can sometimes be a different story. However, if the issue is simply that they are being cheap and don't want to give him a reasonable amount of feed, I would conclude that they must not give a crap about your horse.

Basically the health and happiness of my horses come before my own needs. I could care less if there is no fancy lounge, if the barn is a little dirty or rundown, but I can't stand a miserable or unhealthy horse. It's not fair for us to decide that their needs can be sacraficed for our comfort or convenience.

Mar. 19, 2012, 08:56 PM
Also...if you're paying for full care board, then why aren't they providing bedding? I actually own a boarding facility, and this stuff drives me crazy!

Mar. 19, 2012, 11:32 PM
I absolutely cannot live without grass. It is for this reason that I will never move out west. I can semi live with large dry paddocks and grazing areas, but will spend extra on the place with managed, eatable, and safe grass turnout with real four board fencing.

I CAN, however, live with uneven stalls and an aged barn. I can live without neurotic grooms and stable managers. I can certainly live with a backyard barn feel.

Mar. 20, 2012, 09:18 AM
I absolutely cannot live without 24/7 turnout access (so at least a stall with run attached if in at night) and at least several hours access to a larger field with decent grass during the spr/summer/fall. My current horse does not do well stalled for any more than a day or 2 so a barn with limited turnout is not an option for me. High quality grain and hay and access to good footing for flatwork/jumping whether it be a ring or field are both paramount too. I'll take a nice field over a facility with a beautiful ring but no trails as my horse needs to get out of the ring at least a few times a week. I can live without all the usual rider amenities if the above can be met.

Mar. 20, 2012, 02:02 PM
I decided I am not a good boarder :)

I do have my own place though thank goodness.

When I have boarded out, it seems the following good sense issues became issues:

Not enough hay when horses were turned out. Not enough piles so all had a chance either...

Clean water buckets / troughs. The slime is not acceptable. I use the analogy of using the same glass for a drink and never washing it...

Access to water in winter too.

Leaving them out in fly weather to stomp constantly...

Leaving fly masks on 24/7 - not good!

Pretty basic stuff but always seemed to have been not so basic!

Mar. 20, 2012, 02:48 PM
Things I CAN live with at my current barn:

The Revolving-Door BM position... 6 months of boarding, 3 BMs. So far
Paying extra for ADDITIONAL feed
Paying or being personally responsible for blanketing
no hot water or wash stall. I can live.
No tack room
No bathroom/breakroom/social area
Sharing the arena with kids on ponies. Steering optional.

Things I can't live with at my current barn:

Having feed 'no longer included' in FULL BOARD
Being CHARGED to feed the grain that I provided- in individual baggies, as required.
Less than 6 hours of turnout for my young horses. In the mud.
Increasing board while reducing services provided. Again.

I just want to bring my horses home, can't you tell? Sigh...

Mar. 20, 2012, 09:46 PM
I moved a year ago and would like to move back to my old barn EXCEPT that the new place has beautiful grass paddocks where the horses are out every hour of daylight. My horse has never looked better or been more laid back.
The old place had lots of things for ME, that I miss, but I don't miss the lack of grass and 24/7/365 round bales for my horse.
Hence, we're stayiong put.


Mar. 20, 2012, 10:54 PM
Things I can live with:
-No trails/hacking: the barn is literally in the city, on a bus route on a reasonably busy street surrounded by houses, this makes it easier to get to and who doesn't love having coffee 5 minute walk away

-Many younger riders: I like being one of the older girls. Its given me many more opportunities. I love ebing able to go back and ride 3 or 4 horses daily for free

Mar. 20, 2012, 11:41 PM
I have at least 3 barns within 5 minutes from my house....one all fancy(i tode at for 5 years)...my horse is 15-20 mins away...first i wouldnt have her if it wasnt for the BO...second...its a smaller barn i dont have to worry about being in a lessons way if i want to ride..and i just feel very comfortable. I dont feel judged and i feel like i can ask for help ehen i need it and not feel dumb. Im so greatful for my barn owner....shes the best!!!

Mar. 20, 2012, 11:59 PM
Can live with?- my own blanketing,
making up my own grain (despite paying for full care),
no access to trails
using a leaf blower to clean the aisles (even though i hate it)
not always keeping the barn clean (safe, but just a bit untidy and not being strict about making people sweep, or at least put their stuff away!)
arena not groomed daily/always kept watered. as long as the footings not too hard.
no hot water or heated room
long driving distance

Cant live with-
a barn manager who lies, talks down to me, treats me poorly, doesnt care about horses, and/or exhibits lazy behavior around the horses.
major changes in feed with no attempt to keep hay consistent
strict barn hours. I fit riding in everyday but its not always ideal, sometimes im there at 9. No 'closed on monday' either.
no flexibility in the training program. or a training program that expects me to hand over all my horses care to a trainer/barn manager. nooooo, tis MY horse thank you very much.
a trainer that doesnt like my horse. nothing to do with the trainer, they may be great with a certain type of horse. but if they arent comfortable with my kind of horse, then Ill go somewhere else. Being told that you need to sell your (nice) horse because its a thoroughbred is more than infuriating.
okay i think im just ranting now...

Apr. 7, 2012, 06:41 PM
Thanks for the replies! I am actually set up for horses at home, I bought the place 4 years ago, spent a fortune on a riding ring....and my princess of a horse hates it...totally stressed out all the time. Couldn't be separated from the other horse without a melt down, terrified of my crazy neighbors and all their dogs, 4 wheelers, etc.. She is happier in a busy show barn like the one where she was born. After trying to be patient with her for 4 years I gave up and moved her back to a boarding barn....where she went back to her normal relaxed self....anyone want to rent a barn lol? After reading all of your replies I decided I can't live with paying top dollar and paying for all these extras. A stall opened up at my trainers barn (hardly ever happens) so I moved there and I am spending the extra money on a few training rides a week. The horses get lots of bedding and have hay in front of them at all times.

Prime Time Rider
Apr. 7, 2012, 07:20 PM
Interesting thread. After many years of boarding my horses I finally bought my own farm and my horses live at home. However, my 3 year old spends 3 days a week at my trainer's and my lesson/show horse spends some time there when I 'm on vacation or out of town.

Speaking as both a barn owner and boarder, my number #1 priority would be safety (including someone who is knowledgable enough to notice if something's not quite right with your horse) followed closely by good quality hay and grain and daily turn out. My horses are lucky in that they are out all day everyday, but realistically speaking, most boarding facilities don't have enough space for all day turnout. A minimum of 2 - 3 hours turnout would be a must for me.

If you feel the bedding is insufficient perhaps you could invest in stall mats. Stall mats can reduce the amount of bedding necessary.

red mares
Apr. 7, 2012, 08:59 PM
What I can live with & without is dependent on what I'm paying.

Retirement/super cheap board - I can live with almost anything. Stalls are not pristine, there is a trough in & outside, buckets in stalls are optional, and feed times vary. Horse & wallet are happy though.

Full board - if you tell me stalls are cleaned daily, I expect it. I also expect you (not me) to feed, and on some sort of schedule.

Apr. 8, 2012, 11:59 AM
Ironic for me that this thread came up as I was just obsessing over moving my gelding to another barn- after some major barn drama. Making my "pros & cons lists" & comparing local barns. But my current barn has the best turnout & when the dust settles, that is #1 on my priority list for my 23 yr old guy. So, we'll ride it out this time I guess.

Apr. 8, 2012, 12:25 PM
I think I can deal with a lot so long as my horses are fed quality food (and enough of it!) and kept in clean, safe stalls with a safe area to ride.

My current barn is amazing. Quality indoor, big outdoor, heated main barn, heated wash rack, lots of training extras (tie stalls, hot walker, etc). Turnout is limited, though, so mostly I arrange to just turn my horses out in the smaller pens at night after work and the boys bring them in at breakfast.

I don't mind not having an indoor. I do mind not having lights -- I work until 5 and can't get to the barn until around 6 most days -- in the winter, without lights, I can't ride. My horses and my abilities suffer when it's only two rides a week on Saturday and Sunday.

I'd also much rather have NO turnout than a terrible turnout. One barn I was at was a field full of weeds, rusty old XC jumps, and barbed wire fencing in several places. It is what it is, but since I'm out every day anyway (I'm very hands on) -- I'd rather just get them out in the arena.

There is something to be said about horses who can manage themselves in less than stellar conditions, but I don't want my horses to take unnecessary risks.

Apr. 8, 2012, 12:39 PM
I absolutely cannot live without grass. It is for this reason that I will never move out west. .

Some places out here in CA have irrigated pastures- green year round. But it's the exception, not the rule.

Slow Motion
Apr. 8, 2012, 12:42 PM
The most important things for me when boarding a horse are..

- Turnout (good fencing, footing etc)
- Hay (good quality and lots of it)
- Staff (knowledgeable)
- Location (within an hour of my house)

I don't mind buying extra grain if I have to, and I can deal with quirky fellow boarders as long as the barn owner has a good head on their shoulders.

Apr. 8, 2012, 06:52 PM
i CAN live with:
catty/prissy/snotty people
20-30 minute commute to the barn
no wash stalls
no tack lockers (as long as my tack is separate from lesson tack...my saddle has been confused for a lesson saddle...not fun)
outdoor ring only
no trails
stall (full) board only (as long as there is good turnout)

i CAN'T live with:
Downright mean, or rude people. And unprofessional trainers/BOs (who are mean, insensitive, and lazy)
LARGE lesson programs (only because my previous barn left a sour taste in my mouth regarding large lesson programs...)
Sub-par horse care.
-Too small pastures
-over crowded pastures
-troughs and buckets that have ALGAE constantly growing in them
Barns that regularly leave a majority of the care to children (i have no problem with kids doing a few chores if they want to help out...but I've had experiences where the kids had to do all the feeding, watering, turnout, stalls, blanketing, and supplements...all under the supervision of a lazy BO. And all for a discount that really doesn't make a difference in costs.
A bad trainer
*Note: everything above is what was wrong with my previous barn...which is why I left.

Sorry for the novel :P