A friend of mine is contemplating a move from our lovely Vancouver BC, to Calgary AB. She is understandably reluctant to part with her horse, so decided to look into what the horse community is like in Calgary. Here in BC, you can find all the info you'd need on either Craigslist or the HCBC forums... but we can't seem to find that kind of info on Calgary. So I figured I'd look here-- I was SURE there'd be a TON of information. But, other than Spruce and BNTs, and fancy sales/show/training facilities, I haven't found anything. So I'm asking!
Is it just plain expensive to board in Calgary? Or are there nice, safe, but smaller/less-fancy places to board that are more reasonable? If so, how do we find them, and what kind of price range are we looking at?
She has a green horse and dabbles in dressage, but really just wants a laid-back place to pleasure ride. But if it's going to cost $800/month, she's going to have to leave the horse behind. I know that right now she's paying about $350/month for self care at a nice, quiet, smaller facility.
There are quite a few less fancy places in and around Calgary. It's a big, sprawling city, though, so your friend might want to decide on what part of the city she'll be living in before she makes a boarding decision for her buddy. You don't want to be living in Cougar Ridge and boarding at Chestermere!
Be compassionate, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. - Philo of Alexandria
there definitely are cheaper options out there, especially if you are willing to go without an indoor arena. unfortunately with winters the way they are it's very hard to ride regularly throughout the winter without one. another option, depending on the horse, is to do pasture/outdoor board at a place with an indoor. that is less expensive than a stall option but not all horses are suited to it depending on how it's managed.
you could also check the yellow page listings online for Calgary stables for a few more leads.
It's definitely going to narrow the search field if you friend decides what end of the city she would like to move/work in.
On the south side, there are loads of places from the city limits down to Nanton and Okotoks, and spots in between. West of the city, you can head out past Airdrie and find all sorts of barns from fancy to straight up pasture, then in the North East, there are barns pretty well every stone's throw.
Trying to live on the North end and then get to a barn, at rush hour, on the South Side...well, Calgary traffic will give even Vancouver a run for its money.
There are probably more options for your friend around Calgary than on the lower mainland...they are just more spread out. More variety of disciplines too, there are many Western-oriented barns that you don't hear about at Jumping and Dressage shows, but can work just as well, depending on what you want. I would say that indoor board at a nice facility with an indoor arena is going to average $500-$600. That might include a blanket/turnout service, and possibly basic feed. You will pay more as you increase the services. I haven't seen indoor board with an arena for much less than $500. If the horse doesn't need a stall, $300 is pretty standard for access to a place with an arena. If you don't need a place to ride, a horse can be kept for a little less.
Lifestyle coordinator for Zora, Spooky, Wolfgang and Warrior
I haven't seen indoor board with an arena for much less than $500. If the horse doesn't need a stall, $300 is pretty standard for access to a place with an arena. If you don't need a place to ride, a horse can be kept for a little less.
I sent a PM to the OP but wanted to post that although I agree with the latter ($250-300 is pretty standard for pasture board with an indoor arena), there are quite a few places that offer stalls and an indoor arena for less than $500 - I know of several north of the city. These are more laid-back multi-discipline facilities for the most part however, some lower-key jumper barns. Most are in or near the smaller towns and communities surrounding the city as opposed to right close to the city. Once you start getting into the barns that hold more shows and are more 'upper-class' and discipline specific, you start to see the price rise. This price increase does not always equate to better care, however.
There really are a LOT of options for board out here because of SUCH a hugely dense horse population (hello Spruce and a large number of ranches!).
And Airdrie is 2min north of the city, not west Cochrane is west, however.
My suggestion would be to compile a list of suitable barns based on what area your friend is considering living in, then visit a number of them. You'll find most online and will pass the rest on the road or figure it out by word of mouth. In the end, if she finds something she thinks is suitable but turns out otherwise, it is not a huge thing to move when you know the area a little better, given the abundance of barns. It's hard to know just how a barn will be however until you have boarded there yourself (or a good friend has boarded there, etc). I'm not really comfortable offering specific suggestions when I have not experienced the instruction at that specific barn, have not seen how their turnout operates, have not experienced what their feed program is like, don't know what trails are available nearby, etc. Sometimes the facilities appear only average but the care is top-notch and other times the facilities appear quite fancy but the care is not up to your standard or is not what you are looking for. I've been lucky myself to have not had to move around much
....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.
I have boarded at Willow Grove, south of the City, but unfortunately I am broke right now, so I can't. Love it there - the people are awesome. I think it's around 400-500 for outdoor board there? You can pm me if you'd like to know more info.
I have heard of Alborak, but don't know much about it...
I bought my horse from Alborak 11 years ago...it's a gorgeous place. It's a little far disrance-wise from Calgary compared to some stables, but it has amazing scenery and I think a lot of trails around here. A gorgeous facility, huge indoor arena, and I seem to recall they even had a shower in the big bathroom for clients!
The only downside - that I know of - is the road to get there in winter gets pretty snowy and a wee bit difficult to get through. A year after I got my horse, we went to a clinic there in the dead of winter and the horse trailer driver had to stop and put chains on to get through. I had my truck in 4WL going twenty the whole way just to get over the drifts.