Looking at potential boarding barns can be overwhelming – how do you know which barn will be a good fit for your horse? While you’ll always want to have an idea of what you’re looking for in a boarding barn, you should also have a list of questions prepared for when you go look at a potential equine barn. Here are some questions you’ll want to add to your list before you decide to lease a horse stall.
What is included in the board fee?
You don’t want to be surprised, so ask for a list of exactly what is included in the board fee. Small fees for additional services add up quickly. What are the sizes of the horse stalls? Is there a different cost for internal and external facing horse stalls? Can you switch the location of your horse stall if your horse does not like its horse neighbors?
What is the barn manager’s experience?
The barn manager will be the person who is overall responsible for your horse’s care and well-being. Find out what that person’s experience is.
What are the barn hours? Is the barn closed on particular days?
Many larger show barns have certain hours of operation during which owners are permitted to be on the premises. Barns also have specific times that they’re closed, at which point anyone who isn’t staff is expected to leave the property. Make sure that the barn’s hours will suit your work and riding schedule, especially if you have to prepare for shows.
Remember, too, that some barns choose to be “closed” on particular days – generally Mondays. Find out if you are able to visit your horse during those days, and decide whether that schedule would work for you.
Can I bring in my own vet/farrier/trainer?
Some barns have a designated vet and/or farrier for the entire barn. While some barns allow and welcome you bringing in your own vet and farrier, other barns may not permit this practice. Find out ahead of time so you’re not in for a surprise.
Depending on the barn, you may or may not be allowed to bring in an outside trainer. Some barns already have a designated trainer, so bringing in another one is not permitted. If you are allowed to bring in a trainer, ask if there is a ring fee for when the trainer teaches you.
Can the ring be used while lessons are taking place?
All barns have different policies regarding usage of the ring or arena while a lesson is in progress. Whether or not you can ride may depend on the lesson size and the experience level of those in the lesson. This is an important question to ask ahead of time, especially if your choices of areas to ride in are limited. You may also want to ask about the standard lesson schedule so that you can plan ahead.
Be sure to check out each potential barn thoroughly before making your decision. Even after you move, keep the lines of communication open with the new owner and barn manager. That way if there are any problems, they’ll be easier to resolve.
If boarding is not for you and you decide it is time to start building your own barn, that is where we come in! We can supply all the components needed to help you build a barn that will last a lifetime. From your very own horse stalls to flooring, arenas and lighting we are sure to help make your building process easier.