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Choosing an Excellent Boarding Facility

Posted October 08, 2013 in Horse Health & Care

In an ideal world our horses would always be just a few steps away. We could walk out the back door and ride off into the sunset whenever the urge struck us. Unfortunately, in the real world, it’s just not always feasible to house your horse in the yard. Horses need space, and lots of it. As a result, a surprisingly high percentage of horses in America are boarded year round. Still others are boarded only for a short period of time while their owners are away on vacation. In either case choosing a quality boarding service is vital to the health and well being of your steed.

The Facility:

It’s definitely worthwhile to take a trip to the facility before you start any paperwork. 

Is it clean? Obviously a stable isn’t going to be spotless, but things should be relatively organized. Equipment should be where it belongs and the stalls should be mucked on a regular basis. The smell can tell you a lot. Does it smell like fresh sawdust, wood, or does it smell like a refinery? How big are the stalls? Will your horse have room to turn around? Will he have room to lie down? Are the water buckets full? If not you should find out why, and how often they’re checked on. The stable might use an automatic watering system or they might fill them by hand. Find out and make sure you’re satisfied with the answer.

Next you should take a look at the pasture. Find out how long the horses are left outside. If they’re left outdoors for long periods of time there needs to be some sort of shelter that they can get under. If they’re in the stalls most of the day find out how often they’re let out. 

Lastly is this the type of place you could spend time in? Does it have a bathroom for you to use? Does it have an indoor arena? What are the hours of operation? What style of riding is most popular here? Do other owners seem satisfied? Don’t be afraid to ask for references or to strike up a conversation with people on site. Be warned though some horse owners are sensitive about unsolicited conversation so if they appear busy just move on.

The Staff:

The staff should be friendly, but might also be busy so try not to take any

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Jason has over 6 years of experience in the pet health industry and is managing editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.

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