Finding the Right Barn for You and Your New Horse
Horse shopping is an exciting endeavor, but if you’re not already at the barn of your dreams you’ll need to shop around for a home for your new friend. Selecting the right environment for yourself and your horse’s needs can alleviate a lot of stress and make your time with your horse that much more enjoyable.
Start by making a list of amenities you would like. Do you need access to trails, an indoor arena, or a cross-country course? This is where your monthly budget will come into play. We would all love to pay $100/month to live at the Spanish Riding School–but let’s face it–that isn’t very realistic. If budget is a concern, many barn managers are open to boarders working off some of their monthly costs. Some barns may offer a pasture board option where a horse lives outdoors in a fenced pasture 24/7. This is typically a less expensive option and might be a good choice for horses that are stall sour or crib.
The social scene at a barn can have an enormous impact on your time with your horse. Try to assess the management style when meeting with staff. Ask about the average length of time a client stays at the facility or for references. See if the barn manager will allow you to walk around on your own for a few minutes. You might be able to get a sense for how people interact with each other without supervision. Will you be showing every weekend or are you interested in weekend trail rides with some friends? Look for a barn that matches you and your riding interests.
The most important question to ask yourself is: will I feel comfortable leaving my horse here? You’ll need to know if the staff will be able to recognize a serious issue and resolve it. Are the facilities safe for your horse? Don’t feel bad about passing up or moving on from a barn. The right facility for you is out there!