Why do we loves horses? The reasons are almost endless.
Besides the close companionship between horse and rider, owning a horse has lots of other benefits for us humans. Riding outdoors and caring for a horse are both excellent physical activities that keep you in touch with nature and reduce stress.
And in return for all that your horse does for you, it’s so important to select the right horse boarding facilities to ensure that your four-hoofed friend gets the TLC that he (or she!) needs to thrive.
Keep reading for helpful hints on boarding your horse.
#1: Research Horse Boarding Facilities
Learn as much as you can before choosing a boarding facility. Researching horse stables online, over the phone and in person will help you make an informed decision.
- Call a few stables. Ask about policies and pricing options.
- Read online reviews. This will clue you in to specific questions to ask and things to look for when visiting facilities.
- Talk to current boarders. They can give you insights about the overall quality and feel of the community. Experienced horse owners will also have lots of good advice on taking care of your horse.
- Visit facilities in person. Make an appointment and compile a list of questions ahead of time. Plan at least one unannounced visit to see how things are going when they’re not expecting a prospective client.
- Set some priorities. Does your horse have special needs that require attention? Do you compete in horse-related events, or are you a casual rider? This will help you select the best stables to meet the needs of you and your horse.
#2: Ask Lots of Questions
So what, exactly, should you ask about when researching boarding stables?
Of course, you may have specific questions pertaining to your horse’s individual needs. Here are some other questions to ask.
- Does your horse have to be a particular breed?
- Does the barn specialize in a specific riding discipline? Will they accept your horse if you ride a different discipline?
- Does the barn cater to competitive riders, casual horse owners or both?
- Does the facility give riding lessons? When and how often? Are children allowed?
- Get specific details on how, what and when horses are fed. Is there a structured feeding program? Do the animals have free access to bales or grazing pasture? Does the facility provide supplements when needed?
- What is included in your monthly fee? For example, some stables may provide things like fly spray or blankets, while other charge extra. What about veterinarian or farrier services?
- What days and hours can you visit?
- Depending on your interests, ask about riding policies such as unsupervised jumping or riding while lessons are in progress.
- What insurance does the facility have, and what insurance would they require you to have?
#3: Read Your Horse Boarding Contract
Once you select a horse boarding facility, you’ll have to read and sign a contract. Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on any policy you’re not sure about before you sign.
- What is included in your fee
- Extra charges such as blanketing, exercise and medical care
- Where your horse will be kept
- How your horse will be fed
- Facilities and amenities you may use, and which are off limits
- Vaccinations required
- Hours of operation
- Safety rules
- Emergency policies
- Any other policies specific to the facility
#4: Practice Good Horse Boarding Etiquette
After you sign your contract, do your part to make it a great experience for you, your horse and everyone else.
- Address problems promptly and courteously.
- Never, under any circumstances, handle other people’s horses without permission. That includes moving, removing or putting on blankets, grooming, feeding or petting. Likewise, don’t borrow equipment or feed without permission, and clearly put your name on your own equipment.
- Be a tidy horse owner. Always leave the stable in the same or better condition when you leave as when you arrived.
- Sweep alleys after grooming.
- Clear manure from arenas and rings.
- Put away trotting poles, barrels or jumps when finished using them.
- Stow equipment neatly to avoid safety hazards.
- Leave lights on or off as you found them.
- Leave doors open or closed as indicated.
- Turn water taps off, and neatly store hoses and buckets when finished with them.
- Be willing to provide extra care or pay someone else. For example, it is considered courteous to handle your horse while it is under the care of a veterinarian, farrier or other provider. If you’re unable to be there, offer to pay someone else to do this for you.
Do you have questions about boarding your horse?
Contact San Cayetano Ranch to learn more about our beautiful horse boarding facilities near the Santa Cruz River in Tumacacori, Arizona.