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How to Choose a Barn For You and Your Horse

Jul 17, 2008
Choosing a barn ought to be easy but it may take a few moves to find the right fit of cost, location, horse care and people. It's a tricky thing, finding the right place for you and your horse. If your horse and riding are a large part of your life, the decision of where to board your horse may be even more important. Asking your friends is a great place to start, since you may want to know someone at the barn and have a friend to start out with.

A second choice may be the classified ads, word of mouth or local tack shop.

What Kind of Riding Do You Do?

Each discipline has its own philosophies and also prejudices about other riders and their horses. Its best to find a barn with compatible values; if you have a Thoroughbred who needs lots of turnout, don't go to a saddlebred barn where turnout is limited or unheard of. Barns that geared towards showing may have different requirements for their horses than barns that are primarily for trail or pleasure riding; they may want their horses inside more or give them a performance grade grain.

Do They Have a Trainer?

If you want to take lessons and don't have a trailer, it may be best if you also see if there's a trainer available for lessons. Ask around and find out what clients think of her teaching, experience and personality.

What Is the Condition of the Barn?

Find out how long they've been in business and that will usually lead into a discussion about the barn and its upgrades. You can tell alot by looking for loose boards, rust or poor fencing. Make sure to check out your horses stall or shed and see if it's in good shape or needs repair. Is the barn clean and tidy? Is there a board for notes, contact information and a schedule for turnout?

What Kind of Turn Out Is There?

Find out how many acres are used for turnout. Some barns like to have as many horses as possible to increase their cash flow, so the horses might not really get out much. The ratio of horses per acre is important to check out. Also find out what kind of grass is it - new or well established? How often do the horses go out; many horses prefer to go out every day. Do they get rotated from a paddock to field or just stuck in a paddock? If your horse needs a lot of turnout to stay sane, its critical to know he'll be turned out on a consistent basis.

And, don't forget the humans. If you go to a new barn by yourself, you'll probably want to have some friends to ride with. Find out, if you can, how often people ride at the barn and if they meet socially outside the barn for get-togethers. If the barn is large enough, they usually have holiday parties and celebrate birthdays. The right barn can become an extended family; and providing friendships for you and your horse for many years.
About the Author
Edna X Wilson is a writer for www.HorseClicks.com, popular classifieds of horses for sale, horse trailers, farms for sale.
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