No two horses are the same and NO TWO BOARDING STABLES ARE EITHER. Why is it that we go blindly searching and touring boarding stables without really knowing what is going to be a good fit for our horse and even us? I am the first to say that when I was a boarder many years ago I did the same thing and my first boarding experience was a disaster for both my horse and even me as a little girl. It wasn't anyone's fault, my father was a new horse owner with zero horse experience and he looked for a place that was close enough to the apartment building where we lived so I could ride my bike after school to see my horse. He was trying his best and I was just happy to have a horse I could love and call my own. I was ten years old and that first boarding experience has definitely helped mold me as I became a barn owner/manager of my own boarding stable.
It's time to learn the right questions to ask
When I started writing books, I felt there was a huge (mega huge!) information gap when it comes to barn management and running a boarding stable. After six years of writing books on this subject, I started to realize that no one has ever written or talked about the importance of really knowing your horse and learning what boarding stable will be the best fit for him and you!
The truth is we all start out as new horse owners and we all have to learn so much in the beginning that it can become information overload. The boarding stable is the last thing most new horse owners really think about. I say this in a gentle way but most new horse owners are more concerned about finding the right saddle, tack and brush box. They are excited to find the right riding boots and clothes. The are also equally excited about finding the right horse trainer. I get it because I was there and I did the same thing. After all, that is the fun stuff. Housing for horses is part of it all but usually the least important - at least at first. Most of us learn the hard way from a bad boarding experience that sends our emotions reeling and that is when we start to wake up to the importance of the right boarding stable.
There are a lot of great boarding stables but finding the right fit is about so much more than the lounge with all the amenities to offer. It will not matter if you have the best trainer money can buy if your horse is stressed out due to his living conditions. If will not matter how much you spent on your saddle or tack if you can't get on your horse because his personality has changed in a negative way and he is not the same happy horse you first purchased.
Owning a horse means learning about his personality and how he will act in a herd of new horses. Is he dominant or usually at the bottom of the pecking order? How do they feed hay each day and how will this affect my horse? Does he have special needs that the stable can accommodate? How many hours a day is he turned outside and is it enough? Is he getting enough hay to eat and fresh water to drink? What does daily turnout look like during all four seasons? Are the employees knowledgeable in horse care? Do they hand-walk the horses outside for the day or are they ran outside each morning and how will this affect my horse? Asking the right questions is so important in choosing the right stable for you and your horse. Once you learn the right questions to ask you are going to learn so much more about your horse and in a much deeper way.
Your horse's living arrangement should be first
Today I encourage you to learn about your horse in a whole new way. The place where he is going to live should be the most important thing you do for him. Everything else will start to fall into place if you get his home right the first time. The he will flourish and so will you. Remember ever stable will do things differently and they might all be nice stables but not every place will be a good fit for your horse.
If you are a horse owner, I hope you will take some time to look at my brand new book - "157 to ask when looking for the right horse boarding stable." It will open your eyes to boarding stable practices and your knowledge of how it all works will go through the roof. I want your first boarding experience to be a great one! Also, if you are a brand new horse owner then I want to congratulate you on your new horse and get ready to fall in love!
Wishing you many blessings,