Reasonable Expectations

I think that as equestrians there are varying levels of care that we expect if we board our horses. This probably varies largely among people but what I want to know are what are basics you expect? In your area do you find that the level of care included in basic board differs from other areas largely? When do the requests become taking advantage of the staff/owners (or even fellow boarders) of your boarding facility?

stalldesign1For me basic stall board (or fees) needs to include your genaric care:

  • feeding (hay, grain, owner provided supplements) AM & PM
  • stall cleaning (and shavings)
  • turnout
  • blanketing
  • ability to have my horse held for vet/ farrier
  • well maintained riding arena 
  • secure tack storage

Some barns do have blanketing fees and handling fees on top of board which I try to factor into my monthly budget in that event. To me the rest of it should be included. I want barn staff that notices if my horse seems weird or is injured but after that the rest is on me. hay-samplesIf you want a different feed or above normal quantities it makes sense to me that I would either need to purchase the additional feed/hay or pay an additional fee. logo_platperfI personally also totally get why barns like for horse owners to have their supplements individually portioned out. It reduces the effort involved with a large number of horses and helps reduce the risk of confusion or inconsistencies. This doesn’t mean you have to have a SmartPak or Platinum Performance Paks though because with some time you can portion supplements out yourself. I used to do this for Houston and I would just restock weekly. For now it’s just easier for me to order and have it shipped to the barn. 

take-advantWhere I think I have seen more issue is with special care situations. I myself have had to have extra help when traveling or due to work/ school and it is always appreciated. I have been incredibly lucky to have barn owners or managers that are very accommodating in offering said services at reasonable rates and most don’t haven’t even charged for a one off occurance. Problems start to pop up when there are people that take advantage of that generosity or accommodation. 

What are your alls thoughts on this? 

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  1. I agree with your expectations. I’ve found more often than not in CA at least turnout and blankets are available but usually an add on fee, as is a lunch feed. Grain is hit or miss. But again, all things you can add on (& usually are not done on holidays). I loved my last barn. I literally walked out to have my baby and didn’t come back for 3 weeks and not only did everyone send me flowers for having the little dude, my horse was 100% looked after by the owners and others boarders for zero extra charges. Granted I’d been there for 3 years so I think some of this comes with time & proper relationship building (eg. pitching in/being helpful, being not complainy, and playing well with others). That’s a awesome feeling. I think knowing everyone is looking out for everyone else’s horses and having nice boarders to do tradesy stuff with is such a perk!

    1. That’s how I feel at my current barn. I trust them implicitly and it was really nice when I had to go to CA last year when my grandfather passed that I didn’t have to stress about if Annie was okay. 🙂 West coast boarding is so different bc of your turnout situation it seems.

      1. Yeah, lack there of. It’s laughable what turnout means at most facilities…30-60 min out solo in a glorified paddock. I miss the nice farms back east where horses really went OUT and got to stretch their legs and eat grass.

  2. I agree with the expectations you’ve listed, but I would also add access to riding arenas and some kind of tack storage. I am always a little taken aback when I hear stories from friends about the arenas being locked (unless it’s because of weather) or not being able to ride outside of lessons (unless you don’t own or lease).

  3. My needs are a little more basic, but essentially the same! Horse care comes first, pony must be fed & medicated twice daily, and fed the grain that I choose for him because of his metabolic problems. That is my #1 priority, and if a barn won’t allow me to provide my own grain or won’t medicate daily, it’s NOT an option. I prefer field board for the horses’ mental and physical well-being, so instead of stall cleaning I just need a clean, dry, safe turnout shed of some sort. The option to have a stall temporarily in case of injury, etc. is nice, too. I don’t mind blanketing myself, but again, it’s nice if I can text the BM or staff and have them switch a blanket now and then. I need a place for my stuff and access to some sort of riding area (field, arena, whatever), and I’m good! Oh, and barns that require lessons or don’t allow jumping outside of lessons? That’s a big ol’ NOPE.

  4. I agree with your expectations and I am incredibly lucky to board at a barn where there are no add on fees and we have a state of the art facility to use. No fees for wormer, blanketing, special instructions (like removing bandages, adding ointment, using hay bags, etc, holding for vet of farrier…anything. I could literally leave for a month and not worry about anything. Helps to have awesome barn friends too who will ride for you if needed (and love to) and a wonderful BO who keeps all 60 boarders and horses in tip top shape and cared for. Its amazing. There are places that charge more for board and care less and have more add on fees…craziness.

  5. I totally agree with your requirements. I have been lucky enough to have been adopted by a mare that everyone loves. This could be a good or bad thing. She gets extra treatment because she is easy. Or she gets no treatment at all because she does not complain. Where we are now, all boarders must be in full training, so they are all getting the same care that my trainer would give one of hers. I know I am lucky. In the past, as long as she got fed, had clean water and didn’t get beat up by the other horses, we were good. Of course, she’s now 2 hours away because in Jacksonville, you either have scary, or you have the place that charges every time they look in your horse’s direction (on top of $1,100 base board…UGH).

  6. Agree with LW, Cali seems to be a different game. I wish turnout was included, or feeding grain (I don’t do it soley because I lack the ability to come out daily). Holly came from a barn where they did do daily turnout and where I worked as a kid we did it for a few boarders but I was never sure if that was as a favor or a paid thing. Our workers do always check the horses as able and my trainer always checks and often doctors the horses when she is there. Just don’t get me started on ground maintainance.

  7. At my barn I do everything… It’s kind of a lot. It will be easier when they live in my own back yard… *one day!* 🙂 I think your expectations are very fair!

  8. Like L, Nicku and Kat have said, CA is different. I feel like you can get the complete care but you have to find the right barn… board doesn’t mean good care lol. So happy to have my horses at home!! I don’t have everything as fancy and up what I want but I will get there eventually… but they are well cared for and safe 🙂

  9. Ha ha ha. I used to have those expectations. And then I moved to California. Where shavings are an extra. And turnout is definitely an extra and frequently not even an option. Grain is not included let alone supplements and the base board usually only includes 1 flake am and 1 flake pm. Hell at a previous barn we had to buy our own water troughs. You basically get a stall and 2 flakes of hay here.