Questions to ask when barn shopping for a boarding facility


  • Most of us, for whatever reason, need to find a barn at some point or another. We all have different ideas about what makes a good barn a good barn, and therefore we all have different questions to ask. But, I thought I’d give it a whirl and see if I can cover all of the bases. Be sure to get answers as well as see things in person if you can!


Visiting a barn will answer most of these, but if you have some “deal-breaker” questions, call ahead and save yourself a trip!


black horse with his head out of the stall




  • What stall sizes are available?
  • Are the stalls matted?
  • Automatic waterers or water buckets?
  • How often are the stalls cleaned?
  • What is the bedding?
  • Outdoor attached runs?
  • Ventilated to the outside?
  • Can horses see each other in adjacent stalls or only across the aisle?
  • Do the doors swing out or in, or slide?
  • Attached blanket storage?
  • Can you hang a hay net if needed?
  • Can you use a stall guard?




  • Are outside paddocks available for full-time living or turnout only?
  • Do they have shelter or shade?
  • Water troughs, auto waterers, or buckets?
  • Are the surrounding trees safe for horses?
  • What type of fencing?
  • What type of footing?
  • Are shavings put into the shelters?
  • What happens during bad weather?
  • How often are they cleaned?


stall door that slides open


Arena and round pens:


  • What is the footing?
  • When is the footing watered and worked?
  • How long after rain does the arena need to dry out?
  • Is manure removed from the footing?
  • What are the rules about riding on your own during other people’s lessons?
  • When and where can lungeing happen?




  • How many times a day is hay fed?
  • Is hay purchased directly from a farmer, through a broker, or whatever’s on sale?
  • What hay types/options are available?
  • What is the hay storage like?
  • Is hay weighed before it’s fed?
  • Can your horse eat his hay from a slow feeder?


gray horse in paddock by the gate


Grain buckets/supplements:


  • How many times a day are buckets of grains/supplements fed?
  • Who makes the buckets and supplement mixtures?
  • What are the feed room accommodations like?
  • How are grains stored?
  • How often are feed tubs scrubbed?




  • What is the turnout schedule?
  • How much time per horse?
  • Who turns the horses out and brings them in?
  • What boots and fly gear is put on the horses for turnout?
  • What is the rainy day plan for the horses that normally get turnout?


Other Barn Amenities and Options:


  • Is there trail access from the property?
  • Is trailer parking an option?
  • Do you have an extra storage area for off-season equipment like blankets?
  • What training packages are available and what’s included in each one?
  • Are some services available a-la-carte?
  • Is there a grooming service available?
  • What are the barn hours?
  • If the barn is closed to clients on a certain day, who cares for and exercises the horses on that day?
  • Is there hot water in the wash rack?
  • Is there on-site laundry?
  • Is there a fridge and freezer available for treats, snacks, medications, ice boots?
  • What are the barn rules?
  • What are the helmet and shoe rules?



What did I forget? What questions do you ask when you are looking for a boarding barn?