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!
- 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?
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?
- 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?