Owning a horse is a wonderful and fulfilling thing. But if you don’t have the privilege of owning land, you have to figure out where your horse is going to live.
The first thing that equestrians have to think about is where they are going to board their horse. Selecting a horse boarding facility isn’t just about finding a good place for your horse to live. You’re also picking which equestrian community you’re going to interact and engage with.
So how do you go about choosing the right horse boarding stable? The answer is multifaceted.
There are several things that you should consider before selecting a horse boarding barn. That’s why we’ve put together this complete guide to selecting the best horse boarding facility. In the end, you’ll be able to choose a barn that caters to both your and your horse’s needs.
Monthly Horse Boarding Fees
The first thing to think about when selecting a horse boarding facility is the cost of their monthly boarding fees. These prices can range anywhere from $150 for a low-end boarding operation to thousands of dollars per month for the highest-end facilities with full-service care.
You don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars to get excellent care for your horse. But do keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Be wary of any horse boarding stable that charges less than $150 per month. You’re likely to get subpar care and it might even put your house in a dangerous situation.
Before you start looking for a horse boarding service, sit down and plan out a monthly budget. Of all the different expenses you will have to deal with, boarding fees are going to be the most expensive.
Start by calculating how much you are able to invest in boarding fees, tack, lessons, vet fees, and any other expenses. This will give you a price range to work with. Prioritize looking for a horse boarding barn that fits within that range.
Keep in mind that the average cost of horse boarding in the United States is $350-$400 per month. There are of course options both cheaper and more expensive than this average.
At Ridge Meadow Horse Farm, our boarding options range from $275-$475 depending on the services you select. This allows us to provide options for both riders on a budget and those who want full stall service.
The next things to consider are the different boarding options that are available to you and your horse. Some stables will only offer one boarding option, so it’s important to know ahead of time which ones you are looking for.
The three most common horse boarding options are full stall boarding, field boarding, and self-care boarding. They range in price and determine what amenities are available to you and your horse.
Full stall boarding is typically the most expensive option. But it also comes with the most benefits and amenities.
With full stall boarding, your horse gets its own stall which is cleaned daily by barn staff. They are provided with food, water, and are turned out into pastures on rotation. Staff members take care of your horse’s daily needs.
The price of full stall boarding typically also includes daily feeding. This is something to keep in mind while making a budget for your horse’s expenses. If you opt for full stall boarding, you may be able to save money on buying feed.
The next option is field boarding or pasture board. This is a more affordable option that still ensures your horse is getting high-quality care.
With field boarding, your horse is always turned out. Horses graze in the pasture while the grass is available and are fed by barn staff during the winter. The pastures also have adequate water and shelter, such as run-in sheds.
Barn staff still take care of the daily needs of your horse. These include feeding, watering, and blanketing.
The last option is self-care boarding. This is the cheapest option to chose from, but you are also solely responsible for your horse’s needs. You are the one who has to take care of daily feeding, blanketing, turn-in, and turn-out.
Being familiar with the different boarding options helps you chose one that is right for you and your horse. At Ridge Meadow Horse Farm, we offer both field boarding and full stall boarding, with the option to select from three different stall sizes.
Next, examine the facilities that a horse boarding service provides. Think about your particular equestrian discipline, and select a barn that provides the facilities you need.
For example, if you’re a jumper look for a horse boarding stable that has a nice jumping ring. If you’re a trail rider, look for a farm that has good trails.
When visiting a stable, take note of the type and quality of their facilities. The four that every equestrian should examine are the stables, arenas, turn-out, and trails.
If you’re going to board your horse in a stall, the first thing that you need to examine is the stables. They’re a massive part of the boarding experience.
Your horse will eat and sleep in the stall, they will be groomed and tacked in the aisle, and your tack and equipment will be stored in the tack room.
First, ensure that the stall your horse will be staying in is big enough for them. At Ridge Meadow Horse Farm, we have 12′ X 12′ stalls, 15′ X 17′ stalls, and 20′ X 30′ stalls. This ensures that we’re able to provide a spacious and comfortable stall for horses of every size.
Next, make sure that your horse’s stall has proper ventilation and lighting. The stall should be clean and free from any hazards that could potentially injure your horse.
Finally, check out the tack room. Make sure that the air isn’t damp or musty and that your tack will be safe in there. Ensure that the barn will provide you with enough storage space for all of your equipment.
If you enjoy or compete in a particular discipline, the next step is to check out the horse boarding stable’s arenas. This is typically the place where you will train and improve in your discipline.
First, see if one of the stable’s arenas caters to your discipline. If you are a jumper, make sure that there’s an arena with jumps and adequate footing. If you compete in penning, make sure there’s an arena with shoots for the cattle and horses.
If you are relatively new to riding, find out if the horse boarding facility offers riding lessons. This is a great way to improve your overall abilities as an equestrian.
Make sure you chose a horse boarding barn that gives you access to all the facilities you need to train and enjoy yourself. Don’t settle for a farm that lacks the facilities you need to enjoy your discipline. Keep searching until you find one that caters to you and your needs.
Another important facility to check is the turn-out that is provided for the horses. Look for pastures that have good grazing grass and enough space for all of the horses in the pasture.
One horse needs two to four grazing acres, so look for facilities that provide enough acreage for each horse. If turn-outs are overcrowded and don’t have adequate food, look for a different facility.
Remember, horses are built to run and roam. The more open space your horse has, the happier and healthier they will be.
The final thing that you should examine at a horse boarding barn is their trail system. Trail access is important for trail riders, but it’s also a nice break from doing routine ring work. Riding around in circles in an arena gets boring for both you and your horse after a while.
It’s an excellent idea to break up the monotony with a trail ride. These rides also challenge your horse and give you both the chance to relax and enjoy the scenery.
For those in the trail riding discipline, finding a horse boarding facility with good trails is essential. Before you commit to boarding at a particular place, see if you can take your horse out for a ride on their trails first. This will give you a good feel for the property and the trails that you will be riding on.
On-Site Trainers and Instructors
Some equestrians select their stables based on the trainers and instructors that work there. This is a great way to select a boarding farm because working with on-site trainers leads to more consistent training and better performance from both you and your horse.
If you’re new to the world of horseback riding, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to find a good instructor to work with. Start by taking a few lessons with them to see if you are a good fit for each other. If you are, think about using that stable for boarding.
There are a few things to keep in mind when basing your boarding selection primarily on a particular trainer. Do they specialize in the discipline that you want to train in?
Do you have the budget to take regular lessons from them? Remember, just because you’re boarding a horse at their barn doesn’t mean that you get free lessons.
Does the instructor have good communication skills and do they adapt to best fit your learning style? Do they have room in their schedule to take on more clients?
Finally, do you agree with the approaches and training methods that this instructor uses? Not all instructors use the same methods after all. Make sure that their philosophy is aligned with yours.
Establishing a relationship with a top-notch trainer helps you improve as a rider. It also makes your boarding experience much more enjoyable.
One of the most beneficial things about boarding your horse at a particular barn or stable is the community that is built around it. If you enjoy competing in horse shows or taking part in barn outings, find a horse boarding facility that supports those kinds of events.
There are show stables that take care of planning, scheduling, and even trailering you to and from competitions. This is a much more enjoyable experience than doing it all by yourself, especially if you’re a novice.
Many stables also host summer camps and barn parties. These are great opportunities to meet people and make new friends who have the same interests as you.
The best way to find stables that host these events is to look at their events pages online and read reviews. Find reviews from current and former boarders to get the scoop on community barn activities. You can also contact them directly for more information or recommendations.
If you want to train with expert riders, look for a horse boarding stable that hosts clinics with professional riders and trainers. These events are great opportunities to learn and meet people who are extremely invested in the equestrian community.
Don’t overlook the social aspect of selecting a horse boarding facility. It’s a wonderful place to make friends engage with a community.
Premier Horse Boarding in Southern York County, PA
Choosing a horse boarding facility is partially about price, services, and facilities. But it’s also about finding a community of people that you can engage with and enjoy.
That’s why it’s so important to choose a boarding facility that caters to you and your horse’s needs. But it is equally important to choose one that is filled with people that you enjoy working with and spending time with.
If you live in Southern York County, check out our horse boarding facilities today. Ridge Meadow Horse Farm is committed to providing a beautiful and comfortable environment for both our resident horses and their riders.