The Many Benefits to Board Your Horse
Owning a horse is not something to take lightly, requiring a stall, food, pasture, and care on a daily basis. While having a horse is a full-time responsibility, you will not be able to spend every minute with them. This is where boarding facilities come in. Ranging from Self-Care Boarding to Full-Board Facilities, sanctuaries that will professionally house your horse, you will have more free time. If you are fortunate enough to have the option between Self-Care Boarding or Full-Board, it can be a difficult decision to make. Each different type of boarding has its advantages and disadvantages. It will come down to your individual situation and preferences to board your horse properly.
What Is Equestrian Full-Boarding?
Put simply, Full-Boarding means everything is taken care of at the facility your horse stays at. Choosing a Full-Board Facility will provide you with hassle-free maintenance as generally, these facilities include feeding, turnout, and stall cleaning in the fee. Depending on the provider you use, some will also include clipping, tacking and blanketing with others charging an additional fee to cover veterinary calls and visits. One thing to always bear in mind, however, is the cost. Full-Boarding can be expensive with the cost in the US averaging around $500 – $1500 per month depending on location.
The Benefits of Full-Board Facilities
- Full-board facilities have a lot of benefits for both owners and horses. These include:
- Full care is on offer 24/7
- The staff are fully trained to look after your horse
- Turnout and feed will be done on a regular basis
- Most of these type of facilities also have good riding areas such as trails, arenas, and rings • Instruction classes are also offered by many facilities
- For an extra fee, you can have any related appointments taken care of
What about Self-Care Boarding?
Self-care boarding is ideal for any owner who wants a more hands-on approach to their horse. These types of facilities will only offer a stall and pasture while you provide all the care for the horse. As you, the owner, will still be the primary caregiver for the horse, Self-Care Boarding will be the cheaper option for you. The monthly rental is much lower and for many people, the peace of mind knowing your horse is getting the best possible care is something money can’t buy.
The Benefits of Self-Care
There are many benefits to self-care facilities that impact both owners and the horses including:
- You still benefit from a well-kept space for your horse which you do not have to own
- You are responsible for the care of your horse so you know what is happening
- These facilities allow you to have more time with your horse
- Reduced costs
- You stay in charge of your horse’s well-being ensuring the highest level of care
- If you are a first-time owner, these facilities provide a great community where you can meet other horse owners who will be more than happy to offer their advice and expertise
Your Responsibilities at Self-Care Facilities
If you are going to board your horse at a self-care facility, you need to take your responsibilities very seriously. You are going to be responsible for the care and well-being of your horse. If you neglect this, your horse will suffer. These responsibilities include cleaning out the stall, keeping your horse safe and ensuring the environment is comfortable for them. You will also have to buy feed, hay, and bedding and organize all the vet appointments. Self-Care Boarding can seem extremely overwhelming at first. However, ensuring you stay regimented by creating a plan or timetable of when you need to visit and what tasks need to be taken care of that day can make the Self-Care experience so much easier and more enjoyable for both the horse and you.
Ask Questions and Get It in Writing
Before you start to board your horse, most facilities will require a contract to be signed regardless of the boarding option you have chosen. It is important that you read the contract fully and ask any questions you have before you sign. Ask questions that regard directly to the care of your horse, such as ‘What are the barn rules?’ or ’How long are the horses turned out for each day?’. Also ask questions about what you are getting for your money, such as ’Can I pay for extras, such as blanket changes or holding the horse for the farrier?’. This will ensure that you understand what you are agreeing to.
These contracts are in place to ensure the safety of your horse and yourself. You will also know what is expected of you either as the primary carer in a Self-Board facility or simply as the owner if you decide to Full-Board. Verbal contracts should be avoided as they can change and the risks to your horse are not worth it.
So, What Is The Best Boarding Option For Me?
Ultimately, it is down to you and your beliefs to decide whether the hands-on or professional approach is the best option for your horse. The daily demands of self-care facilities can be too much for some people. If you feel this may be the case for you, it is best to find out if you can increase the care of your horse at the boarding facility. There are some self-care facilities that also offer full-board options if you change your mind after starting the process. Everything is taken care of if you Full-Board meaning you won’t have to visit every day. If you have a busy schedule and can afford to have someone else look after your horse, this could be the ideal arrangement for you.
There is no harm in shopping around. Visit several barns and facilities before making any decisions on where the future of your horse lies. If you are struggling to choose a new barn, take a look at our handy guide!