Finding the perfect home away from home for your horse can be challenging. Sure, we would all love to have a facility at our own home but for many of us, that is not plausible. That’s when we rely on boarding facilities for our horses. We all want our horses to have the best care possible but it also has to fit your budget. Here are 5 things to look for in a horse boarding facility:
Most horse boarding facilities on average range from about $200 - $450 per month. Some facilities might offer services such as exercising your horse daily, climate controlled environments, etc. Most of these places are upwards of $450+ per month. To stay on the lower end of the spectrum, you can expect the bare essentials – hay, fresh water, and spacious outdoor pens. These facilities may charge extra for adding supplements to feed and graining, grooming, exercising, etc.
Ideally, you don’t want to board your horse more than 30 minutes away from where you live. Any further might deter you from going to visit your horse as often as possible because of the drive and cost of fuel. Even though your horse is in someone else’s care, it is still the horse owner’s responsibility to monitor that your horse is being properly cared for. Depending on where you live, this might not be an option but if it is, try to stay closer to home. Living farther than 30 minutes away will require extra planning on your part such as spending long weekend days with your horse.
Cleanliness is extremely important for any horse boarding facility. Flies, mosquitoes, and ticks carry a number of diseases which can be deadly to your horse. These insects usually stick around when facilities are not as clean as they should be. When first visiting a facility, see that their stalls are cleaned everyday, and that there is an established plan for the manure such as composting.
4. Turn Out
There are a few different factors to consider when evaluating the turnout methods at a facility. Make sure pastures are not overcrowded. Not only will this limit the amount of forage your horse receives, the horses in the herd will develop a pecking order which can in some cases become aggressive. Make sure the fences are at least 4 feet tall and made of sturdy material. Always, always, always avoid barbed wire fences.
Check the facility’s forage source. At least 50% of a horse’s diet should be forage. This means either grass or hay. If there is not enough grass for all horses at the facility, make sure that they are providing these horses with plenty of nice hay. The hay should be green and sweet-smelling – not brown or crusty. Many facilities that are on the cheaper end will charge an extra fee to grain your horse or feed them supplements. If your horse is not getting enough nutrients from the forage, make sure that the facility will give your horse grain or supplements, even if it is an extra fee.
Choosing a horse boarding facility can be tough. Take your time and be sure to thoroughly evaluate the place before bringing your horse to it. Nothing will give you peace of mind like knowing that your horse is in good care.
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