will add to your comfort and enjoyment. Start with the non-negotiables: amenities you won’t consider giving up, which might include trail access, an indoor arena or the ability to bring in your own feed. Then, work your way down to the “nice to haves,” such as blanketchanging services. Consider your horse’s needs as well. If he’s sociable, he may do better in an open, airy stall with lots of contact with neighbors. On the other hand, if he’s a sensitive type, he may want a quiet, secluded place to eat undisturbed. The resulting list will be unique to you and your horse and will give you a clear picture of the barn where you’ll both be happiest.
STEP 2: DETERMINE YOUR BUDGET
This is where your vision of the perfect boarding barn meets the hard reality of your pocketbook. If you are currently boarding your horse, consider whether you can afford to pay more or if you need to spend less. If you aren’t boarding a horse currently, review your monthly finances and determine how much money you will have available every month without fail. Late or unpaid board doesn’t just make for awkwardness when you visit the farm: In many states, the person owed the money can put a lien on your horse and sell him to settle the debt.
Next, focus your search on facilities that can provide as many of your desired amenities as possible for the amount you can pay. Remember, though, that the advertised monthly boarding price may not include “extras” that you consider essential, such as a private turnout area or unlimited free-choice hay. You won’t know the real costs until you meet with and interview the barn owner.
There’s no substitute for checking out prospective facilities in person. You can only truly evaluate a place if you see it for yourself.