out of the weather? Does it look and smell fresh?
• Arenas: How does the footing look? How is it maintained? Is there a schedule governing the use of enclosures by boarders?
• Tack room: Can you secure your equipment with a lock? Is there enough space for all your items?
As you take your tour, take note of how the horses look. A content, happy herd of horses in good condition with bright eyes speaks well of their environment and care. There may be less than healthy or well-adjusted horses at any given facility, but more than a few of these might indicate an underlying problem.
You’ve identified a great barn, asked the right questions and taken a look around. Everything seems perfect. Now, ask for the boarding arrangement to be spelled out in writing. Contracts may seem excessively formal and fussy, but they protect everyone affected by the agreement, including your horse. A boarding contract can be as detailed as the parties want it to be and, for the most part, the more details that are made plain in the document, the better. At a minimum a contract needs to state how much is to be paid each month, for what services and how the contract can be terminated by either party. You can find many examples of boarding contracts online so you can draft one yourself or compare the one the facility already uses. If the facility owners refuse to sign a contract, you are wise to wonder why and be hesitant about entering what is, at its core, a business relationship with them.
BSIGN A CONTRACT
oarding facilities vary in size and services with good reason: There isn’t one perfect place for every horse-and-owner combination. But chances are you can find an ideal situation with just a bit of forethought and careful consideration. When that happens, your horse’s home becomes your home away from home, and everyone thrives.
About the author: Ellen Mosier is a freelance writer/editor, licensed massage therapist for both animals and people and a library cataloger. As a kid, she rode every chance she had. About 20 years ago, Ellen finally got a lovely Arabian– Appaloosa horse of her own named Tsina. They currently live in northeast Oregon.