STEP 7:

EQUUS - - Eq Conversati­ons -

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.

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