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Boarding Your Horse for the First Time

When boarding your horse for the first time there are many factors which can make the task easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved, including your horse. Making arrangements in advance can make transitions smoother and can help clarify your expectations to ensure that the needs of both you and your horse are met.

Before you begin to interview stables, make a list of services and provisions you know you’ll need from your boarding facility. Know your financial limits and expect that lower fees mean fewer services. If you know that you can provide some of your animal’s care on your own, see if you can request a lower monthly fee from the stable based on what you will be able to provide and what you would need from the stable staff. Knowing that you can provide all the horse’s physical care on weekends and two week days per week can result in a sizeable discount in prices.

Know your horse’s background. His first time in a stable may be hard for him. If he is used to being alone he may not adjust well to being turned out with a large number of other animals. He may begin to exhibit signs of nervousness or aggression which are traditionally uncharacteristic of his usual traits. You might want to request that he be alone for the first few weeks in a single stall with a single turn-out area until he has a chance to warm up to spending time with other animals. Keeping an animal independently like this may mean higher stable fees, but it may be worth it in the long run to ease him into a new situation. As he adjusts to his new set-up, move him into a single stall with a turn-out for multiple animals and watch for his reactions. He may like being close to a few other horses and may flourish in that type of setting. If you would like him to socialize even more, try mass turn-outs on a limited basis. Ultimately, being involved and seeing for yourself the reaction of your horse will be the best meter for his living arrangements.

If you plan to ride regularly, you’ll need a place to store your tack. Many stables offer individual storage areas or lockers for your saddles and bridles in addition to your blankets and grooming tools. Others simply offer a tack room with designated areas for your horse’s items. If this is the case, you may be required to pay a bit more for individual storage space. You may opt to transport your tack if you don’t plan on riding much or don’t have a regular riding schedule. Find out if managing your own tack will reduce fees.

Check to see what kind of supervision is provided for the animals at your stable. If they only check on animals once per day, are they checking the animal’s water supply, physical health and are they checking for symptoms of illnesses? Find out what your stable does when a horse becomes ill, such as calling you or your vet. On occasion a stable may call out a vet they work with to handle illnesses before they become serious. This will add to your fees.

Know what to expect from your stable. Becoming educated as to the needs of your horse will ensure that boarding your horse for the first time is a good experience for everyone involved.