When boarding a horse, someone else will be watching over him. You’ll sign a contract establishing what kind of care he will receive. You should carefully read the contract before signing, and be sure to have the following questions answered:
1. Details of pricing – If the barn or stable charges a fee for every action (i.e. putting on or removing a fly mask, blanket, etc.), will they contact you for each and every instance to get the charge approved? Note: you might think this is a good idea, but what if you are not available to answer the phone call or email immediately? You might decide to use a higher-priced barn that includes these kinds of services in an overall fee if this scenario concerns you.
2. Accessibility to your horse – Do you need a ring or trails to work with your horse when you visit, or is an open pasture sufficient? Some barns and stables will have fixed hours, and some will require notification of when you’ll be visiting so they can make your horse available. Finding a stable with the accessibility you need is important.
3. What vaccinations are needed? – Many barns will have a vet come in for regular vaccinations according to a schedule, so ask about this cost, what time of year it occurs and whether all horses are vaccinated at the same time. If you prefer to have your own vet, ferrier or trainer involved, ask if the barn will allow them to come and treat your horse.
Other things to review before signing a boarding contract are the maintenance of the barn, pastures and riding trails, the quality of hay feed, whether the food-storage area is kept clean and the qualifications of the staff who will be interacting with your horse.
Moving your horse from one stable to another is a huge undertaking and adjustment for your horse, so be sure to carefully review all the options available to you.